I could see how someone might be confused when first picking up a game of Battle Bosses. This rectangular window box shows off a 3-4″ high painted miniature. Is this a toy or a game? Well, turns out it can actually be both (especially if you ask my kids).
Battle Bosses is a light, quick-playing skirmish game for 2-6 players. To play Battle Bosses you’ll need to pick up at least 2 figures. For this review, we were sent 4 different bosses to check out.
Battle Bosses can be played either as a 1v1 skirmish game or a MOBA style game for 4 or 6 players. For the sake of brevity, we’ll focus on the 2-player gameplay.
Each boss comes with a pre-painted miniature, dice, a unique deck of cards, and a stack of punchboards which are used for various tokens, half the game map, and some minions. Once everything is set up, the gameplay is fairly straightforward.
On a player’s turn, they first roll their 4 dice. The symbols shown give them a number of energy and crystals to use. Crystals can be saved from round to round, but if you don’t use up all of your energy, you lose it.
Energy can be spent to Summon Minions, Move the Boss or Minions, or activate your boss’s special powers (heal, or use their Ultimate). Crystals are for playing cards from your hand. Cards will be either 1-time event cards or upgrades to make your boss stronger.
Combat is super simple, anytime a minion moves into an enemy’s space, they do one damage to each other. Minions have 1 health, and bosses have 15 or more depending on who is in play. The first player to defeat their opponent’s boss wins.
I’m always up for trying out a new skirmish game, especially ones that don’t require hours of assembly and painting, with a 200+ page rulebook (I’m looking at you Games Workshop). Battle Bosses actually goes in the opposite direction and includes a giant, pre-painted miniature to use. However, I should note that the minions are just punchboard squares. But they also die quickly like the fodder they are, so that’s probably not a big deal. I should also mention that one of our miniatures arrived with a piece broken off, but I’m fairly certain it could just be glued back on with minimal effort.
The combat system for Battle Bosses is pretty unique and I like how streamlined it is. It definitely has that MOBA feel to it where you are focusing on sending waves of minions at your enemy. Most of the time, your minions will rush into an enemy’s space and kill each other. So expect to be using lots of energy to bring them back out repeatedly. Since there are no dice rolls in combat, things go by quickly and you can figure out the math of how much damage you’ll be doing.
However, I wasn’t as big of a fan of the dice for resource aspect. The problem is that everything you need to do in the game is done via resources. And bad rolls can really set you back. If you really want to get some minions on the board, but you keep rolling crystals instead of energy, you are going to have a hard time mustering up some offense and defense. Sure, you’ll be able to play a lot of cards, but minions are your main offensive weapon, so without those, you are kind of sunk. I would have probably preferred getting a set number of resources each round and maybe using dice rolls for bonuses or something.
But other than that the game is solid. Each character not only looks cool, but also has their own unique spin. For example, Doc Splosion is all about getting out gagets and using them to do a variety of effects, while Ryu has samurai warriors he wants to buff up and send to do his bidding. I appreciate that each of the bosses felt different enough that I wanted to give them all a spin.
Battle Bosses probably isn’t going to win over the die-hard skirmish fans with their legions of painstakingly painted armies. But for those of you looking for a causal skirmish game that plays in under 30 minutes, Battle Bosses certainly fits the bill. This would probably be a decent game to introduce a young one to the skirmish genre as the rules teach is fairly simple and a lot of the game is card driven. At the very least, the cool-looking minis make a fun toy as I had to keep stealing them back from my kids.
Final Score: 3.5 Stars – A solid, lightweight skirmish with some fun minis that each have a unique feel.
• Dice as a resource is a bit too random
• Need to buy at least 2 sets to play