I know, I know, I already did a review for this game on my Singlehandedly page. But, something happened recently, something amazing, so listen here. I was playing Too Many Bones, published by Chip Theory Games, designed by Josh & Adam Carlson, when my daughter saw me. She was instantly attracted by all the colorful dice, the chips, and basically everything else that originally brought me to the game. She asked me to teach her to play. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a complex game, each die does something different, and without basic reading skills it is almost impossible to play. So, of course, I pulled her up a chair, and said “Yes”!
Emmy wanted to be Nugget, for two reasons, Nugget is a female, and her dice are purple. There was no way that she was going for anyone else. Luck for me, she is also one of the easier Gearlocs to play. We set up a solo game, allowing me to concentrate on helping her, against Nom. I’m going to admit right here, we altered the rules to make it easier, and more accessible to her, especially when it was time to face the Tyrant. To begin she played the “Greenhorn Adventurer”. This play mode allows the player to add 2 HP chips to their base stat, bringing Nugget to 6, and to gain 1 training point before Day One. This allowed Emmy to start out with a bit of a leg up. She loved all the decisions that this game brought her. At this age, she loves to be in charge of things, and so a game that allows her to be in charge of the play is a big plus. Each day brought new decisions on which path to take, each training point allowed her to decide what to spend it on, and with Nugget’s innate ability of Treasure Seeker, she was even able to decide which loot to choose. This game was entire based on her choices, and although she asked my opinion from time to time, she was in charge. She loved that!
Battles were not easy for her, and she lost a few, but for the most part she battled for real. I used the keywords that were on the chips, and they all came in at full health except when a card denoted otherwise. Whenever a card offered an option to lower the health of a baddie I encouraged her to choose that option. She made it to Nom, and the battle was on. Nugget is a tough choice for Nom, especially when Emmy was choosing the dice, and was reluctant to add more attack dice to her pool. She did have Nugget’s Dagger and was able to inflict bleed on him early, that pretty much negated his “recover 1”. This is where the modifications came into play. I gave her infinite stones, allowing her to be a ranged character. This gave her the opportunity to hit Nom every time, and not have to worry about moving back to him after he clubbed her across the universe. It still made for a long battle, but in the end she was victorious. Emmy hopped off of her chair and ran through the house, arms raised in the air, screaming “I beat Nom! I beat Nom!” It felt like a real accomplishment for her, and she was pumped!
Later that same day she asked to play again! She learned a bit from her previous play and made some really smart adjustments (more attack dice, anyone?), thinking of the long game now. She was once again victorious, and was equally excited. We packed up the game, and later that night I heard her playing in her room, she was Nugget and she was battling Nom. Her imagination was on fire!
I should mention this was not Emmy’s first foray into Daelore. During the last Kickstarter, for Undertow, Chip Theory Games did a really cool interactive story throughout the campaign. They would post little short chapters of an ongoing story and ask the backers for a “choose your own ending” type of decision. These choice then altered the next part of the story, but sometimes even unlocked things in the game! While this was happening I would read the stories to Emmy and allow her to make the decision for me. She would then wait anxiously for the next chapter to see if what she chose was used. It became a little ritual we would do every day before school. If she got ready in time, we could read the story. It was phenomenal. When the campaign was over she was sad, so I dug out my PDF of the Liberation Logbook and started to read through that with her. At this time she asked me to teach her to play the game, that did not go so well. But the story? The story stayed with her. As she was playing Nugget vs. Nom in her room I heard her incorporate Duster into the story, and although she mixed up Nugget and Boomer (NO SPOILERS) in her tale, she still remembered most of it!
Too Many Bones has become more than just a board game to my daughter, it has become an actual world that she has immersed herself in. It has sparked her imagination, and made her play as a hero battling the evil Tyrants. She was so inspired that she created her own Gearloc, named Dicea. She even made up play for her, Dicea is a Gearloc that can mimic other Gearlocs in her party, and even some Baddie traits. She has been playing her on top of an existing chip using the chip she drew. She has marked her little calendar with the Undertow release date (possibly June), and is counting down to when she can play as Duster. In the meantime, she has made up her own tales about these characters, and I have now assumed the role as Duster, and we are now both running around the house like lunatics. It is a rare game that continues to be with you once you have packed the components away, but this is definitely one of those for my daughter, and I couldn’t be happier, or more proud!
“I don’t like Too Many Bones. I love Too Many Bones! I love to be Nugget, and my favorite die is my bleed die (Nugget’s Dagger). I love it because it can bleed people. It goes to a 1 or 2. I like fighting Mulmesh. I want to go play now, so bye, bye friends.”
Too Many Bones gets a solid:
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