EGWs6uuBZ3pp-zGuVVdmeLgkJG4 Across the Avenue: Family Game Night: Boss Monster #Brotherwise Games

Family Game Night: Boss Monster #Brotherwise Games

My childhood was during the great NES revolution and many an afternoon was whiled away enjoying the classic video games of the era. And now, combining my beloved memories with our family game nights comes a stunning dungeon building deck! Boss Monster is exactly what it looks like: a card game where you build a five room dungeon that various heroes must battle through to reach you, the Boss of the level. That's right, you are the bad guy! Brotherwise Games has definitely hit a home run here. 

The original Boss Monster was an instant success. People loved it and they wanted more! (And I understand why: the artwork perfectly mimics pixel screens of the time and every card is a hidden reference to a classic game.) The first game spawned several expansion packs and full-fledged sequels.

The evolution of the first three efforts makes a lot of sense. Boss Monster is stellar, but the heroes are a bit stuck in the luck of the draw. The first expansion Tools of Hero-Kind fixed this by adding 26 new cards: Items that Heroes and Bosses can use, 2 new Spells, and 4 new Rooms. Boss Monster 2: The Next Level combines the best of each earlier effort all on it's own, but it really shines and plays the best when you pool all three together.

Game Play
Each player is dealt a Boss with a special ability that doesn't activate until the full five-room dungeon is built. As each dungeon room is added either a Hero or an Epic Hero is drawn to the player whose dungeon best matches their condition (Thieves want money bags, Fighters are attracted to swords, Mages crave books, etc.). The Bosses can take five hit points of damage but if they claim ten souls of fallen heroes they win! The race is on! Other players can intervene with Spell cards and special actions as dictated by their own dungeon cards, which makes for a game that you need to pay full attention to during play (at least if you want to win). Some younger kids might find the artwork cool but the mechanics of card play a bit tough. These games are really targeted for a slightly older crowd. All the Boss Monster games are recommended for players at least 13 years old, which makes sense as there is definitely multitasking and keeping track of who does what during each stage of the game.

Regardless of which of the versions you're playing, start with the video tutorial first as there is definitely a bit of a learning curve.

Our first game was just two adults and it took an hour. To be fair, we were totally geeking out over every card, which old school game it was referencing, what the options were in the dungeon Rooms, and just getting a handle on drawing our hands and laying Rooms in some kind of order. Now the next few rounds were better (about 45 minutes on average) and we did expand to playing with one of the kids.

Brotherwise Games includes both an Instruction Booklet and Quick Start Guide in the box. Since this was our inaugural run we did read through the entirety of the instructions first. Bonus, they have thoughtfully included detailed examples of game play and card placement, Pro Tips, a Glossary, and several variants:

  • Classic Mode: During the setup phase each player discards two cards (either Room or Spell)
  • Hard Mode: Kick out the Heroes with low health value of four so the Bosses are more likely to take wounds and the Epic Heroes come into play faster
  • "I Choose You" Mode: Each player is dealt two Bosses and selects one to play, discarding the other
  • Machinations Mode: If at the end of a turn that player failed to get a soul, they may draw a card from either the Room or Spell decks
  • Unlimited Lives Mode: (Throwback!) This uses the Hero deck as a game timer and eliminates the "5 Wounds" rule. All players keep playing regardless of wounds until the Hero cards run out. The winner is the highest score of souls minus wounds.
It's also worth mentioning that several options for solo play are available online. Take caution though, doing so involves relying heavily on luck of a roll or random number generators for opponents. These games are intended to be played head-to-head so you can really relish in a victory or stew in a defeat. 

Where to Buy
Boss Monster and all it's minions are available online directly from Brotherwise Games, Amazon, and Walmart as well as your local board game store.

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Disclaimer: The products in this post were provided by Brotherwise Games, LLC. As always, our posts are our own, honest opinions.