Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bravest Warriors - A Rolling Review

Hi everybody!

Today I'm reviewing Bravest Warriors: The Cooperative Dice Game from Cryptozoic Entertainment. I phrase it this way because there is no designer listed on the box or anywhere I can see online. Bravest Warriors does, however, sport art provided Pendleton Ward, the creator of the Bravest Warriors web show.

It's Adventure...wait, no, no it's not.
The game comes packaged with 12 custom dice that are split as evenly as possible among 1 to 6 players. These dice are your life blood. They will win you challenges or lose your health or worse. Each player upon receiving their dice is also given a character that has a unique ability. Most of the abilities say once per turn on them in order to monitor any sort of abuse that may arise. After that players are given a number of Portal Cards, the number varies depending on the number of players. Portal Cards provide players with some well needed help that let's them exchange dice for a desired result or re-roll the dice they can't use. The rub with the Portal cards is once they run out the players lose the game. All of this is done so the players can beat Encounter cards. These cards provide a number of points toward the final game or if you fail the challenge there is usually a punishment that can be detrimental. Some of the Encounter cards are pretty hard as is, but to make it worse every round a new Challenge card is drawn. The Challenges can help or hinder the players as they roll the dice. It adds a layer of difficulty to each situation. The rounds are pretty smooth, as a Challenge and Encounter card are revealed to the players then they roll their dice at the same time in order to hopefully beat the Encounter at hand.
The game is played until the players die off, the Portal card deck runs dry, or the players score 25 points worth of challenges. Like other cooperative games, there are more ways to lose than win. The game plays pretty straightforward with only a little bit of rules clearing up to perform on the first play or two.

The thing that really makes the whole thing come together is the theme. The game is dripping with Bravest Warriors. Fans of the show will get the same feel and flavor from the game as they do watching the 15 minute long webisodes.

All the goodies.
I hate to say this now, but the component quality of the game is only so-so. It is typical Cryptozoic quality, which I feel is at the low end of the spectrum. The dice are the nicest feature of the game though. They are a little on the small side, but the stickers are vibrant and hold up to some heavy chucking. There is also very little character variety. They wanted up to 6 players, so they only made 6 characters. That's great and all, but it makes the game feel samey and stale pretty fast. There are at least a few more characters I can think of that would make the game a bit more interesting. Now, see those 3 nice, round cardboard pieces that say Scored, Failed, and Initiative - those are completely superfluous. They aren't really needed here, some people may be glad to have them, but I find they are a waste of materials. The card art is fantastic, I love Ward's style and each card feels ripped right from the show, which I assume some of it is.
The Crew

Overall the game has a neat concept and theme behind it and is a very light co-op experience. However, there is no feeling of accomplishment. We played a good few games with 3 players and every time we won or lost I just felt relief that the game was over. I didn't really care if we beat the system or failed. the game plays in around 30 minutes, but some games felt much longer. Those games were you discard an Encounter you won, or refight an Encounter your failed, the back and forth that can occur just drags out the game. Also I like to play with randomized characters, although I can understand why a person would choose characters instead as some are clearly better than others. There is some sort of character balance at work, but after several games you can see how some player powers are more useful and better to have than others. Danny is probably the most useful and powerful of the characters with Chris and Wallow being close behind.

The game can be a nice stepping stone for new players into the co-op world, it shows good team work and doesn't promote an Alpha Player. However, if you are accustomed to gaming and co-cop style then this game has too heavy a price tag to buy on a whim.

The game is only OK. It is mediocre, middle of the road, nothing to get excited over. It is a shame, I love the web cartoon. It makes me laugh, but the game I just find to be humdrum. If you are a big fan of Bravest Warriors than you may still enjoy the game, but I think it needs more variety, better character balancing, and some better component quality.

Dice Dice Baby
I can't recommend this game, so I am going to have to give it a big no and say just pass it by.

Thank you all again for reading and keeping up with Daemonic Teutonic. My next review may be delayed until Saturday, but hopefully I will be posting something short and neat between now and then.


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