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Beast updated review from Jazz Paladin

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In case you missed getting Beast back in 2021 on Kickstarter, you can still get it on Gamefound with the expansion!

BACK it BELOW NOW!

Quick Look: Beast (Updated Review)


Designer: Aron Midhall, Elon Midhall
Publisher: Studio Midhall
Year Published: Kickstarter Campaign from 28 September through 28th October 2021

No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 60-120 minutes.
 
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com  
 

From the Publisher:

Welcome to the Northern Expanse, a place where nature is still unexplored, mystical and dangerous.
When the humans first arrived, they thought they found an unspoiled paradise, filled with bountiful forests, lakes swimming with fish and cold freshwater flowing from the mountains.
But as their settlements expanded and the surrounding forests grew thinner, nature itself pushed back. Great creatures known as Beasts emerged, and with their fangs, claws and mystical powers, they proved an incredible threat to the humans. In order to protect the settlements, humans enlisted specialized hunters, tasked with tracking and killing the Beasts before too many of their kin perish.

Hidden movement
The Beast uses a deck of direction cards to move over forests, swamps and caverns, using guile and deceit to hide its track from the hunters. However, whenever a hunter moves over a location where the Beast has previously been, a trail appears. Only when a hunter searches a location or the Beast itself attacks an unsuspecting target is the Beast’s actual position revealed. More so, each hunter has but one chance of searching each round, making it a tense and difficult decision. Hunters seldom have full information whether the trail they’re pursuing contains the Beast’s actual location, or if the trail has already gone cold.

Asymmetrical Drafting
Each action you perform in this game is done by playing a card from your hand (up to a maximum of two cards per turn). This means that if a player wants to search, attack or move, they need to have a card in their hand that lets them do that. Before each round, both hunters and Beast participate in a draft for the most important cards. All action cards can be used by both Beast and hunters alike.

Teamwork above all
In order to win this game, you either need to cooperate every step of the way if you play as a hunter, or skillfully outmaneuver your opponents if you play as Beast. On their own, hunters are never stronger than the Beast. Only when hunters communicate, strategize and combine their actions can they bring down the Beast before it’s too late.

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

Updated Review:

Even though I have had a full production review copy of Beast in my possession for a large number of months now, I regretfully have been unable to play it until recently. Having been locked into a few campaign games I was scheduled to review, Beast unfortunately was forced to reside on my shelf for great duration of time, but it was not totally collecting dust.

You see, the truth is that I have on many occasions had to open the box just to view and fondle its contents, stroking the precious components much like a ring-infatuated Gollum. 

Because out of all the games in my collection, Beast simply has the most beautiful art I have yet encountered in a board game.

The style very much reminds me of something that captured my interest some 12 years ago when I saw the first bits of Guild Wars 2 in a demo, which sported an art style that was simply magical, with a sort of technicolor,  water-based paint visual. 

Beast carries the same sort of magic in its presentation ; Whoever did the art honestly needs a raise or bonus, because in this age of AI generated bull crap, real talent needs to be recognized. This is the real deal here, folks.

Aside from my enchantment seeing Beast in its full production form, my impressions largely remain unchanged from my experience with the prototype a few years ago. (For a detailed gamplay breakdown, see the following link).

 


However, one new development I have experienced is the realization that this game can also be used as a gateway game for budding game enthusiasts. A few months ago, I had an opportunity to to poll a few friends and forums on what game I should use to host a game night. I procured a list of at least 10 games, and was happy to include Beast on my short list. However, I was meet with a bit of discouragement when others in the forum stated that this is no game for beginners, and that I should favor a few others I had suggested.

Needless to say, I was a bit reluctant to walk away with my tail between my legs, but in the end I chose one of the “easier” games.


Later on, I had a similar opportunity arise, and this time I stuck with my gut.

Beast was not only fantastic fun for the group I introduced it to, it was also a perfect balance of cooperation, competition, and first-time feasibility—it failed to inundate the blooming gamers with overbearing rules, and instead let them focus as a team, allowing a single more experienced player of Beast guide them through the ropes since they could all work collectively.

 

Normal games that focus strictly on competition do not allow for this gradual easing in to a game. The cooperative design of this hunt makes for perhaps the easiest transitional gaming experience I have yet had. This is clearly a sign of something being done right, as fun can be had at almost any skill level.


Other takeaways from my more recent adventures in the world of Beast are, again, with the components. If you have the opportunity to get the metal Grudge tokens and Acrylic standees, please get them! Not only are these fantastic table presence , but again, the art makes them oh-so-beautiful to behold. And am saying this even as I compare them to the acrylic standees of other games in my collection such asUprising andDeliverance — Beast’s are the Best.

 


If you are having second thoughts about this getting this game, I would say you should have good reason to consider this as a prime selection for game nights if you love witty planning with an absence of luck-based randomness. The gameplay is pure, unadulterated strategy, and has been a gold mine in fun since trying it out again after a long hiatus. 


Great job, Studio Midhall! Looking forward to seeing what your expansions have to offer with The Great Hunt and Shattered Isles! Stay tuned!

Overall Score 9 / 10


And —The art is simply the best! 

In case you missed getting Beast back in 2021 on Kickstarter, you can still get it on Gamefound with the expansion!

BACK it BELOW NOW!

After reading Jazz’s review, if this sounds like a game for you at the time of this posting Beast launches on Kickstarter 28 September and will be there through the 28th of October. You can still Back this project from the looks of it!
 


Check out Beast and Studio Midhall on:

             
 

 


 

Jazz Paladin- Reviewer

 

Jazz Paladin is an eccentric at heart — When he is not learning to make exotic new foods at home, such as Queso Fresco cheese and Oaxacan molé, he is busy collecting vintage saxophones, harps, and other music-related paraphernalia. An avid music enthusiast, when he is not pining over the latest board games that are yet-to-be-released, his is probably hard at work making jazzy renditions of classic/retro video game music tunes as Jazz Paladin on Spotify and other digital music services. 

 

 
See Jazz Paladin’s reviews HERE.
 

 

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