TGN Review: Fild: Renegade Monsters by Bisbog
It’s October, so that means monsters of all types abound in popular culture. They can also abound on your tabletop, too. Fild is a new board game by Bisbog that’s up on Kickstarter now and looking for some funding love. Speaking of love, spoilers, I love the game, since the kind people there sent me a prototype version (so items in the pictures are not going to be what the final version looks like) to try out for myself. And that’s what we’re here for now.
So get ready to do the monster mash, it’s time for another TGN Review. This time it’s Fild by Bisbog.
Fild (pronounced “Field”) is an abstract board game along the lines of Go or Othello. The object of the game is to have more points than your opponent when all the spaces on the board have been filled with monsters. You get more points if you group like-monsters together. However, it’s not as easy as just “place monster. Score points.” With each play, control of the monsters can change (monsters are a fickle sort). So the points you thought you had a minute ago may be gone after your opponent’s next move.
The game comes with eight different monsters, each of which have eight dice, on which there are five different colors (it might sound complicated, but trust me, it’s not). The eight monsters are: Zombie, Skeleton, Vampire, Werewolf, Oni, Cyclops, Martian, and Phantom. At the start of the game, all the dice are placed into the dice bag. All the players pick which “Fearless Spirit” (I.E. – color) they want to play. Then each player draws eight dice out of the bag and keeps them hidden behind their little game screen. Place the dice so that your associated color is the one showing up towards you. Randomly determine who goes first and you’re ready to play.
During your turn, you pick one of your monster dice and place it on the board with your color facing up. If you play your die next to another monster that is of the same type, rotate that other die so it matches your color. That effect chains along, so if there’s several monsters grouped together, the whole group will change to the new color. It’s only like-type monsters that change. So, for example, if you play a Blue Skeleton next to a group of Red ones, even if only one Red one is adjacent to the Blue one when played, all of the Skeletons will change to Blue. If your opponent then places a Red Werewolf next to the group, no dice will change, since a Skeleton is not a Werewolf. If you then play Blue Werewolf, but it’s not adjacent to the Red Werewolf, it does not change, since the dice aren’t adjacent. After you play your Monster and rotate any appropriate other Monsters, you draw a new Monster from the bag.
Play goes back and forth, each player playing a Monster from their group and drawing, until the board is full. Then you simply total up the points. Scoring is done on a sliding scale, so having larger groups of Monsters together are worth more points. So, for example, a single Monster is just worth 1 point, but two together are worth 3, while if you get all eight of a type of monster together they’re worth 36. The player with the most points is the winner.
The game can be expanded with different map layouts, each one producing different challenges and opportunities during play. With the family-friendly artwork and theme, you can get anyone involved in the game. With the simple rules (they fit onto a single sheet of paper), the game is easy to learn and teach, so even non-gamers can get involved. I’ve played the game a bunch online and it was very fast that I learned some pretty interesting tactics about trying to cordon off areas of the board, or reserving a Monster (in your pocket, such as it were) to make sure a group is your color when the board fills (though it doesn’t always work out the way you’d want, of course. Opponents are crafty). So the game has some good tactical depth with the bit of randomness of drawing Monsters out of the bag. It’s a good blend of strategy and randomness that I really enjoy in a game.
I loved playing Fild. It fits into a category of games that I just enjoy (those being simple-to-play puzzle-style games) a great deal. If you think it’d be a good game for you, I suggest checking out the Kickstarter campaign. If you’d like to try it for yourself, you can do so on the Bisbog website.