Sunday, June 30, 2013

Boss Monster - A Review

Hey I am back with another update. And it hasn’t even been a month. Go me. Today’s update is brought to you by Boss Monster, the charming 8 bit card game. I also promise you no more ponies. Unless of course you want ponies, then I will post more ponies. You have to let me know though because apparently some people don’t like ponies?

Anyway back to Boss Monster. I backed this fun little gem last year on kickstarter. I liked it so much I spent almost as much on printing the print and play version as I did on the kickstarter. 

Sorry, that sleeve is kickstarter only.

 A word of warning with regards to this review: I am reviewing the product I received, which will be infinitely cooler than anything you can buy yourself if you were not a kickstarter backer.

Don’t worry though, Boss Monster is cooler than ice cold in it’s own right so my version is simply so cool it’s hot (Science content: scientists recently discovered that temperature is cyclical, I’m serious – google it).  (More science content: the giant squid has a doughnut shaped brain that encircles the esophagus. If it swallows something too big it could cause brain damage.) 

Whats cooler than being cool? ICE COLD!

What’s in the box? 

Anyway back to my original thought. Boss Monster: whats in the box? ( no it’s not that).

155 cards! (this is what you will get): 9 Boss monsters, 75 room cards, 30 spell cards, 25 ordinary heroes, 16 epic heroes and a partridge in a pear tree (not really, its actually a rule book).

 Ahhh beautiful organization. Just ignore my level up coins,
those are kickstarter only :P  

What did I get ( because I want to rub it in): In addtion to the above I got 4 level up coins, a Zelda cartridge homage box sleeve and a bunch of promo cards including extra spells, rooms, heros and bosses (including holofoil cards of all the boss monsters!).

Don't F*** with him. He will own your face.

This game is simple and compact. Easy to tote around, and the box is the best cardboard I have ever seen. Nice and thick with a smooth matt finish. It is also delightful because of the Nintendo referance on the box. Of course this whole game is an homage to my childhood’s favorite games. I mean, the whole reason I bought an Ouya is because I am hoping for an 8 bit revolution, so this game is a natural choice for me.

The art on these cards is very special. It’s not good in the same way that the art of Seasons is, it’s good in it’s own 8 bit way. These cards are the peak of 8 bit art. There is very little duplicate art as well (that is to say some cards that you have doubles of have different art )

I hate when that happens...
So if you had a childhood where 8 bit and 16 bit was the cutting edge (who the F*** needs polygons?!) you will love this art. And if you are not that someone, you will probably appreciate the retro feel of them. Either way it is well done and thoughtful. This was a labor of LURVE.


Ok so it’s a feast for the eyes of a nerd. How does it play though? Fast and well that’s how. The box says ages three and up and I would say it is indeed that easy. You don’t need the ability to think abstractly, its all right there for ya!

You are the Boss Monster. You do not like the other Boss Monsters. Therefore you are trying to prove yourself to be the superior boss monster. To  do this you need to collect 10 souls first. To do THAT you need to build a bad A@@ dungeon that eats heroes. How do you do that you ask? Well that’s how the game is played!

Each turn is broken down into 5 phases.

Phase one: collect underpants- wait no- phase one: beigning of turn:
Here each player draws a room card and heroes enter the village. One hero for each boss monster that started the game (so 2-4).

Phase two: Build phase.
Here each player places a room card face down to the right of their boss monster. This is done in order of experience. Higher experience goes first. During your turn you may also play build phase spells. After everyone has played each player turns over their cards and any build now effects take place in experience order. 

This is a room card. This is the coolest room card.
The treasure icon is on the lower right, damage caused
by the room on the lower left. 

A word about building
 So in Boss Monster you can build up 5 rooms. You may also replace any room by building another room over it. In addition to all this there are advanced rooms. An advanced room may be built over any room that shares the same treasure type as that advanced room.

On the turn you build your fifth room your boss monster levels up. This can happen only once per monster and takes place in experience order. The text on the Boss Monster cards tells you what happens when your monster levels up.

Coolest. Boss. Ever. Dont mess with the 
ant cannon!

Phase three: profit ( sort of)

This is the bait phase. Here you see who has the most treasure types of each treasure. There are 4 types: Money, Swords, ankhs, and books. Whoever has the most of a type of treasure attracts those heroes to their dungeon. If there is a tie then the hero stays in town. These heroes do not reduce the number of heroes that come into town the next turn. 

This is Boden. He has no pants. My
preferred state of being as well.

Phase 4: Adventure time!


This phase the heroes go into your dungeon and do one of two things. Die horribly, giving you a soul or make it through and punch you in your evil boss monster face. One is obviously preferable to the other.

Boden will be eaten by sharks.

Each hero has a life value at their bottom left corner. Each room card has a damage icon in the bottom left corner. Each time a hero enters a room they take the room damage which reduces their over all health. If they reach 0 they die and become your soul. When heroes enter they do so one at a time (stupid heroes, their like TMNT foot soldiers attacking one at a time).

Ya I sunk my fair share of quarters into that game...

During this phase you can play any adventure spells as well. These things can be devastating and seriously disrupt your plans for world domination


Phase 5: end of turn.

Here is the cleanup phase. You right all rooms (if any have been deactivated) and check to see if anyone has 10 souls or 5 wounds. If you have 5 wounds you are done. Your out, you suck as a boss monster and all your minions abandon you. If you have ten souls you win! Your awesome, and deserve to laugh like an 8 bit boss monster.

If there is a tie you go to tie breaker rules. Souls minus wounds. If there is still a tie, go outside and fight till one of you gets knocked out. Or you can just shake hands and call it a game.

What do I think:

Love it.

It’s fast, its charming and it’s 8 bit. Many people will say, “oh this is a great time filler game”. To them I say booo. Sure you can use it like that and be lame.

Or you can sit down and play a crap ton of Boss Monster on game night and be awesome. This is definitely a game that will pay for itself with enjoyment. It is a paltry 25 USD. Well worth the investment. Plus it’s small so you can store it easily.

Eye Candy: 
Some painted goodness for your enjoyment. 

Anyway think I will call it a day with that. I shall leave you with this to amuse you:

Until next time all you readers out there in internet land keep on building those dungeons,

Antizombie (Jailed creator of the Ant Cannon) signing off

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Seasons - A Review


Hi everybody! I bet you thought I was dead. Well I was only mostly dead. Luckily I owed a debt to Miracle Max, he brought me back to life so I could pay it (to BLATHE). Anyway since it has been seasons since I brought you a new review I thought I might bring you a review of the wonderful family game Seasons.

Seasons is an example of how to do a family board game right. This game is perfect for everyone except the rules lawyer and the woman who loves grids. Even though I have never played it with an 8 year old, I’m pretty sure that this game could keep one entertained (though the box says 14 if you don't play with the advanced cards it should be good). So enough with that lets get right down to brass tax. 

As usual I will start with the box. Wow. Just wow. The box and packaging are actually what inspired me to write this review of the game. There is a compartment for everything, Dice, Trackers, Season tracker, and cards. They even fit flatly in the box due to the custom fitted trays. 

This is how you pack a game. Period. I don’t think anyone will ever pack a game better than this one. I mean, the box isn’t even over sized. It’s amazing.

The box isn’t all that’s amazing though. The art rivals even that wonderful organizational for-thought put into the box. This stuff is kid friendly with just that little touch of grim fairy tails meets marvel comics to give you that kick in the pants to really think you’re the archwizard of the seasons. 

 That's what happens when you give a rabbit coffee.

 Don't trust anything that cute. Ever. I'm sure it wants to eat your soul.

The physical aspects of the pieces are wonderful too. The cardboard the trackers and tokens are made from is that ideal thick board with the textured top that will withstand wear through the seasons (see what I did there? That was funny. If your not laughing you should go find a sense of humor.)

 That's my hand, sorry ladies this stallion is taken.

The dice are fantastic too. I have been playing this game on board game arena ( which is another article entirely and you should go sign up and check it out). I thought the dice would be these normal sized D6s but they are giant and easy to read. And colorful. And hefty. When you roll them ants might think Godzilla is coming to town ( more humor, maybe I should quit my day job).

Game play

It has some. The game is so easy I didn’t know what to do when I first played. You play the roll of  a wizard ( I like to pretend my name is Winter) who is vying for the title of archmage. You must acquire the most crystals over the course of 3 years to gain this title.

 In a nutshell this is a resource management game. You spend your resources to acquire crystals. These crystals come in the form of power cards or, um, crystals. The power cards you summon not only give you crystals but also special little abilities that might give you an edge in the long term. 

The season tracker and the crystal tracker. The die that is not chosen moves
 the season tracker forward the number of pips shown on it.

Well what are your resources you ask? They are elements you gain through the seasons. Each time a round begins the dice for that season are rolled and players take turn picking which ones they want. The first player to choose alternates so everyone gets a chance to choose first.
The dice give you elements, more slots to summon cards, more cards, or let you change elements into crystals to improve your score. Easy peasy. Each season has different dice and elements wax and wane in rarity (no not the pony). 

 The last cool element of the game (which is actually the first) is that at the beginning of the game you are delt 9 cards. You choose 3 cards to have in year 1, 3 for year 2, and 3 for year 3. At the beginning of the new year your cards you set aside for that year come into your hand, and no, you don’t have to discard the old ones.
These trackers are first class. You can track all the things!
There is even a handy reference for the help options. 

Also you can cheat if you want. There are “helper” options that give you things you might need if you end up getting screwed on the dice choices. Unfortunately they penalize you exponentially in the end for each use (up to 4). Guess its not really cheating then… However, this mechanic really lets you take your destiny into your own hands. Non of this, “well if I only had one more slot to summon a card I would have won”.


I guess there are a few. For one it is a very abstract game. There are no pretty miniatures and there is no gidded board. If that’s your kind of game this is not for you. The abstractness of the game can also cause one to be at a loss when they play it for the first time. That however, is a genre problem so it really doesn’t speak to the games quality. You have been warned. 

Ya that game isn't for everyone either.

What do I think?

I like it. This is a game I can play with my young adult group at church, or with non-gamers. It also seems very family friendly. There is no “sexy” in this game nor is their violence, just a bunch of mages hanging out and harvesting the music of the universe. 
It is also a very gender neutral game. I like that a lot. There is no machismo, there is no power babe. It is what you bring to it. The famililiars bring a strong sense of “other” to the game that will allow relatablility for many. 

What I’ve been playing but not reviewing.

Well a good friend of mine showed me board game arena. Holy $%&#snacks.

 Ya, the danger of never doing anything ever again but going on that website.

 Free to play online board games of some really good stuff. You can even play seasons there. Look me up, I, of course, am user name Antizombie. I usually play around with Gosu and Seasons on there. They also have Tokkaido on there. That is one game I want to play but do not want to own (so pretty).

In other news, I have also been playing Dreadball. This game is way fun if you just pretend your in a Pop Warner league instead of a super serious sci-fi league. My female human team is purple and black and called the Globo Gym Purple Cobras.

Keyflower, Boss monster, and Guilds of Cadwallon have also had a large amount of play time lately.

So that’s it for me. Yay for Miracle Max bringing me back to life.

 Hey look I still know how to paint! 
Until next time all you readers out there in Internet land, Derp like there’s no tomorrow.

Antizombie (Archmage Winter) signing off.