27 September 2013 | 19 Comments
I mostly write Kickstarter-related entries on this blog at this point, but we are a board game company, so I’d like to write about games and game design from time to time. This will be the first entry of a monthly series in which I talk about my favorite game this month.
I stumbled upon the Boss Monster Kickstarter campaign last November. I didn’t research it as much as I should have, but I liked what they were doing, I liked that the game only costs $20, and I liked that it was really popular (4,689 backers). So I got a copy, and it was delivered back in June (only 4 months later than the expected delivery date…not bad!).
And then it sat on my shelf.
You see, I have a hard time getting excited about small games. Big, meaty games? Yes please. We must play those immediately. But small-box games? Even though it’s not fair to them, they often tend to sit on my shelf for quite a while before seeing play.
Plus, with Boss Monster, although I could see why the pixelated art and dungeon building could be appealing for many people, they didn’t intrigue me all that much. I couldn’t convince myself to let it hit the table over other games.
That’s unfortunate, because I was missing out on a great game in Boss Monster.
It finally hit the table last Wednesday at the weekly game night I host. One person had played before, so we only had to fumble through the rules a little bit. The entire game took about 40 minutes, and I won, but I would be writing this even if I had lost miserably. Because I had a blast playing it. Here’s why:
- Intuitive Rules: You’re building a dungeon by placing cards (rooms) next to each other. The cards have symbols on them that represent treasures. Heroes–in the form of cards–are attracted to the dungeon with the most of a specific treasure. If your dungeon is able to kill the heroes that enter it, you score points. If your dungeon doesn’t kill the heroes, you get hurt. Not only is all of this intuitive, but the information is intuitively laid out on the cards. Brilliant.
- Flow of the Game: There was never a moment in Boss Monster when I didn’t feel engaged or when I was bored. I make decisions very quickly in games, so I often have to sit around and wait while everyone else makes their choices. That does happen in Boss Monster (although I love that players choose their dungeon card at the same time), but I found that there’s so many other things to think about while other players are making their decisions. Which card should I play next? Which player should I target with my spell? What kinds of treasures do other players’ dungeons have? What are my dungeons’ special abilities? It’s not an overwhelming amount of information–it’s just enough to keep me
- Interaction: There’s LOTS of interaction in Boss Monster. This isn’t multi-player solitaire. Not only do you have to pay attention to what other players are doing, you can directly impact what they’re doing. Now, I don’t always like this in games. I like to build my own thing and let other players build their own things. But I never felt like other players were completely foiling my plans in Boss Monster. It was just a healthy dose of interaction with plenty of table talk.
- Fun Factor: This is the number one important aspect of any game: Is it fun? Boss Monster is TONS of fun. It’s a combination of everything I mentioned above with the whimsical nature of the game and the variety of spells and dungeons…it just all works. It creates the perfect gaming environment. I’ve played some fantastic games over the last few months, but never have I been so aware of how much fun I was having than with Boss Monster.
Now, I have one big caveat to mention: I’ve only played one game of Boss Monster. I honestly don’t know how deep the game will be upon multiple plays or if it will sustain the level of fun I had with the first game. I’ll keep an eye on that. All I know is that I currently want to play Boss Monster more than any other game. Except for Euphoria, that is. Advance copies of which will arrive just in time for game night this week…
Have you played Boss Monster? What do you think?