Too Many Bones is a choose your own adventure game, cleverly matched with a micro battle system. The RPG elements in it revolve around the players upgrading their dice grid accessing new and wacky abilities all with the aim of defeating a boss in a set amount of time.
What do you get?
Honestly, the components cannot be beaten for high quality. Just opening the box up you know right away that it is made from the finest components around. Real heavy poker chips, beautiful play mats and high detailed strong dice, this game throws all the punches with its quality components.
How does it work?
Step one; you need to choose a boss. The boss determines how many days you have until you have lost. Every turn is cycled into a game day which takes the forms of drawing events cards, resolving that and then having some minor actions with your heroes. Typically, the events have a minor story on it and how you will react to the story part. This could be a skill check, opening chests, battles or if you are lucky, just some free upgrades.
Is it any good?
Overall, I can’t help but feel that the stages of the game could have been presented in a better fashion. New players to the game will immediately feel overwhelmed looking at their character sheet and the flow of where you start reading them feels wrong too (It’s on the back in a box on the right). Minor gripes aside about new players, once you get to grips with it, it’s not a difficult game but it is a random one. If you draw the right cards, you could be finished the game with one fight taking you perhaps half an hour, but it’s more likely that you will draw enough for 2+ hours.
Of course, each boss lets you know ahead of time how many days it takes so you should have a rough estimate as to how long a game will take.
I personally LOVE the choose your own adventure part to the game. The levelling up on your personal mat is really cool too but there is something kind of bland when it comes to the actual battles. Maybe it’s the pseudo chess configuration along with the dice. It just gets a little long winded at times trying to do anything. Several rules feel flat in battle too such as archers just hit anything at any range without penalty. The game board doesn’t really do movement as a tactic and in a lot of ways I think the battle is the weakest part of the game. Luckily, it’s not usually that dominant in a play through as the storytelling, choices and levelling up are really compelling.
Too Many Bones is a brilliant game with the right group at the right time. It’s also quite a table scrawler. Maybe I’ve been spoilt a little much with Gloomhavens amazing combat system, but TMB just falls flat on combat and in a game that there is a good chance you do combat it’s a shame.
There is easily enough to keep you invested and the boss fights can be a superb challenge. A lot of the add on content looks to have mixed up the game a lot too adding more variety on enemies as well as a real campaign system.
Too Many Bones is great in the areas it thrives in but needs some improvement in others to become a mainstay game.