Boss Monster has an explosive first day!

Today, Brotherwise Games launched our Kickstarter campaign for Boss Monster. We started the project with a lot of trepidation about whether our $12,000 goal was realistic and achievable, and worried that we hadn’t done enough to promote the project.

Less than twenty-fours later, we are 80% funded and still growing. To anyone who has already backed our project, thank you! You are amazing, and we are humbled by the support. To anyone playing wait-and-see, join the party! We are definitely track to funding, so your pledge is very close to being a true pre-order. For those awaiting more information before you decide, stay tuned. We’ll be posting a much-requested gameplay demo soon. And for anyone in the LA/Pasadena area would would like to give the game a try, Johnny will be doing demos at Game Empire Pasadena this Saturday from 2-5 pm. Visit their Facebook page for more details!

As two brothers with a lifelong love of gaming, seeing Boss Monster move toward successful funding is a dream come true. Thanks again for all your support, and keep spreading the word so we can unlock our stretch goals and keep up the momentum!

Johnny & Chris O'Neal, founders of Brotherwise Games

Boss Monster 101: Rooms & Dungeon Building

To build on our first Boss Monster 101 article about Boss Cards, let’s dig into Rooms. But Rooms are such a big part of Boss Monster that we can’t talk about them in isolation. Let’s start from the top with some basics about gameplay:

Boss Monster includes everything that 2-4 players need to play. It’s a standalone game where everyone draws from the same deck (not a trading card game like Magic), so you don’t need to purchase any extra cards to play. The first edition of the game includes 155 cards:

75 Room Cards
30 Spell Cards
25 Hero Cards
16 Epic Hero Cards
9 Boss Cards

One of those Boss cards is “The Hidden Lich,” which is exclusive to the first print edition of Boss Monster!

Getting Started
A game of Boss Monster typically takes about 20-30 minutes to play, but you should allow more time for your first playthrough. Make sure you have enough room to play, particularly in terms of horizontal space. Over the course of the game, players will build dungeons that consist of six cards (five Room cards plus the Boss at the end)… that can take up a lot of tabletop!

Dungeon Building
The heart of Boss Monster is dungeon-building. Your dungeon is like a level in a side-scrolling video game, with Heroes entering from the left side and moving to the right. Your Boss lurks at the end. If a Hero dies in your dungeon, you get a “Soul” (or two “Souls” for Epic Heroes, who are made of sterner stuff). But if a Hero successfully runs the gauntlet and makes it through alive, you take a Wound (two for Epic Heroes). Earn ten Souls before any other player and you win …but get five Wounds and you’re out of the game!

Every turn, you have the option to build one room. You can:

  • Add a new ordinary Room to your dungeon (always to the left of any current rooms)
  • Upgrade an ordinary Room by playing an Advanced Room on it (but the Advanced Room must share a treasure type with the room it’s building over)
  • Build over an ordinary Room with another ordinary Room (even if their treasure types don’t match)

Once your dungeon is five rooms long, you’ve hit your maximum and can only change or upgrade the rooms you have. Here’s a look at dungeon with just three rooms (click to expand):

A dungeon under construction

As you can see, every room has a treasure value, which lures Heroes of a certain type. (Clerics want holy relics, Fighters want magic swords, Mages want spellbooks, and Thieves just want money.) Each room also has a damage value. The balancing act of the game is that high-treasure rooms tend to be low-damage, and vice versa. So the game ebbs and flows depending on the dungeon you build.

A Room’s treasure value is all-important, because Heroes are drawn to the dungeon with the highest treasure value. Players build rooms face-down, then simultaneously reveal them, so you never know exactly who’s going to lure a particular hero. You could have four Fighter treasures in your dungeon, but if an opponent has five, you lose the bidding war. Similarly, it’s possible to corner the market on a Hero type even if you only have one relevant treasure, as long as no one else is competing for that type. Your treasure choices are limited by the cards you draw, but you also have to make tactical decisions every turn to lure desired Heroes and avoid those whose Health scores exceed your Damage. It’s a delicate balancing act, but that’s what makes it fun!

Different room types also have different flavors. Fighter rooms tend to deal more damage, Thief rooms have a lot of one-shot and self-destruct effects, Cleric rooms have discard-related effects, and Mage rooms help you get Spell cards.

Spells reflect your Boss Monster’s ability to directly affect the course of events in your dungeon …and even in other players’ dungeons! About half of the Spell cards help your dungeon deal more damage, which can be crucial in the last third of the game when Epic Heroes show up in town. Other Spells let you lure Heroes directly, repel unwanted Heroes, meddle with an opponent’s dungeon, or even directly Wound an opponent.

Spell rooms are precious, because you start with two and only get to draw more if you invest in low-damage Mage rooms to draw more. But the surprise value of a well-played Spell can be game-winning, so their benefits often outweigh their drawbacks.

The Rules
To learn more about Boss Monster, you can now download the full rules. Just click here:

Boss Monster Rulebook PDF

The rules strive to outline the game’s cards, phases, and terms in as much detail as possible. We’ll also be posting gameplay footage soon on our Boss Monster YouTube channel. Stay tuned!

Boss Monster 101: Boss Cards

This is the first in a series of articles about the cards in Boss Monsterthe new “dungeon-building” game from Brotherwise Games. And what better way to kick off a series on card types than to talk about the first type of card you’ll hold in a game: the Boss card!

Given that the game is called Boss Monster, you’d be right to assume that Boss cards are pretty important. In fact, the first thing you’ll do in a game of Boss Monster is to randomly deal a Boss card to each player. For the rest of the game, your Boss will sit at the end of your dungeon, and its attributes can have a major impact on the game. Here’s a closer look at Cerebellus, the Father Brain:

Cerebellus, a.k.a. "Father Brain"

Cerebellus artwork by Katrina Guillermo

First, there’s an icon (A) indicating that this is a Boss card. While a Boss card looks a lot like the game’s Room cards, it does not count as a Room and can never be deactivated or destroyed.

Each Boss in the game has a special “Level Up” ability (B). This triggers the first time your dungeon hits its maximum length of five rooms. Because these abilities happen only once per game, they’re pretty powerful. The game gets tougher as you reach the endgame  (with Heroes being replaced by much stronger Epic Heroes), so these abilities can really come in handy!

Every Boss also has an XP value (C). This simply indicates who goes first: the player with the highest value takes the first turn. During the course of play, if there’s ever a question of priority, the player with the higher XP value must act first. Going first isn’t a huge advantage in Boss Monster, but it’s always nice!

Finally, the Boss card shows a treasure icon (D). Like every Room card, each Boss has treasure that lures a particular sort of hero. Cerebellus has a magic tome, which lures Mages. Holy relics lure Clerics, magic weapons lure Fighters, and sacks of gold lure Thieves. Luring Heroes with treasure is the heart of the game’s unique dungeon-building mechanic …but that’s a story for another article.

Thanks for learning about Boss cards, and click here to learn about Rooms and dungeon-building!

Boss Monster draws a crowd at Indiecade

This weekend, Brotherwise Games gave an unannounced sneak peek of our new card game Boss Monster at Indiecade, the International Festival of Independent Games in Culver City, California. We headed to Indiecade with a handmade prototype deck of cards, just hoping to meet a few potential Kickstarter supporters and get a sense of gamers’ enthusiasm level for the concept. By the end of the day, we had conducted hours of demos and answered questions from dozens of festival attendees. We were blown away by people’s response to the game!

The day got off to a low-key start, though that didn’t last long. After we set up at a table graciously shared by the designer of Who Took the Apple?, we did our best to lure some folks into simple two-player games.

Two-Player Game

Johnny O’Neal plays with a new Boss Monster player

R.O.B. observes a game

R.O.B. served as our unofficial mascot for the day

Before long, we moved into 3- and 4-player games so more people could join in the fun. While Boss Monster has been thoroughly playtested, so far everyone associated with the game has been at least a friend of a friend. So it was truly gratifying to have total strangers (including a number of fellow game designers) having a blast with the game!

A crowd of three

Johnny leads a three-player game as spectators look on

So Analog Johnny

Johnny wore a So Analog T-shirt by Squid Kids Ink, makers of the awesome 10-Doh designer toys that will be a part of our our Kickstarter rewards

By the end of the day, players were teaching each other the rules, and Johnny was able to step back and focus on answering questions. Boss Monster strives to strike a balance between intuitive gameplay and strategic depth, so it was great to see that people found it accessible and quick to learn!

A crowded table

Some players step up to bat, while others watch and learn how to play

These are just pictures from portions of the day, but throughout our time at Indiecade we were thrilled to be drawing a crowd. The entire tabletop gaming section there is top-notch, so we were honored to be one of the busiest spots in our section of the festival.

Thanks to everyone who came out to play! This event was unscheduled and under the radar, but we have more events in store for LA-area gamers. Stay tuned to and for more details!