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Battle Bears the Board Game Kickstarter Preview


Quick Look: Battle Bears the Board Game


Designer: Brendan McCaskell, Jonathan Thwaites
Publisher: Oomm Board Games
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 2–6
Ages: 13+
Playing Time: 10 minutes/player
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

Review
For those who have played Battle Bears online or on an app or who are just looking for a reason to justify buying the board game...okay, you’ve got it.

If you haven’t played a video game version of Battle Bears, then keep on reading.

After crash landing in the Huggable Forest, you have to battle the other bears you arrived with because there are only enough resources to get you--well, one of you--out alive. That is, if one of you can survive the Huggable bears who already live there.

The designers have been able to keep this franchise going with another installment of the outlandish bears who are fighting each other. It is a fast paced game that gets everyone involved early and keeps them active until the end. Even if your bear is taken out, you are still are in the running to win, depending on how you play the Huggables.

Oliver, Riggs, Huggable, Wil, and Saberi
Setup
There are 15 tiles. Each has 7 hexes and determines if there is Grassland, Lava, Cliff, Forest, Ziggurat, and Gas Refills. These tiles are randomly placed in a triangular pattern.

The Gas Cards are shuffled and placed face down where they can be reached.

Players choose a Bear for their character and place it on the board. On their Character Mat they place their health at 10 and their weight at 0.
Front and back of Character Mat
Gameplay
On your turn, you may take 2 of 4 possible actions. They can be taken in any order and they can be repeated.

You can move. The distance you can move is based on the weight you’re carrying—the more you’re carrying (as determined by the Gas Cards on your Character Mat) the shorter the distance you can travel.

You can attack. This is done by stating you are doing this action. There might be a requirement to roll the die if the other bear is in a situation where they are “hard to hit.” After attacking, you tap out the weapon. Players can also reduce the damage they take by utilizing armor they may be wearing by tapping it.

Use a single use item. Play a Gas Card from you hand for this effect.

Flip over cards and reorganize. This un-taps weapons and armor allowing them to be used again. You can also change cards on your mat with cards in your hand.

When you end an action on a Gas Refill marker, you draw 2 cards. You can place the new cards on your Character Mat if that space is open. You can only use a Gas Refill once during your turn. To gain 2 more cards, you have to move to another Gas Refill. This means you can collect 4 cards per turn. The cards are important and can change the game with a single play.

After taking two actions, discard your hand down to your hand limit. This is usually 5 cards. There are Gas Cards that allow you to carry more.

The final action on your turn is to place a Huggable. There are limitations on how the Huggables can be placed on the board. They are played strategicly, as they create threats and barriers (Bear-riers?).

When a character is defeated, the player is not out of the game. They first start out by playing a Huggable with a couple of extra features. If (more like when) the huggable dies (usually by attacking another player), the player continues to place Huggables on their turn.

The last player left alive is the winner. However, if the players playing the Huggable can meet one of the requirements set for them, they can snatch victory away from the players still in the game.

Placing the Huggables speeds up the game as the rounds advance. Depending on how they are placed, they can deal damage to players and decrease the size of the playing board.

Our first game ended with only 3 tiles left in play. The last 2 players had to not only fight each other, but had to fight back the ever expanding hoard of Huggables.

The starting board
Theme and Mechanics
Battle Bears has been around for a few years as a video game. The theme is carried on in this newest addition to the game line.

Each character has unique abilities and a melee weapon listed on their Character Mat. You have to collect Gas Cards to equip your character beyond that (you don’t start with any cards) and position yourself to fight and defend. You have to manage the cards you want to use because each card adds weight which can limit your movement and most items have more than one option of how to use them.

The variability of the tile placement and how the Huggables are placed by each character makes Battle Bears enjoyable for back-to-back games.

Artwork and Components
The artwork follows the other Battle Bears games. There are cuddly, huggable bears ready to battle with some outrageous weapons like Pie Bombs and Double Bearzookas.
We were playing a prototype and the quality was what you would want in a market product.

The Good
  • Re-playability.
  • Fast play.
  • Everyone plays until the end.
  • Filler game.
  • There are variant rules for other ways to play.

Gas Cards
Final Thoughts
We played a 5-person basic game of Battle Bears the Board Game. The symbols took a little bit to understand all of the meanings, but they were all clearly explained in the rulebook.

All of the locations where you can place cards on your Character Mat are color and symbol coordinated, which made it easy to recognize what went where.

Everyone enjoyed Battle Bears. Even those of us who were defeated early and were relegated to placing Huggables (we almost one).

This is a game we will keep handy. The pace of play and the interaction of movement with an ever-shrinking area with the increasing numbers of Huggables kept everyone interested to the last action.

The final stand and Wil takes out Oliver and survived the group hug.
Players Who Like
  • Existing Battle Bear games
  • All-out, gladiator-style, combat games
  • Crazy, dangerous teddy bears

Check out Battle Bears the Board Game on

              

On Kickstarter now. Campaign Ends Dec 13, 2019 



Daniel Yocom - Reviewer

Daniel Yocom does geeky things by night because his day job won’t let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He’s written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines along with stories, after extensive research. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join in the geeky fun at guildmastergaming@blogspot.com.

See Daniel's reviews HERE.
Battle Bears the Board Game Kickstarter Preview Battle Bears the Board Game Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by Guild Master Gaming on November 12, 2019 Rating: 5

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