Discovering New Card Games – Boss Monster
I keep telling myself that I’m going to stop buying new card games. There are only so many rule sets one can remember and better to practice a few than to be mediocre at a lot. I’m already at that point where I’m always having to ask, what’s the starting hand size for this one again? How many cards can I draw out? Yet I can’t help myself as I browse through the games, so many of them stand out to me. My latest addition is Boss Monster.
Boss Monster is inspired by retro video games, and you get to play the villain. Each player builds a dungeon out of a selection of room cards, and compete to attract new heroes with treasure. You earn points by dealing out enough damage to kill the hero; failure to do so can result in taking wounds, five of which will end the game for you. There are also spell cards that can be played during build and adventure phases to help tilt the odds in your favour.
Boss Monster is everything that I love to have in a card game. The rules are simple and quick to learn (see for yourself at http://brotherwisegames.com/rules/) and yet repeated play reveals further complexities. There is enough randomness to bring surprises to each game, but also enough strategy that you feel like you have some level of control over the outcome. Most of the games have been excitingly close. In card games it’s not fun if you get an unlucky hand and feel like all is lost before you’ve even begun, but Boss Monster contains enough cards to allow the tables to turn very quickly. For example, one of the heroes is called the fool; they’re easy to take down and go to the dungeon with the least points. Some spells allow you to remove wounds or resurrect heroes with more HP from an opponents score keeping area. During my last game I found myself with only a couple of points while the opponent needed just one more to win, and yet somehow I managed to pull through in the end. The only major flaw I’ve noticed is that if a players receives five wounds they have to sit out for the remainder of the game, although luckily they only last around 30 minutes. (See my post ‘Competitive Games – Keep Them Close And Short.‘) I will also drop in a caution, that this game could potentially break friendships as some abilities can completely obliterate your plans.
So far every game we’ve had has revealed new and exciting ways to win. There are also expansions and a Boss Monster 2 available, although we haven’t yet felt ready to move onto them (some of the cards look quite cruel.) There is a Boss Monster app that is free to start (pay for expansions) if you fancy giving it a go. I do prefer to play the physical copy of card games, but having the game enforce its own rules can help when learning how to play (There’s the odd card where the rules are ambiguous and we spotted one with a mistake in the description.) Overall the game feels very well balanced. The artwork is also of a good quality, in-keeping with the fun theme.