The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch

Kickstarter has been especially kind to us at Meeple Watching of late.  At the start of the week we received Zombicide, Black Plague: Green Horde¹ to much excitement.

This was just the base game, with extras, add-ons and  silly stretch goals arriving over the next few months, but all in all it looks like what we’ve already god is a very good game.  As you might imagine, it’s very similar to the Zombicide Black Plague game; however the addition of the hedges mechanic adds a new “cat and mouse” dimension to the game. It’s not all about charging the enemy; medieval shotgun² a blazing anymore.; it’s far more tactical game.

That and the addition of the ever present and continuously growing Horde really added to the danger to the missions.

But I don’t want to talk about Zombicide today, because two days ago our second massive box from CMON turned up – The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch.

We got excited and ended up cosplaying the opening of the box. That’s right, we are massive nerds.

Rise of Moloch is the third game in the The World of SMOG series and the second game under the CMON publishing house.  The original game SMOG, The Thirteenth Hour was release by Smart Max Corporation Ltd in 2011 and generally well received. I’ve never played it, but if you read the review – it seems like a lot of fun and I am seriously considering picking it up later in the year. Anyway, by 2015 the property had moved to CMON and the seccond game – On Her Majesty’s Service, successfully kickstarted in October of 2015 to a modest 400% of the £25,000 target.

Following on from the success of previous games, Rise of Moloch was a slightly more ambitions project; but that ambition was met with a positive uptake; with  Rise of Moloch 1670% of it’s £70,000 target.

Like the other SMOG games, Rise of Moloch is a Steampunk themed board game, for 2 to 5 players, set in an alternate London full dark magic and steampunk technology The game puts one player in the position of the Nemesis whose goal is to defeat the intrepid Gentlemen of the Unicorn Club controlled by the other players, as they defend Queen and Country, the British Empire, a good strong cup of tea and all that jingoist nonsense.

Whilst you can play the game as a solo adventure, Rise of Moloch seems geared towards running a campaign, played over a series of missions, each telling part of the overall story of Moloch’s rise to power. Each mission features a unique board setup and goals for both the Nemesis player and Gentlemen players to complete. More so, subsequent missions will be impacted by the outcome of the one before it, weaving the overall story and game-play together to make each campaign unique.

Players will each control one or more of the intrepid Gentlemen or, in the case of the Nemesis player, cunning Agents and Minions, all with unique powers and upgrades they will utilize to complete the various goals of each mission.

The game plays well.  There are a few instances where the rules where cryptic enough to force us to use our better judgement; but I imagine as soon as the game started being played more by the community, there will be a certain amount of clarification on any ambiguous rules.

Beautiful artwork throughout the game

It’s a little too early to review, as we’re still learning the game; but I think the important factor here is; even whilst learning the rules we found ourselves having fun. As you would expect from CMON, the game looks beautiful. Georges Clarenko of Conan fame joins games designer Christophe Madura in turning each playing piece, miniature and board a work of art. Some of the pieces are reused from the kickstarter stretch goals of the second game (there’s a On Her Majesty’s Service expansion pack that heavily takes from it) but all of the models are of an excellent quality and unless you already knew, you would not be able tell which models came from the older game.

The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch looks like it’s going to have a massive amount of potential; I’ll let you know how the Campaign goes.


1 – I’ll be disappointed that, given their colour choices, there’s not a tie in Chocolate bar.

2 – Seriously, there’s a Bang Staff in the NPC2 expansion that Ash William would be very proud of.

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