Published on June 11th, 2015 | by Justified Croak0
Boss Monster Review
Average play time per game: 30 minutes
Suitable for ages: 13+
Number of players: 2-4
Mechanics: Auction/Bidding, Hand Management, Take That
If you could have one wish what would it be? Excluding every thing you are obligated to say or be declared a horrible person like solving world hunger, universal equality and banishing Justin Beiber to the wastelands, you would of course wish for the same as every one else: To be a monstrous end level boss with your own fantasy RPG dungeon in a pixelated universe full of nerd references, obscure and obvious. Welcome to Boss Monster.
Boss monster gives us what we want. Players take turns in expanding their death dungeon with classic trap rooms and monsters from the good old days. Why? To lure in adventurers from the local quest hub, so that you might devour their souls and proclaim yourself more tyrannical than the Lawful Evil, Succubus dungeon over the road. But villains beware – should your traps be dodged and your monsters slain then you’ll soon find your head taken as just another quest requirement, handed in to a friendly innkeep.
Shuffle all decks after adjusting the hero deck to match your game type.
Four player game – use all hero cards
three player game – remove all heroes printed with the four player icon
two player game – remove all heroes printed with the three and four player icon.
Randomly deal each player one boss card.
Each player draws 5 room cards and 2 spell cards but must the discard two of these cards.
Choose one ordinary room and place it face-down next to the left of your boss card. Once all players have done so, simultaneously reveal these cards.
Reveal a number of heroes equal to the number of players from the hero deck and place them in “town” meaning the centre of the table. Do not reveal the epic heroes until all heroes have been revealed
Reveal new heroes at the start of every turn, even if other heroes have remained in town from previous turns.
Each player draws one room card.
In EXP order (marked on the boss card) highest going first, each player may place one room card face down in his dungeon. Room cards must be placed to the left of your left most room or on top of any of your pre-existing rooms.
Advanced rooms may only be played on top of a room with a matching treasure icon.
Players may use any build phase spells before the face down build cards are revealed. Your dungeon may contain a maximum of 5 visible room cards (excluding your boss card). The first time you reach 5 rooms, you may use your boss level up ability.
At the end of this phase all face down room cards are simultaneously revealed. In EXP order resolve any level up/when revealed effects.
Each hero in town will move to the dungeon with the most relevant treasure icons (cleric, fighter, mage and thief).
If there is a tie between players dungeons, the hero stays in town. No spells or abilities may interrupt this phase.
In EXP order, Bosses contend with those heroes, stupid enough to raid their dungeon.
Each hero enters the dungeon alone. Each room has a damage value printed on the card. This is how many hit points it will remove from a hero, which has its total health also printed on its card. As the hero travels from one room to the next, he takes damage from each room. If he takes more damage than he has health then place that hero face down in your scoring area.
If a hero gets to your boss card, surviving all rooms, then it is placed face up in your scoring area.
Adventure phase spells may be played before a hero enters a room or whilst a hero is in a room.
Play continues to the next highest EXP boss, and then the next highest etc. Play continues until all bosses have had a chance to act.
End of Turn
Any rooms that have activated an ability are considered to reactivate. Check for scoring. If a player has reached 10 souls (values printed on the back of all hero cards) then they have claimed victory. If a player received 5 wounds (printed on the face of hero cards) then they are out of the game, and are traded to an NPC for a new +1 cloak, presumably.
If there is only one player left, then they are proclaimed victor, but will not earn the true respect of their neighboring bosses, as victory by default is not victory at all.
I have remained sort of torn on this one. Boss monster isn’t spectacular, nor is it clever or strategic, but I have to say – it is still fun. The concept is wonderful. Why do the good guys always have all the fun? Well, no more! Taking on the role of a giant frog monster gets bonus points straight from the get go. What’s more is Boss Monster oozes theme, with many cards giving little nods to nerdery in all its forms. Whether you SQUEE! as the 8 bit definitely-not-Ezio-Auditore-from-Assasin’s-Creed hero pelts towards your dungeon, or Nerdgasm as you reveal the room displaying 1st edition red box art from dungeons and dragons.
Boss Monster will never be more than a light filler game, which is fine because it does it so well; it’s quick to learn, cheap to buy and makes you chuckle. At times I feel it’s too basic; I want to be able to do more – build a bigger dungeon, level up more than once, play one game for longer – but isn’t that the way with all good things? What I’m trying to say is, whilst you hit the level cap a little early, it’s fun getting there and I’m sure I’ll log back in from time to time just to get my fix. Definitely worth the price.