What is Boss Monster?
Boss Monster started life as a Kickstarter project, breaking records at the time with the amount of funding brothers Chris and Johnny O’Neal were able to raise to get the game developed.
Their company Brotherwise Games has now sold thousands of units of this ‘retro inspired dungeon building card game.’ Including to me. Yay!
There’s just something very appealing about taking the role of a Boss Monster building a side-scrolling dungeon, luring heroes to their doom.
To start the game, players pick a random boss. Each, from Robobo to Cerebellus and King Croak, have neat eight bit artwork like the rest of the cards, along with an XP value and a Level Up ability.
A hand is built up from a set number of spell cards and room cards, and the Beginning of Turn phase begins. At this point the Heroes enter the game. The number depending on the number of players, they wait in ‘town.’
Next is the Build Phase, where each player lays a room card next to his boss. This is where the game comes into its own.
Room cards consist of trap rooms, advanced trap rooms, monsters rooms and advanced monster rooms. Each has a treasure icon, damage value and an action.
Actions consist of things like ‘if the next room in your dungeon is a trap room, it has +2 damage.’
Treasure icons attract heroes, and the damage value hurts these same little pipsqueaks as they make their way through your dungeon.
Now we have the bait phase, where the heroes waiting in town are drawn to the dungeon with matching treasure icons. It’s up to players to decide which treasure icons to build up in their dungeon. The first few moves you won’t be desperate to draw heroes to you as you won’t have enough damage points to kill them.
The Adventure phase comes next. Heroes make their way through the dungeons, taking damage as they go. If they die your Boss Monster collects their souls. If they make it through, your boss takes a wound.
If a boss collects 10 souls he wins. Take five wounds, he dies.
During play, room cards may have a useful effect allowing you to hurt a hero, and spell cards are also useful throughout. Some can be played in the Build Phase, some the Adventure Phase. The Assassin card, for instance, allows you to boost hero in another dungeon by three health points.
But is it good with two players?
I love this game. It just appeals to me. The eight bit artwork, the sense of humour shown in every single card.
The game has ‘settings’ depending on the number of players. Hero cards are marked for two, three or four players. I’ve played with two and three players and I guess there’s something to be said for each. Two players makes a nice quick game, three makes for more strategy.
And the game does have strategy. You need to think ahead and you can genuinely affect your opponents depending on the cards you play.
There’s also an expansion, Tools of Hero Kind, which gives heroes extra abilities making it harder to beat them and offering greater rewards if you do. I’ll review this soon.
All said and done, it’s a great, fun little game which will particularly appeal to anyone brought up in the eighties and nineties and who enjoys card games.
See the official website here.