Boss Monster Card Game Review

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I have admitted this before on this site and the podcast, but I’m a 70’s/80’s kid. I spent my childhood with pixels. From the Intellivision to the Atari 2600 and Nintendo NES. I played them all. In fact my first foyer into D&D was the Interllivision classic Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain

 

Boss Monster is a dungeon building card game that harkens back to those days, and brings back a flood of nostalgia of those 8 bit pixel graphics.

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Boss Monster  is a game about maximizing the cards you play. You are a “Boss Monster”  of a dungeon (randomly dealt) and must construct a lair of up to 5 rooms. Each round you can play a new dungeon room to try get  one of four different types of adventurers into your Dungeon. If you kill them after they arrive, you’ll collect their soul. Your goal is to collect 10 souls of adventures.
Boss Monster Card
Each player gets a unique monster to play as. Each of these have a special ability you get when you Level Up (One time per game)  that comes into play when they build their 5th room.

 

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Game play is fairly simple (but yet it’s very deep in strategy)  Each player starts the game by being dealt out a random boss monster to play. After that, each player draws 5 room cards and 2 spell cards. They then choose 2 of those to discard and the game begins.
Players are limited to 5 rooms in their lair. The key to your dungeon and winning the game is card placement is very important in Boss Monster.

The game is played over a series of rounds which are broken up into 3 phases:

Build Phase:
1. Reveal heroes in town
2. All players draw 1 room card
3. All players select one room card to play.
4. All players reveal their chosen room and add it to their lair. There are 3 types of rooms: Monster, Trap and Upgrade.

If you have built out your dungeon to 5 rooms, you can start to upgrade your dungeon by placing another card on top of a room card (But it MUST match the other card)

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Bait Phase:
In this phase the players find out which adventurers are coming to raid there dungeon of the it’s treasure.  Each of the 4 adventurers (Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, Rogue) has a specific type of treasure they are after (Fighters want swords, Rogues want sacks of money, Clerics want religious symbols, Wizards want books). Each room card has 1 or more bait symbols on it. Each player counts up the symbols in their lair and the player with the most of each symbols attracts all heroes of that type in town (if there are any). If there is a tie, the hero stays in town for that round.

Adventurer Phase:
The heroes are  lured to a dungeon at this point. Starting at your first room then moving one room at a time. Most rooms have a damage value (and some have special abilities). As a hero progresses through the dungeon, they takes damage. Do enough damage before he gets to your boss monster and he’ll die with you collecting his soul. If the adventure manages to make it all they through the dungeon to your boss you take a point of damage. Five of those and your die.

 

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You also have spell cards that you may play during your turn to help you ie – Do more damage, remove a hero from your dungeon, or you can choose to play them against your opponent to hurt them.

The artwork for the cards are amazing and really harken back to the days of old school video games. This is one thing I loved about it, the feel of playing an old school 8 bit video game.

I do however have a few problems with the game.

Problem #1 is  luck can really make or break you in this game. You get  1 room card each round, it’s possible (And I have had it happen to me)  you only draw rooms that you already have or with low damage output. So you will spend the whole game just watching someone else damage the heroes will you just die a slow death.  I understand it’s all random and in the cards, this happens in a lot of games to be honest, but for some reason it’s just more prevalent in Boss Monster.

Problem #2 is related to the first in a way. Depending on how your luck has gone, One of the players you playing with might get great cards and build out his dungeon fast and be unstoppable, so you left with a runaway winner and no real way to stop it.

My #3 and final problem with the game is the only way to get more spell cards is via some specific rooms (or sometimes when your boss monster levels up). The one game my friends and I played one of us NEVER drew a new spell card at all.  Don’t get me wrong, I would not want to see it be where you could get tons of spell cards. This would turn it into a “Screw over your friends” type of game Ala Munchkin. Not that there is anything wrong with that type of game. It just seems to be very unbalanced to me in Boss Monster. Your at the mercy of the cards. It is just super frustrating when someone is pulling way ahead. IE They can do massive amounts of damage in there dungeon, and you can’t do a darn thing to stop it.

To be fair I only have the base game, there are expansions that add more Boss, Hero, and Room, Spell cards to the game, That might help with some of the issues I have listed.

My 3 gripes aside, I LOVE the game, it’s fun and challenging at the same time, In my experience no game has played the same. has some great replayablity to it. Amazing artwork. I can see breaking this out on my game nights, as it’s a fast play and fun.

If you looking for another game to add to your shelf give Boss Monster a shot! Don’t let the heroes win!

You can find Boss Monster and Expansions on Amazon

Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game
Boss Monster 2: The Next Level Card Game
Tools of Hero Kind Card Game
Boss Monster Paper & Pixels

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For more information head to the official website

A BIG Thank you to Brotherwise Games for sending us a review copy!

 

But wait! There is more!

Take on the heroes in the digital world as well, with Digital Boss Monster. You will be able to play Digital Boss Monster on PC, Kindle, iPad & Android tablets.

 

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I played the PC Steam version for this review.

The PC, Kindle, iPad & Android tablet version of Boss Monster authentically captures all gameplay available in the tabletop version while also taking advantage of the digital format to enhance your play experience. Digital Boss Monster includes the following features:

Play against up to three AI opponents in solo play.

 

Challenge other human opponents via pass and play or online through Steam, Apple Game Center or Google Play.

 

Top-notch music and retro-inspired sound effects

 

Play with all bosses, rooms, and spells available in the base game, and let the app do the math for you as you take advantage of rapid readout treasure counts in your and your opponents’ dungeons.

 

Coming Soon: Purchase in-app expansions, including Tools of Hero-Kind and digital versions of rare, out-of-print cards.

 

Coming Soon: Explore new “digitally-enhanced” cards: four rooms, three new Bosses, and a new spell that all take advantage of the digital platform, allowing stats and treasure values to change as you play.

 

First off let me say the graphics and music are amazing. It looks and sounds like a classic 8 bit video game! I think this helps to draw you in even more than the card version does.

Game play is just like the tabletop card version. One note here the tutorial that is included does a wonderful job of teaching you the game. One of the better in game tutorials I have seen.

 

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The same grips I had with the Tabletop card version applies here as well, but oddly enough the lack of spell cards were not that big of deal to me in the PC version. I guess I’ll chalk that up the RNG and the cards I got maybe.

Watch out here the computer AI is BRUTAL. the AI will play spell cards on you at the right time. They did a great job with that as well.

There are expansions available as well, and you can “unlock” more cards and such as well.

 

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I would recommend the digital version as well. I did not try the multiplayer aspect, that’s something I plan to do. I’m curious as to how the iPad version of this would play, this seems like it’s a game that is tailored for the tablet.

Digital Boss Monster is available via the following

Apple Store

Google Play

Steam Store

Amazon Store For Kindle

Windows Store

 

For more information you can head to the official website

 

A BIG thank you to Plain Concepts for the review copy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One comment

  1. Boss Monster is okay, but the luck factor really kills it for me. If you ever get a chance, check out Dungeon Lords. Similar concept, and more complicated, but a much better game overall. It’s even more like playing a board game version of Dungeon Keeper!

    http://czechgames.com/en/dungeon-lords/

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