Game Review: Boss Monster

Monster Bosses on the Rise!!

Game in Question: Boss Monster

Created by: Brotherwise Games

For 2-4 players with a age recommendation of 13+. The box says it runs for around 30 minutes but I find that it can run as low as 15 with experienced players.

At a Glance: 

Instead of slay the boss you are the boss in this retro style game. Artistically it is a pixel dungeon and it runs exactly as they did back on the old NES. You are the ‘Boss Monster’ and you build your dungeon as you see fit. Using the various rooms you attract helpless adventurers into your caverns where they will (hopefully) meet there timely end. Whoever kills 10 adventurers first wins the game, but beware for if 5 adventurers slay you its game over.

Contents: Boss Deck: x8 Cards, Room Deck: x75 Cards, Spell Deck: x31 Cards, Hero Deck: x 25 Cards, Epic Hero Deck: x16 Cards, Rulebook, Quick Start Guide

How to Play:

There are several variants of the game found in the handbook but for today we will be focusing on the “Classic Mode”.

The object of this game is to build a dungeon out of the various “room cards” and attract unsuspecting heroes into your dungeon where you will slaughter them without mercy! If you collect 10 of their souls you win but 5 wounds and your a second rate monster.

It is fairly simple to set up. First you shuffle all the decks and adjust the Hero decks to match your game type. The hero cards come with a certain amount of people shaped symbols at the bottoms of the cards to help balance the heroes to the amount of players playing. 2 symbols means 2 players, 3 mean 3 and so on so forth. After the Hero decks are set (Epic Heroes in one pile and Basic Heroes in another) each player is randomly dealt a Boss Card. This is the monster that you will represent (and hopefully not disappoint) for the game. The Boss Cards each have a XP total on them that help decide turn order along with individual level up abilities making each boss unique. Each player then draws 5 Room Cards and 2 Spell cards then discards 2 of the total hand.

The Room cards will be used through out the game to build your dungeon. They are divided into 2 types, Traps and Monsters. Monster rooms house a beast that will devour the poor adventurers while the Traps are.. well.. Traps. Each card has a empty heart on it representing the damage it will deal to an adventurer that encounters the room. Beside that is a treasure type, the treasure types are designed to lure certain adventurers to the dungeon. Book for Mage, Sword for Fighter, Money for Thief and  a Cross for Priests. There are also Advanced rooms that have extra powers or stronger damage that are played on top of the basic rooms. These are designated by a gold symbol in the upper left corner as opposed to a black one.

After hands have been sorted out each player places a room face down to the left of their boss. They then simultaneously reveal (build) the rooms. After this all set up is complete! Yay!!

This is where the game becomes easy and almost runs itself. Each turn is divided into phases:

Beginning of Turn: During this Phase you reveal Heroes from the basic Hero deck equal to the amount of players. If there are two then two heroes are revealed, three then there are three so on so forth. Note: You do not reveal epic Heroes until the basic hero deck is empty. Each player draws a Room card and starts the Build Phase.

Build Phase: In XP order each player places one Room face-down in their own dungeon. If it is an ordinary room then it is placed to the left of the leftmost room in the dungeon. If it is advanced it is played on top of a room in the dungeon. Keep in mind, you can only have 5 room in the dungeon. At the end of the build phase each player reveals the rooms simultaneously. In XP order you then apply any  “Level Up” affects or “When you build this” effects. Move on to the Bait Phase.

Bait Phase: In this phase you look at what Heroes were pulled from the Hero deck and compare there wanting loot to the loot types in the dungeon. Who ever has the most swords gets the Fighter, whoever has the most books the Mage, the most money the Thief and the most crosses the Cleric. If there is a tie the Hero merely stays in town. Continue to the adventure phase.

Adventure Phase: During this phase the adventurer runs the dungeon. Start with the boss with the most XP. Each Hero will enter the dungeon and encounter each room one at a time. If survive a room they move on to the next till they finally hit the boss. If they die previously they score as a soul for your points. If they make it to you, the boss, you immediately take a wound.

End of Turn: Reactivate any deactivated rooms, check scores, then start back at the first Phase. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

But what about spells? Well spells can be played either on the adventure phase, build phase or both. If it is the adventure phase it will have an Axe on the corner, if its the Build phase it will have a hammer and if its both well it will have both!

That just about sums up Boss monster Mechanics, each variant changing the rules and with lots of different cards you will not see the same game to many times!

Captains Judgment

Once again, lets start with things I like:

  • Style: I love the idea of Retro games turning board game I love the art and how all the pixel characters, even as pixels, still have character!
  • Simplicity: Runs smoothly and has a low learning curve. Once you learn it, you will have it forever!
  • Variants: I love how it has different modes, kinda like a Video Game.
  • The Heroes: I enjoyed reading each heroes backstory. Creative little slip in that just made me smile. By far my favorite is Sir O’Rourke the Bearded Song Knight.

Now some things I didn’t really enjoy:

…. Heh…

Captains Call

Boss monster has alot of Merit, Ill give it that. With lots to love and not much for a scallywag like me to hate on it for. In fact when It came time for me to list things I didn’t enjoy I just kinda snickered and moved on. This is a very enjoyable game for me but not one I would replay to often. It has a slightly repetitive nature to it considering that the core set has a limited card selection. I give it a 8/10 Tankards though as it is a VERY enjoyable game in itself. Not worthy of a round on the house but still work a mug or two.

By far a MUST BUY for retro game fans around the world!

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Hello, my name is Howl. I am a ‘professional’ gamer and reviewer that works with the NERD community. This is my personal blog and podcast and if you would like to get updates or see more please follow me on Twitter: @HowlPhilinish. I hope to see more of you and feel free to comment! I read every comment so don’t be shy!

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