Friday, January 18, 2013

Bounders and Cads Gameplay Review


I'm playing Bounders and Cads, a turn-based board game by Wax Lyrical Games.




The game is for two to four players in single-player mode against the AI or hotseat (no online play, though). Each turn you roll and move around the tiled board, purchasing properties, entrances to those properties, and upgrades. A single road tile is shared by several buildings (and a single building can have multiple entrances), so the first player to place an entrance on a contested tile will reap the benefits. However, you must land on a tile to take action (you can’t improve buildings away from your current location) and you can only perform one action per tile per lap, so the game progresses very slowly. Other tiles have chance cards (a randomized event like losing a turn or getting money) or action cards (forcing a player to roll a specific number or switch places). Action cards can only be played if you roll lightning bolts (instead of a number), which happens so infrequently that action cards are almost meaningless. Bounders and Cads suffers from other balance issues as well: the large map requires many tedious laps to build enough upgrades to matter, and too much money is earned for passing “start”. There is also very little strategy since you get all your money back when you sell property to pay a debt: just buy everything you can at every opportunity. Games also lack excitement due to constant passing by empty or unimproved properties. The AI plays a solid game, making good decisions regarding whom to use action cards against. Overall, Bounders and Cads lacks the balance and exciting pace required to expand upon one unique game mechanic.