Beasts of Balance

Beasts of Balance

Holy wow, what an interesting game/design/idea. I backed this on Kickstarter maybe…two years ago? A long while ago. It arrived right when I was looking for holiday gifts, so I wrapped it up and kind of forgot about it.

BoB is a dexterity game involving a small set of animal pieces (bear, octopus, etc.) that are kind of angular and First Nations-looking. Then there are secondary pieces that are more abstract and represent four elements, plus a couple special powers (“Miracle” and “Distract”), plus connector bits like crosses and arrows. In the picture, I’ve just joined the bear and the octopus with the cross. And as you can see on the tablet, the resulting critter is an “ursapus” (which sounds an awful lot like something out of Marissa Kelly’s Epyllion, yeah?).

So all the bits and bobs, right? They have little … bluetooth tags or something inside of them. The white plinth trains up to a mobile device — in this case, my Galaxy Tab A — and the app tells you everything about your current game-state: score (it’s cooperative), health of your various animals, challenge opportunities, real-time timers, etc etc etc.

It is frigging visionary. I’ve been super curious about other computer-boardgame crossovers but this one is absolutely fascinating. So much to explore and learn, so many weird interactions and little easter eggs.

Lots of neat, subtle tricks, too. The elements are made of slippery material while the beasts are slightly matte and grippy. The crosses and arrows are made of the same stuff. I’ve played a lot of dexterity games but including texture is the next level.

Hope you’re all having a great day. Need to go wrangle me an ursapus.

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