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Press your luck as your favorite adventurer in the Space-Time Calliope.

Dice Game Review: ‘Encounters: Bravest Warriors’ from Catalyst Game Labs

bravestwarriorscardgameEncounters: Bravest Warriors from Catalyst Game Labs captures the epic, weird, and adorable adventures of the Bravest Warriors from the Space-Time Calliope to tabletop gaming. Like its cousin-creation Adventure Time, Bravest Warriors is a zany mix of awesome action, bizarre hilarity, and well-written characters who face great emotional plight.

First seen as a short on Frederator, Bravest Warriors launched on YouTube in 2012 through Cartoon Hangover. There it instantly became a fan-favorite for its rich world and highly quotable fun perhaps best summed up in the character Catbug, the half-cat, half-ladybug voiced by a seven-year-old with lines such as, “You’re my friends now. We’re having soft tacos later!”

To capture the wild world of Bravest Warriors, the Encounters game is a press-your-luck style dice game where players race to achieve the most Heroic Points by defeating challenges. The game comes in two standalone decks each with four character cards, the Red featuring Beth, Danny, Jelly Kid, and Catbug while the Blue has Chris, Wallow, Plum, and Impossibear. Players may choose their favorites out of the show or by their special powers, such as clever Danny’s ability to choose one dice value without rolling it or heroic Chris’s getting bonus Heroic Points for assisting others in battles.

Players take turns performing “battles” in which they draw Encounter cards one at a time, recognizable from the series, like a Firebelly Soldier or Chocolate Puppies. For each, there is a number that players must match by rolling and adding up the pips on dice, thus achieving a Heroic Point. Each time an encounter is overcome, however, the dice are “locked,” so it is a more and more difficult task. If players manage to “lock” all the dice, the dice are all released and another tier starts with each encounter being worth two Heroic Points and on and on until a player fails an encounter and loses all of the points. Strategy comes in as players must decide whether to bail out and collect their points or keep going with limited dice.

bravestwarriorscardgameplayThe Items deck brings in even more strategy and luck over which players will ponder. Powerful aids like a Space Suit (discard an encounter and face the next one) or Sugar Peas (making twos wild) enable players to determine the best possible path. If there is ever a failure, other players may join in an Assist by donating an item and winning half the Heroic Points. Items are bought with Heroic Points and drawn at random, making players choose whether they should gear-up or make a mad dash for points with their own hands.

Each Encounters: Bravest Warriors deck is independently a full game for two to four players aged eight and up. Decks combine seamlessly to allow everyone to pick their favorite characters and bring the game up to eight available players. Games are usually fairly quick, lasting about a half an hour, though it becomes longer as more players join in. There are also rules for “solo play” so that a single gamer may take on the awesomeness singlehandedly, pressing his or her luck to achieve enough points in only a handful of rounds.

In the words of Chris, “That is enough! Come out here and fight me, villain!”

About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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