A to Z 2015 : BOSS MONSTER

We started off with a deck-builder. Not quite a board game, but at least it had a board? That's more than my next entry into this year's A to Z Challenge has going for it.

The creators proclaim it to be a Dungeon Building Game. A card game, technically, but let's not split too many hairs shall we? I think I dedicated my theme to simply gaming, but I don't plan to go back and verify! Let's check out...

There it is in all it's 8-Bit themed glory! Bask in it! The cover and art design, alone, made me purchase this on a whim, leaving behind the game I had went to purchase in the first place. That is but an inkling of the power that Boss Monster's minions, lurking in their dungeons, have over unsuspecting travelers passing by.

Then again, that's what they... you... do in Boss Monster. As a player you take the role of one of eight villains, representing the Boss Monster of a side-scrolling dungeon crawler, and attempt to lure, and slay, mighty adventures!

The cards above provide a small sampling of the Villains and Heroes in the game. Once players pick their villain, each player will build their dungeons piece by piece and attempt to lure adventures into their dungeon with the hopes of killing them and collecting their souls. But you have to be mindful, because if you lure a hero into your domain and aren't able to kill them (their life total being the number within the red heart in the lower left corner of the Hero card), then you receive damage (the amount of which is equal to the blood droplet in the lower right corner). Once you receive five or more damage marks, you have been defeated!

There are two different dungeon room types: Trap and Monster. Each can have different abilities triggered when "built" (which can take place during the first phase of each round), or activated whenever it's owner wishes. The darkened heart represents how much damage a Hero takes as they transverse that room of your dungeon. The symbols on in the lower right corner of each dungeon card represents how much of each specific lure type your dungeon has to attract the Heroes awaiting their adventure in town.

You will notice these symbols match the ones on the upper right corner of Hero cards. Basically, the player with the most influence of a specific lure type will attract those Heroes, waiting in town, drawn by it. A player may attract more than one Hero, and those of different types, if they have the highest lure in multiple categories. For example: Thieves are attracted to bags of money, while Fighters to swords. If one player's dungeon has the highest influence in both, he will attract both Hero types to their dungeon. If players tie, the Heroes stay in town.

The first player to collect 10 souls (each defeated Hero is worth at least one), or become the last surviving Boss Monster, wins!

The mechanics are pretty simple, but I feel the game has more of a learning curve then say Ascension. Part of this is how the game is played, with each player taking their turns at the same time, but following a specific "Active Player" order, which is determined by the XP value of the Villains chosen (visible in the pictures above). There are also a lot more cards in Boss Monster that allow for players to engage and attack one another, or thwart their opponents dungeon building schemes. It really adds to the gameplay, but requires newer players to learn more.

Then there is the automatic system revealing Heroes into the town. Before you know it, the town is filling up with eager adventures, and you can easily find yourself having to defend against waves of them at once. It can get pretty hairy, really fast. Better build your dungeon wisely!

Overall, if you love old school 8-Bit video games, and are curious about a game that does a great job in bringing that feel/genre to the tabletop, I would definitely recommend you try Boss Monster!

Full Review Forthcoming!

Does Boss Monster sound interesting to you? If you've played Boss Monster what were your thoughts? Are you an old school 8-Bit gamer? If so, which games did/do you enjoy?