Theme and What is it?
The creatures of old stories have slumbered for years and there has been peace. Now they are beginning to awaken and have begun to overrun the forests next to your ancestral home. Your king has issued a call for the boldest warriors to enter the forest, seek out and destroy these mechanical nightmares.
Your faction has answered the call and has prepared itself to enter the forest seeking riches and glory. You know other factions will be going as well and are working to achieve the tile of The Boldest. Can you prepare your faction to send the right personnel each day to be picked by the king to enter the forest and defeat the monsters?
The Boldest is a hand management and hidden bidding game for 2-5 players.
In The Boldest, each player is assigned a faction and a set of starting hero cards. These heroes are broken up into 5 classes (warriors, technicians, hunters, cooks & pets). These cards will be used during the planning phase, which we will cover later.
The forest board is set up based on the number of players and populated with forest cards. There is also an area on the board where new hero cards are laid face up. These heroes will be available during the action phase of the game.
Each player takes a simultaneous turn during the planning phase. For this phase, players select which class of heroes they are going to form and place them in one of the three spaces behind their player screens. The three spaces are for each of the three expeditions that go into the forest each day (round). Players can only use the same class in a stack (with the exception of pets, which act as wilds). The card on top of the stack is the leader.
Once all players have created their teams behind their screens, the game moves to the action phase. In this phase, players compare their bids to enter the forest. Each expedition sends the strongest group of warriors, then the strongest group of technicians, then the strongest group of hunters and last, the strongest group of cooks recruits new heroes to the faction. Each class will execute a different action in the forest (except the cooks). The player with the strongest warrior group will go to the forest during that expedition. Any other players who bid warrior groups return them to the faction camp (deck). This repeats for each class. Once the first expedition is complete, the phase moves to the second expedition and so on for the three expeditions.
When a class goes on an expedition, they acquire forest cards based on how cards are situated on the board, the type of card and where the class can collect from the board. The highest bidding player for each class takes their turn. After a class has been out on expedition then the leader of the group (the top hero card) is sent to the king’s tent (discarded) and the rest are sent to the party tent. In the party tent, heroes spend the night celebrating their victory and miss the next day’s expedition.
Rounds (called days) are repeated 5 or 6 times, depending on player count. At the end of the last round, the game ends and the player with the most experience points wins the game and is declared The Boldest!
The cover art for The Boldest caught my eye. I knew I wanted to try this game right when I saw it. But I will get to that later in the review. I need to talk about my experience with the game. I started reading the instructions and ran into a few unclear points. Most of the rules were straight forward and I had no issues. There were a few that required me to hop on youtube and look for some help. Luckily, there were a few videos that let me see what I needed.
I was able to teach the game to new players in about fifteen, maybe twenty, minutes. We played one planning phase and walked through the first expedition and then reset the game and started over. By this point everyone was comfortable with the game and we were able to enjoy it.
The game play was enjoyable and the blind bidding made for some enjoyable moments. The group I played with all reported positive feelings towards The Boldest and wanted to play it again.
Game Build Quality
All of the components were up to industry standards. There were not any glaring issues to report. The forest board felt nice and thick and the individual player components were nice. If I had to pick one thing I wished to see improvement on, it would be the player area. Most components are card stock. I would like to see a cardboard screen and player board. But the ones included with the game should hold up with no issues.
Art is where The Boldest really shines. I love everything that is going on graphically with this game. Max Prentis did some amazingly detailed work and the depth of his illustrations is very impressive with over 100 unique illustrations. Each faction has its own unique characteristics that are found on the player screen and on the hero cards.
Sure, it is easy to just get lost in the amazing art of The Boldest. You could spend hours just going through each illustration and spending time exploring it but there is some really great game play that you need to get to, so don’t spend the whole time with the artwork.
The blind bidding makes for some very fun dynamics. You do not know what anyone else is doing and your strategies can get derailed when someone out bids you for an expedition. You really have to pay attention to what class you bid with for each expedition. You may know you are going to lose on the first expedition but see things on the forest board that you can get on the second or third expedition. It creates urgency and heartache when you see your plan fall all apart. But, when your opponent’s plan falls apart, it is great fun!
Age Range & Weight
The Boldest is recommended for 10+. I taught my ten-year-old daughter and nine-year-old niece how to play. They were captivated by the art and I had to keep reminding them it was there turn because they loved checking out all the cards. Even with that as a distraction, they picked the game up very quickly. We play lots of games and these girls are familiar with most mechanics, so they did not have any trouble.
If younger players can understand the blind bidding mechanic and make it work, then they should enjoy The Boldest.
There are some really great things going on with The Boldest. If you haven’t noticed yet, I love the art. I could take the box and put it in a light box and stick it in my front room and it would look awesome (I might just do that). Even beyond the art, it is a really great game that has some fun mechanics that work well together. There are simultaneous actions that keep the game moving along and keeps it from dragging. Even when players take turns there is still enough going on that everyone needs to pay attention. All of this adds up to a great gaming experience.
I got The Boldest because of the art. I will stick with it because of the game play.