Wednesday, October 18, 2017

(Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game)

Week 2 of Theme Month: Video Games.  This week we're delving down deep into the dungeons.  We're taking the role of the villain, struggling to survive against the onslaught of heroes meant to kill us all, but we'll show them, with tricks and traps and treasure to tempt even the most Nihilistic of adventures.  We are the one and only Boss Monster!

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Boss Monster is a card game published by Brotherwise Games for 2-4 players.  Players take the role of the Boss Monster of a dungeon, inspired by RPG's from 16 bit games.

SET-UP:  The number of Heroes and Epic Heroes you begin with is changes according to the number of players, indicated on the bottom of the Hero cards, i.e. 3 figures represent a 3 & 4 player game. Shuffle and deal each player 1 Boss card, 5 Room cards, and 2 Spell cards.  Each player reveals their Boss card, discards 2 of the remaining 7 face-down. and keeps the rest hidden in their hand.  The Boss with the highest XP goes first, indicated in the bottom left.  Before a players first turn starts, they may play or build a room by placing it face-down to the left of the Boss

BEGINNING:  Draw 1 Hero for each player and place it next to the deck.  Then, each player draws 1 Room card.  No effect can be activated during this phase.  Once all players have drawn, the Build phase begins.

BUILD:  Players take turns placing Rooms face-down in their dungeon, left of the most recent room built, or of the Boss. Players may also build over any room, as long as the bottom right Treasure icon matches in both rooms.  Room cards with a gold icon in the top right are upgrades, and can only be played on another room.  Any ability or Spell with a Hammer may be used in this phase only.  If you choose at any point not to build a room, you cannot build any longer.  Once every player passes, flip every Room card and activate any appropriate effects.  Now, the Bait phase begins.

BAIT:  During this phase, players has a chance to bring Heroes into their dungeon.  Compare the Treasure icon of each hero in the top right with the icon in the bottom right.  The player with the most of that icon brings any and all Heroes into their first Room, according to the order revealed, with any ties and 0's causing those Heroes to stay.  Epic Heroes with gold backing come into play after all ordinary heroes are claimed.

ADVENTURE:  During the Adventure Phase, the first player has their first hero go through the Rooms in order.  Rooms first activate any effects, then deal damage according to the bottom left number to the Hero.  Once damage is dealt, players may activate any ability or Spell card with an Axe.  If the Hero takes at least as much damage as they have health, they die, and the player gains the Hero in their score zone face-down, adding it's Soul value to their point value, indicated at the bottom of the back of the card.  If the Hero survives to the Boss room, the player takes the Hero and puts in the score zone face-up, adding its Wound to their count indicated in the bottom right.  Once all Heroes for 1 player have gone, the next player goes.  Once all Heroes have gone, go back to the Beginning phase.

WINNING:  Any player is eliminated if they end their turn with 5 Wounds.  The first player who ends their turn with 10 Souls wins.  In the case of a tie, or if the Hero deck runs out, subtract each player’s Wounds from their Souls collected. The player with the highest number wins.  If this still results in a tie, the player with the lowest XP value wins.

CONCLUSION:  Boss Monster is a cut-throat, dirty, vicious game that successfully manages to capture the difficulty presented in old Super Nintendo games.  It feels long, but that is mainly due to the fact that it is slow and deliberate.  Once players become familiar with the cards, it starts to pick up.  That being said, especially in 4 player games, there is still a fair amount of down time to be expected.  It's a very methodical, competitive game that captures the nostalgia of old video games.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

(Super Mario Bros Power Up)

Welcome back to Flipping the Table: Theme Month.  This month's theme is Video Games.  Over the course of October and the first week of November, I'll look at various games dealing with Video Game themes.  This week we're looking at one of gaming's iconic characters, Mario.  This is Super Mario Bros: Power Up.

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Super Mario Bros Power Up is a card game published by USAopoly for 3-8 players.  Each player has a set of lives that they must avoid losing by using Power-ups and the Levels themselves

SET-UP:  Each player starts with 4 Life tokens, 1 Power-up card in their hand, and everyone is dealt 1 Level card face-down.  The player to the left of the dealer begins.

LEVELS:  Each player may look only at their Level card.  Each Level card has either a number from 1 to 12, or a Castle card, which is flipped immediately.  During their turn, each player may either keep their card, or trade it with the next players card.  Castle cards cannot be traded, so if the next player has a Castle, that player may not trade.  The last player is the dealer, and instead of trading, they may discard the card and draw a new card.

LIVES:  Once every player has kept or traded their card, then flip all cards.  Any players with matching numbers draw a Power-Up card, and the player(s) with the lowest number lose 1 Life token. 

POWER-UP:  Power-Up cards are represented by the "?" cards.  Each Power-up has a variety of effects, from raising or lowering Levels to trading with any player, to stealing or eliminating a life from any player.  Each card states on the bottom when it can be used.  Players may not stack, or play multiple Power-ups from their hand onto a card.

WINNING:  If a players loses all 4 Life tokens, they are eliminated from the game.  Once all but 1 player has lost all 4 Life tokens, the remaining player wins

CONCLUSION:  Supposedly, this is based on a standard deck card game.  The Mario theme does strike a resonance with the game, especially the coins representing the numbers on the Levels. and the Power-Up cards.  The mechanics, however, are heavily reliant on luck.  If it were just the Level cards, I'd probably say just skip this one.  However, with the Power-ups, there's a tiny bit more bluffing and chicanery involved to consider playing this.  It's a fairly quick game, which can be made quicker or longer by adjusting the life count.  Not a lot of depth, but something to play with kids or family, and has a bit of strategy enough to come back occasionally.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Just Plain Weird (We Didn't Playtest This At All)

I didn't edit this section at all.  My typing has consiberaly slowed down, and the mistatkes are there for all to see.  I chose this game, I chose this life.  This is my decision, and my pants.  Why my pants, dunno, I' didn't edit this in my brain at all.  You get the joke yet?  N~Yes, okay, Here's:
We Didn't Playtest This At All!

GAME DESCRIPTION: We Didn't Playtest This At All is a card game published by Asmadi Games for 2-10 players.  The goal is simple:  Don't lose.

SET-UP:  Each player is dealt a hand of 2 cards.  Choose the starting player at random.

GAMEPLAY:  That player draws a card, plays a card from their hand, follows the instructions, and passes the turn to the next player.  Cards may consist of playing a round of Ro-Sham-Bo (Rock, Paper, Scissors) or Chopsticks to eliminate a player, getting points, or any other weird combination.

WINNING:  The player who was not eliminated by a card wins.  It is possible for there to be no winner with 2 or more players losing simultaneously.

CONCLUSION:  This is probably the shortest summation I'll do for a game.  WDPTAA is a wacky game, and that's okay.  The "joke", or point of this game is the absolutely ridiculousness games like Fluxx or Joking Hazard bring to the table turned up to eleven.  I have found that most games don't last more than 20 minutes, or 4 rounds, which is perfect for this kind of game.  I have seen players not be able to initially play just because of dumb luck.  I've also seen the laughs and jokes this game produces.  WDPTAA won't appeal to "Hardcore" gamers, or people wanting something with a bit more strategy, but it does have that stupid humor that makes it work.

AFTERTHOUGHTS:  Thanks again to Steve and Shannon Johnson at Noggin Games in Cedar City, Utah for showing me this game, and Trevor Forsyth and Liz Stephens for playing it with me.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Three Silly Goats (Gruff)

6 Goats!
2 Shepards!
A Battle for the Ages!
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Shepard's have come together tonight with the strongest goats they could raise.  Neither will back down, neither will surrender.  This, Ladies & Gentlemen, is GRUFF!

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Gruff is a Customizable Card Game published by Studio Woe for 2-4 players.  Players take the role of Shepard's to wage battle with others using their mutated goats, or Gruffs.

SET-UP:  Depending how you draft, each player places 1 Shepard behind a row of their 3 Gruffs.  Take 8 cards from the Gruffs deck (marked by their picture) and shuffle them together into a deck, then draw 5 cards.  Finally, randomly choose the first player.

SHEPARD:  Each Shepard has a life meter, which can be depleted when a Gruff attacks.  They also have a Crazy meter, which determines what cards can be played.

GRUFF:  Each Gruff has 3 stats.  Mean is the attack of the gruff, and contributes to the Damage a Gruff deals when attacking.  Fat is the defensive capacity of the gruff. Fat contributes to the Defense value of a Gruff when attacked.  And Weird is added to your shepherd's Crazy when the Gruff is activated.

ORDER:  Each turn consists of the following:
  1. Clean-up:  Resolve your attack, remove your conditions from play, and if all your Gruffs are exhausted or dead, refresh your team.
  2. Activate:  Turn one of your Gruffs sideways.  Some Gruffs will have abilities activated at this point.
  3. Play:  Each Gruff card has a number in the top left.  You may play any number of cards provided the numbers in the top right added together never exceeds your Shepard's Crazy.
  4. Tactical:  Finally, you may choose to have your active Gruff either Grow to gain 1 point in any stat, Move or change places with any gruff adjacent, Attack by moving the active Gruff in front of any Gruff to attack on Clean-up
ATTACK:  At the beginning of your next turn, deal damage equal to your attacking Gruff's Mean to the Gruff being attacked. If your Damage is equal or greater than the Defense of the opposing gruff, kill that Gruff by flipping it's character card over, but keeping all effects on it and all stats the same. Excess damage is taken from the enemy Shepherd's Life.  If the Damage is less, the Gruff blocks the damage completely.  If there is no Gruff in the defending space, or the Gruff is dead, the Shepard takes all Damage.

WINNING:  Once a Shepard hits 0, that player loses.  The last player with Health left over wins.

CONCLUSION:  Gruff is a card game through and through, with conflicts on rulings and effects that play off each other.  If you like games like Magic the Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh, you'll enjoy the fact that you can just pull this out and play it with anyone else easily.  However, this is not the game that is going to convert any player to the TCG/LCG market.  Take it for what it is, a combat card game with the ability to play with another player without too much effort or money put in.