Overview: Boss Monster is a dungeon building card game set in an NES-esque retro video game. As the title suggests, you are the Boss of the dungeon, creating your dungeon via cards for the heroes in town to get lured into. Each player as a set of Room Cards and Spell Cards at the start. Room cards have treasure and affects on them, which can lure certain heroes into the dungeon. For example, if a player has the most “cleric symbols” at the start of the adventure turn, then any cleric heroes in town will be lured to that dungeon. Room cards have a damage number which does that much damage when a hero enters the room. Room cards can affect other players or boost your own dungeon. There are two distinct phases in Boss Monster: build phase and adventure phase. In the build phase, players play one room card face down and reveal simultaneously. In the adventure phase, revealed heroes are lured to their respective dungeon, based on the number of treasure symbols in each players’ dungeons. Play continues until one player is last one standing or a player has 10 souls (points).
Boss Monster is a unique card game in which the players take the role of a retro video game Boss, bent on building their dungeon and luring heroes to destroy them. Lovers of the NES dungeon crawling games will be excited to see all the throwbacks on each card, including Metroid, Megaman, and Mario. While Boss Monster is easy to teach and to learn, its gameplay isn’t too simple. Once the dungeons get built up (5 max rooms in each dungeon), players will have an opportunity to level up their Boss, giving them affects like “draw two spell cards” or “destroy a room in another players’ dungeon.” Spell cards turn out to be very powerful, as you can give a hero extra health as they enter an opponent’s dungeon or give your own rooms extra damage for a turn. Some dungeon room cards yield spell cards but often times one or two players are left with no spells through the end of the game. This can make it so the player who has the spells can gang up on the winning player and cause them to fall from victory, which can slow down the game.
Even with this possibility, Boss Monster is still quick and can be played in under 30 minutes. Boss Monster is a great gateway game as it is very easy to teach. However, because of the heavy reliance on theme, players with little to no knowledge of classic video games may not be as interested in the game. However, if you grew up with these retro video games, Boss Monster will be an awesome throwback to your childhood (or adulthood). Boss Monster is perfect for fans of retro dungeon crawlers who have always dreamed of being the Boss.
2 Player Experience
Two player for Boss Monster is an epic adventure. It is one of the few games that works better with two players versus four player. One huge advantage to two player is the fact that you don’t have to constantly keep track of who is ahead in a particular treasure. You just have to look over at your opponent and it’s easy to calculate who will get the heroes from town on that adventure phase. Spells are still powerful in two player, and are expected at any time of the game. However, two player actually feels less cutthroat, because you don’t gang up with other players to attack the winning player. Boss Monster is an awesome two player experience.
4 Player Experience
Boss Monster with four players is very different than two player. It’s much harder to keep track of who is winning in each treasure, which can make the build phase less straightforward. Heroes aren’t as guaranteed in a four player game, which can be frustrating if players aren’t drawing the room cards that they need. Also, players tend to gang up on the winning player if victory is close, which slows down the game and makes it less strategic. The winner is often the player who had the most spells/rooms to attack other players. For these reasons, four player is not as enjoyable as two player, but still worth playing.