Calling all playtesters! At Brotherwise Games, we’re always designing new cards. We currently have 21 new cards in development that are ready for community playtesting, and anyone is welcome to give them a try! The cards are available in this print-and-playtest PDF:
Some of these new will appear in the Collector Box coming this Fall, while others will appear as Kickstarter exclusives or retailer incentives. They’ll eventually be available to all Boss Monster fans, but right now this playtest is the only way to experience them.
Once you’ve had a chance to play with the new cards, please be sure to give us feedback! Just use the following form. It’s a quick, one-page Google form that should take 5 minutes to complete:
Thank you for being a part of the Boss Monster community and helping us keep the game growing! If you have any questions about the playtest or would like to contact us directly, you can always reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is your source for questions about Boss Monster 2: The Next Level. It contains corrections, clarifications, and advice on how to get the most out of your new game. For questions not covered in this FAQ, feel free to e-mail us using the form at the bottom of this page.
One Rule Change
There is only one rule change in Boss Monster 2, and we also recommend using it for the original Boss Monster. Players no longer discard two cards at the beginning of the game. Instead:
Each player draws 5 Room cards and 2 Spell cards.
Set up the discard pile by placing 4 random Room and 2 random Spell cards face-up in the pile.
There is also one new entry in the Glossary:
Uncover: A Room is uncovered when the Room above it is destroyed.
Boss Monster 2 adds Dark Heroes, Hybrid Heroes, and “Epic Spells” (Spells with two possible abilities), but each of these cards is designed to be self-explanatory.
Due to printing errors, two mistakes made it into the first printing of Boss Monster 2. The responsible kobolds have been tossed into a bottomless pit.
Collapsing Bridge should begin with a “Once per turn,” clause.
Super Effective! should increase a Room’s damage. (The hearts should be black, not red.)
Future printings of Boss Monster 2 will also clarify Archer to say “This Hero skips the last Room of your dungeon” rather than the more confusing “ignores” wording.
The Limited Edition copy of Boss Monster 2 contains holofoil and non-foil versions of each Boss. Do not play with both! Choose one of each Boss and set aside the rest. Do not play with both copies of The Brothers. Set aside the other copy.
Combining Boss Monster 1 and 2
Boss Monster 2 is playable on its own or as an expansion to the original. To combine both sets:
Shuffle the Boss, Room, and Spell decks from each set together.
Set aside one set of Hero and Epic Hero cards.
The sets are designed to play well together, but the most rewarding way to combine the sets is to pick and choose exactly which cards you prefer.
Customizing Your Play Experience
Once you’ve had a chance to experience Boss Monster 2 on its own, try creating your own ideal combination of both Boss Monster sets. Think a card is too overpowered? Toss it out. Never liked a particular Spell? Set it aside. By combining the best of Boss Monster and Boss Monster 2, you can create a unique play experience tailored to your play group’s tastes. Here are some guidelines for building your own combination:
Include 2 Advanced Rooms for every 5-6 ordinary Rooms.
Include equal numbers of the four treasure types. (Don’t forget to include Hybrid Rooms in this calculation.)
Include roughly equal numbers of Trap and Monster Rooms (recommended but not critical).
For Bosses, include roughly equal numbers of each starting treasure type (recommended but not critical).
Include 24 ordinary Heroes (plus the Fool, if desired) and 16 Epic Heroes (plus The Brothers, if desired).
Maintain an equal balance of treasure icons and damage values. Remove Heroes as appropriate for 2- or 3-player games.
The key to most of these guidelines is maintaining a balance of treasure icons. Advanced customizers can even throw out that rule, and see what happens to the game’s bidding “economy” when certain Room types are rarer.
Tools of Hero-Kind
Boss Monster 2 is fully compatible with Tools of Hero-Kind. You can use Item cards with Boss Monster, Boss Monster 2, or a combination of the sets.
Larger Multiplayer Games
Boss Monster 2 is balanced and recommended for 2-4 players. However, if you also own the core set, it is possible to play with 5-6 players. Here are some unofficial guidelines for larger games:
Play using the Unlimited Lives variant described on page 17 of the rulebook. (Players are not eliminated upon reaching five Wounds. The game ends when a turn ends with no cards left in the Hero decks. The winner of the game is the player with the highest total Souls minus Wounds.)
For a 5-player game, start with all the Heroes and Epic Heroes from one set. Then add an extra 4-Health Cleric, Fighter, Mage and Thief. Add an extra 11-Health Cleric, Fighter, Mage, and Thief.
For a 6-player game, also add an extra 6-Health Cleric, Fighter, Mage and Thief.
We are currently developing a set designed to facilitate larger multiplayer games. If you would like to share feedback on multiplayer over 4 players, please e-mail us at email@example.com!
Card Rule Clarifications
We have incorporated Boss Monster 2 cards into our Advanced Rules Guide and FAQ. Cards specific to Boss Monster 2 are repeated below for your convenience. If a card is not listed here, it is because the rules are considered fully self-explanatory. Feel free to e-mail us if you have further questions!
Another Castle This may only target a Hero in your dungeon, not at the entrance to your dungeon. Apply any ongoing effects from the Room the Hero has entered before casting this Spell. If the first Room in your dungeon has a damage value greater than zero, it damages the Hero before you can cast this Spell.
Antimagic Zone Because it is a cancel effect, this card’s ability takes priority even when played by a non-active player. Because this card’s cancel effect is a card ability rather than a Spell, it cannot be prevented with Counterspell. However, it can be prevented with Meddling Kids!
Archer This card should say, “This Hero skips the last Room of your dungeon.” It does not trigger any damage or abilities of that Room. (However, the Hero does not ignore the Room’s treasure value and you may still use abilities of that Room when the Archer is in other dungeon Rooms.)
Barbarian This Hero’s ability may only be triggered once per turn. Multiple opponents cannot trigger this ability.
Barbarian Hall If you have any Spell cards in hand when you build this Room, you must choose and discard one. If you do not have any Spell cards in your hand, you may build this Room without any penalty.
Belladonna, Vampire Baroness You must use this ability on the turn you Level Up. (You cannot save it for a later turn.) As with any heal effect, this replaces your Wound with the Soul value of the Hero you turn face-down. If you have an Epic Hero in your scorekeeping area when you Level Up, you may turn target it with this ability.
Blockpile Puzzle As long as this Room is in play, you must destroy one Room in your dungeon during the end of turn phase. You may destroy Blockpile Puzzle with its own ability.
Collapsing Bridge The first printing of this card is misprinted. It should say: “Once per turn, if a Hero survives this Room, until end of turn this Room deals +3.”
Decapitator This Room’s effect removes the target Room’s treasure value. A later effect, such as Secret Stash, may still give the Room a treasure value. If a Room’s treasure value is removed during the build phase before a player is active, that player may not place an Advanced Room over it. If you use this ability on an opponent’s Room and the player later builds over that Room, the new Room does not lose its treasure value.
Doc Scarecrow, Ambassador of Fear As with any activated ability, you cannot activate this ability once Rooms are revealed. This means you cannot use the ability until the turn after you Level Up. This ability only affects luring during the Bait phase. It does not prevent other effects, such as Princess in Peril, from placing a Hero at the entrance to a dungeon.
Dr. Timebender, Mad Alchemist Because it is a cancel effect, this card’s ability takes priority even when played by a non-active player. Because this card’s cancel effect is a card ability rather than a Spell, it cannot be prevented with Counterspell.
Druid The Druid gains its additional Health when it moves to your dungeon entrance. This total constantly updates based on the number of Spells in your hand. The bonus decreases as soon a Spell resolves (or is canceled) and increases as soon as you draw a Spell card.
Elemental Generator If you cast a Spell while a Hero is in this Room, the Room deals its damage first (gaining +X for each Spell card in your hand, including the one you are about to cast).
Fairy Fountain Once the Room’s damage is reduced to zero, later effects cannot increase its damage until end of turn. This effect ends if the Room is covered or destroyed.
Frostbat Cave Refer to the Glossary (Rulebook p. 18) for the full description of “deactivate.” If you deactivate a Room during the Build phase that would have triggered a Boss card’s Level Up ability, that Level Up ability does not trigger until the End of Turn phase, when the room reactivates.
Hall of Mirrors If a Spell is declared but canceled (with an effect like Counterspell), it does not trigger this ability.
Hatchling’s Hoard This Room has four treasure icons, regardless of whether you build it over a Room with Cleric, Fighter, Mage, or Thief treasure. (Only one of an Advanced Room’s icons must match the Room beneath it.)
Hitman This Hero’s ability may only be triggered once per turn. Multiple opponents cannot trigger this ability.
It’s On! This card’s first ability refers to the Hero’s Health at the time you cast this Spell. For example, a Hero with a printed Health value of 8 who takes 5 damage in your dungeon can be killed by this Spell in the last Room of your dungeon.
Kazanna, Genie of Games You must use this ability on the turn you Level Up. (You cannot ignore the ability or save it for a later turn.)
Killa, Man-Eating Ape This damage bonus is only active if you have three Wounds. If a heal effect or other effect causes you to go below three Wounds, the ability is inactive until you have three Wounds. This damage bonus is not active if the last Room in your dungeon is deactivated.
Meddling Kids! If a player declares a Room ability (such as the ability of Antimagic Zone or Rust Monster Pen) while you are the active player, you may use Meddling Kids! to negate that effect. This Spell’s second ability only keeps a player from winning by Souls on the turn Meddling Kids! is played. It does not keep the player from killing Heroes or gaining Souls. If that player has more than ten Souls on the following turn, the player will still win on the following turn.
Oh Yeah! When you move Rooms with this card’s effect, any Rooms beneath the affected Rooms are also affected. “Room stacks” always move together.
Pause When you cast this Spell, any Heroes at the entrance to your dungeon remain at the entrance until the following turn.
Pity A card removed from the game by this Spell is set aside and ignored until the end of the game.
Porkus, King of Thieves This ability can target an Epic Hero.
Rust Monster Pen A Room’s damage cannot be reduced below zero.
Save Point You may only retrieve a Spell from the discard pile if it is already in the discard pile when you destroy Save Point.
Secret Stash Giving a Room a treasure icon with this Spell allows you to place a matching Advanced Room over that Room. If the Room is deactivated or destroyed, it loses the extra treasure icon.
Shortcut! When a Hero skips a Room, it passes over that Room and does not trigger any damage or abilities of that Room. It treats that Room as if it does not exist, so it does not “survive” an ignored Room.
Shrooman Cave Because it specifies “another,” Shrooman Cave cannot target itself.
Spellslime Pit If a Spell is declared but canceled (with an effect like Counterspell), it does not trigger this ability.
Super Effective! The first printing of this card is misprinted. The hearts on the card should be black, because a Room deals damage (not Health). A Hero is only “lured” to a dungeon if it moved to a dungeon entrance as part of the Bait phase. If another effect, such as Princess in Peril, places a Hero at the entrance to a dungeon, it does not count against this card’s ability.
Surprise Gift On the turn that you place a Room with Surprise Gift, you may not also place a Room in your own dungeon (unless you play an effect that allows you to build an additional Room, such as Motivation). When a Room is built with Surprise Gift, any “when you build this Room” effects apply to the player whose dungeon contains the newly built Room.
Swordmage While this Hero is in your dungeon, it gains +2 Health every time any player plays a Spell. This includes the player whose dungeon the Swordmage has entered, as well as that player’s opponents. Swordmage gains the +2 Health from this ability before any effects from the Spell are resolved. If a Spell is canceled (by an effect like Antimagic Zone), it does not trigger this ability.
The Arena After you reveal a Room to activate this ability, you return that Room to your hand.
The Brothers If two players are tied for total Souls minus Wounds, The Brothers remain in town. If your game contains two copies of this card, set aside one copy and play with one copy.
The Smashinator “Every other visible Room” means the top of every Room pile in your dungeon. It does not include deactivated, covered, or face-down Rooms. As always, destroying the top Room of a Room pile uncovers the next Room in that pile.
Undead Minion A card removed from the game by this Spell is set aside and ignored until the end of the game. Because “Hero” may refer to an ordinary or Epic Hero, you may use this card to kill an Epic Hero.
Vampire This Hero’s ability may only be triggered once per turn. Multiple opponents cannot trigger this ability.
Wild Monster When you build a Room with this Spell, any “when you build this Room” effects immediately apply.
Witch This Hero’s ability may only be triggered once per turn. Multiple opponents cannot trigger this ability.
If you have a question not answered here, feel free to e-mail us using this form!
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Now you’re slaying with power! The hit Dungeon-Building Card Game™ is back and badder than ever.
It’s time to take your dungeon to The Next Level!™ Return to the videogame-inspired world of Arcadia in Boss Monster 2.™ This all-new 160-card set plays as a standalone game or as an expansion to the best-selling original card game.
Become one of twelve new Bosses
Build powerful new Trap and Monster rooms
Cast Epic Spells
Face new challenges, including Hybrid Heroes and Dark Heroes
Just like the original, Boss Monster 2 is designed for players of all skill levels. This set includes everything 2-4 players need for countless hours of dungeon-building fun. Combine it with the original Boss Monster and the possibilities are endless!
Boss Monster 2 will be available at game stores across North America. If you are a retailer interested in carrying Boss Monster, you can order it from over 20 distributors including Alliance, ACD, Everest, GTS, Southern Hobby, PHD, Universal, Aladdin, Mad Al, Lion Rampant (Canada) and Esdevium Games (UK)!
We’re also always interested in hearing from retailers who have questions or suggestions, or who would like us to feature your shop on our official Facebook page! Please use this form to send us a message.
Yesterday was International Siblings Day, today is Tabletop Day, and Monday will be the launch of our next Kickstarter. So this feels like the perfect time for Brotherwise Games to reflect on the past and look toward the future.
A Brief History of Boss Monster
As most of our players know, Boss Monster owes its existence to Kickstarter. We designed Boss Monster as a game we would like to play, and put it on Kickstarter because we got a kick out of the idea that other people would play a game we created. We set our original goal — $12,000 — a few thousand dollars below the absolute rock-bottom cost for a minimum print run with Panda Game Manufacturing. We figured it was worth losing some money if we could get our game into the world.
Fast-forward to the end of our campaign, when we’d blown away that goal and realized Boss Monster could be more than a hobby. While most of the funds we raised during the initial campaign went to covering production and fulfillment costs for nearly 5,000 copies of the game, we had enough to keep working on more Boss Monster. We released Tools of Hero-Kind in early 2014 without an additional Kickstarter, and funded new print runs of the original using the money we made selling the game through game stores around the world.
Boss Monster has continued to pleasantly surprise us, and has become one of the best-selling titles in specialty game stores. We’ve been lucky enough to become one of the “gateway games” for the hobby, with a theme and game style that makes it approachable to new tabletop gamers. Along the way, we’ve sold enough copies of our first two releases to justify a full 160-card sequel. After two years of design, we’re ready to release Boss Monster 2: The Next Level.
Back to Kickstarter
We will be returning to Kickstarter for Boss Monster 2, and a few people have asked us why. After all, most people agree that Kickstarter is at its best for garage projects like the original Boss Monster. But we have a few reasons for one more round of crowdfunding:
It’s fun. Many of our players missed out on our original Kickstarter campaign.Ever since then, we’ve heard people asking when we would have another campaign with cool extras for supporters. We appreciate the idea that people want to support us directly, and running a successful Kickstarter is a feel-good experience for everyone involved.
It lets us do cool stuff. While we could pull off a vanilla edition of Boss Monster 2 without crowdfunding, a Kickstarter will allow us to make The Next Level as cool as we want it to be. A successful Kickstarter will allow us to print a Limited Edition with an awesome box sleeve and holofoil Boss cards. It will allow us to create a Collector Box for sleeved cards, and to get a sense of how much interest people have in that kind of “accessory” release. Our campaign will also have some neat stretch goals dependent on how much we manage to raise.
It spreads the word. There’s nothing like a Kickstarter to drive buzz for a new game. Unless you’re a major publisher like Wizards of the Coast, it’s very hard to pull of a big “release day” in friendly local game stores. Copies of Boss Monster 2 will ship to distributors, then to independent stores, which means they’ll pop up on store shelves over the course of a couple of weeks. A Kickstarter gives us a big event to let everyone know a new version is coming, and reaches people who have never heard of Boss Monster. During our Kickstarter for the Boss Monster app, we saw a big increase in sales of the physical game at stores, and we expect this campaign to also reach new players.
It’s practical. While Boss Monster has been a success, we are still a totally independent family business, run by two people who are also juggling busy day jobs. Printing thousands of copies of a game is always a risk, and a Kickstarter helps us print with confidence while giving us a sense of how much interest there is for a new set.
All that said, we expect only a small fraction of Boss Monster 2 players will pick it up on Kickstarter. We’re only running our campaign for 15 days and we will ship to distributors right after we ship to our backers. We’ll be doing a lot to spread the word as the game reaches stores, and our business is based on making our games a hit for game store owners. Assuming a successful Kickstarter, the Collector Box will hit retailers this Fall and the Paper & Pixels Pack will make a great stocking stuffer this Winter.
Boss Monster has enough momentum that we hope to keep supporting and expanding the game for years to come. We have a long pipeline of ideas, but don’t want to flood stores with too many releases and want to make sure anything we release is carefully playtested.
More importantly, we are eager to publish entirely new games! We have several projects in development and look forward to releasing more games that bring a wide range of players to the table. It’s too early to make announcements on any of these, but expect more tidbits at Gen Con and beyond.
Thanks to all of you who have made Brotherwise Games a reality by buying our games, supporting our campaigns, and spreading the word. Happy Tabletop Day, and happy hero hunting!
From the day Boss Monster hit store shelves last July, it’s been a wild ride. Every time we received a shipment of Boss Monster from our factory, it sold out within a week or two. Whenever we manufactured more units, we thought we were pushing our luck with the quantities we ordered, but orders from our distributors kept increasing. Because our manufacturing partner was based in China, this often left us out of stock for weeks at a time as new units were produced and shipped overseas.
While we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t cool to see that much enthusiasm for our game, we were kicking ourselves every time we went a month without new units in stock. So this year we made a big decision to shift our production to the United States. Our new production partner is Cartamundi USA, the company famous for printing the original editions of Magic: the Gathering. We spent the 90’s playing with their cards, and we couldn’t think of anyone better to take over Boss Monster.
With a new production run, we knew it was time for a new edition, and we’re calling this one Revised Edition. For anyone who already has Boss Monster, the Revised Edition won’t introduce any new cards or anything that would make you need to purchase it again. (Nor does it include Anererak, a Boss card that appeared in Alpha as a bonus for early adopters.)
So what’s new about Revised?
We edited the rulebook to make it clearer, more consistent, and slightly shorter.
We added a new Quick Start Guide that condenses the key rules of Boss Monster onto one (double-sided) page.
Card ability text is a little bigger and easier to read from across a game table.
We’ve switched from the slightly thicker, glossier cards of Alpha edition to a high-quality matte finish that’s easier to shuffle and less prone to deterioration.
There’s nothing mind-blowing in that list, but we think all of these changes will make Boss Monster easier for people to pick up and play. At the end of the day, a game’s success comes down to how many people are willing to try it, and we think these improvements will make the game even more approachable.
The rulebook has been updated to remove any inconsistencies with our Advanced Rules Guide, but the actual game rules have not changed. Even card text remained largely intact, with only one or two minor tweaks like this one:
We were tempted to adjust a couple of cards – we’re looking at you, Crushinator – but decided not to do anything that would “invalidate” the earlier edition. If you want new cards, you’ll have to stick to our Tools of Hero-Kind mini-expansion or wait for the set we’re currently developing.
To any new fans out there, Revised will give you the best rulebook and highest-quality cards we’ve done. To existing fans, there’s no need to “upgrade” your current set. And to both groups, stay tuned to our Facebook page, because we’ll have much bigger news in the future as we continue work on our next major expansion!
Now available in game stores across North America,Tools of Hero-Kind is a 26-card mini-expansion for Boss Monster that introduces a new card type: Items!
Intended for players who are already familiar with the base game, Items increase the challenge of Boss Monster by buffing Heroes. If you’re used to Heroes being pushovers, get ready for a few surprises when Item cards hit the table. You might find a Hero hopping past Rooms with the Boots of Jumping, boosting one another with the Staff of Healing, or plowing through your traps and monsters with an Oversized Sword.
The rules for Items are pretty simple, and the instructions fit on two sides of a single rules card. Here’s a look at those rules:
Pretty simple, right? But if you’re like us, you want to know a game’s rules inside and out, so here’s a more detailed breakdown of those quick rules above.
“The Item deck sits beside the Hero decks. At the Beginning of Turn phase, before Heroes are revealed, reveal one Item (two Items for a four-player game) and place it in town.” This part should be pretty straightforward. Every time you’d reveal Heroes, reveal an Item or two first. We recommend placing Items in a row above or below your Heroes.
“Each Item attaches to the first Hero in town that matches its Treasure icon (or the matching Hero who has been in town longest).” As you reveal each Item, check each Hero that’s already in town, starting with the Hero who has been in town longest. (If you’re following the recommendation from the core game rulebook, that would be the Hero closest to the Hero deck.) If a Hero matches the treasure type of the revealed Item, attach it to that Hero!
“A Universal Item attaches to the first Hero that appears in town (or the Hero who has been in town longest).” Universal Items attach regardless of treasure type. Usually this means they attach to the Hero who’s been in town longest, but if town’s empty it means they’ll attach to whoever shows up in a moment.
“A Hero may have only one attached Item…” This is an important one! The rules say each Hero may have a maximum of one Item, and so far there are no cards in the game that override this.
“…and Items do not attach to special Heroes marked with a star icon.” If you’re lucky enough to be playing with promo cards like Demigod or Trap Master, do not make them even deadlier by attaching Items. (However, there is one card in the game — Orcish Smithy — that allows you to ignore this restriction.)
“Place the attached Item underneath the Hero, with its Hero Ability text visible underneath. The Hero now has this ability until it is killed.” We designed Item cards so they fit under Heroes when attached, and we even included an icon so you can still identify them from across the table without squinting to read the ability. This special Hero Ability is now active, though most Hero Abilities aren’t relevant until a Hero is in a dungeon (or at a dungeon entrance).
“If a Hero with an attached Item survives your dungeon, place the Item face-down in your scorekeeping area.” If the Hero makes it out alive, it stays face-up as a Wound and the Item goes face-down, granting you no benefits. You’ve kept it away from your opponents, and cards like Excavation or Burial Mound might get you a second chance to access the Item, but for now it’s useless to you.
“If you kill a Hero with an attached Item, you may place the Item face-up in your scorekeeping area. However, you may only have one face-up Item. (You choose which item to keep face-up.)” If you kill an Item-equipped Hero, you get to claim the Item! However, you can only have one face-up Item at a time. Before you claim the new Item, you have a choice: A) immediately use your existing Item, B) turn your existing Item face-down, or C) leave the existing Item face-up and turn the new Item face-down.
“During the Build or Adventure phase (whenever you could use a Spell), you may expend an Item to use its Boss Ability.” Like Room abilities, Item abilities can be used whenever you could use a Spell. They obey the same rules, which means that if you use an Item while you are the active player, it resolves before anyone else can react. If you use an Item when someone else is the active player, they may play any number of Spells or abilities before your Item’s Boss Ability resolves.
“Declare the effect and flip the Item face-down to show that it is expended.” To show that an Item is used, flip it face-down. There are also some other effects in Tools of Hero-Kind that can flip an Item face-down, but these do not trigger the ability — they just knock the Item out of commission.
Most of the Hero Abilities and Boss Abilities you’ll see on Item cards are pretty self-explanatory, but here are some important terms to keep in mind.
Enter: A Hero “enters” a Room when it moves from the dungeon entrance into a Room, or from one Room into another. When a Hero enters a Room, apply any Hero or Item abilities, then any Room abilities, then the Room’s damage (in that order).
First: The “first” Room in your dungeon is the leftmost Room, adjacent to your dungeon entrance.
Last: The “last Room in your dungeon” is the rightmost Room, adjacent to your Boss.
Next: When a Hero is in a Room, the “next” Room in a dungeon is the adjacent Room immediately to the right.
Previous: When a Hero is in a Room, the “previous” Room in a dungeon is the adjacent Room immediately to the left.
Survive: When a Hero exits a Room without dying, it “survives.” If a Hero did not enter a Room (because it was deactivated or ignored), the Hero did not survive that Room. If a Hero survives the last Room in your dungeon, leave it face-up in your scorekeeping area and take a Wound!
If you have any other questions, you’re in luck! We have fully updated our Advanced Rules Guide & FAQ to include details on Item ability timing and individual clarifications on nearly every card in the set.
With that, you should be fully armed with the knowledge you need to take on adventurers armed with Tools of Hero-Kind. Good luck, and happy hero hunting!
Our names are Chris and Johnny O’Neal, and we are the founders of Brotherwise Games. Last year we launched a Kickstarter for Boss Monster, a card game that we co-designed. At the time, we were pretty nervous about our ability to raise $12,000 in 30 days without any existing fan base. A year later, Boss Monster is one of the most successful new tabletop games of 2013. The entire experience has been mind-blowing, but here are our favorite moments.
10. The first time we played what would become the final design of the game. After hundreds of playtesting sessions and dozens of variations of the game, we hit upon our core mechanic of “bidding” for heroes with treasure icons. (It wasn’t until later in development that Chris made the fateful suggestion to illustrate our side-scrolling dungeon-building game with pixel art instead of black-and-white doodles.)
9. Indiecade 2012, the first time we ever showed Boss Monster in public. We were totally unprepared …and unaware that we should have reserved a table months in advance. A friendly fellow designer shared half of his table, and before long Boss Monster had drawn the biggest crowd in the tabletop section. (Fun fact: the guy in the glasses enjoying the game was Daniel Dranove, a designer of Cards Against Humanity.)
8. The first five minutes of our Kickstarter. As soon as it went live, when we saw more pledges every time we hit refresh, we realized we weren’t going to have to beg cousins and coworkers to back the game. We spent the whole day excitedly texting each other, totally freaking out, and in a little over 24 hours we’d hit our goal.
7. The end of our Kickstarter …and what came next. Over the course of our Kickstarter campaign, every time we expected to falter, our community of backers managed to surprise us. We had no marketing budget or industry connections, but our backers kept our campaign growing by spreading the word across message boards and social networks every day. Whenever we weren’t sure how to handle something, or what to do for our next stretch goal, our backers were there with advice and support. Most amazingly, our backers were incredibly supportive when we announced that the delivery of our project would be delayed, and they waited with more patience than we would have ever expected.
6. Strategicon 2013. Two months after our Kickstarter, we’d provided all files to our manufacturing partner and were just waiting on the physical side of production. To pass the time, we attended the local Strategicon event in LA. Even though we didn’t have a real booth, we had a blast running demos. And we got to play Boss Monster with Scott Everts (pictured here) and Chris Taylor (slightly off-camera). They created Fallout, which is easily our favorite non-Nintendo video game series!
5. An e-mail from Patrick Rothfuss. On one particularly awesome day, the world’s coolest fantasy author found out we made a parody of his character Kvothe. Instead of asking us to cease and desist, he asked if he could buy a few hundred copies of the card (and the game) to sell for charity. We’ve kept it up, and are now a proud sponsor of Worldbuilders.
4. Comic-Con 2013. During Comic-Con, Boss Monster politely crashed the Tabletop party in downtown San Diego and ran some low-key demo games. The highlight was meeting internet superstar and board game kingmaker Wil Wheaton. Johnny’s fumbled attempt to explain Wil’s connection to our “Anererak” card was super geeky and awkward, but Wil was very nice about it. (Now if only he could get us on Tabletop…)
3. Boss Monster hits YouTube. It was pretty delightful seeing the creators of Super Apartment Bros make an animated Boss Monster video for Machinima. It was even cooler going on SourceFed Nerd, which exposed Boss Monster to tens of thousands of new people.
2. Fun around the world. When we set out to design games, our goal was to make something that the two of us could play during our weekly gaming sessions. When we were feeling ambitious, we phrased our goal as “design a game enjoyed by at least dozens of people.” At this point, we can say we’ve designed a game that has been played in dozens of countries, by thousands of players. Imagining people playing Boss Monster in Singapore and Sweden never ceases to delight us.
1. The chance to experience all of this serendipity and awesomeness as brothers. Running a business together has a ton of relationship pitfalls, but we have 33 years of experience putting up with each other’s shit. We’ve been able to argue about rules, money, and all the aspects of running a business without ever losing sight of the fact that our relationship as brothers comes first. The rest of this list was in chronological order rather than order of coolness, but this is #1 for sure. No matter where things go from here, this will always be one of the coolest things we’ve ever done.
We are thankful for an extremely lucky first year, but the great thing about this little retrospective is that it’s just the beginning. New people are discovering Boss Monster every day, we’re close to releasing our first expansion, and we have another big Kickstarter in our future. Thanks for reading this list, and for being a part of this amazing experience!
Release Date: Coming February 5, 2014 Contents: 26 new cards (20 Items, 4 Advanced Rooms, 2 Spells) MSRP: $9.95
Tools of Hero-Kind is the first mini-expansion for Boss Monster: the Dungeon-Building Card Game. If you have grown accustomed to Heroes as puny resources to be gathered and slain, get ready for the adventurers to strike back! This mini-expansion introduces new Item cards that make Heroes more formidable. But if you can defeat these heavily-armed Heroes, you can claim their Items to gain new offensive abilities!
This expansion is designed for 2-4 players who already have a copy of Boss Monster: the Dungeon-Building Card Game. Power up your game with Tools of Hero-Kind!
Since we first launched Boss Monster, players have been asking when we’d convert it into an app. After all, the only thing better than a tabletop game based on classic video games is a video game based on a tabletop game based on classic video games!
Now we’re issuing an open call for app developers to submit licensing proposals for Boss Monster. We are considering everyone from well known developers to independent programmers, but we’ll ultimately choose the partner who we believe is best equipped to give the world a kick-ass version of the world’s greatest Hero-slaying card game.
If you’re a developer visiting this page who’s new to Boss Monster, be sure to check out some of the great press we’ve received, spend some time with the rules, and pick up a copy of the game! Then download the RFP and contact us with any questions.
During the last 31 days, Boss Monster has grown from two brothers’ dream project into a Kickstarter hit. With 4,689 backers and over $215,056 raised, Boss Monster is officially the #6 tabletop game of all time on Kickstarter, and the #1 card game. As a project that started with no pedigree and minimal marketing, it’s clear that something about the retro theme and playful pixel art just clicked with gamers. But it’s also a huge testament to the game’s passionate and supportive community of backers, who liked and posted and tweeted tirelessly to spread the word about this project.
The Kickstarter page freezes as soon as a project concludes, so we’re posting our final tally of stretch goals right here:
In the weeks and months to come, expect to see some new here at bwisegames.com, as well as occasional updates at our Kickstarter page and on Facebook. For now, we have to shift our attention from promotion and community management so we can handle the thousand details that come with sending our files to print, reviewing samples, planning for fulfillment, and paying our vendors. It’s not as fun as designing games or replying to comments from our community, but it’s crucial to ensure we can deliver a quality game in Q1 2013.
For those of you who just missed the campaign, never fear: we’ll be setting up an online store to take pre-orders this week, at the final suggested retail price of $25. We’ll also be updating our website with backer forums, timed to go live in time for discussion once Super-Speed and Unlimited Lives backers receive their prototype copies in December.
To everyone who brought us to this point, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The year ahead will be a big one for Brotherwise Games, and all of you will be right at the heart of what we’re doing. Stay tuned, because there’s a lot to look forward to!