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Too Many Bones

[Too Many Bones]

Josh J. Carlson, Adam Carlson

Frosted Games (Chip Theory Games)
2023 (2017)

No. of Players:

G@mebox Star



G@mebox author Dorian Feuerbaum writes about the game:

After what feels like an eternity, Too Many Bones has finally been released in a German version by FROSTED GAMES. This unusual work of art was originally published by Chip Theory Games in 2017 and designed by Josh and Adam Carlson. Josh Carlson also took on the job of the artist together with Anthony LeTourneau.

One to four players each take on the role of a Gearloc with the mission of liberating the land of Daelore from evil. The playing time varies greatly depending on the scenario chosen. Anything from 90 minutes to over 4 hours is possible.

The first thing you will notice is the phenomenal material. 139 custom dice and 136 (poker-)chips immediately give off an absurdly high sense of value. The cards are made of PVC and several neoprene mats complete the visual impression. This is where the game clearly sets itself apart in the age of miniatures, but of course it also comes at a high price. When playing, however, you immediately forget the high investment costs, as the quality simply speaks for itself. But all this would have little meaning if the game behind it wasn't convincing. The rather big rulebook might put you off at first, but the core rules of the game are surprisingly easy to understand.

This brings us directly to the gameplay. We have to defeat the Tyrant of the scenario within a certain number of days and be prepared for this battle accordingly. Each day has four phases:

    1. the day counter is advanced by one day
    2. an encounter takes place
    3. we receive rewards for a successful encounter
    4. our Gearlocs recover

[Too Many Bones]

The main part of the game takes place in the encounter phase. There are also encounters with a peaceful outcome, but the battles are the core of the game. We fight different enemies in a small arena, which are determined for each encounter based on the number of players and the current day in the game. Each initiative value is used for the turn order of the characters. We roll dice accordingly to our stats and apply the results to the targeted character. Melee characters can only attack if they are adjacent to the target and ranged ones are not hindered by any distance or line of sight.

So far this sounds rather unspectacular, but this is where Too Many Bones stands out. The battles are relatively short and crisp. Various abilities and states have to be looked up on the big overview sheet, but these are quickly understood. There is a certain flow that makes you excited for each battle.

The absolute hit, however, are the dice and the possibilities they offer. Each character can level up their health, dexterity, offense and defense in the game. The Gearlocs also have completely different skill trees at their disposal, which provide different dice. The range of possibilities is fascinating and exciting. Each character plays completely differently and offers a great deal of variance in its focus even within a scenario.

As the whole game works primarily via dice, there is naturally a certain amount of luck involved. Nevertheless, even with poor results, new options are available to us that can turn a battle on its head. All of this is refined by varied encounter and loot cards that will keep you coming back for more. If we have collected enough progress symbols over several days, we can hopefully defeat the tyrant in a special final battle.

[Too Many Bones]

We are absolutely thrilled with Too Many Bones. This total package of haptics, visuals and brilliant mechanics should be played at least once by every board gamer. There are few games that feel so unique.

However, it is not quite perfect. We noticed in the shortest scenario that the tyrant is almost impossible to defeat for an introductory game. It would have been helpful for the authors to point out that the scenario length does not correspond to the difficulty level. The deterrent potential here is very high. The number of players is also significant for the feel of the game and the difficulty level mentioned.

For solo players, there are corresponding difficulty hints on each Gearloc sheet, but the game is noticeably more difficult for two players than three at some points, as the synergies between the Gearlocs are of course partially gone. The game seemed most balanced with three players.

Finally, I would like to point out the excellent work of the German publisher Frosted Games. The components are lovingly translated and retain all their charm, but also the integrity of the rules. A wide range of expansions will be available in the course of 2024.

[Too Many Bones]

Too Many Bones is an absolute must for you if...

  • - ...many strategic and tactical options are important
  • - ...you love dice in quality and quantity
  • - ...a dungeon crawler-like feel with unique heroes and extremely high-quality material sounds appealing

You should test play first or even refrain from playing if...

  • ...you don't like dice and want as little luck as possible
  • ...the high price is not worth the high-quality material for you.
  • ...want a deep and relevant story for the game

It's not quite enough for a 10/10 game, as this game should be played at least once, but in the end it's not for every target group within medium to heavy players. Many dungeon crawler aspects are missing here, but almost no other game can play out its own strengths so well. If you like Too Many Bones, you won't be able to put the game down any time soon.

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