Fearless Franco board game Kickstarter Preview

Quick Look: Fearless Franco board game

Designer:  Mike Cal Cahalan
Publisher: Die Bad Die Games
Year Published: 2021

No. of Players: 3-4 ideal, 1-9 possible
Ages: 16-55 too rude for seniors
Playing Time: 120 minutes if Franco is awesome, 15 minutes if Franco sucks

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com  

From the Publisher:

Franco is an aging stunt daredevil. He wants to jump 10 more years and retire on top. His close associates include his trusty mechanic, his unethical doctor, and his gold-digging girlfriend. And there are also side-betting spectators.

Franco earns money and glory from completing jumps. The other players earn money from the cards they play. Every player has their own agenda. So the game can change from a co-op game to a screw-your-neighbor game in a second.

Each player has their own deck of cards and play cards during a turn. The cards might earn you money, or affect the next jump, or help/harm another player. Some cards are LD cards and laid down and then have benefits for every turn. The most important card is a players Hold card. It is placed face down and is a player’s end-game strategy. Are you betting on Franco landing a great jump, or trying to profit from his fiery death.

Every few turns/seasons Franco will perform a jump. It could be a luck jump by rolling a die, or a skill (dexterity) jump by sliding his vehicle token up a ramp and onto a target. Bad jump landings result in damage to Franco’s vehicle and injuries to himself. His mechanic will need money to repair Franco’s vehicles, and his doctor will try to double bill for any hospital visits.

Each turn is a season of the year. So a game could last all 40 turns/seasons. However, the game could end abruptly if Franco dies or is forced into retirement because of excessive injuries. When the game ends, the player with the most money or glory wins.


Review:

As a young snot nose kid who performed death defying fetes of jumping over my sister with my  

BMX bike with two rickety made 2×4 plywood  ramps, I could instantly wrap my trembling hands  

around this one. Fearless Franco the Board Game is one of those unique games that does not fit  

within the norm that tends to come from today’s mainstream game designers. The innocence of  

introducing mechanics where they may not seem to fit on paper perform perfectly in delivering the  

theme game designer Mike Cal Cahalan intended. 

The elements contained in the original box extends the theme of game play perfectly with the  

introduction of an (optional) dexterity mechanic that will intrigue even the most lethargic of players.  

You can’t not (yes a double negative in a review – fits the theme) help yourself trying to fling Ol’Franco over the ramp to score a perfect landing! The game comes with a self constructing cardboard ramp and all standard items for a card playing, dice rolling, help or stab-your-fellow players-in-the-back game mechanics. 



Setup is fairly well developed with specific spots on a standard fold out board to place the elements on and around with designation spots for  key cards and tokens. This one to nine (yes nine) player hoot introduces four main characters  you play via cards and actions consisting of Fearless Franco himself, the nightmare girlfriend, a  overprescribing med doctor, and an overcharging mechanic. The remaining five to nine players  are creatively developed to be spectators to those jumps, providing not only a uniquely rare  game mechanic of betting on the results of game play, but can contribute to the heckling with  Jeff Foxworthy “redneck” like comments throughout the night. 


                                                                                                                                                                                          


The game play consists of a set number of years broken out by seasons. This gives that same  feeling of excitement  like Robbie Knievel overly hyped jumps televised back in the day, giving  us all just another reason to gather with a beverage and chips to watch someone do something  crazy (Pre-youtube). Each of the four main characters chose a card from their limited hands on  each round and simultaneously flop them on the table all with the goal of manipulating and  gaining cash or glory. The objective swings between the themed characters attributes of  healing Franco (Doc), Fixing his jump vehicles (Mechanic), or manipulation for childcare and  materialistic wants (Girlfriend). They all syphon cash from the pockets and bank account of  Franco as he continues to make these dextrous jumps to earn the money and glory avoiding  injury or vehicle breakdown. 


Upon completing the jump either through the provided jump kit and landing mat or by luck of  rolling a die to determine the outcome (for the flinging-impaired), the turn ends and a new  season begins. This process continues with bribery, theft, and intimidation by the payers until  Franco either reaches a graceful retirement, is forced into retirement by too many injuries, or  “bites the big one, Poops the bed, becomes worm food, you get the point. R.I.P. Franco and the  game ends. All players including the spectators total up their money after cashing in their glory  to determine the winner. The player with the most money at the end wins this mess yet well  designed stunt man game. 


The highlight that must be mentioned that is not only refreshing to existing gamers, but to new  gamers you bring to your table, is the ability throughout the game for constant play by all. 

There is rarely a time that each player is sitting waiting for their turn. Constant play drives  excitement especially for new gamers and gives a sense of participation even in a competitive,  cut-throat game like Fearless Franco. You can feel comfortable inviting that edgy gaming friend  or freaky family member over and they will surely partake in this one. 

Learning the game takes less than one turn or 4 seasons ensuring everyone will be fully  engaged early in the game play. As this game is in early production and development, the  rulebook is defiantly in 1.0 mode. The addition of setup pics and token identification are  needed and some areas of game mechanic details are vague that often comes from  assumptions of actions that most of the time need to be described and hand-held for first time  readers at the game table. I am confident 2.0 will be or is already in development to ensure  these vague areas of play will be modified in the next print run.  

Whether Evil Knievel or Daredevil, like Kirk or Picard, it was easy to take a side as a kid and in  Fearless Franco you get that opportunity once again. The game felt like playing hot wheels as a  kid but with side bets or a morbid comparison to the game Operation using dice rather than  electrified tongs. If you love a non-traditional, constant play, character focused games, you will  pop a wheelie over this one. 




P.S. I played the first game in nothing but that Kickstarter exclusive thong. (Not including images of this, so we don’t scare you away from future reviews) The wife loved it, my kids however….scared for life! 


Disclaimer: The publisher provided the prototype copy of Fearless Franco. The opinions expressed in the review are completely my own.


Check out Fearless Franco board game and Die Bad Die Games on:

       



Shane “Bogue” Bogardus- Reviewer


Born and discarded to the wolves of the great Northern Planes, Bogue grew up a nomad. His recluse behavior landed him in the penitentiary of the Witchic County Municipality with a population 2 -A man and his dog. (Translation: A retired broadcast television and radio broadcaster turned financial planner for the good folks of main street not Wall Street.)
Life was always a game set on hardcore until he met a mild mannered digital publisher who took him under his wing and showed him the miracles of game design and play testing.  (Translation: Bogue is an entrepreneur at heart owning multiple businesses including the latest www.Meepology.com dedicated to growing and maximizing the gaming experience 
for current and new gamers to the hobby.) Now he is a thriving member of the Everything Board Games review team (THIS IS TRUE along with hosting the monthly joystickshow.com podcast on video game reviews heard anywhere you get your downloads) and lives with his long lost mother and his pet ferret named Meeple in Austin, TX. (Translation: He lives with his wife, two teenage boys and his dog “Pepper Potts” in Austin, TX.)

See Shane “Bogue” Bogardus reviews HERE.

2 Comments

  1. Jazz Paladin
    March 5, 2021 / 10:41 pm

    Lol! Why not a pet Meeple instead of a ferret 🙂

  2. Bogue
    March 6, 2021 / 2:55 am

    He passed away -hit by a bus 🚌 bound for GenCon in’03:)

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