Boss Monster—A Double-Take Review

bossmonstercoverYes, no, maybe... I don't know. Can you repeat the question?You're not the boss of me now, and you're not so big!

- They Might Be Giants

Last year saw the onset of one of the biggest crazes to hit board games: card games that look like video games from 25 years ago.

Today we're taking a look at one of the most successfully crowd-funded games in this genre—Boss Monster: The Dungeon-Building Game.

Do you have what it takes to build the best, baddest, and most enticing dungeon, in order to destroy the hapless heroes that may wander in looking to loot your treasure? Let's take a look!

The Overview

You are a Boss Monster, and you're building your dungeon room by room. You know those jerky heroes from the town will come for the loot, so you have to build a dungeon that can take them down—or they'll take you down.

The Components

Cards...lots and lots of cards. There are several different types:

  • Boss Cards—These indicate which character you will be for the game.
  • Hero Cards—There are two types of Hero Cards, the regular type and the epic type (which sport a gold back). These are your enemies, and killing them off is ultimately how you score points to win the game.
  • Room Cards—This is the most plentiful type of card, and there are a few different types of Rooms, including trap Rooms, and monster Rooms. And there are basic and advanced Rooms in each type.
  • Spell Cards—Spells are a little hard to get into your hand, but they act as a one-time event or interrupt card that can be played during either the Build Phase, or the Adventure Phase, but now we're getting ahead of ourselves.

photo 2The Setup

Setup the Hero Deck by including the proper heroes depending on the number of players (each hero has a number of icons denoting the minimum amount of players in the game for that card to be used in). Each player is then randomly dealt a Boss Card, which will give them an identity, as well as an XP value that will help when determining who goes first. It will also give them a one-time level-up ability. Each player then draws five Room Cards and two Spell Cards, and chooses two among all of those to discard. They then build their first Room by placing a Room of their choice to the left of their Boss Card. Then you're ready to go!

The Gameplay

The game plays in a series of rounds rather than player turns. Here is a brief summary of how this looks:

Beginning Phase—Heroes are revealed from the Hero Deck (one for each player in the game). These Heroes will have a heart symbol with a number in it, indicating how many hit points they can withstand, and a treasure icon, which is the type of treasure they've come looking for.

Build Phase—Each player can build one Room in his or her dungeon (building right to left from their Boss Card). Advanced Rooms can only be built onto an existing standard Room with the same treasure icon.

Bait Phase—Each dungeon will be inspected for the number and type of treasure types and compared with the Heroes in town, and whoever has the most of one type will lure each Hero of the matching type to the entrance of their dungeon. If there is a tie, then no one will lure the Hero, and likewise, if there is no treasure in any of the dungeons, then the Hero stays in town.

Adventure Phase—The Heroes who are brave enough to venture into the dungeon seeking plunder go through each Room from left to right until they are either killed or reach the Boss. Room cards have a black heart icon with a number that indicates the amount of damage it inflicts on the hero. If the hero is killed, it's turned over revealing either one or two gold coins, depending on the level of the Hero (these are the VP's, referred to as souls; Epic Heroes apparently have two souls). If the Hero makes it through without dying, it's placed under the Boss Card leaving the one or two blood spots exposed, which represent a wound to your Boss.

End of Turn—Check to see if someone won. If a player receives 5 wounds, that player is out of the game; if a player at any time gains 10 souls/points, he or she is declared the winner. If not, go to Beginning Phase.

photo 3The Verdict

Jeremiah—The thing I keep coming back to on this game is that it's very unique. And I mean that as a compliment. Boss Monster is exactly what it says it is: it's a game about building a dungeon, and being the best bad guy at the table. The components are simple: It's cards. But the graphic design is genius; it strikes that sentimental/nostalgic/novelty button just right.

Firestone—I agree. The theme is unique and fun and completely integrated. There are a couple of other games that are similar (Dungeon Lords, for instance), but this is of filler weight and length, so doesn't feel at all like it's ripping off. I really do like the pixelly, retro art. It's nostalgic, but man, there are a LOT of games out now that are putting all of their gameplay eggs into the nostalgic, 8-bit basket.

Jeremiah—Yeah, it's a "thing" right now. Just like after Dominion was a huge success we saw a ton of deck-builders, now that a few Kickstarters have gone bonkers with the retro look, many others are following suit.

Back to my statement about this game being unique: Unlike so many games that are hitting the market, it's really hard to slot this into any genre, in terms of gameplay mechanics. It's not deck-building, or set-collection, or resource-management. It's dungeon-building and killing heroes with some hand management; it's also fun.

Firestone—I completely disagree on the fun. But then...I hate fun, right? ;) This is the sort of game that's truly "dripping with theme," but unfortunately they spent all of their effort on theme, and little on the gameplay. I found it boring and repetitive, and I never felt that I had much control or meaningful decisions to make.

I built my dungeon, but whether it was enticing to a Hero was entirely dependent on which Heroes came out from that random deck of cards. If you built a Magic-heavy dungeon and a Magic Hero came out, good for you! If a Thief came out...tough noogies. Sure you could spread out the type of treasure, but that just meant that anyone who specialized even a little would beat you. And since you can only have five rooms in your dungeon, you have to commit and then hope for the best. Blech.

photo 4Jeremiah—Well if I'm recalling properly, I'm pretty sure there is an even number of the different types of Heroes in the deck—with the exception of the fool and a couple other specials—which means as you go through the deck if you are specializing, each dungeon is going to have a shot at enticing the same amount if Heroes into it. Sure you're going to have to decide whether to compete with your opponents or try to diversify and snag one or two of each type. And sometimes you just have to play the cards you're dealt... That's why it's a card game. ;)

Firestone—Look, I know 8-bit games, and practically every boss monster I ever fought...FOUGHT BACK! But if a Hero gets to my Boss Monster he just rolls over and takes a hit? Wha?! Most of this game is thematically rich, but that just detracts from the theme. Why even have different Boss Monsters if all they really are is a card to track hits? Oh, level-up powers. Zzzz... And don't get me started on the different XP for the Bosses. "Wait...XP breaks ties, and we're randomly dealt these Boss Cards?"

Jeremiah—Well, yeah, the Boss takes ONE hit, and then devours or beats to a bloody pulp or whatevers the Hero; it takes 5 heroes to take down the boss; I'm totally okay with that.

It's a short game and the level-ups being a once-a-game bonus is sometimes just enough to get you back in the thick of it! XP breaks ties, and higher XP means a little weaker power for your level-up ability; it seems to balance out pretty well to me. If you get a higher XP Boss then you get an initial advantage, but it evens out when you level up. I was totally fine with that.

Firestone—I understand that the enjoyment of these sort of games is highly dependent on the group. But most of the people I game with don't like "experience" games, or theme-only games (which is why I LIKE gaming with them), and this game went over like a lead balloon.

My oldest liked the theme, and thought the gameplay was kinda fun. But after the second game even he was acting visibly bored.

I know the guys at Brotherwise made a TON of money on this Kickstarter campaign, so good for them. Honestly. But for me, this is just thematically rich, and gameplay poor.

Jeremiah—The only reason I would hesitate to play this with anyone and everyone is that there are a few cards that are just a shade past family friendly because of their title/concept, such as the Succubus Spa, and the Vampire Bordello. There's nothing gratuitous on them, unless extremely pixelated babes are your thing... Thematically they make sense, but I would suggest pulling those cards out before playing with the kiddos.

Firestone—I don't begrudge them adding these cards, since they fit thematically. But yeah...I certainly pulled them out when I was playing with my 9-year-old...

Jeremiah Final Thoughts—I have yet to play this game just once—it plays fast, and it leaves you wanting another go 'round. Boss Monster is fun, thematic, and unique; I recommend you put this one on the table!

Firestone Final Thoughts—It works for kids. It might work as an occasional filler. And there are certain gaming groups that will eat this up. But as for me and my game group, we'll be keeping this one off the table.

Theology Of Games would like to thank Brotherwise Games for providing review copies of Boss Monster. This in no way affected our opinion of the game.

Thanks for reading! Have you played Boss Monster? Which one of us do you agree with? Let us know in the comments!

2013 Holiday Gift Guide—Gateway Games

Greetings! We're here again with our next selection of games for this special time of the year, when we show our love and affection for one another with the giving of gifts. Today's list of games are for those who want to say, "I know you really, really LOVE Monopoly, but you've got to open your eyes to a much bigger and better world of board games." So today we present our list of gateway games. These games will be sure to shake the very foundations of everything you thought you knew about board games, if you've done little more than passing "Go" and collecting $200.

ticketTicket To Ride—Yeah, this is a standard choice, but I (Firestone) still think this is the best gateway game out there. It's colorful. It has great production values. The rules are easy to explain. And there's just enough luck that the newcomers have a chance to win, too. Oh yeah, and it's fun! And if they like this, there are a number of expansions and maps you can slowly add in.

Cost: $40

(Find it online)

Ages: 8 and up


la bocaLa Boca—La Boca is hard to describe. People play in teams, but the teams rotate, so you'll be teamed with each other player twice. Each person stands on one side of the board, and a card is placed between you two, with complementary images of colorful wooden blocks. You start the timer and you each are trying to create the image on your side of the card, using those blocks. Once you've both moved the blocks so that the image is exactly as it is on the card, you stop the timer. If you're both right, you get VPs based on how long it took you to build it. The game comes with an "advanced" block that just makes the game even more challenging. My (Firestone) group played this for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and we've played it many times since then. It's the sort of game you could pull out with anyone of any gamer level—from newbie to seasoned vet. It just works.

Cost: $40

(Find it online)

Ages: 13 and up, though this seems high to me. I think a 10-year-old would do just fine with it.

kerflipcoverKerflip!—Tired of Scrabble? Yeah. We are too. Kerflip delves into the realm of word games that hasn’t seen innovation since Words with Friends came along… Which really wasn’t an innovation.

Anyway, in Kerflip players grab letter tiles from a bag, drop them on the board and shout out the first and/or best word they see. Players are awarded points for using letters first, and each subsequent player to use a letter gets half the points. This game also features one of the best board/box designs we’ve seen for a game… ever.

Cost: $25

(Find it online)

Ages: 8 and up


FluxxFluxx: The Board Game—The board game iteration of Looney Labs classic card game Fluxx, Fluxx: The Board Game is the M.C. Esher of board games. Light gameplay with lots of fun for the casual gamer—oh and there’s still a healthy dose of chaos mixed in! Players familiar with Fluxx will see many cards and concepts that made Fluxx what it is today, but there are some great added twists with Fluxx: The Board Game's modular board and game-changing rules!

Cost: $30

(Find it online)

Ages: 8 and up


bossmonstercoverBoss Monster—Brotherwise Games came out of nowhere on Kickstarter with their debut title Boss Monster: The Dungeon-Building Game. In this pixelated card game, players take on the roles of the antagonist "Boss." Using room and spell cards, your job is to create an enticing dungeon full of both bountiful treasure and unspeakable danger! Each round players add to their dungeon in hopes of killing off hapless adventurers before they prevail! Boss Monster is a fun, unique, and thematic card game for 2-4 players!

Cost:: $25

(Find it online)

Ages: 13 and up.

Review: Coming soon, we promise!!!

bonanzaBohnanza—Here's another classic choice. This card game sounds weird: You're bean farmers and you're trying to be a better bean farmer than your opponents. But you have to work with them to get your beans planted. I told you it sounds weird. But it's a fun card game that's cheap and portable.

Cost: $20

(Find it online)

Thanks for joining us once again for another installment in our 2013 Christmas Holiday Gift Guide!

Don't forget to sign up to get posts delivered directly to your email box! Just type your email address in that little box over on the right!!


Contests, Updates, and Podcasts! Oh My!

Hey Everyone! Jeremiah checking in with you to give you some cool updates and news!

We announced earlier this week that we are giving away a copy of Fluxx: The Board Game to our YouTube subscribers, so head over to our YouTube Channel, click subscribe and tell your friends!

Check out the video after the jump for all kinds of great news and info on what you can expect from TOG in the very near future!

And yes! We have recorded our first episode of the Theology of Games Podcast! We'll be going through the process of getting it listed in iTunes and we'll let you know when and where you can find that as soon as humanly possible! [youtube=]

Don't forget those interweb things!

Facebook! Twitter! Instagram!

Thanks for reading and watching!

Who's The Boss? Contest #3 Winner!

bossmonstercoverWell, our third giveaway is over. Once again, I went to, plugged the blog's email followers in, and BOOM! So who's the boss? No, it's not Tony Danza, it's...


Thanks go out to Brotherwise Games for donating a game to the cause. And thanks so much to all of you for making this 1-year blogiversary so fun and special. We're gearing up for some podcasting and video reviews, so stay tuned!

Podcast Poll #2, and Contest #3

podcast-microphoneWe wanted to take a moment and let you know that you can still contribute to the poll we're conducting as we prepare to launch our very own podcast in mere weeks! And you can sound off in our second podcast poll as well! If you have friends who are gamers, and enjoy a good podcast, please share this with them as we've found the feedback here extremely valuable! If you have any other advice, requests, comments, opinions etc, please use the comments section below to sound off! Truly, we appreciate your feedback and your input, and will definitely put it to good use as we make this dream of ours a reality!

[polldaddy poll=7234366]

[polldaddy poll=7254594]

And don't forget to enter to win our third contest as we celebrate our Blogiversary! This week we're giving away a free copy of Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building game! Simply subscribe to the blog and you're entered to win!! (Again this contest is only open to those living in the US and Canada—sorry.)

Thanks, as always, for reading, and thanks for all the feedback! Don't forget to look for us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

Blogiversary Giveaway #3!

We've definitely had a lot of fun the first two weeks of this month, giving away some great games to our great readers. It's like Christmas in July here on TOG, and we're loving it! This week is no different, and we are beyond excited about the game we're giving away! Well, what is it?

This week we're partying, like a boss.

A Boss Monster that is!!

That's right: This week's giveaway is a free copy of the Kickstarter smash hit Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game!

In December we interviewed the guys of Brotherwise, creators of Boss Monster, and they have joined in the party this month and generously supplied us with this copy to give away as a part of our month-long blogiversary celebration!bossmonster So, how do you enter to win this prestigious award? It's simple: Just subscribe to the blog, and you're in! Already subscribed to the blog? Well, you're in!

While it's not required, we would appreciate it if you shared this post with your friends, family and all those folks you have contact with via social media! We're super excited to be able to give away all of these great games this month, and the more you share our contests with your social circles, the more prizes we'll be able to give away!

There is a little bit of fine print: Once again we can not offer this to folks who live outside of the US or Canada. All of our funds are going towards producing the new podcast, and can't squeeze the extra funds to ship the boss too far.

You can order a copy of Boss Monster right now, right here. And it will be on store shelves the week of July 29. Or you can enter here to win it a few days early from us right here at TOG! You can find out all things Brotherwise at

Thanks so much for reading our blog; it truly is awesome that you read, and we hope you understand that giving away a few games every now and then is just a very small way of showing how much we appreciate your readership!!

Don't forget to check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. And don't forget to subscribe!!!

We Interview Jeremiah Isley!

Jeremiah2Jeremiah is one half of the team here at Theology Of Games, and since Reiner Knizia won't return our emails, we thought it would be fun to interview each other! (We haven't actually tried to contact Reiner. I'm sure he's a nice guy who replies to every email he receives. Seriously, us.) Thanks for agreeing to answer some questions, Jeremiah. So tell us a little about yourself.

Sure thing! My interests in life are about as varied and polarizing at times as you could think of. I love live theatre, and professional dance; I studied dance for over 13 years and still appear as a guest artist annually in the Nutcracker for a local professional company. I also worked for many years as a stagehand both in the local stagehand’s union, and as a freelancer. I’m also a trained audio engineer and have mixed for a few pretty big names over the years. I’m a huge football fan, and a glutton for the punishment of being a Cleveland sports fan. I've been married very happily for over 10 years, and have two sons, ages 4 and 6, who are the craziest, most awesome, and caring boys ever! We enjoy the outdoors, and like to canoe, hike, raft, and camp whenever the opportunity presents itself. We love to geocache too—nothing like using billion-dollar satellites to find Tupperware in the woods! I also play guitar, drums, bass, and a smidgen of keys. My current day job is in the AV department at a satellite campus for a local state university, and for the last three years I was the youth director at my church until I recently stepped down. Oh, and I co-write this blog.

How did you first get mixed up in these type of board games?

My path to board gaming really came through the collectible card game craze of the nineties, when everything was turned into a collectible card game. My brother and I played Marvel Overpower (which in hindsight is a terrible game!) and then we got into Middle Earth (which is an awesome game!). I loved the depth of strategy it took to do well at games like that. Middle Earth was also a great multiplayer game so we could have a few friends over, put the animated version of LotR on TV and play all night. (No, we weren’t the cool kids in town.) I then went through a long period of time of playing only video games, specifically Socom Navy Seals (shout out to my old clan SV!). I enjoyed video games, but the draw of Socom for me was the social side of being in a clan and working together as a team; it was more of a social activity than a gaming habit. I think that’s what I really enjoy about board games: The games themselves are great fun and all, but sitting down and having face-to-face interaction with good folks is better than any game I’ve played. For me the world of board games, like so many others, came through Catan; once that gateway opened up, all bets were off... I pretty much exclusively play board and card games now; the ps3 is basically a Netflix machine.

How has your faith affected you as a gamer?

I'd say pretty heavily. A lot of times it gets easy as a Christian to try and make your faith or your beliefs fit the mold of your interests, or political or social practices, when we should really be holding those things we enjoy up to the light of scripture and see them for what they are. The gaming world is full of thematic elements that dabble in the fantastic or supernatural—that's part of its allure. It's for this reason I tread lightly when checking out games, and especially before buying them. Many times a game is pretty benign, but other times I'll have to pass on a particular title. I try not to get hung up on those titles I won't play. There are literally hundreds of great games being published each year, so there are plenty of games to choose from that don't give me pause.

You have two boys. What are some of your favorite games to play with them?

Well, we got them Loopin' Louie for Christmas, or "Woopy Wooin" as my 4-year-old calls it, and they haven't stopped playing it. They also really enjoy Forbidden Island a lot! My oldest is six and has a pretty good handle on playing Carcassonne and Castle Panic, too.

Does your wife enjoy board games?

Yes, she gets incredibly frustrated when I teach them to her, but once we get through that she usually enjoys playing them. However, she does have her limits; she told our sons the other day that she doesn't play "Star Wars games," but she enjoys Carcassonne, Kingdom Builder, The Resistance, and a good deal more. As long as it doesn’t have a terribly nerdy theme, or a billion rules, she’s a gamer. She won’t sit and play an LCG, but Catan, yes.

Is it true you shaved your head so you’d look more like me?

There's not a shred of truth to that rumor. Although I did convince my sons that it would be cool because I would look like the Silver Surfer. My poor wife had gone to the grocery store one evening and left us home alone; when she returned I was completely clean shaven. I’m enjoying the new look, although the first winter has been a little rough.—even if there's not much there, insulates your head more than you think...

What are your Top 5 games…and tell us a about why you like them so much.

This is in no particular order, because I don’t think I could actually pick a favorite.

  1. Lord of the Rings the Card Game—When I picked this up, I thought, “I don’t know about this whole co-op thing...” But one play through it and I was hooked! We played through the whole first cycle of expansions and are part way through the Khazad-Dum quests. It’s great, really deep game play, scales great for 1-4 players, and has a continuous story line. It’s almost like playing a role playing game without having to put in all the work to set it up. The down side to this game is the money to keep up with the quest packs, and they don’t feel that replayable after you’ve defeated a quest.
  2. The Resistance—I love this game because it is everything that LOTR is not. Really simple game mechanics and tons of backstabbing and chicanery! I’ve never played this game and not had people ask me to play it again—and ask where they can get their own copy. I love that you can play up to 10 people at once, although it’s hard to find 10 people that play it well all at the same time. I’m REALLY hoping they retheme the plot cards for Avalon because using the original ones really kills the mood.
  3. Carcassonne—Although recently this game is getting a little overplayed for me right now. I still love the game, and it took about 784 game plays to feel overplayed. There’s a solid base of expansions to keep it fresh, mix it up, and throw you for a loop. It’s a very good game to act as a next step for my friends who are ready to move on from Catan, and it plays up to 6 very well.
  4. Pirates of the Spanish Main—I know, this is kind of an oddball title, and no they don’t still make the game. But building those little pirate ship and sailing them around the dinner table looking for treasure is just a lot of fun. I have a HUGE fleet of literally thousands of ships. My gaming friends and I haven’t played in a while (which is very unfortunate), but it’s a really fun game with very high replayability!
  5. Fluxx—It’s an old standby with lots of different versions that add to the craziness of it. I’m probably most partial to Zombie Fluxx. We’ve had a lot of good times and good laughs over this game, as well as some frustrating defeats. Just a good time all around.

What are some games you’re looking forward to playing in 2013?

One of the titles I’m really looking forward to is Boss Monster; it kind of crept under our radar last year, as we didn’t find out about it until their Kickstarter was almost finished, but playing the bad guy is always fun. I’m also really looking forward to the multiplayer expansion for the new Star Wars The Card Game. I like the game as it is, but I think it will really come into its own when it supports 2-3 light side players teaming up against a very powerful dark side player. I’m also REALLY hoping that Wizkids gets the Lord of the Rings dice building game to market soon! Quarriors just barely slipped out of my top 5, and I’m of course a fanboy when it comes to Tolkien. And my boys will be very excited to hear that Forbidden Desert is on its way! One-Word Answers:

Favorite Doctor? Tom Baker

Grail game you’d like to find a copy of? My old 1st edition of Fluxx.

Favorite superhero? Spider-Man

Favorite major Star Wars character? Han Solo

Favorite minor Star Wars character? Dengar, the fiercest of the bounty hunters!!

On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being how you feel while watching Bambi, and 10 being blind, seething, murderous rage), how did you feel toward George Lucas immediately after watching The Phantom Menace for the 1st time? The 1st time? 4.5 (I was blinded by the shiny new toy.)

Favorite LEGO line? Star Wars

Last good book you read? Shrewd by Rick Lawrence

Thanks, Jeremiah! No no, thank you.

We hope you enjoyed this. Stay tuned for Jeremiah's questions for me! (Unless Reiner emails us back. We'd totally bump that for you, Reiner...)

What You Missed

As this year's holiday season rolls on, so do we! Here's what we've been up to this week, just in case you've missed anything with the hustle and bustle of the season! catan ornamentMonday - We started off the week with another installment to our 2012 Christmas Holiday Gift Guide. This time: Party Games!

We also wrote about Mayfair's annual Catan Ornament series.

Tuesday - We brought you another Double-Take Review of the latest iteration of one of our favorite games: The Resistance: Avalon.

Wednesday - We interviewed Chris and Johnny from Otherwise Games—the masterminds behind the Kickstarter dynamo, Boss Monster.

Thursday - Our Kickstarter Weekly featured a nifty gaming accessory and an ancient art form all rolled into one. Origami Card Holders.

And earlier today we once again added to our 2012 Christmas Holiday Gift Guide! It's the Gateway Games edition...

And in case you missed this, we've added a tab to the site where we've compiled all of our gift ideas in one handy place! Just click here!

Thanks so much for reading, and come back next week as we bring you more news, reviews, and finish our gift guide! Have a great weekend everyone!

Who's the Boss Monster? An interview with Brotherwise Games

Today we have the pleasure of chatting with Johnny and Chris, the masterminds behind Brotherwise Games, and the ridiculously successful Kickstarter campaign for their upcoming game, Boss Monster the Dungeon Building card game.

Hey guys, thanks for taking a few minutes to answer some questions for us! For our readers who may not know who you are, could you introduce yourselves and tell us one random fact about yourselves?

Johnny: We are Johnny and Chris O’Neal, two brothers who share a lifelong love of all things geeky. Comics, novels, movies, video games... but especially tabletop games. A random fact about me is that I used to write for a video game review Web site called Nintendorks.

Chris: As the elder brother I like to take the credit for the nerdification of my younger sibling (although I can’t take all the credit). For years after I went to college we lived in separate states, but a common move to Southern California in 2009 put us within an hour of each other, and reinvigorated our common love of gaming.

How did you first get into gaming? What game was your first love?

Johnny: Growing up, of course I assumed that everything my big brother did was cool, which included playing D&D with his friends or video games on our family’s TI-994A. But it was our family’s acquisition of a NES and the original Super Mario Bros that really got me hooked.

Chris: Being almost a decade older, I was already playing a lot of tabletop games (Morrow Project, anyone?) when the first home video game systems came out. Video games derailed my investment in tabletop games for a while, but after college I got back into them pretty heavily. First love game? Probably D&D. I was one of those kids who would sit around and make character after character that would never see the daylight of an actual adventure. I loved it.

Is Boss Monster your first attempt at releasing a game through Kickstarter? If so how shocked are you at the number of backers the game has received?

Chris: Boss Monster is our first Kickstarter. Despite feeling like we had a solid game, a good look and theme, and a decent understanding of how to appeal to our gamer compatriots, I think it’s safe to say that we were pretty overwhelmed by Boss Monster’s success. I think it’s natural to keep your hopes and dreams a bit in check when you do this sort of thing. On launch day I called Johnny at six in the morning and said calmly, “don’t freak out if we don’t hit $1000 this week. We’ve got a month to raise $12,000. Chances are good we can pull this off.” Two hours later I was gibbering into the phone like an overexcited idiot as we passed through $3000. Even once it was clear that the campaign would be successful, we were still underestimating the final amount by a huge amount. Kickstarter is a strange and wondrous beast. Despite what could only be called a huge success, we made a truck-full of mistakes, and learned a number of lessons that we’ll take into our next campaign.

So if you would, take us through the creation and design process of the game. It seems to cross multiple genres; how did you put all of that together?

Johnny: It was a highly iterative process. In the very beginning, weirdly enough, it was a game about acquiring friends in high school instead of acquiring dead adventurers in a dungeon. When we stopped worrying about what game would be “marketable” and “mainstream,” and focused on making a game that we’d love to play, that’s when it came together.

Looks like Pixel Lincoln is making an appearance in Boss Monster; did you approach Jason Tagmire about putting that together, or did he come to you?

Johnny: As our Kickstarter campaign went live, we sent preview copies of the game to a number of Web sites. To our surprise, one of these copies was actually passed on to Jason. I’ll admit we were anxious to hear his opinion of the game, and thrilled when we heard he liked it. The crossover cards were his idea, but we embraced the idea wholeheartedly. Pixel Lincoln appears as a promo card for Kickstarter supporters, and it’s a card that can really shake up the game.

So what is it like designing games with a sibling? Who usually wins the arguments?

Chris: Every game that Brotherwise has in the pipeline has one of the brothers designated as a Lead Designer. The Lead Designer, in theory, wins every argument for that particular game, and we think it’s important to have one person who is ultimately in charge and on the hook for a game’s success. In reality, we’re very good at listening to one another, and relatively unabashed about criticizing work in progress. In almost every situation where we had a disagreement about a key decision, the resulting discussion led us to a good outcome.

Johnny: I have to say that Chris is awesome at keeping things positive and never letting discussions turn into arguments. My natural instinct in a game design debate is to stick to my guns and rarely concede a point right away, but often I’ll sleep on a decision and realize that Chris was right. From pointing out that we should use pixel art to removing dice-rolling as a core mechanic of the game, he managed to change my mind in some very important ways.

What are some of your favorite board/card games?

Chris: I am first and foremost a Heroclix player. I gravitate to complex games and they don’t get much more complex than that one. I’m also a wargamer, with World in Flames as my hands-down favorite. I’ve been playing a lot of Small World recently, and I just marvel at it. It’s my standard for what a quickie game should be: balanced, simple, thematically compelling, and a lot of variation in a small package.

Johnny: My favorite recent game is Ascension. I know some of the team at Gary Games and they’re a bunch of geniuses -- I can’t wait to play SolForge. I also love the classics: Magic, D&D, and Settlers of Catan.

Are there any other games on the horizon you can talk about?

Chris: The success of Boss Monster: Master of the Dungeon allowed us to move forward our production time table for expansions considerably.  Summer 2013 will see our first Boss Monster mini-expansion, Tools of Hero-Kind, and in Fall we will launch a Kickstarter for our first full expansion, Crash Landing. Tools of Hero-Kind will add a whole layer of complexity to the game, turning our heroes from mere resources into honest threats. Crash Landing will riff on some famous fantasy/sci-fi crossovers and introduce sci-fi themed dungeons to the game. Crash Landing will work as a standalone game or as an expansion of the base game. If you missed out on some of our customize-your-card pledges this time around, we’ll repeat those sorts of pledges for the Crash Landing Kickstarter campaign.

2014 will see the release of our first non-Boss Monster title. We can’t say much about it now except that it’s a totally different genre and will introduce a novel card-play mechanic that comes right out of its theme.

One Word Response Time:

Favorite NES game?

Johnny: River City Ransom

Chris: The Legend of Zelda

Best villain of ALL TIME?

Johnny: When you put it that way, Darth Vader

Chris: Kaiser Söze

Megatron or Starscream?

Chris: Megatron (Starscream is soooo whiny)

Johnny: As a younger brother, I relate to Starscream’s constant efforts to overthrow his superior.

He-Man or Thundercats?

Chris: Thundercats HOOOOOO!

Johnny: He-Man. But I’m biased because I had the chance to work on He-Man toys when I was at Mattel.

Legolas or Gimli?

Chris: Gimli, son of Gloin, son of that other dwarf.

Johnny: Legolas and his flowing mane of golden locks.

Thanks, guys, for talking to us!

Make sure you check out Boss Monster, at, pre-order your copy at and follow Boss Monster on Twitter @BossMonsterGame ! And thank you for reading!

Like a "Boss Monster" - Kickstarter Weekly

Hey gang, we're rolling in super late in the game on this one, but it's definitely worth checking out! Brotherwise Games is totally crushing their Kickstarter campaign for Boss Monster: the Dungeon-Building Card Game. I mean their over funded by like $145,000, they've got 3 days left on the campaign and if the get $3,000 more in backing, they will have hit every stretch goal they have planned. Here's the cool thing about the campaign, it's super cheap to get in on. To get yourself a copy of the game you'll only have to buy in for $20! Ok, enough about the campaign, let's talk about the game for a minute or two. From what I can tell Boss Monster, is like the Grand Theft Auto of 8-bit side scrolling card games, in a fantasy realm setting... Instead of playing the hero or the adventurer, players take on the role of the main bad dude, and try to create a dungeon to lure as many adventurers in and then slay them. The theme sounds like a geeky good time and most of the cards look pretty silly (in a good way). There's even a surprise visit from our favorite pixelated president Pixel Lincoln!

So you've got a few days left, head on over and check it out, and maybe help them hit that last stretch goal! You can find the campaign right here!