Beasts of Balance
Earlier this year, when the project was on Kickstarter… I decided to back a game called Beasts of Balance. Actually, back then it was called “Fabulous Beasts” but Warner Bros. decided to block their trademark application because they felt it infringed on the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” title.
Anyhow – I got excited at the description of the project, and placed an order. And tonight it arrived!
The full game (plus an extra Omnibeast).
The game mat set up, along with the plinth (the main base of the game) and our old iPad.
So a few notes: the plinth requires three AAA batteries (and a screwdriver to open the battery slot). The game also pairs with a mobile device, as it uses Bluetooth to sync up with a (free) app that you download for the game.
Our iPad is super old, and sadly… the app kept crashing on us. So we had to switch to our iPhones instead.
In a nutshell, Beasts of Balance is a balancing game. You run the app, turn on the plinth, and the two devices connect. From there, you pick up one of the beasts and touch its symbol to the plinth block.
This touching registers the animal, and also lets the app know the animal is going to be placed.
As each animal is put on the plinth, you see it arrive on the app. There’s a really fast response between the physical devices and the app (I was pretty impressed).
Be warned though: if you remove an item, a volcano appears and you only have a few seconds to return things onto the plinth before it explodes!
Each turn, the beasts lose a bit of energy. If they lose too much energy, they end up going extinct. You can fight against this by adding in Element Artefacts that correspond to each beast (earth, air, water, fire).
Actually, we never did quite figure out what fire corresponded to.
There are other pieces that introduce odd behaviors. One piece lets you “cross” beasts, combining them into an entirely new creature (octopus + toucan = octoucan).
There’s also a single “miracle” band that helps prevent points from being lost. But with its introduction, it requires additional tasks (like touching the app with one finger while adding any new beasts). The piece is helpful, but makes things more challenging.
Here’s about as high as we got.
Liz was kind enough to play a few rounds with me, right when we got home. While it was fun for the two of us, this really feels more like a group/party game. And in many ways, seems like it would be even more for with/for kids.
At first, I thought the building was more adversarial. But I think it’s more of a cooperative game, to see how large the tower can become. With all the variations of possible creatures one can create, it’s a very neat mixture of physical and digital.