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.