Boss Monster is a game by Johnny O’Neal and Chris O’Neal, published by Brotherwise Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players compete to build a classic video game dungeon. Along the way, they will lure in adventurers that will try to explore their dungeon and could possibly hurt them. I got a chance to look at both this and the mini expansion, Tools of Hero-Kind. Let me first explain, Boss Monster.
To begin, all the different decks of cards are shuffled. Each player is dealt a Boss Monster card that will determine who that player is. The Boss with the highest XP value will go first every turn. After this is determined, players are dealt 5 room cards and 2 spell cards of which they must discard 2 cards. Before the first turn begins, each player chooses a room to build and in turn order reveals it, placing it to the left of their Boss card. Now the game actually begins.
On each turn, several different things happen. First Heroes will appear in the town as determined by the number of players. As the game goes on, those heroes will get stronger in the form of Epic Heroes. Those Epic Heroes comprise a different deck of heroes that are placed on the bottom of the Hero deck. I’ll talk a little more about heroes in a minute.
Next, each player will draw a room card in turn order. They will then choose one room to build. Rooms may be built on top of another but there may only be 5 rooms max per dungeon. Also, Advanced rooms require one matching hero icon and MUST be played on top of another room. Of course these rooms are more powerful with better abilities. Once the new room is built, we go to the next phase of the game.
In the next phase, called the bait phase, players compare the treasure icons on their dungeon and boss to each other and the heroes present in town. The player with the most icons will lure in the heroes of that type. In case of a tie, heroes remain in the town.
Next is the adventure phase, where the heroes are ran through the players dungeon, once again in turn order. Heroes take damage as indicated by the rooms, spells and abilities. If a hero dies, they are placed face down and will help the player get closer to victory. However if they make it through the dungeon and reach the players boss, that player will take damage. If a player ever reaches 5 damage, their Boss is dead and they are out of the game. However if they are able to kill enough heroes to get 10 souls, they will win the game.
In Tools of Hero-Kind, more cards are added as well as a new deck of Item cards. These item cards are played before revealing the heroes and attach to the first hero of a matching icon. If it is a universal item, depicted by a question mark, it attaches to the first hero. No hero can have more than one item attached at a time. These items power up the heroes and make them really nasty to deal with sometimes. However, the rewards can be great if they are defeated as the item will now come into your possession and it’s powers used to your benefit. However only one item can be in play and require another face down item to be used. Those items are gained from heroes that attack your boss with their item or by gaining more than one item. As stated before you may only have one item face up. Once the power is used it’s placed face down. Preparing the way for more items to be used.
In Boss Monster, the only components are cards. However each card has the feel of an old school side scrolling NES video game. They look great and have lots of humor hiding in each one. One card in particular has a pixelated Harry Potter facing off against a pixel Voldemort. The cards are really nice quality and lend themselves to lots of play which is good as I expect to be playing a lot of this. This is true of the expansion as well.
10 out of 10
The rulebook is super nice and shows how to set up everything. There are plenty of pictures explaining every detail of the different types of cards. It’s extremely easy to understand and doesn’t take long to read over. There is also a quick play setup sheet included to help you get into the game even faster. Superb job.
In the expansion, the rules are on a single double sided card. That’s how simple it is to add the extra deck and cards into play. Again, super simple and really nice.
10 out of 10
This game is GREAT! I absolutely enjoyed playing it. It doesn’t take a long time to play. My son constantly bugs me to play it now. He loves it even more than I do. The mechanics are great and it feels as if I’m Bowser or Dracula from Castlevania, luring the unsuspecting heroes in to their deaths. I can say that everything about the design of this game, from mechanics to art, are very thematic and work well together. I LOVE this game! I can’t say that enough. I LOVE it!
The expansion adds another aspect to the game that makes it even more enjoyable and a little more cutthroat. The item powers are a nice addition and make for a little more player interaction that might have been a little lacking in the original game. This just makes the game EVEN better, if that’s even possible.
10 out of 10
Boss Monster and the mini expansion Tools of Hero-Kind are a great combination. The game is a unique take on bidding and hand management. It’s a light game that can be played by almost anyone. It’s easy, fast and can be great by itself or as a warm up to heavier games. The artwork is great. The mechanics are great. The theme is great. What can I say, it’s just a great game. There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t own this game and the expansion. I HIGHLY recommend it. For us older players, it will bring out the nostalgia and for new players, it’s just fun. BUY IT! You won’t regret it.
10 out of 10
For more information about this game, please check out Brotherwise Games at their site.