I recently purchased Boss Monster 2, because I liked the original game well enough, and it functions like an expansion. This means more different bosses, and more different rooms to build. The main problem is the Hero deck, however. The rules included suggest to use either the Hero deck from the first game, or the second one. The same goes for the Epic heroes.
The problem with this method is that the heroes are a known quantity. Yes, the order of heroes differs, but the more the deck is used up, the more you know what heroes are left, and things get a bit predictable. Eventually all heroes show up, and the randomness is gone. You basically know 3 of each type will show up, and the fool, before the epic heroes show up. I don’t know why the designers of Boss Monster went for this. The Hero setup is fiddly, having to gow through the deck to adjust it to the number of players.
I guess it was done for balance, making sure each strategy has an opportunity to draw in the heroes and the predictability allows for planning ahead. It does seem to be the safe choice though, and I’m just more used to variance, so I’ll probably pick another method. After all, when things get out of the ordinairy in a game, that’s where memorable things happen.
Fortunately, the rules section on the Boss Monster Wikia gives another method:
The number of Hero cards that should be used is based on how many players there are. The player icon located at the bottom part of the Hero cards indicate the minimum number of players that should be playing to use the card. For example, a Hero card with 3 player marks at the bottom should be used when playing with 2 or 3 players. However, one could simply randomly select the suggested number of cards for each amount of players.
2 Players: 13 Ordinary Heroes, 8 Epic Heroes
3 Players: 17 Ordinary Heroes, 12 Epic Heroes
4 Players: 25 Ordinary Heroes, 16 Epic Heroes
This system of randomly selecting becomes necessary when playing with any Promo Cards or Expansions to prevent there from being too many Ordinary Heroes slowing down the game.
I like this far more, as it makes it more uncertain as to what heroes show up, the setup of the game is easier and faster and there is more focus on improvisation. It also makes sure all the games content has a chance to show up. More variance also levels the playingfield among differently skilled players, so there is that.
I guess the makers of the game where a bit too risk averse making this game. I’m glad the random-hero method was suggested by the rules indicating that there isn’t a high chance of the game breaking because of something I missed and it’s actually a tried and tested way to play the game.
The designers suggested making a hand-tweaked deck and keeping a balance between the 4 types of heroes, but when doing things randomly, on average there is a balance of types anyway.
Some other notes on Boss Monster 2:
I like the new setup which drops the “discard 2 cards” bit. Larger hand sizes seem to help you doing the things you want to do. I might even adopt the setup method of drafting an opening hand instead of just drawing. Theoretically it helps players start at a more equal footing.
Furthermore I looked at what expansions to add to my collection, and the one that jumps out is Tools of the Hero Kind, because it makes the heroes even more unpredictable.