21 November 2018
Boss Monster may not have been based on any video game in particular, but it got the feeling of them just right.
After several expansions and a sequel, the latest standalone instalment, Boss Monster: The Rise of Minibosses, is here to lure more brave but foolish heroes into even more treacherous dungeons.
Depending on how much you enjoyed the first two games, Rise of the Minibosses will either be a pleasant addition to a growing collection of Boss Monster decks or a little bit of a letdown.
As all the sets can work together, this new Boss Monster doesn’t offer anything particularly different mechanically. Players are still bosses building their dungeon and attracting specific types of hero to meet their demise along the way.
Minibosses are special cards that act as an upgrade to a room and can be levelled up. They require coins to be built – a new addition to the game – and upgraded to become more powerful, before eventually reverting to their starting level.
If you were hoping that the third instalment of the game would do something new, the addition of miniboss cards will not feel satisfactory. Tucking them under a room card and levelling-up feels appropriate to the theme, but in terms of actual gameplay they change very little. It is easy to play a whole game without using minibosses once and still win.
What’s more, for a whole new game named after a specific mechanic, the miniboss cards simply don’t come up that often. Especially in games with smaller groups, they are often a rarity and some players never draw any. This feels like a disappointment both because players don’t get to engage with the new mechanic and because it suggests that minibosses aren’t that important in the first place.
Rise of the Minibosses tries to fulfil a lot of requirements: fitting alongside the existing Boss Monster decks so they can continue to all be played together, something that fans might appreciate, while still being suitable for newcomers. In return, it sacrifices its ambition of offering anything different from what's come before.
Designer: Johnny O’Neal, Chris O’Neal
Time: 45 minutes
This review originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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