Game: Boss Monster
Publisher: Brotherwise Games
Designer: Johnny O’Neal & Chris O’Neal
Boss Monster is primarily appealing for its graphic style, I haven’t heard too many good things about its gameplay, but as owners of many a retro video game console, the pixelated graphics made us give this game a go. We first played it at The Uncommons cafe in New York and our first impressions weren’t favourable. We then received the game as a gift so felt obliged to give it another go. Have our opinions changed or is Boss Monster on the trade pile?
In Boss Monster you must build a dungeon that is perilous enough to lure in different heroes and then kill them before they reach the end of their journey through your dungeon. Your dungeon is made up of 5 cards representing different rooms each with traps that cause a certain number of HP of damage. This damage can sometimes boosted by adjacencies or spells. Your goal is to kill enough heroes to gain s, but you can lose by taking damage yourself when heroes make it through your dungeon.
|An example dungeon|
Each player starts the game with a hand of cards including spells and rooms. On your turn, you all simultaneously select a room card to play into your dungeon - it can either be played as a new room if you have less than 5 cards in the dungeon or as a replacement for a room. Some rooms have special actions when they're put into play and others have ongoing actions in the dungeon. Each dungeon card has symbols at the bottom which attract different types of heroes. There are usually two heroes in the centre of the table and they then are attracted to the dungeon with the highest number of the corresponding symbols. The hero then proceeds through the dungeon, taking damage and once it takes damage equal to its health it is defeated. The game then simply continues in this manner until the victory condition is met.
After playing our new copy a couple of times, I was actually unsure what I disliked so much about the game first time round. There’s nothing really wrong with it, there’s some elements of luck of the draw, but good tactical card play is rewarded. There’s a little bit of second guessing your opponent in terms of trying to lure the different types of hero to your lair by outbidding your opponent in the number of symbols. It is pretty repetitive and there's not variety in the game, but it is only a filler.
|The start of a two-player game|
We’ve only ever played the game 2 player, which seems to work well. I imagine that in a game with more players, you perhaps get a little more preparation time because the heroes won’t be lured when the number of symbols everyone has of one type is a draw. This might help with your ability to plan good combos and create a formidable dungeon, whereas in the 2-player game you’re caught a bit unaware and take a lot of early damage simply because your dungeon hasn’t built up.
Boss Monster isn’t a great game, it doesn’t have a lot of depth and luck can play a big part in a two player game. I often seem to end up with a pretty poor excuse for a dungeon and a lot of low power duplicate cards in my hand. However, it’s a nice, easy to teach card game, which should appeal to people with a video gaming past. For the Yellow Meeple, it’s a 5/10.