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Tabletop Game / Boss Monster

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Boss Monster is a dungeon-building card game made by Brotherwise Games that puts the players in the shoes of a powerful boss monster trying to lure hapless adventurers to their doom and claim their souls. To accomplish this goal, players have to use strategy and carefully build an ideal dungeon that can not only attract heroes, but lead them into deadly obstacles before they can actually make it to the boss. Trapping ten souls will win the game, but gain five or more wounds from attacking adventurers and its game over for that particular boss instead.

The base game comes with 155 cards (8 Bosses, 75 Rooms, 31 Spells, 25 Heroes and 16 Epic Heroes) and can be played by 2-4 people. Several expansions and other promotional cards have been released as well, including two standalone sequels called Boss Monster 2 and Boss Monster: Rise of the Minibosses.

There is also a video game version available on Steam which includes all of the original Boss Monster cards, as well as a handful of expansions available through DLC.

Boss Monster contains examples of:

  • 1-Up: The Extra Life item from "Tools of Hero-Kind" allows a Hero equipped with it to return to town instead of dying. In the hands of a Boss Monster it prevents them from losing due to wounds for one turn. (Though other Boss Monsters can still win if they get enough souls.)
  • Action Girl: The female Hero cards.
  • All There in the Manual: Arcadia, the name of the land being taken over in Boss Monster, isn't directly named in most boxes.
  • Bag of Holding: A card with this name was introduced in the "Tools Of Hero-Kind" expansion set as a thief class item that lets them loot (destroy) a room with two or more treasure symbols.
  • Bloody Murder: Lieu, the Crimson Sage has this ability.
  • Boss in Mook's Clothing: A few of the Epic Heroes even pass over the typical Elite Mook level, having much higher health and/or have special abilities that make them harder to contend with. These include such heroes as the Druid, Necromancer, Archer, Swordsage, The Brothers, The Princess, The King, and Demigod.
  • Bottomless Pits: The Bottomless Pit card, naturally. It can be destroyed to kill any hero passing through it.
  • Brain in a Jar: Cerebellus, one of the titular Boss Monsters is this.
  • Chaos Architecture: Not only do you and rebuild rooms, but you can destroy them, all of which change the layout of what the dungeon looks and acts like. The Collector Box's "Portable" function kicks it up a notch by enabling rooms to just straight up disappear and reappear without much warning.
  • Chest Monster: The Mimic Vault of course. It's special ability lets it grab an adventurer straight from town without having to lure them with treasure first.
  • Damsel in Distress: The "Princess In Peril" spell allows a player to put a Hero in town at the entrance of their dungeon without having to lure them to it with treasure.
  • Dracolich: The Dracolich Lair is one of the most powerful rooms in the game, with an attack power of 3 and the ability to pull back other room cards from the discard pile.
  • Dragon Hoard: The Dragon Hatchery and Hatchling's Hoard room cards. They have low stats and no special abilities, but are the only rooms in the game to contain every type of treasure, making them extremely valuable for luring in all types of heroes or building advanced rooms.
  • Drop The Hammer: Maxwell the Monk uses a large silver hammer as his weapon.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • The Epic Heroes, ironically enough. They only come out once all of the normal Hero cards have been used up, but have roughly double the hit points of the regular guys and deal an extra wound if they manage to bypass your entire dungeon.
    • Advanced Monster Rooms may also count for the player directly.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: 1 main game, 2 standalone expansions, 3 mini-expansions, 1 micro-expansion, an official playmat, and a collector's box, all of which (save for the playmat) come with cards, adding up to over 425 cards to collect. Luckily, the collection is under $120, and the collector's box holds 500 sleeved cards inside.
  • Harmless Freezing: The Freeze spell merely prevents a room from working for a turn, rather than destroying it outright, which implies this trope when it's used on a monster room.
  • Healing Spring: A powerful spell card called Fairy Fountain turns a single room in another player's dungeon into one of these for a turn. Not only does the room deal zero damage, it heals a hit point to any hero that passes through it to boot! Also doubles as a Shout-Out to the classic fairly fountains from The Legend of Zelda series.
  • Hero Antagonist: The enemies in this game are heroic adventurers out to clear your dungeon and slay you.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: A powerful item card introduced in the "Tools Of Hero-Kind" expansion that destroys rooms.
  • Joke Character: The Fool, who has a measly 2 hit points in a game where even most normal heroes have 4-6 and is lured not by treasure, but by the dungeon with the fewest souls. In other words, this guy is basically a free pity soul for whichever player is in last place.
  • Living Shadow: Umbra, one of the new Boss Monsters added in the "Implements of Destruction" expansion pack is a shadowy being that can use its tendrils to steal Item Cards from the other players.
  • Magical Library: The Haunted Library is a low power room card that lets players draw from the spell deck each turn instead of the room deck.
  • Make My Monster Grow: The "Giant Size" Spell card uses this to boost a Monster Room by 3 damage points until the end of the turn.
  • The Maze: The Minotaur's Maze cards, which forces heroes to return to the previous room, the first time they enter.
  • Monster Clown: Franz, a psychotic jester Boss Monster who appears in the "Implements of Destruction" expansion set.
  • Mushroom Man: The Shrooman Cave is a monster room card that depicts a few of these guys on it. They also appear on a few other cards as well.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Kickstarter exclusive Boss Monster Elicon is "The Ant Cannon Dragotroll King". This means (based on his artwork) he is a half dragon half troll King who controls at least one giant ant with a cannon in its face.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Subverted. Not only does each hero and epic hero have a backstory printed on the cards, but each expansion adds to the story:
  • Orcus on His Throne: The Boss Monsters don't actually do any fighting themselves, instead relying on their dungeons, traps and minions to lure in and kill heroes. In fact, if any hero makes it to the end of the dungeon, regardless of health or stats, it deals a wound to the Boss that owns it.
  • Plague Doctor: Doc Scarecrow looks to be a mix of this and the Grim Reaper.
  • Punny Name: Mobi, the last boss monster to be introduced, is a mobile Gameboy, who uses the new "portable" function.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: In addition to several Boss Monsters having the title of King, Queen, or Princess, there is also a Hero card called The Prince (who, ironically, is quite similar to The Fool) as well as two Epic Heroes called The King and The Princess. It is possibly the latter three are the royal family of Arcadia.
  • Save Point: The Save Point room, obviously. It has zero offensive abilities but can be used to retrieve a spell card that the player played earlier in the turn.
  • Severed Head Sports: The Kickstarter exclusive Ghoulyard room card depicts a couple of impish humanoids playing basketball with a human skull.
  • Shout-Out: Almost every single card has some sort of shout out ranging from subtle to overtly obvious to classic NES-era side-scrolling gaming or fantasy-style RPG games such as Dungeons & Dragons and Final Fantasy.
  • Spikes of Doom: Used in several of the various traps and hazards your boss monster can set in their dungeon. It just wouldn't be a proper evil lair without them.
  • Soul Power: One way to win the game is for a Boss Monster must collect ten souls from fallen heroes. Souls can also be utilized via spells to help the player, such as Soul Sacrifice to draw two more Spell Cards, or Undead Minion to use a fallen hero's soul to do damage to another hero in your dungeon.
  • Succubi and Incubi: The Succubus Spa and the Incubus Gym. Doubles as Villains Out Shopping, as they are clearly trying to take a break.
  • Took a Level in Badass: An Epic Hero from the Paper & Pixels set features the Princess from the "Princess in Peril" spell, now brandishing a sword and charging into battle. She has more health than the typical Epic Hero, and instead of traversing a dungeon based on treasure, she instead will go for the Boss Monster with the most cards in their hand.
  • Treasure Room: Technically speaking, every single room card in the game is one of these since they all contain varying amounts of treasure to lure in adventures. Probably the best single card example is the Jackpot Stash, a low power trap room with the useful effect of doubling the value of all other rooms in the dungeon for one turn in exchange for its own destruction.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods:
    • One of the most powerful Rooms a player can build is the Vampire Bordello, which deals high damage and heals a wound if a Hero dies in it.
    • According to the strategy guide Boss Monster Draculord not only has a harem of vampiress minions, but he is also the chosen consort of fellow Boss Monster Seducia.
  • Villain Protagonist: You play as a boss monster out to kill adventurers and take their souls.