A Review of Everything Too Many Bones
Today we will be reviewing a board game called too many bones and we will be reviewing everything thats been published for it so far, and those of you familiar with the game might be saying: wow thats thats a lot and you would be right. This is the longest video review that we have done in terms of length uh. The word count is about the same word count as my bachelors degrees thesis, and this is the hardest project ive ever worked on. I wanted to let you know why im doing this and thats, because i am enamored with too many bones, but also because i think theres so much of it out there that it can feel a little bit murky in terms of whats. What whats good whats necessary. Whats not so i wanted to make a video thats, not just a comprehensive critique but at the same time a comprehensive bias guide. Uh – and this might be folly, but you know youre about to watch this folly. So there you go. I i do want to plug patreon and ill sponsor skillshare uh right now, because this is a long, video im, not sure youre gon na last, all the way through it uh so without patreon and skillshare uh. Videos like that would just not be possible if youve enjoyed this. If you found value in this uh, please back us on patreon, please visit skillshare theres a link in the description uh.
Finally, i did segment this video into chapters. If you dont want to watch the whole thing in one: go: thats totally cool thats. Why the chapter headings are there uh? If you want the essential parts? That would be the cultural context, the tnb core, tnb undertow and the trophy chest and conclusion? But if you want a bias guide, you will need to watch the entire thing, so there you go enjoy in an interview with streamlinedgaming.com churn earn own. The ceo of simon said that his proudest achievement is introducing the hundred dollar board game. Well, i cant take that away from him, but i think hes burying the lead. The thing that absolutely everyone will remember simon for is not the hundred dollar board game, but how they warped a scene known for crowdfunding indie darlings into a big boy, pre order. Marketing extravaganza, some of you will be familiar with zombicide simons breakout head, but i bet a lot of you wont remember how their kickstarter campaign went for zombie site to succeed. It needed to accrue twenty thousand dollars, which might seem modest right now, but back in 2012. Only one or two board games went above two hundred thousand dollars in their campaign totals zombie solid. Was one of those games success its easy to see from here how zombie side shape kickstarted going forward? I cant say for certain that it was the first bloated crowdfunding campaign filled to the brim, with expansion, stretch, goals and exclusive content.
That fuels the second hand scalper market, that artificially increases the games value, but it was the one that succeeded and other board game publishers wanted some of that zombicide money too, except thats, not what happened. Simon did not raise two hundred thousand dollars with their fun house. Ride through zombie tropes, they raised two hundred thousand dollars in the first three quarters of the campaign and turns out someone at penny. Arcade mentioned zombicide in a forum somewhere and believe it or not. In 2012, people cared about penny arcade, so things started blowing up like 400k blowing up by the end of the campaign, there was an exclusive penny, arcade character available as a stretch goal and after that got introduced, simon doubled their money and ended just shy of a Cool 800k success breeds success. Its a phrase youll often hear in bad self help books, but it is absolutely that kind of mentality that drives people to emulate prosperous business models. If i do everything exactly as the person with a lot of money, then im bound to end up at least with half as much money right and it doesnt, even matter that it wasnt the surface level stuff, but an obscure detail. Thats not really replicable that led to the actual success. People just want more of the same thing and board game publishers were ready to deliver Music. It is only through that prison that we can view chip, theory games and their very own breakout hit too many bones.
This comparison might not seem kind mostly because it isnt exactly accurate chip theory games. Isnt seem on rather a company that emerged in the culture engendered by simon. What, if this business model, but for entirely different audience, i dont think ill accrue many enemies. If i call zombicide shallow in terms of gameplay shiny plastic, figurines attached to a thin veneer of rules like a skyscraper made out of toilet paper tubes and duct tape, too many bones also has shiny plastic literally shiny. If you catch the glint of light, bouncing off the glossy polka chips, add to that neoprene playmats pvc cards, pvc rules, sheets, chunky, plastic trays, boxes made out of sturdier stuff than some of the shoes, ive owned and, most importantly, hundreds of colorful dice. I wont go on about how voluptuous too many bones is because its a bit like saying look at this elephant isnt it huge its even got other smaller elephants following along amazing, but when chip theory sent me every box they made for this game. I think i had a minor panic. How do i review all of this? This isnt just stuff its stuff that comes with a deaf of rules? You need an industrial tractor to excavate conceptually too many bones answers the question thats been on all of our minds. What if gremlins went onto a dnd adventure, the characters in the game are called gremlins. The gear locks waves, like miscreants weighing over the heads setting off on the quest to defeat one of the games – seven tyrants, but they are kremlin like in appearance and mischief whilst were on the subject of deceptive appearance.
I wont fault anyone for mistaking too many bonds for a dungeon, crawler heck ive made that mistake myself, but it isnt. It certainly wears the dungeon crawler uniform the four characters in the main box easily fall into the archetypes of tank healer melee damage dealer and ranged damage dealer. You fight monsters, level up, get new abilities its all there, but i think tmb leans into a yet undefined genre that might have an equivalent in video games, but is more the realm of board games alone. When i think of dungeon callers, i think of fantasy tropes. Setting off on a type of adventure where each play session is an encapsulated episode of the overall game, you might kill, some monsters find some loot or the monsters might kill you here. The entire campaign is at the tip of your fingers in one play session, but its less of an adventure and more of a gauntlet, to train your characters to be competent enough to defeat whichever boss youve chosen to face at the end, from zero to hero. In one sitting, it might seem a pedantic difference, but experientially. It sets a very different tone: its not a boss, battler either, because youll spend the majority of your game time. Tackling encounters that lead up to the boss fight you might not even make it to the boss fight falling short before the ultimate crescendo, especially if you play at one of the games harder difficulties in video game terms.
The closest experience to this genre would be rogue lights. A genre of games where trying and dying is part and parcel, but even then the comparison falls flat because in rogue lights once you die, you start the whole thing over again, whilst carrying over some permanent skills. In too many bones, your choice of tyrant will determine how many days you have to complete the game days, meaning encounters not each encounter will result in a fight, youll draw an encounter card and it will give you two options. Some cards dont have a fight option. Some do some wont, let you do anything else, but fight and your choice only determines the special rules, superimposed onto the battle. If successful youll get rewards chief amongst them, progress points collect enough progress points for a given tyrant and instead of having a regular encounter, you can attempt to take them on. If you lose even in a tyrant battle, its not game over, you wont get any of the rewards, but you wont lose either. You can even repeat the boss fight your only penalty is time. The days move on, and once you run out of those thats when you kick the proverbial bucket, the battles themselves are more abstract than what youre used to in dungeon crawlers theres, no pre built map with a carefully selected array of monsters, theres, just a battle mat With 16 spaces, eight for your gear locks to start on and 8 for the monsters as a baseline encounters use.
What is called a bq, a formula to determine how many monsters youll fight and how strong they will be difficulty wise. There are three types of monsters or, as the game calls them baddies. There are one point: baddies, the baddie, babies, five point, baddies, the baddie baddies and twenty point ones. The baddie daddies to calculate your bq. You will multiply the number of gear locks. You are playing with with the day that you are on so in a two player game on day four, you would face one five point: baddie and three one point ones, but aside from the tyrant determining the initial pool of the archetypes of baddies, youll be facing, And some rules modifying the battle and the bq by the encounter card, the array of monsters is totally random, which i think is this games greatest strength. Monsters by themselves are simply brutal, some combinations outright lethal. So, each time you head into battle, you dont know what to expect. If you told me before i played this game that i get excited about tactical skirmish encounters designed by a tabletop algorithm, i would have presumed that youve been sent by youtube to spy on me. Yet here i am loving every moment of it. Gearlocks start with roughly the same amount of health as the baddies, neither they nor you can attack for a lot but theres more of them than there is of you and each time they hit you. They could just wipe you out anytime.
Anyone attacks the royal attack dice equal to their attack. Stat each attack die has a chance to miss attack for one damage and theres a one in six chance for dealing two damage. If a baddie hits picket the games tank, who starts with five health with two attack dice, it is entirely possible that four fifths of picket are no longer there and as all gearlocks hes, not exactly known for his size to begin with. But that is nothing compared to what youll actually be facing. An early combo of monster, abilities, ive come to know and love is hardy and compound. Hardy means that, no matter how hard you stump a monster, no matter how many sources of damage you unleash in a single turn at most, it can take only one damage, whereas compound means that the body itself will be attacking with as many attack dice as the Round you are on meaning you want to take it out early, yet its other ability is preventing you from doing exactly that or how about a baddie that has both dive and flight flight means that after it attacks every other round, it becomes untargetable which most of Your abilities, cant bypass dive, means that, as soon as it stops being untargetable, it will swoop down towards your most vulnerable character and unleash pandemonium. Your best chance is to take it out in a single attack, yet precisely the sort of character that is capable of doing that is probably already dead, its not unlikely that youll face both of these monsters, together with a few others thrown in for good measure.
I suppose the best way to ensure that an algorithm composed challenge is actually challenging is to make every component as deadly and unfair as possible. Too many bones reliably instills dread with every battery reveal you flip a chip and you go. Oh no. Not now not this thing, and then you flip another one and another one and somehow its even worse than you could have ever imagined its moments like that that i live for in games, but only because were given the tools we need to surmount them. Just like the baddies are bat poop broken. So too are your gear locks with a skill set so over the top that they couldnt fit them onto a single a4 page. They have to use both sides. Not only does each gear lock have an innate ability that they can later upgrade, but multiple talent paths that can be combined in any way you see fit various special rules, unique to them, and also a laundry list of abilities that can be activated by spending the Misses youve accrued over your many many attempts at rolling dice the games, eponymous bones. If i have to single out one thing that defines tmb, it wouldnt be the neoprene mods or the poker chips. It wouldnt be the humongous excessive at all its that your abilities. Most of them i use them and lose them. I mean not permanently, you get them back after each fight, but during a fight you get one use and thats it.
Imagine yourself surrounded down to your last chips, but somewhere slotted in your mat is the answer. Maybe tantrum has been upticking his rage counter and if he gets hit for the exact right number of damage hell be able to pick up that untargetable bird and fling him off the board. Maybe patches can roll and im not kidding a posse zap result and then bring boomer back from the dead for another round of her grenades. Maybe but then you have to lose the answer that saved half the fight and find another answer in a desperately dwindling array of options. This tension of succeeding in battles persists through the adventure each day the fights grow harder, tougher meaner, but if your party gets wiped, that means missing out on all of the rewards. Thats not just the progress points that eventually let you challenge the tyrant, but also loot and, most importantly, training points. This is perhaps the real playground of too many bones. I hesitate to use the kid in a candy store analogy, not only because its tried, but also because systems like that have been tailor, crafted to compel people with adhd. Like myself, but look at this i mean just look Music. I bet youre having precisely one of two reactions to this ability sheet. You either want to run for the hills, in which case you can safely write this game off as not for you or youre going. I can see myself spending hours upon hours just floating in it.
I wasnt kidding about adhd. I sincerely think this game was designed to compel to people like me, but it doesnt mean that it accommodates me. Well, this sheet is a mess, theres information everywhere i mean everywhere, and none of it is ever structured in a way that makes sense or is intuitive, to learn the rule book isnt great either, but at least when i read it, i felt like it made sense. It was only until i picked up one of these that i realized how much information in the rulebook is missing, because i couldnt understand how the mechanisms presented here interacted with the game here, even when you grok it. This still the problem that the wording is far too concise. Yes, you heard me right. I wish there was more text every one of these characters deserves not a sheet, but a comprehensive booklet on the right. You have all the possible die faces on the left. You have all the possible results, thats useful when you want to look things up, but very hard or sometimes even impossible, to learn from if it wasnt for youtube, tutorials mbg rule spreads. I would have no idea how to play tantrum in a way that even remotely resembles correct, but dangled at the bottom of this iceberg is a promise of infinite depth. You just have to break through first plunging yourself into freezing temperatures. Even someone like patches, arguably the simplest character, has enough diverging paths and combinations to spend days on a carpet just sitting there having fun untangling a snarl.
You could follow the straightforward and sensible combat medic path. First, you get a heel die. Then you get a die. That doubles whatever your heel die rolls, then you can go for some extra damage or even a second heel die that could also be doubled, or why not both? And finally, you can even revive people who wouldnt want that someone whod rather go stim stacker. Instead trading in sure fire average effectiveness for a cavalcade of buffs that turn you all the other gear locks into gear, lock hulks with potentially disastrous results, but you dont have to follow one path you can mix and match. You can splice in some hot spots, forested dice. You can build your character, however, you like sometimes rendering them ineffective, but the experimentation thats part of the appeal ill share a little secret with you too many bones only feels difficult and insurmountable. Once you understand your characters and what the game wants out of you on easier difficulties, its breezy, so then the fun of it isnt to be good, its learning to be good. I genuinely feel sorry for anyone who started this game off reading strategy guides, because whats left after that isnt anywhere near as exciting as the promise of discovery. All of that makes training points the main currency of the game, not only because theyre the predominant barrier to victory, but also because thats, how the game trades you fun. A training point is like an admit one ticket to your favorite ride.
The more you collect the more times you can go, but you cant just fritter them away either for every training point spent on exciting abilities. You also have to spend them on getting more health chips or attack, dice or dexterity or defense. Every single one of these is crucial and managing how many you get of each is as murky as your character sheet attack is simple for each attack. You have thats how many attack dice you get to roll, so thats important. So is health because five health might seem like a decent amount, but actually a stronger body could wipe you out in a single turn. So you want to get more. Defense is also important because for each defense die you roll thats, potentially one or two damage prevented, but also its a good source of bone results to activate your ancillary abilities and the dexterity is important because dexterity not only lets you move on the battlefield, but its Also, the total number of dice you get to roll each turn. You could have an attack of six. It wont do a single thing if you only have three dexterity and are limited to a total of three dice, because you lose those precious skills as soon as you use them, your stats will be your bread and butter. Upgrading your character is a tight rope management game lean too far to one side and youre off, which sounds fragile and frankly, it is too many bones.
As a design is a bit like a stained, glass window, beautiful, complex and all it needs to break is a naughty kid whos, a bit bored and has easy access to pebbles. If this box was the only way to play too many bones id end, this video on a cautious recommendation get into this. If it sounds like precisely the sort of thing you dont mind sinking a lot of time, money and brain cells into, but its not the only way to play, and that gives me the perfect excuse to be a bit more critical. And when i say critical i mean that i wouldnt recommend this version. Specifically, you do get four characters in the box, but three of them are not very interesting. I want to like boomer the grenade lobbing range damage dealer, because she sounds exactly like the sort of character i would enjoy. Her. Grenades are a bit like batmans utility belt filled with exploding, knick knacks, which i guess is just batmans utility belt, because if you think about it, its just full of exploding, knick knacks, want to deal damage in a concentrated area. Check want to blanket fire. The entire enemy field check want to disable their abilities, also check. There is a grenade for every season and, of course, this situation. Of course, they have the potential to hurt not just the enemies, but also your friends, thats. What grenades are all about, having fun with everyone, but first you have to build your grenades and that means rolling dice every turn spending precious dexterity just to set everything up its.
Not that i mind unpredictability its that i mind. Unpredictability thats unpredictable, whether ill even get to engage in unpredictability. If i need luck, just have a chance to push my luck. Im, not titillated, im, just frustrated and bored patches is the complete opposite and hes. Also, judging from the giant syringe in his hands, the tnb universes version of a patisserie chef scarcely have i found a time when him stuffing his serum wasnt, somehow useful. Yet rarely was i excited for it im so bored by patches. I havent even got anything particularly exciting to say about him: do you want heals he can heal? Do you want more damage? He can make you more damagey, hes, reliable and predictable and thats. All he ever is picket is how i realized that i just dont like playing tanks in too many bones in terms of effectiveness, hes, probably the most potent character out of before he starts every battle. Bulked up has different avenues of play and i cant count. The number of times i found a perfect answer in his arsenal for what seemed an insurmountable situation, but at the same time, most of his abilities are static. Get more attack, get more defense, get more health, you could up your stats or you could get skill dice that up your stats or you can get some other dice. That might never do the thing you want them to do, because you need to roll the exact right thing and theres.
Four different possibilities on a six sided die his skills as written such as the ones he gets from spending bones are amazing, but the skill dies. He can get by spending training points, not so much theyre, just reactive and i think thats my problem too many bones, isnt fun. When its reactive, you want to do things. You want to roll a die that will blow everyone out of the water and generate cheers and celebration around the table, even if youre, just playing by yourself and pickett. Will he delivers that. But he does so passively and thats no fun, which leaves us with tantrum. So aptly named not only because hes very clearly an angry little boy, but hes also a one man marching band and you have to respect that. Tantrum deals a lot of damage up close and thats nice, but he also gets rewarded for being hit each time you take damage you uptick a rage counter which can fizzle out if you go too far. Theres, a nice management minigame but hes also very effective at mitigating his downsides, like the fact that he just gets walloped a lot. He also pairs well with any other core box character. Patches is a no brainer keeping him alive and well pick. It can get him out of dodge or more importantly, swap places to get him into dodge and boomer well paired tantrum, with boomer and thats a lot of damage its brittle. But once again i like being proactive, hes great, but a single fun character.
Out of four is not enough for me to recommend this box, especially considering that the tyrants, that being the bosses youll eventually face, are all over the place. In my book, a board game can commit no bigger sin than end on a whimper and sometimes too many bones really leans into whimpering. Building up to face, the tyrant can take hours with some tyrants many hours. So what could be more disappointing than by the time you get there? You find out that its either a total wash or a complete cake, walk youd, expect shorter games to end on easier boss battles and longer ones with harder ones. After all, if youre, literally adding hours to your game time to bulk up more, there has to be a reason for it turns out. The reason is to have a mediocre time facing a poorly tuned enemy. Duster is a particularly disappointing damp squib the longest game time to face the easiest foe, whereas the first time i encountered gendrix. I couldnt believe that too many bones had that many layers of meanness, occasionally tyrants, shine just as much as the baddies. They separate you out, isolate your abilities, the tyrann die you roll on each of their turns is terrifying, but only, and only if you picked the right difficulty with the right combination of characters to find it exactly challenging, which is a lot of trial and error. To arrive at a great party that is just wrapping up, that is, if you arrive to the party at all in a game that sells itself on an unhealthy amount of dice, luck is bound to rear its ugly head luck.
Once again, i dont mind so much, but what i do genuinely love is when the board game starts playing itself. The very first time i attempted a tyrant encounter, i rolled some dice. I wasnt rolling any dice for any of the characters i was playing. I was just rolling them for the baddies and then, by the time it got to my characters. The encounter was already over and not in a good way. I mentioned that losing an encounter is not losing the game, but for my money it might as well be its not that the training points, youve lost, put you at a significant disadvantage. You can still win the game on easier difficulties. If you lose once, or even twice its, not you that gets killed its the fun that dies emotionally, a loss, especially a loss that occurred for pure happenstance, is hard to come back from too many bones is a power fantasy. The fun lies in tinkering with your stats and executing the rube goldberg machine its great when it works its tedious rebuilding when it doesnt dont. Get me wrong. Losing is important in games. If theres no chance of a loss, then the game is as tense as a runny pancake, but the metal of any design is tested in how you lose and in tmb you far too frequently lose by pressing start its, not a particularly groundbreaking observation to call too Many bones unwieldy the box. It comes in doesnt even fit into a calyx, and i feel like that alone should already tip people off about what to expect.
I alluded earlier that the rulebook and the learning process feels arcane at the best of times, but whilst im taking pot shots, let me like boomer with her grenades, love one final criticism id like to touch on how stupendously impractical this all is dont. Get me wrong. Dice are fun, so are neoprene mats, so is the clack clack clock of polka chips? I imagine that when chip theory games landed on this idea of nearly indestructible components, they did so to tap into our fear of impermanence. But what if i spill my drink? My game will be ruined. Well, this one wont itll, outlive spills, itll outlive tears, itll outlive you itll, even outlive a nuclear explosion. No one would be able to play because itd be radiated, but 400 years down the line too many bones will stand as a cultural artifact amongst the trash and detritus so that our descendants can say things like funny how people were obsessed with consumerism and stuff. If too, many bones is the only board game that informs future us of what people wanted out of games in the era of latter day capitalism. What does that say about present us? The cost isnt just environmental something ill touch on more towards the very end of this video. Its practicality too, turns out theres only so much information you can fit onto a poker chip. If seymour wanted to give us excessive, miniatures, then chip theory games want to give us excessive everything.
Bits rules, size, scope, its all huge, its all scattered ill. Never forget my first play of too many bonds. I was shuffling around a table littered with neoprene mats, poker chips, dice free pvc rule sheets, a rule book a tablet with a tutorial video and bgg forum search on my phone at the ready i had to bounce back and forth between them like an intoxicated pinball. Getting clobbered, with rule exceptions, vagaries and particularities. I had an actual panic attack. Im. Not joking elaine had to tell me to step away from the game and calm down its, not insurmountable, but i wouldnt call it pleasant either. But, more importantly, i think it speaks to what was happening with this game in terms of the design and production process. Too many bones is a big box of big ideas too many to fit inside two bombastic and grandiose to control too numerous to hear, i suspect that when the first kickstarter for too many bones went up, the designers were just as much in the dark as to How all of this would play out as the rest of us? We were given a big box of things and it was up to us not them to make sense of it too. Many bones: undertow addresses a lot of the games shortcomings, but it wasnt a straight journey from box average to box better, as in any self respecting bloated kickstarter project. First, we have to have a lot of expansions and just like the core bucket of dice, its a mixed bag 40 days in day long is the sort of expansion thats nice when the core game it expands is fantastic but useless.
In all other cases, it just adds more stuff without modifying any rules. In this instance, we get a smattering of more monsters and a double up on encounter cards. I added mine in after i played about three or four games of too many bonds basic and i barely noticed a difference. The monsters might as well have been there to begin with, and the encounters didnt feel like they were any more exciting than the regular ones. Its just more stuff that could have all been in the base box, but if they did put that into the base box, how would they sell you an expansion? I imagine the variety might be appreciated by someone who plays tnb core a lot but im not recommending tnb core, so this expansion can go straight in the bin following right. Behind is tink one of the first waves three extra gear locks. Tink is another tank and yes, the alliteration is amusing, but thats. Where my muse ends. I did say i dislike playing tanks in too many bones, but trust me tink is rubbish, no matter your preferences. His whole shtick is deploying spider bots that go around the map and kill things for you. Whilst you twiddle in the bottom lane, with a joystick mechanically its a mess and from an effectiveness standpoint, theres not much to write about either his bots are fragile, unreliable and cumbersome and when they do inevitably die, youre left with a rubbish gear lock that cant do Anything if tantrum was a one man band, then tink is a one man disaster.
I cant say that nugget is one of the best gear locks in the game, but that doesnt stop her from being a whole lot of fun. To play. Nugget is a melee damage. Dealer that can sometimes dish out some herd from a distance and shes got some neat utility skills, but her real strength is supplying your party with an endless amount of loot and loot thats an aspect of the game i neglected to mention, but dont mistake it. For my ambivalence, loot is enormous amounts of fun. Your skills are a joy to tinker with and find cool combinations, lu amplifies and elevates that joy, because i cant for the life of me think of a single card that i found that wasnt somehow useful from simple stuff, like healing yourself to powerful trove loot that Pairs extraordinarily well with your gear, lock, theres, something for everyone and nugget makes sure that the right people find the right something shes, the matchmaker that gearlocks never knew they needed earlier. I compared gearlocks to gremlins. Well, when i was a kid, gremlins was one of my favorite films and now im an adult, and i look like a gremlin, but guess what another one of my favorites was home alone and wouldnt. You know it gilly isnt, just a combination of the two, but perhaps my favorite character in the entire game. He can set traps, he can summon wild animals to attack. Hes got useful skills and he shoots anybody on the board from range for a lot of damage.
This isnt a one man band. This is a one man army heck. Maybe this isnt home alone. Maybe this is rambo. First blood i mean pretty much the same film right, gilly checks, every box useful check, powerful check pairs well with any gear lock check. If you forget about tink, you cant fix rubbish. I think this is an essential gear. Lock, expansion for any version of this game get gilly. You wont regret it, which brings us to the final expansion of the first tnb release cycle, the age of tyranny, and on paper it looks like its essential. I hesitate with campaign modes for any game, especially one silver luxurious, but frankly, most people are either gon na play this game solo or with the same partner. This isnt something you casually bring to game night to spring on unsuspecting friends unless youre, looking for a discreet way of no longer being friends but, most importantly, within the rule set for the campaign structure, lies something that i hoped would address. One of my big issues with the game – the dissolution of random, the board game – plays itself losses. Age of tyranny is only compatible with the core version of too many bones. Putting you through successive sessions in each of which you will try and defeat one of the games. Seven! Tyrants! If you win, you get to carry over some skills and you might even get the tyrants die as loot that you can then use in the next game to offset this generosity comes scars every game after the first youll draw scar cards slotting in scars into your Character sheet permanently blocking either stats or entire skill, trees sounds horrible and it is but theres one final swing of the scales of justice.
If you ever lose an encounter, you get to draw boons, some will remove scars. Some will give you treasure, others training points or any combination of the above. Finally, something that makes a loss smart, a lot less all so i thought, first of all, scars were actually the only mechanism from this box that i ended up liking. If my favorite skill tree got blocked or worse yet, if i ended up with a character who could have a maximum of one in their attack stat with no chance of ever increasing it, i had to get creative and delve into skills that i havent explored yet, But then the game, let me keep skills for my gear locks in between games by ignoring previous prerequisites, meaning that if, in my first game of the campaign, i ended up digging towards the end of the talent tree to get to the best skill. I could then just keep it for all of my subsequent games, ignoring all of the chaff before it does that make the game broken totally games in age of tyranny became too easy and not rewarding, and if i ever got particularly unlucky with some scars guess what All i need to do is lose an encounter deliberately. The boom card i draw will either remove it or give me something thats as good as winning an encounter or perhaps even better age of tyranny made me sit amongst piles of plastic for hours on end being incredibly bored and thats a real shame, because theres one Last thing in this box that is essential and should be in the core game full stop.
Whilst each encounter you play in too many bones is drawn from a random pile. The first three are always set: there is some variability within them, but that variability will. Last you about three games and then every time you start its the same thing. Of course, age of tyranny has a replacement set of 21 cards to make the first three encounters variable. You dont even have to play the campaign mode to use them, which makes me once again question: why are they not in the core box? To begin with, i know that chip theory games are going to rejig the size of the core box, so whilst youre at it, if youre watching chip theory, would you please please? Please include these in the main game. I think a lot of people would really appreciate it and would make that version a much more reasonable recommendation. Talking of reasonable recommendations here comes too many bones undertone my absolute favorite way to play this game. If you told me at the start of this project that id end up recommending the more complicated and unforgiving version of too many bones, i would have told you to leave my house and take your copy of imperial struggle with you. I guess the old axiom of in for a penny in for a pound applies, which is ironic because one of the best things about undertow is that its just cheaper, i mean significantly cheaper on the eu, store its a difference of 40 euros.
It comes in a much smaller box too, but you still get the same too many bones game except better and youre, not going to believe me, but also bigger. Yes, there are only two gearlocks to mess around with, as opposed to four and yes, the returning number of baddie types is free as opposed to six, but both duster and stanza are two of the coolest gear locks out there, and there are two new monster types Crown and max making the battles feel more varied and tactical than ever before, theres something about too many bones as a whole. That makes the design feel makey uppy, i mean sure any board game is made up if you think about it, but when i imagine a design meeting at chip theory games, i imagine two kids in the sandpit. One of them goes my long haul, truck fires, missiles at your helicopter and the other one goes. Aha, but my helicopter drinks, the immortal hulk serum and eats your missiles undertoad zeros into that ethos and magically somehow it doesnt make the game worse. My first game of undertow came after actual dozens of games of too many bones, spread out only over a couple of weeks, so i felt pretty confident going in and i set the difficulty at medium. That was a mistake. The two new monster types have their own special rules appearing on the sides of the now extended board and threatened with extra loss conditions or just general toughness.
This makes positionality a lot more important, actually scratch that this makes positionality important full stop, because in the core game it was irrelevant until suddenly it wasnt, by which point it was too late to start considering it. I spent a lot more time contemplating where my gear locks stood whether they would move how the turn sequence would play out. Undertow felt a lot more like a puzzle where i had to move pieces in my head account for probability, run simulations even existing monster types offered, new keywords and new mechanisms rich with challenge and convolution. In so many ways it felt like playing too many bones from the beginning. Again, i had to re learn how to be good at this game. Even the first out of the five new tyrants, barnacle wasnt, anything to be sniffed at the boss encounter was cool too. He had tentacles grabbing the sides of the wrath distracting you from barnacle himself. It felt bold, new, varied, improved and also impossible to penetrate learning too many bones was very hard. Learning undertale was just about the hardest thing i ever had to do for this channel. Aside from actually playing dozens of games of too many bones, not only does it come with a slew of extra rules, but that rich design space indulges in creating exceptions every time it turns a corner. You only ever need to spend about 15 minutes playing to discover some obscure rules, interaction that no ones ever thought of and somewhere.
Someone probably has an imaginary 200 page rules document that covers everything in their head, but it doesnt exist in the real world. So all youre left with is the hope that someone else had that same question and asked it on the bgg rules forum, which leaves me very conflicted. The core game has, i cant believe im saying this straight forwardness relative straightforwardness thats only apparent in hindsight that undertow just does not possess, but undertow is just so much fun. Take duster, for example, conceptually im very tickled to play a gear lock that used to be a tyrant originally mechanically. She is fragile, but she comes with a variety of skills that are just creative ways of murdering baddies that feel dynamic and inventive stanza. On the other hand, is a support, character, thats the total opposite of patches, the other big healer gearlock in the game. She can do just about everything, but youll have to finagle those situations into existence by spending multiple rounds playing songs, sometimes multiple songs at once, dont ask me how that works. She pairs incredibly well with duster and theyre, both pretty great with other characters too. The other hidden benefit of undertow is that you get all the best parts of age of tyranny inbaked into the box for free, the starting encounters have variable options and the campaign mode is stripped down, but feels a lot less wonky ditching the scars and boons nonsense. But letting you keep dice from tyrants, you defeated, you, do only have two characters, but you get the interesting ones and for the price difference you can get yourself gili too too.
Many buns is an expensive game, but it doesnt have to be uber expensive. If you get yourself just undertow and maybe another character or two later down the line, youre doing just fine, they say a joke is terrible. If you have to explain it well, dart has a companion called boar apostrophe d because its a boar in a board game chip theory games made sure theyll never have to explain that joke to anyone. But i cant hear any laughter its hard to imagine. A bad ranged damage dealer in too many bones, mostly because even if their skills are bad, the worst they can do is roll a lot of attack dice at any targetable baddie on the map. So here the designers did the imagining for us, dart is a ranged character and she can even attack multiple targets with the same attack, but only with a single attack die for each of them and then she has to exhaust the attack die for the entire encounter. She can also administer various poisons to her enemies with that attack die, get it its like a dart and they are variable and have different utility skills, but they only last for a single turn unless you administer the lot onto a single target, its all so circumstantial And negligible shes all downsides and no fun shes, also the most complicated gear lock aside from the lab rats, maybe because she has to manage rules for her companion, boar apostrophe d, that works differently to dust, his companion, nightshade and is nowhere near as effective, then theres.
This whole other mechanism, where you have to flip her mat and completely change the rules, to achieve only something that mitigates her downsides through what feels like a time wasting ritual darts only saving grace is that tink is no longer the worst gear lock in the game. They can share that spot together. Gasket is the games third tank, and you know what that means. I dont like him is what i would say if gasket wasnt the exception that proves the rule. If pickett was passive and reactive and ting, it was just tepid garbage. The gasket brings a lot more positional abilities which make him particularly strong when playing undertow. Where that matters a lot more like tantrum before him, he has a whole management, minigame hes, a mech and thematically a leaky one. So you have to make sure that he literally doesnt run out of steam or whatever is the fluid that powers him in return, you get to push things, pull things grab things and do tremendous amounts of damage, whilst doing so pair him with someone who can disable Nasty body, abilities and youve got a pretty versatile team. My only warning is that gasket is particularly difficult to play. Well and probably that makes him not an ideal first gear lock expansion purchase experiments, they can be fun but most of the time theyre misshapen disasters. I am, of course, talking about splice and dice the core pillar of the third wave of releases for too many bones.
I wish i didnt have to end on something so odd and clunky. But here we are, i think, theres a person out there for whom splice and dice is a good expansion, and that person is only someone who already owns everything else and played it out to death. On the one hand, it has extra monsters and, most importantly, extra crown and mech monsters, making the array for undertow richer. On the other hand, it has two ways of building a custom tyrant for the game, yet the rules force you to include monster types not available in undertow, making it a bad proposition for anyone who doesnt own both stand alone versions of too many bones. And yes, i did say two ways and i like one of them significantly more than the other, the build a tyrant mode lets you compose a tyrant as you play the game and complete encounters and defeat baddies that you will then use to build the time for The game that you are playing now, the baddies, you defeat and, more importantly, the order in which you defeat them form the basis of the tyrant, stats and abilities, making already deadly encounters even trickier. I appreciate what is happening here, but i just i appreciate whats happening here, but i just dont need it. The tyrants on offer are already plentiful and i suppose, if youve played everything this game has to offer to death, then you do sort of need a randomizer, but only in a situation where you want to play this game forever, but thats all it is a randomizer One that made me appreciate original tyrant, encounters even more.
The game is already full of random encounters its nice to have something cohesive, bizarrely, thats, something splice and dice also offers five more pre, baked tyrants, applicable to any version of the game as wonky and bizarre as the rest of the stuff in slap and dash. You want it to get weirder how about a whole new game that uses the components of too many bones, but once again lets you build a randomized tyrant for the game that you will then be playing of too many barns. Is it any good? Well, what do you think the lab rats carries the ethos of splice and dice into a new gear lock, or is it four new gear locks thats right? This expansion goes quadro, hoping that multiple mediocre things will cohere into a single good thing, and it does sort of the lab rats are fine id, even call them useful. I just hated playing them, perhaps even more than i hated learning how to play them. I mentioned before that in complexity of rules they rival dart. You have to untangle a new tag. Team system manage four mini playmats and navigate a convoluted way of spending training points all in the name of looking after four gearlock children. I think the analogy is apt here. It really does feel like babysitting. I once had to look after two overactive puppies simultaneously, and it is a day i will never forget playing the lab rats felt much the same at times, exciting, draining peculiar and something i never want to repeat.
Also, this one looks a little bit like david tennant and im, not really sure how i feel about that. The only way to finish this series of reviews is to talk about the trove chest single handedly, the most ridiculous accessory made for board games. Unlike everything else youve seen in this video, this was not sent to me by chip theory games. I regret to inform you that i perhaps do lack good judgment and have bought this storage solution myself. Dear viewer, i ask you, can you blame me, do you see how many boxes i have if i get rid of all of them and consolidate everything into this cube that yes fits perfectly into a calyx shelf ill, create enough free space in my house to write This off as a rent, saving expense. Now everything lives compartmentalized, with extra storage solutions inside like character and tyrant trays, and i can finally dispose of these boxes for good, which brings me onto a sneaky subject to cap. This video off waste unmistakably the ethos behind too many bones, is a game. You will own for life. You will collect it. Youll treasure it youll indulge it for as long as you tied to the physical realm. But if you like me ended up with all these boxes that take up that much space that you then throw away only to take everything from here into here. I have to ask what is the point of all of this, its not just that the boxes are too big to begin with, in some cases simply filled with packaging foam and manifesting in this form only to accommodate the unbendable pvc rules, glossary and the tiny set Of poker chips and a pack of cards its not just that everything is made out of mountains of plastic, its the hubris and callousness of it all.
Here we have the grandiose vision. The ultimate plan delivered to you in a mound. I get it its a marketing, gimmick and the volume is the post zombie side selling point. So here is my verdict. I really like too many bones in terms of play, but i dont like it as a product and not just because of bad rule books or inconsistent post launch youtube tutorials. I wish more effort went into delivering us the game rather than delivering us impervious game coffins. I like when too many bones gets ambitious. One upcoming expansion, for example, is a pop up book that doubles as an adventure with tucked away body chips or new loot cards emerging from fold out envelopes. That is what i want the crowdfunding campaign that is running now, allegedly the final one. To finish, the series also looks promising with new gear logs and a whole new standalone version of too many bones. Putting a twist just like undertow did with lava terrain and more positional puzzles fantastic, but did it really have to be another standalone game with two? Not enough. Do i really need health chips? I will use attack defense and effect dice. I wont use. I already have a spare set that came in undertow. Will you really ship it in six separate boxes for fans who buy everything for them to only throw it away, so they can put it in another box that was also sent to them from china to distribution.
Centers and then from distribution centers to their homes. I dont want to end on the negative, because i do think that too many bones is one of the most interesting and ambitious board games out there, and one thing id like to ask you, as the audience is to definitely put pressure on your favorite publishing houses To be more environmentally conscious in terms of how they ship and package games but dont, do it right now to chip theory, games theyre, probably watching this video, they know they know. You know they know you care its too late to change anything on their current campaign. Dont make their life difficult right now, instead be conscious of your purchasing decisions. You dont need everything made for this game. Just get undertow thats a pretty good start and probably a pretty good end or get the new standalone version from the current campaign. If you feel like taking a punt but dont, do this its just wasteful this video is sponsored by skillshare the online learning community, with thousands of inspiring classes. Skillshare has a tutorial on almost any subject imaginable, from learning how to make a video to teaching yourself everything you need to know how to design a board game every time i do this sponsor spot and skillshare have been sponsoring us for a whole year. Now i need to find a new class to recommend and im, never short of subjects, because there are just so many cool things to learn, but sometimes you have to get serious im, not the sort of person that gets a kick out of lifestyle advice.
But if the trove chest proves anything is that i need to get better at managing my finances in modern money habits, five steps to build the life you want by justin bridges. I found actionable advice without being overbearing or threatening financial doom and gloom just useful stuff. On how to manage my money better so that i can save up for the new game i want without all of the guild. I also just want to take a moment to thank skillshare for staying with us for so long its their sponsorship. That lets us take a little bit more time and make projects like that possible do follow the link in the description, the first 1 000 of you to click that well get a free one month, trial of skillshare premium. So you can unlock your creativity today, Music.