Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday 11 May 2021

Where was that secret wall?:- Overboss: A Boss Monster Adventure

Game: Overboss: A Boss Monster Adventure

Publisher: Brotherwise Games

Designer:  Aaron Mesburne, Kevin Russ

Year: 2021

Overboss is a 1-5 player tile laying game set in the world of Boss Monster. Playing as one of the titular boss monsters, you have finished designing your dungeon and now it's time to create a dangerous overworld to defeat all but the most valiant heroes. You don't want to spend time and effort resetting your traps after 'Steve the Farmer' wanders in afterall! To do this you'll be drafting tiles and monsters from a common market and using those to create an overwold. Each landscape type scores differently, creating a unique puzzle every game.

Each player starts the game with a 3x4 board (4x4 in the advanced game) and optionally a choice of two Boss Monsters to play as. Five terrain types will be selected for the game, and all tiles of those types are gathered and shuffled before four tiles are dealt out into a market. The associated monsters are then put into a bag and four monsters are drawn, one paired with each tile. On a player's turn they simply take a tile and the associated monster and place it anywhere on their board. The monster must be placed on the empty space in the middle of the placed tile with a couple of exceptions. The game will continue like this until everyone's boards are full.

Of course, not everything can be so simple. There are several special abilities which can be triggered during the game. Firstly, sometimes instead of monsters you'll find crystals which increase the value of the associated terrain type for you, or portals, which allow you to swap the location of your monsters around. If you are playing with the Command Cards, then building a certain arrangement of tiles of one type will let you intimidate, demolish or overthrow, letting you move, destroy, or swap tiles either on your own or your opponent’s boards. This is all critical as the locations of tiles and monsters are often vital to how they score, with monsters gaining extra points for being in groups or on their associated terrain types.

The command cards can add some player interaction, but often you'll want to use them on yourself!

Boss Monster has always been a disappointment for me, it was a theme that I loved, but the gameplay just didn't strike a chord. Fortunately, Overboss comes back with the same great video-game inspired theme and simple gameplay that can be taught incredibly quickly. But that's not to say that the game is always easy to play. The way tiles and monsters score means you'll nearly always be making a compromise during your selection adding a lot of depth to the game's puzzle. Perhaps best of all by the end of it you'll have created a gorgeous pixel art map that looks straight out of Zelda: A Link to the Past!

Overboss nicely splits its tile types into two groupings, simple and advanced, which allows you to tailor your puzzle difficulty as needed, or simply use the included cards to completely randomise each game. While the base game is fine, the inclusion of the optional extras really adds to the fun. Each Boss Monster pairs an unique one off ability with an end game scoring bonus to add more to your decision making. I originally thought that the Command Cards would make the game much more aggressive, but in actuality as often as not you'll want to use them to fix up your own board! Removing a tile that you didn't want to take or swapping two tiles so that they both score more points is often far more beneficial than messing with your opponents. 

A large desert leading to a volcano guarded by living flame? A perfect place to add an evil lair!

Overall Overboss was a pleasant surprise for me. It's a lighter game to be sure, but once you add in all the optional extras it has enough substance to sink your teeth into. It's not a groundbreaking game, it doesn't have any mechanics which haven't been seen before, but everything it does is implemented nicely resulting in a lighter game with good flow. The art is the crown jewel that really makes the game shrine, with the small board having a dedicated area to place portals and crystals so they merge with the board art and each terrain piece having its own unique flair. A lot of love goes into making this game look great and it shows. Unfortunately it's not quite earned a space on our shelves, though this is largely due to it being a year where we're really getting selective and we have A LOT of tile laying games. I strongly recommend giving Overboss a try if you are looking for an accessible game to bring a videogamer into the realm of cardboard.


Overboss: A Boss Monster Adventure was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is available at your friendly local game store or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review Amy! I love the art style too. Looks like a lot of thought and care was put into designing it. How many players did you play with out of interest? Do you think more the better or does that slow the game down too much?