Unearth represents the combined efforts of many, many people. This week, we’d like to shine the spotlight on the game’s designers: Matthew Ransom and Jason Harner. They’re the true creators of Unearth, and we at Brotherwise have been honored to work with them over the past year. We recently asked Jason and Matt to answer a few questions about themselves and their design process. Here’s a sneak peek into the lives of a couple real, live game designers:
Brotherwise: Do you remember when you first decided to become game designers? Tell us about that moment.
Jason and Matt: We decided to start seriously designing games after we attended GenCon 2013. It had been a few years since we had attended a big convention, and we were blown away by the exciting designs we saw at the con that year. It sparked something in us creatively, and we decided to challenge ourselves to create something new and to try to make our contribution to the board game community.
Brotherwise: What was the seed of Unearth? How did the idea first get started?
J&M: It originally came from a dice wargame we created in about 2 minutes when we were kids. We used the multi-colored dice a few of us had on hand. It had a hierarchy between the colors like suits of cards. We remembered the game a few years ago when we were brainstorming game design ideas, and many iterations later that spark of an idea became Unearth.
Brotherwise: Remind us how we met you, and tell us why did you decided to pitch your game to Brotherwise.
J&M: When we originally decided to become game designers, we were planning to self-publish and do Kickstarter for our games. We had seen the huge success Brotherwise had with Boss Monster and it inspired us. Chris and Johnny had managed to bring their dream to life and we believed we could too.
A few years later we had decided that we actually didn’t want to go the self-publishing route; our lives are pretty busy already and were afraid we would lose the time to actually design our games if we became publishers. We remembered Brotherwise and we made it a priority to try and sit down with them for a game pitch.
As things turned out we hit it off right away with them when we first met them in person at GenCon 2015, and our collaboration with them on Unearth has been a great experience.
Brotherwise: What was the hardest part about designing Unearth?
J&M: As first time designers, the hardest part was trying to figure out our own design process. We had to learn how to create a game for a broader audience than just our immediate friends, and that required different design strategies. We learned a lot about the importance of focusing on “core gameplay” and the elements that make the game fun. In Unearth the core gameplay is the excitement and unpredictability of rolling the dice. Once we had developed that idea and focused on making the other gameplay elements support it, refining the game became much easier.
Brotherwise: What do each of you bring to the game design process?
J&M: We each bring a different perspective to game design which ties into our careers. Matt is a professional musician and excels at the raw creativity needed to get an idea started, while Jason is an analytical chemist who likes to dig into how and why the game functions the way it does. While we collaborate on all of the aspects of our designs, we individually excel at different parts of the process.
We also challenge each other’s ideas, sometimes pretty vigorously. One of the hardest parts of game design can be letting go of a mechanism that you really like, but just doesn’t fit the game. It’s helpful to have a collaborator to help you gain better perspective on the success of failure of what you have designed. We both have a high standard for what we like to see in games that we play, and if something doesn’t meet with that standard, it has to go, no matter how much one of us might be attached to it.
Brotherwise: What are your plans for future games? Will we see more from Harner and Ransom? (Which sounds like an 80’s TV show with a cool car, btw).
J&M: We have some cool ideas for new games. We aren’t ready to reveal much about them yet, but we’re very excited to try some new directions in our game designs!
Matthew Ransom (left) and Jason Harner, designers of Unearth
This is a big weekend for Brotherwise Games. Not only are we live at Origins, not only are we selling Implements of Destruction for the first time at the show, but we’ve also launched our one-month pre-order campaign for Unearth! It’s a lot to have going on, and we couldn’t be more excited.
Our New Game
If you’ve been following our new Brotherwise Games Facebook page, or even our more established Boss Monster page, you know we’ve been teasing Unearth for quite a while. Unearth is a bend-your-luck game of dice placement and set collection. Designed by Jason Harner and Matthew Ransom, it’s fun, fast-paced, and features beautiful hexel art by Jesse Riggle. To learn more about it, watch our overview video hosted by Geek & Sundry’s Ivan Van Norman:
Early copies of Unearth are just beginning to reach reviewers, but we’re already hearing great feedback from people who have played it at select demo events. Check out this BoardGameGeek review from someone who had a chance to play a bunch of sessions. While you’re at it, stop by the Unearth page and check out more info.
A Good Problem to Have
When we first launched our pre-order page, we could tell things were going well. We posted on Facebook, put up banner ads on BoardGameGeek, and watched a steady flow of pre-orders roll in. But then we saw more traffic, and the site started to slow down, and then it crashed completely. While it’s hard to complain when so many people are excited about Unearth, it was lousy timing for our site to go down. Hours of tech support later, BrotherwiseGames.com has been migrated to a more robust server and should be able to handle anything. Turns out a couple of guys at Bluehost are Boss Monster fans, and they worked hard to resolve the issue!
Where Gaming Begins
Amidst all this excitement, we are having a blast at Origins Game Fair! Gamers from across the Midwest have descended upon Columbus for five days of gaming. The show is the first place you can pick up Implements of Destruction, the all-new Item-based mini-expansion for Boss Monster. It has been a hit, but we’ve seen the biggest crowds at our Unearth tables.
If you’re at Origins, stop by to pick up a copy of the new set, say hi to Brother One (if he’s not off at a board game tournament), and demo the new games!
More to Come
We’ll be posting more updates over the next month, from a full gameplay video to an interview with the designers. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the latest updates, message us if you have any questions, and — if you haven’t already — don’t forget to pre-order!
Ever since we released The Next Level (also known as Boss Monster 2) we’ve had players asking for advice on how to combine it with their other Boss Monster cards. Our response has always been to encourage players to explore and experiment, but we know some people are looking for more concrete direction. Once you’ve played a few standalone games of The Next Level, read on to learn three ways you can combine both versions of Boss Monster. (Or download this article as an easy-to-print PDF.)
1. The Monster Mash-Up
The simplest way to combine BM1 and BM2 is to pick one set of Heroes (we prefer the fancier Next Level Heroes), set aside the other set’s Heroes, and just shuffle together the rest of the decks: Bosses, Rooms, and Spells.
This combo maximizes variety, makes the game more unpredictable, and takes advantage of synergies between cards in the two sets. To really maximize the fun, try throwing in some of the powerful new cards from Paper & Pixels or the Collector Box
2. The Official Combo
For a balanced Boss Monster experience featuring our favorite cards, follow this deck list. It preserves many of the most classic cards from the original, while sticking to the more consistent power level of cards in The Next Level. We call it “the official combo.”
20 Bosses All Bosses from BM1 and TNL
42 Heroes All Heroes from The Next Level (none from BM1)
Because this deck list contains only 75 Rooms, it means you can easily combine this set with Crash Landing for 5-6 player games. The resulting experience is ideal for big multiplayer matches.
3. The E-Rated Combo
Boss Monster was designed as an adult-oriented PG-13 game, but we’ve heard many stories of parents playing with their kids. While we love the idea of young boardgamers learning to build dungeons, the theme of hero-slaying can sometimes be a little mature. Here’s a combo that lightens things up:
35 Spells 1x All Your Base (TNL) 2x Annihilator (BM1) 2x Another Castle (TNL) 2x Fairy Fountain (TNL) 2x Fear (BM1) 2x Giant Size (BM1) 2x Hiring Spree (TNL) 2x Motivation (BM1) 2x Party Up (TNL) 1x Princess in Peril (BM1) 1x Secret Stash (TNL) 2x Teleportation (BM1) 2x Wild Monster (TNL)
15 Multi-Treasure Rooms 2x Construction Zone (BM1) 2x Cursed Tomb (TNL) 2x Dragon Hatchery (BM1) 1x Hatchling’s Hoard (TNL) 2x Mimic Vault (BM1) 2x Monstrous Monument (BM1) 2x Save Point (TNL) 2x Warp Tube (TNL)
In addition to removing cards with pixelated blood or saucy innuendo, this combination avoids the wordiest and most complicated cards. That means it’s also a great set for teaching the game to more casual players!
For a more challenging game that gives the Heroes an edge, Tools of Hero-Kind can be added to any of the above combinations. The only scenario where that gets a little out of whack is if you add Tools of Hero-Kind to a Crash Landing game. However, we have a solution coming in summer 2017: Implements of Destruction! This all-new mini-expansion includes sci-fi Item cards perfect for Explorers, as well as new Items for the other Hero types.
What’s Your Combo?
The three combinations above are just a starting point. We love customizing the games we play, and we hope you’ll do the same with Boss Monster! Here are the guidelines we shared in our Next Level FAQ:
Include 2 Advanced Rooms for every 5-6 ordinary Rooms.
Include equal numbers of the four treasure types (including Hybrid Rooms).
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).
Include 24 ordinary Heroes (plus the Fool) 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.
With these guidelines and examples in mind, we hope you have fun building your own Boss Monster experience. To make sure you have all the deck-building tools you need, be sure to visit our online store for a copy of The Next Level and other expansions!
Loving Boss Monster but sad we didn’t include your favorite video game reference? Never fear, you can create your own custom Boss Monster cards using the amazing tools at DriveThruCards.com.
The card creator allows you to create every type of Boss Monster card, from Bosses to Items.
You choose the card text, you provide the special abilities, and you can choose from our provided custom art, or upload your own!
And once you’ve got your cards created, print them out and get them shipped straight to you! There are hundreds of community created cards already on the site to look at, and even some official Boss Monster errata cards that correct mistakes in cards in earlier printings of the game!
Barnes & Noble is a terrific venue for non-gamers to encounter and learn about the amazing world of tabletop. We’re thrilled to be one of their featured games at this event. Folks who stop by to play Boss Monster can walk away with an exclusive promo card, and maybe even the prestigious cardboard crown for the evening.
Since the debut of Boss Monster, players have been clamoring for a playmat to enhance their tabletop experience. Now they can have one. This mat is 24.25 x 14.25 inches and comes in gorgeous four-color printing. Mats are rolled in a 15 x 1.5 x 1.5 inch clear plastic tube and include a hangtag on the top stopper. The mat layout is optimized and labeled for a two-player game, making Boss Monster even easier to teach!
Brotherwise Stock Code is BGM007 UPC is 856934004061 MSRP is $19.95. Shipping in early November
New Product: Boss Monster 2: The Limited Edition
We are making the The Limited Edition version of Boss Monster 2 available to retailers this holiday season. This one-time printing of the standalone expansion includes a set of 14 holofoil cards, a unique boss holo-card, and a beautiful four-color sleeve with alternate box art. The game, previously available only to our Kickstarter backers and at conventions, is otherwise identical to the standard version of Boss Monster 2.
Brotherwise Stock Code is BGM004 UPC is 856934004047 MSRP is $32.95. Shipping in early November
Boss Monster 2 Retailer Incentive Program
While supplies last, retailers who order Brotherwise products from participating distributors will receive one free copy of the Boss Monster: Paper and Pixels Pack for every copy of Boss Monster 2 (standard edition or Limited Edition) ordered from September 28th to November 6th.
The Paper and Pixels pack is a non-random set of 14 all-new cards. Originally designed for the Boss Monster PC and tablet app, now these cards come to to the tabletop with new dice- and token-driven mechanics.
Paper and Pixels packs will be shipped loose with no countertop display unit. Each pack has a built in hang tab.
Stock information on the Paper and Pixels pack is provided below:
Brotherwise Stock Code is BGM005 UPC is 856934004023 MSRP is $3.99 Shipping from late September to early November
For more details, click the following links or contact your distributor!
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!