Review: The World of Smog – Rise of Moloch


The sun got lost. We all know its there, somewhere far above the gloomy streets of London, but nobody has seen it for a long time with his own eyes. We do not have too much lights on the ground, but it still penetrates the upper layers of the atmosphere and keeps our world habitable. Countless machines release smoke upwards, but they settle down a few meters further and makes breathing in the buildings almost impossible. None of this will soon be important, because the secret cult has bound themselves to summon Moloch, the god of demons. Only then will our home turn into a real hell.

In the steampunk world on the verge of collapse, which bears the name , we are invited by two designers and . Their game, in addition to the subtitle, was called , referring to the main villain of the story. Box was created under the () and went through a flame test of , where nearly 8,000 people (and over one million dollars) supported it. The resulting box arrived in distribution of .


Even the box is massive and its lid is full of steam and smog and filled with very peculiar illustrations. They clearly point to the Victorian era of London, that is full of weapons and magic. Inside, players are waiting for a few cardboard maps from which, according to the selected scenario, they will create a map with additional tokens. But first, they have to decide, whether they want to play a campaign or a one-time adventure. No matter what, you have to share the roles – one participant becomes Nemesis and the others takes role of the heroes.

Chosen bad guy picks up a pack of chaos cards (gets two into his hand) and he also receives agent and minion figures. In front of him, he puts his board and supplies it with several cards of dark powers. Its space also offers some printed powers and a scale.

Players will divide four gentlemen (as heroes are named in this game) and their owners will then receive the appropriate boards. There they will find not only basic numbers of statuses (such as health or agility), but also starting conditions, skills and weapon space. To begin with, everyone will get some little ether, that is needed to do magic in this world. All gentlemen will together choose a leader, who will then assign other roles to his teammates.


At the beginning of every round, both rivaling sides will create a sequence of their cards, specifying order, in which their characters will get to action. They place these cards in two rows on a special order board, pictured downwards so the other side is still in complete ignorance. In turn, they will start revealing and activating them with gentlemen and Nemesis alternating one action at a time.

By spending one action, heroes can move around, open doors, pass equipment or crawl through the window, all that requires also spending points of agility (just two points every round). After that, a player with a character can attack or use the various abilities and skills of his gentleman. One character action is also a chance to attack adjacent character. This also applies to agents under Nemesis control. In addition, this dark master has the support of chaos cards in his hand and some skills. Both parties usually pay for using their abilities with ether.


Both sides also have under their control some helpers, who are activated as a group (the card belongs to more characters). They only have one action, so they are significantly weaker, and can no longer attack or reverse, after they move. And when warriors of two sides meet in one space, there is a battle. The aggressor uses dice and can improve their chances for better results with the help of weapons or other equipment. Depending on the rolled icons, player counts the achievements and compares them with the number of defensive results (umbrella and hat). The difference is the number of injuries attacked character will suffer.

Gentlemen have ether in their supply, and as they use their skills, spent energy does not disappear, but it passed to the other side of the table to Nemesis, who can use it the next time!

Both sides have a goal set in advance and they are trying to achieve it. Once someone succeeds, the scenario ends with his (their) victory. If its a campaign, they would also get some additional reward (except good feeling) for winning by visiting town. In addition, in the next round, the heroes will have all the equipment they had in their possession.


World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch is surprisingly simple to play, and the bigger surprise is the fun provided by the game. Its biggest draw is a campaign, that is really developing forward and the results of each match affect the course of the next. Thanks to this, its repeated play is far from being ruled out. It is also very well written, which is a cherry on the cake.

The story across multiple scenarios is even more sophisticated. Between games, players can also take breaks, in which gentlemen can shop and increase their competitiveness and they do that on separate board! But this does not mean, that the player in the role of Nemesis would rest. He too has a chance to strengthen himself. This is a great break between the matches, that has its important meaning and the players are looking forward to it. Enhancement of characters is something, that is still rare in board games.


It is very surprising, that the game is probably the best in two players. We are generally not very supportive of situations, where player controls multiple characters at the same time. Here, however, the game succeeds in keeping the atmosphere high and splitting more characters between two players is not at the expense of attention or experience. If you would like to think of another number, then the ideal five is when each participant has an equal number of characters – one (+ Nemesis player). In other counts, the experience is a little unbalanced. And the game time is also not really dizzying, for one scenario it would usually be ninety minutes of your time.

Role of Nemesis is very fun here. His actions and options depend very much on how the enemies play the role of heroes. Only then will he get some ether tokens to spend. And, on the other hand, players on the side of good have to consider each such spent energy point well, because they put the weapon in the hand of a dark enemy.


Theme and processing together are great. All the illustrations bring with them an unforgettable feel, and it also applies to figurines. There are no huge characters, but they are all very nice, detailed and unique. Joy will also come with included help cards.

The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch looks like a game, that is already out there ten times just in another environment. Fortunately, it offers a variety of interesting ideas, that it differentiates sufficiently from its competitors. You just have to look for the differences and play the game. Overall, this is one of the best games with one against all mechanic. Rise of Moloch is simply a game, we have to recommend.

DesignerFel Barros, Christophe Madura, Alex Olteanu, David Rakoto, Michael Shinall
ArtistGeorges Clarenko, Christophe Madura, Edgar Skomorowski
PublisherCMON Global Limited, Asmodee, Delta Vision Publishing, Pegasus Spiele
Year Published
# of Players2 - 5
User Suggested # of Players Best with 5 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5 players
(35 voters)
Playing Time90
Mfg Suggested Ages14 and up
User Suggested Ages14 and up
(7 voters)
Language DependenceModerate in-game text - needs crib sheet or paste ups
(2 voters)
CategoryAdventure, Horror, Miniatures, Post-Napoleonic, Science Fiction
MechanicCampaign / Battle Card Driven, Dice Rolling, Grid Movement, Modular Board, Team-Based Game, Variable Phase Order, Variable Player Powers
ExpansionThe World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch – Arcanist Extras Box, The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch – Kingdom Death Crossover: Steampunk Twilight Knight, The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch – OHMS Gentlemen Set, The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch – The Baker Street Set, The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch – The Dragon, The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch – The Embassy, The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch – The Mekasylum, The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch – The Wheel
FamilyCategory: Dungeon Crawler, Country: England, Creatures: Monsters, Crowdfunding: Kickstarter, Mechanism: Campaign Games, Players: One versus Many, Setting: The World of SMOG, Theme: Steampunk
Primary NameThe World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch
Alternate NamesMoloch felemelkedése, SMOG: Rise of the Molochs, SMOG: Rise of the Molochs, Die Welt von SMOG: Aufstieg von Moloch

Infos courtesy of More Infos.

Review: The World of Smog – Rise of Moloch
Final word
The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch is a little lightning (maybe more of a sandstorm) from heaven. That's exact word to describe, how the game surprised all our colleagues, who tried this steampunk delicacy. It offers an excellent campaign full of experiences, that heroes and Nemesis are going through and creating a bond. The fight will only be decided at the end of the sixth story. Individual matches are balanced and thrilling thanks to interesting ideas and their interconnection. Players must work together against a common enemy. Overall, the World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch is a great game!
Reader Rating0 Votes
replayability of the campaign
heroes transfer equipment to upcoming scenarios
reasonable playing time
theme and atmosphere
great in two
transfer of ether
interesting possibilities of both sides
fun Nemesis role
simple fighting
in some numbers not exactly a fit
more text (
story experience dependent on reading and English)
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