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Encounters: Bravest Warriors

October 5th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

“Encounters: Bravest Warriors” puts players in the shoes of heroes who will be attempting to score as many encounters as possible.  To do that, they’ll be rolling dice and locking them in on encounter cards in order to defeat them.  Essentially, this is a push-your-luck game that’s a cross between “Farkel” and “Roll For It!”…it’s like the former in the sense that you roll less dice the more you lock in and like the latter in the sense that you can assign dice to cards.  Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, I’d like to thank Randall Neil Bills from Catalyst Game Labs for reaching out and providing me with a press copy for review purposes.

 

Encounters: Bravest Warriors - 1-4 Players, Ages 12+, Average Play Time = 15-30 Minutes

Encounters: Bravest Warriors – 1-4 Players, Ages 12+, Average Play Time = 15-30 Minutes

 

Editor’s Note: Like “Roll For It!”, “Encounters: Bravest Warriors” actually has two separate decks: Red and Blue. They are purchased separately and can be played separately, but can be combined to increase the maximum player count to eight.  To keep things simple, I’ll cover this game as if I only had one copy (though Randall was kind enough to send both).

Components

The game includes 55 Cards, 7 Dice, and 1 Rule book.  Players will need a way to keep score (paper and pencil, etc.).

Setup & Gameplay

First, the 55 cards are separated into their respective card types (hero, encounter, and item). Each player gets a hero card (their choice) and is placed face-up in front of them.  Any hero cards not used are put back in the box.  The encounter and item decks are shuffled separately and placed in the center of the table.  They each have their own discard pile.  Players have the option of each starting with an item card to give themselves an easier game…if they opt to, it is placed by their hero card.  A starting player is chosen at random.

On the active player’s turn, they’ll take the six regular dice (the seventh is a special die and is different in color) and draw an encounter, placing it face up into the first column.  They’ll then roll their dice.  To defeat the encounter, they’ll need to select one or more dice with a total that exactly matches the encounter value shown on the card.  These dice are placed on the encounter, locking them in.  The player can choose to either score what they have or keep going.  If a player fails to match the dice with the encounter value, their turn is over and they score nothing.

The active player’s turn continues until one of three things happen: A) They secure all dice onto defeated encounter cards, B) They choose to quit early and score, or C) They cannot match dice to the encounter value, ending their turn in defeat.  Scenario A (locking in all dice) allows the active player to “escalate”, or unlock all their dice.  They’ll then draw another encounter and start a second column (the bonus die does not carry over).  A player can still lose everything they have if they push their luck too much.

When scoring, a player earns one point for every encounter defeated on the first column, two points for every encounter defeated on the second column, and so on…plus any bonus points listed on the cards themselves.  Once scoring is complete (or when a player is defeated), all encounters are discarded and play passes to the next player.  Other players may assist the active player by using an item or hero ability if they so choose, earning the assisting players a cut of the points during scoring (divided evenly rounded down). Assistance cannot be refused. The next player can also “coattail”, that is, not start fresh and instead attempt to pick up where the last player left off (discarding the failed encounter and rolling on a new one).

The first player to reach thirty points immediately wins the game!

Editor’s Note: The above doesn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but should give you an idea as to how the game is played.

The Review

“Encounters: Bravest Warriors” goes where a lot of push-your-luck games don’t, and that’s a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, games like “Farkel” are extremely popular in my house because of how simple they are to play, but they don’t feature item cards and heroes with special abilities, nor does they allow you to “coattail” on someone else’s failed run.  Some encounters even become a specific item card that allows players to add pips to a die roll.  This game also adopts an “assist” mechanic, allowing players to help the active player for a cut of the points.  All of these things give “Encounters: Bravest Warriors” a step up over your typical push-your-luck game (“Dungeon Roll” is one of the few exceptions).

Both games retail individually for about $10-$15, which is a great value for what you’re getting here.  I also like that there is synergy in both the red and blue decks in that they are purchased separately and played separately, but can be combined to increase the maximum player count to eight.  There’s also a solo mode, should you want to see how well your luck is running you that day.  My only real complaint was the box insert inside the card box…it moves around too much and sometimes makes it difficult to put everything back into the assigned slots.  While introducing more mechanics than “Farkel”, it’s still relatively easy enough to be enjoyed by casual gamers.  Even then, players are free to stock up on item cards at the game’s opening to make the game even more friendly.  Yep, “Encounters: Bravest Warriors” is indeed a keeper.

Final Verdict: 8/10

You can buy both the Red and Blue versions of “Encounters: Bravest Warriors” here:

http://www.catalystgamelabs.com/encounters-bravest-warriors/

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