The essence of Boss Monster lies in its nod to the golden age of 8-bit and 16-bit gaming. Each player takes on the role of a Boss Monster, with a singular goal: to build a dungeon that attracts heroes and ultimately leads them to their demise. As these would-be vanquishers fall, you collect their souls – and the Boss who first garners ten souls wins the game.
Boss Monster is chiefly composed of two types of cards: Room cards and Spell cards. Room cards are the building blocks of your dungeon, each with its unique powers and treasure icons that lure specific heroes into your lair. Spell cards bring devious spells into play to thwart heroes or hamper rival Bosses.
The Fundamentals of Play
During the Build Phase phase, participants lay the groundwork for their dungeons. Each player possesses a selection of Room cards, which represent the various traps and monster-filled chambers that will populate their dungeon. From this hand, a player selects one Room card and places it face down before them. When every player has placed a card, all cards are simultaneously revealed and added to the player’s dungeon layout. At this juncture, strategic thinking is paramount. The card chosen and its positioning within the dungeon can have a lasting impact on the game’s outcome by either strengthening the dungeon’s defenses or enhancing its attractiveness to heroes.
Following the construction of new dungeon rooms, heroes are lured into the dungeons of the players. Heroes in Boss Monster are motivated by treasures, identified by icons on the Room cards. During the Bait Phase, each hero will gravitate toward the dungeon that displays the highest number of the treasure type they seek. The players must scrutinize their Room cards and those of their opponents to predict which heroes they are likely to attract. Successfully baiting heroes is a central aspect of gameplay, as the heroes’ entrance into a player’s dungeon sets the stage for potential victory or defeat.
This brings us to the Adventure Phase, where gameplay reaches a crescendo. The heroes begin their journey through the dungeon, moving from room to room. As they enter each room, they encounter the perils set by the player. Each Room card has a damage value that contributes to the defeat of heroes. Heroes who survive the entire length of the dungeon inflict wounds upon the player’s Boss character, while those vanquished are claimed as souls. Players must carefully consider the arrangement of their rooms to maximize the potential for hero casualties and guard against the risk of incurring wounds. It is a phase where the consequences of previous choices are made manifest and where planning meets execution.
The End Phase serves as a recalibration period. Players assess the results of the Adventure Phase, discarded rooms are replaced, and preparations for the subsequent turn commence. If any rooms were destroyed or any effects were triggered that last only for a turn, this phase provides the resolution. It is a brief but necessary moment for strategic reassessment and planning, allowing players to make necessary adjustments based on the current state of their dungeons and the movements of their adversaries.
Strategizing as a Master Builder
Optimal room card selection lies at the core of a winning strategy. Each room card includes unique abilities that can influence the outcome of the game. Strategic room selection involves looking at the treasures to attract specific heroes and considering the synergies between different rooms.
Equally important is the placement of room cards within your dungeon. Some rooms have abilities that are activated based on their location within the dungeon, be it the first room a hero encounters or the last. One must also account for the possibilities of room upgrades and whether the current room card choices will allow for über-versions to be built in the future, which offer significantly enhanced effects.
Drawing heroes into your dungeon is a balance of calculated risk and reward. While attracting heroes with valuable souls is important, one must avoid luring too many or too powerful heroes that can inflict wounds upon your Boss character if they survive. Understanding the likelihood of your opponents drawing those heroes is a critical component of strategic thinking.
Strategizing as a master builder involves determining the best moments to use Spell cards. These cards can alter the state of play dramatically, and deciding when to use them to disrupt an opponent’s strategy or enhance your dungeon’s effectiveness can be a game-changing moment.
A master builder must also remain adaptable. As other players build their dungeons and heroes enter the board, the state of the game will constantly change. This requires foresight to develop contingency plans. If a competitor consistently attracts a certain type of hero, you may need to change your strategy and focus on a different method of collecting souls.
An astute player will also pay attention to the tendencies and strategies of their opponents. If one player favors a particular play style, it can be advantageous to anticipate their actions and counter them. Watching the other dungeons evolve and planning your strategy in response to potential threats must be an active part of your gameplay.
The Allure of Boss Monster
The game does not rely on luck alone. It demands thoughtful decision-making, planning, and adaptability from its players. The room and spell cards offer a variety of strategic avenues and combinations, ensuring that each game can unfold in numerous ways based on the players’ choices. This strategic depth is a significant draw for those who enjoy games where their tactical decisions have a meaningful impact on the outcome.
With a relatively short learning curve, new players can quickly grasp the fundamental rules and join the fun without extensive tutorials. The game’s varying levels of complexity cater to more experienced players, making it an inclusive option for mixed-skill-level gatherings.
With multiple expansion packs and standalone versions available, there is a wealth of additional content that can be integrated to refresh and expand the experience. These expansions introduce new bosses, rooms, and spells, providing a degree of customizability and replayability that keeps the game fresh and engaging over time.
Players are crafting narratives of cunning, greed, and survival. The game creates a framework for a story to unfold, one where players can engage in the fantasy of being the powerful antagonist, a role often reserved for video game AIs. This role reversal, where players must outsmart the heroes rather t