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A dungeon crawl board game with no game master. Explore the darkness for loot and experience, facing hordes of awesome miniatures.
A dungeon crawl board game with no game master. Explore the darkness for loot and experience, facing hordes of awesome miniatures.
A dungeon crawl board game with no game master. Explore the darkness for loot and experience, facing hordes of awesome miniatures.
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22,361 backers pledged $3,560,642 to help bring this project to life.

Rulebook and Story Mode!


Hail Lightbringers!

We know many of you have been eager to check out the Rulebook for Massive Darkness. Here's the work-in-progress thus far:

The layout may still be tweaked, and the rules themselves are still being refined and tested, so all content seen in this file is still subject to change.

And speaking of changes, we have a BIG one that’s being developed, and we’d like to take this moment to introduce it to you:

Massive Darkness is designed to be easy to get into and have fun – there are 10 Quests in the campaign, which at 1 hour+ each means it’s going to be difficult for most groups to sit through all 10 sessions together. You can pop in at any stage of the campaign and get all the fun of the levelling and monster slaying experience, even if your group can’t meet regularly. However, for the dedicated heroes amongst you, you’ll be happy to hear that we’re also including a Story Mode, which tweaks the balance and other aspects of the existing campaign so that heroes persist in a more constant fashion from Quest to Quest.

Story Mode features:

∙ Slower experience gain, heroes evolve over multiple adventures.

∙ All unlocked Skills are available at the start of each Quest, but Enemies are all the more dangerous.

∙ Equipment access and use is also scaled : Equipment cards can only be used if the Hero is powerful enough. The Inventory size is limited. Equipment cards also have a Gold value and may be sold and bought (with the merchant's markup, of course).

∙ The Story Mode also features a Town Phase. Heroes may buy and sell Equipment, heal and train. 

This of course will require a truly committed group of players to see through to the end, and we look forward to seeing your tales of epic adventure in 2017! We will give you more information about the Story Mode as those rules are crystallized during the development process.

For the Darkness is Massive, and full of terrors!


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    1. Justin Robben on August 10, 2017

      Hmm, rule book link no longer working?

    2. Jamal on July 2, 2016

      My mistake that is a diagram explaining Where the patrol spawns but it's still wrong. Shouldn't the mob be spawning next to the spider? Patrol spawn on +1 current level zone marker. Any way that diagram needs to be fixed �

    3. Jamal on July 2, 2016

      Page 15. Diagram on the right. Says spawn a goblin warrior mob pointing at a dwarf agent.

    4. Missing avatar

      Paul Millsaps on June 24, 2016

      I'd like to see your game so something to deal with the bossy player problem.Many modern co-op games (dead of winter) realize the problem with couching, where one player tells everybody else what they should do... And they're right. It's a real annoyance in many games and saw it in your game play video. Would you guys consider adding hidden individual quests or something else to help with this issue?

    5. Missing avatar

      PyroSite on June 19, 2016

      With the introduction of storymode, i would love to get more information on the world, history and religion. im considering building an rpg ontop of the boardgame to realy imerse the players in their characters. so would love to get abit more meat on the bones perhaps a world map

    6. Missing avatar

      Josh on June 18, 2016

      I know Story mode is still being worked out, but reading through the rules a few ideas hit me.

      It seems strange that kill is only worth 1xp regardless of difficulty, but I'll assume that's due to game balance and the various uses for xp in each mission. However, if you're looking into a story interlude/ town phase, why not incorporate something like "story points" that you can get for killing difficult monsters or minions, completing quests, learning a new skill, a successful ambush...etc -- these points could then be used in a town phase (eg. brag at the tavern, talk to the local wise one, or trade at a shop) to maybe add a basic ally to your party for a future quest, upgrade/keep equipment, permanently learn a new technique maybe even borrow a pony to increase your movement in corridors...

      These are all just ideas, but I'd love to seem a slightly deeper story mode that encourages you to undertake daring feats during a quest and then rewards you for it later on. The story points could be tracked and spent with a simple counter and unlike XP don't disappear when you upgrade or execute a signature move, and they could even be listed on enemy and event cards?

    7. Josh on June 16, 2016

      @ benji t It may be clearly written but it's not clearly organized. There are many pages that explain some aspects of a topic and then tell you to flip to another page for the remainder of the explanation. I wish they would just repeat important info rather than meticulously trying to place it on the perfect page. It makes looking up a rule much easier to find and caters more to different learning processes while reading through the book as a whole. Euro game rule books tend to repeat important info all the time - it works well.

    8. benji t
      on June 16, 2016

      Just read through the WIP rulebook, it's very clear! Want to make a suggestion:

      Include a round summary as the last page, where it mentions each phase in summary, and each action a hero or enemy can take, with its cost and a shortened description.

      As lean as the rules are for MD, i have a small mind and a smaller memory.


    9. Iconography on June 16, 2016

      Ignore the first-half to my last post. It's stated in 3. on p. 32.

      I don't know why I can't wrap my head around enemy movement. It comes across as confusing to me.

    10. Iconography on June 16, 2016

      Ok, helpful recommendation. Please add "Remember, enemies cannot leave a Zone they share with a Hero and vice-versa," to page 32 (from pages 14 and 28). I kept struggling with enemy movement in this game: would a melee enemy push past a Zone with a Hero to get to the target Hero?

      Also, if a Ranged or Magic enemy cannot attack the target Hero this round, could it give up its second move to optimize its distance to another enemy? Or must it make its second move toward the target Hero and then attack a Hero?

    11. C on June 15, 2016

      Not clear about combat. If I roll more than one enchantment of the same type, do I apply it once, or multiple times?

    12. Josh on June 15, 2016

      Here are some ideas for more interesting skills:
      -If an attack kills X minions, then Y happens (such as doing damage to a boss, an adjacent zone, etc.
      -seeing around corners, even just one zone away
      -when hitting a Roaming Monster with the killing blow, X happens
      -trading (tossing) equipment within line of sight rather than only on the same zone
      -moving (pushing/pulling) enemies on the board
      -manipulating the level of certain enemies on the board - i.e., weakening them
      -searching for more than one card, e.g., draw two, keep one
      -moving through mobs/roaming mosters/bosses, etc.
      Some things that could trigger these skills:
      - using certain equipment
      - killing certain enemy types
      - sharing a zone with enemies or heroes
      - standing in a corridor/room/light/dark zone
      - correctly predicting kills and/or dice roll results. e.g., "I prediction this arrow attack will kill 2 goblins
      I'd also like to see negative changes to my character for choosing certain skills. A decision such as, "Do I want to be able to move through mobs? If I choose that skill, I won't be able to hide in the darkness", might be more interesting than, "Do I want a +1 to Melee or Ranged?".

    13. Missing avatar

      Doug Law on June 15, 2016

      First time I've ever commented at the actual Kickstarter page, and I've backed a number of them. The story mode announcement made me do it. Best announcement I've seen in a long time. I' very happy about this.

    14. Josh on June 15, 2016

      I took a look at the class sheets closely, and calling "+1 Melee" or "+1 Ranged" a "skill" is a joke. Those are simply stat bumps. Where are the cool skills?!?! Give the players tough decisions to make! Right now all you've got is, "do I want to be a little better with a bow or my sword?" Unless this game shows me some depth, I think I'll have to pull my support.

    15. Adrian Michael Smith on June 15, 2016

      P10 - missing of in between couple and rules in enemies phase

    16. Josh on June 15, 2016

      I hope story mode contains an actual story with meaningful decisions for the players to make.

    17. Iconography on June 15, 2016

      Joe, I thought that was odd too but I figured there was s mysterious hidden card somewhere...or a black card for the back of the deck. :)

      I love all of these corrections you're finding. Thiago, are you getting all of these! :)

    18. Timothy McFadden
      on June 15, 2016

      Sign me up! I'm likely to run a campaign / story mode at Meeples Games in Seattle on one of the days I'm not running D&D, Star Wars or Dragon Age RPGs there.

    19. Joseph Gardner Sky Crystal Arts on June 15, 2016

      I would like to see more unique playing tiles

    20. Lee Beckett
      on June 15, 2016

      Story Mode! YES!! Best News Ever.

    21. Lee Beckett
      on June 15, 2016

      Story Mode! YES!! Best News Ever.

    22. Joe on June 15, 2016

      May have already been said, but on p.4 it says there are 164 treasure cards (T1 to T163). 164 card should be numbered to T164? Small thing that stuck out to me.

    23. Antar Howarth on June 15, 2016

      I know it's not a simulation but I really don't like the easy way characters can swap gear and transmute objects in the middle of a battle! The rulebook does not appear to prohibit the use of such actions. This means I could be fighting an ogre with one hand whilst unbuckling my armour with other...

      Too easy.

    24. kuentin on June 15, 2016

      @Thiago :
      The rule (p.13) says : "Lines of Sight run from a Zone to the next until they meet a closed
      door, a wall or a tiles’ edge."
      But on the example on the same page, Sybil is able to see through the wall of the first chamber ... It seems to be wrong regarding the rules.

    25. Arnaud Dellyes on June 15, 2016

      @Thiago: I am reading the rules and i have a card design issue here. As i understand, Gards can use the equipped item if the attack symboles match. As I understand it, if the object has an enchantement, it applies as well. Therefore, maybe the design of the item cards isn't very optimal: as seen on the video, we stick the item card under the boss' card in order to see the item's symboles under the boss' symboles. The thing is, if we do that we don't see the enchantment anymore and the players need to pick up de boss' card to see it. The players may even forget the enchantment is there. Maybe if you put the symboles on top of the description box, the enchantment would terefore still be visible while the card is under the boss' card.


    26. Koldan on June 15, 2016


      I love the story mode, will be the possibility to add events to the town phase?

    27. Missing avatar

      Jon Finn on June 15, 2016

      Thanks for showing us the WIP rulebook.

      You ought to replace every instance of "amount" with "number".

    28. Shawn Maclauchlan on June 15, 2016

      Page 31: "The player chooses to spend them all during an Experience Phase to
      acquire the “Ranged: +1 Attack die” Skill (Level 3)."

      The graphic shows the player buying the "Ranged:+1 re-roll;+1 wound" skill.

    29. Missing avatar

      Eirik Johnsbråten on June 15, 2016

      @Thiago - What does "Equipment cards can only be used if the Hero is powerful enough" mean? How is a hero's "power" measured compared to levels? It's good that there's limitations, but I really hope we can pick up and wield the cool weapon the guardian just dropped, and that we don't have to just hold on to it to use it in a later quest...

    30. Wrobbel on June 15, 2016

      @random. Noticed something wrong there too. Seems like a copy paste error from the first room

    31. Danny van Holten on June 15, 2016

      Sybril's line of sight example seems to have an error. It seems he looks through one room.

    32. Trex on June 14, 2016

      Very cool update @CMON, I'm loving it.

    33. Iconography on June 14, 2016

      I see. I think there is an error on the graphic on p. 15. The third Guards! Draw should be an Agent, not a mob. It explains why only one model is placed on the Level token zone.

    34. Iconography on June 14, 2016

      Yes. Unimaginative. :)

    35. Missing avatar

      Jed Morganstein on June 14, 2016

      @Random Fleming: a person may only have one "line of sight," according to what you've been taught, because (as you point out) a person can only be looking at one thing at a time. A model in a static game has multiple "lines of sight" because it exists in a frozen moment, and until the player states their intention, it could be looking in any number of directions, each of which would be a line of sight. Also, in the context of a written rule, the phrase is referring to the line of sight of any given character in any given scenario, which would be multiple lines of sight.
      Does Merriam-Webster have a clarifying entry for the word "pedantic?"

    36. Iconography on June 14, 2016

      P. 41 should read "he does nothing and remains stunned."

    37. Missing avatar

      das Grau Geist on June 14, 2016

      I like this, the Rulebook looks great for 1-off play.

      I am particularly intrigued by Story Mode.

    38. Iconography on June 14, 2016

      P. 21: "Ranged Combat: The highlighted part..." should read "Ranged Combat: The emphasized box..."

    39. Iconography on June 14, 2016

      I concede. Merriam-Webster has "lines of sight" as the plural form. It is an acceptable term.

      My reference is from Air Force officer training. I was taught that you can only have one line of sight at a time as you can only focus on one point at a time. While "lines of sight" is grammatically correct, it is inappropriate.

    40. Stephen Wroth on June 14, 2016

      Random - the plural of "Line of Sight" is "Lines of Sight", so it is being used correctly here when referring to multiple lines. Although once they refer to "Lines of Sights", which is obviously a typo that needs to be fixed.

    41. Iconography on June 14, 2016

      Also I have a question on p. 15 of the rulebook. Whisper opens a door to a three room chamber and draws 3 door cards. The first is a Guards! and models are placed in the first room. The second is a Roaming Monster and its model is placed according to its level at the level marker. The third card is a Guards! - like the first - and its model is placed on the Zone with the level token.

      Why is the second Guards! model (the third card) NOT placed on the third room zone of the newly opened chamber?

    42. Max Maloney on June 14, 2016

      I'm disappointed the preliminary rulebook doesn't show any scenarios. The example of play video underwhelmed me because the scenario looked very boring (walk down a hallway and kill whatever you come across). I'd like to see what other ideas they have for scenario designs.

    43. Brad T on June 14, 2016

      Awesome update. Look forward to perusing the rule book when I get home from work. Adding a story mode is a great option to extend game play for those wanting a little more depth to the game. If I already wasn't all in on this project I would be now.

    44. Iconography on June 14, 2016

      I think the term is "Line of Sight" not "Lines of Sight". So p. 13 would read Line of Sight runs not "Lines of Sight run".

      Also p. 15 uses Leavel instead of Level.

    45. Justin Boehm
      on June 14, 2016

      Thank you for including story mode!!! I can hope by the end we unlock at least 1 additional story as well to go through (if they are currently set in a way that would allow).

      Only thing I want to say is, please don't limit the inventory to as little a zombicide, in a story mode like this, you need to be able to carry more than 8 things. Or maybe have bags you can buy in town mode to let you carry more, or as you said train, maybe train to increase your carry capacity.

    46. Gutris
      on June 14, 2016

      Holy ****.... such good news on new developments and the rule book shows there will be sufficient complexity to allow all sorts of shenanigans without being too crazy...


    47. Simon on June 14, 2016

      After reading the rules, I'm wondering what the boss figure adds. It almost seems you could remove the boss and add one extra minion to each mob.

    48. Alexander Simbürger on June 14, 2016

      Arrrgh, just as ignore the text in the last bracket... stupid tablet typing...

    49. Alexander Simbürger on June 14, 2016

      I think we got a decent draft of the rulebook here. Easy to understand and good examples. The only thing I stumbled over and had to re-read row or three times before it was clear were the rules regarding the mob allocation. Maybe you could look at it again and somehow streamline it more / make it clearer. 

      I understand that there are basically three scenarios for an attacking mob:

      1. There is only the target hero in range (or one other hero, in case the target hero is not in range) and the mob size is greater 2: One minion attacks with the boss (attack dice are getting combined) and the remaining minions support the boss (plus 1 sword symbol for each supporting minion added to the attack roll)

      2. There is only the target hero in range (or one other hero, in case the target hero is not in range) and the mob size is less or equal 2: One (or 0) minion attacks alongside the boss (attack dice are getting combined, see 1.) 

      3. There is more than one hero within the attack range of the mob and the mob size is greater 2 ( if mob size is less or equal 2, 2. also applies): One minion attacks alongside the boss the target player / or the player with highest xp in range in case target hero is not in range(attack dice are getting combined), one minion each attacks the other heroes within attack range. In case there are still minions left not attacking, they will support the boss (see 1.)

      My second question relates to the wording of the stun skills (magic, ranged): As the skills are written it would be possible to shoot at one mob/target in range but stun any (other) targets also in range, which gives a great amount of flexibility but doesn't really make sense thematically (e.g. why should your arrows shot at a mob two spaces away be able to stun targets (or one other hero, in case the target hero is not in range)three spaces away etc)