Loot the Body! Game Review (prepublished version)

Please Take Note: This is a review of the final game, but it might change slightly based on the success of the Kickstarter campaign. The game is being reviewed on the components and the rules provided with the understanding that “what you see is not what you might get” when the game is published. If you like what you read and want to learn more, we encourage you to visit the Kickstarter campaign. Now that we have all that disclaimer junk out of the way, on with the review.


The Basics:

  • For ages 8 and up (publisher suggests 10+)
  • For 2 to 5 players
  • Approximately 20 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Active Listening & Communication
  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Reading
  • Strategy & Tactics
  • Risk vs. Reward
  • Cooperative & Team Play
  • Hand/Resource Management
  • Reflex & Speed

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • Sometimes gold is more important than friendship…

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek approved!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

The job of an adventurer is pretty easy. Find treasure, kill monsters, and stay alive. Out of the three, staying alive is the hardest to do alone, which is why you see so many adventuring parties. Safety in numbers in all that. The problem is, the more people you have, the less treasure you personally get. Thankfully, there is an easy – if not somewhat underhanded – way to fix this issue.

Loot the Body!, designed by Jason Bice and to be published by B Team Games, will reportedly be comprised of 5 Player Character cards, 5 Aid cards, 12 Treasure tokens, 60 Coin tokens, 45 Action cards, 1 Attack die, 32 Loot cards, 4 twenty-sided dice, 28 Dungeon cards, and a various number of trackers for Damage, Character Health, and Faints. As this is a review of a prepublished game, I cannot comment on the game component quality.

Gather Your Party

To set up the game, first shuffle the “Standard” Action cards and deal 5 to each player to create their initial hand. Note that some of the Action cards will be removed when playing with 2 players or 5 players.

Second, place 1 “Critical Hit” and 1 “Critical Fail” Action card into the Action card deck for each player in the game. Shuffle the deck of Action cards together and place it in the middle of the playing area. This is the Action draw deck for the duration of the game.

Third, have each player select 1 Player Character card or deal them out at random. Give each player Coins that for a total value of “2”. All Player Characters start with their maximum listed amount of Health. Each Player Character represents a specific type of class that comes with its own special ability.

Fourth, shuffle the “Boss” Dungeon cards and deal three to the table, face-down, in a row. The remaining “Boss” Dungeon cards are placed back in the game box without looking at them. Take the remaining Dungeon cards, shuffle, and deal 4 face-down on top of each of the “Boss” Dungeon cards to create three stacks of cards. Place the remaining Dungeon cards back in the game box without looking at them.

Fifth, take the three piles of cards and shuffle them together. Place these cards in a single pile face-down to the table. This is the Dungeon draw deck for the duration of the game.

That’s it for game set up. Determine who will lead the party and begin.

Of Dungeons Deep and Dark

Loot the Body! is played in rounds and turns. A typical game round is summarized here.

Step 1: Equip!

All players can discard and draw up to 2 Action cards, but at the cost of 1 Coin.

Step 2: Explore!

The Party Leader now draws and reveals the top-most Dungeon card for all the players. Possible Dungeon cards include the following.

“Monster” Dungeon Cards

Lots of nasty things live in the dungeon the Player Characters are exploring. Each “Monster” Dungeon card displays the creature’s Armor Class, Health Points, the Loot it drops, and additional bonus Coins it’s worth once is it vanquished. Some monsters have special abilities that are activated once they are revealed. There is also a special sub-class of monster known as “Boss”. These are tougher and meaner than the other monsters.

“Trap” Dungeon Cards

Various deadly traps are strewn about the dungeon floor like so much used tissue. These traps, while inherently deadly, cause more mischief than sudden death. Needless to say, an unlucky player who encounters too many traps and is unable to avoid them will meet their demise just as easily as a hero who calls a dragon a wuss.

“Treasure” Dungeon Cards

What the Player Characters seek in the vile dungeon, the reason why they are putting their lives in danger, is the treasure rumored to be found in the dungeon’s dark corners. The “Treasure” Dungeon cards represent the large chest of valuable stuff that can be claimed, but not necessarily shared equally.

Step 3: Charge!

Each player now looks at their hand and selects an Action card to play, but do it quickly! The revealed Dungeon card will influence what cards the player will want to use. Played Action cards are placed face-down in front of the player. Once the Action card is played, the player should as quickly as possible draw a new Action card and shout “DONE!”. The last player to play a card and draw a new one will suffer a possible penalty!

There are three different types of Action cards to be played.

“Standard” Action Cards

Your standard Action card displays an Armor Class and a Hit value. Nothing special, but the most common card in the player’s hand.

“Critical Hit” Action Cards

This special Action card provides the Player Character with a lot of Armor Class and the additional bonus of being temporarily immune to other effects or suffering a penalty from playing last during an encounter.

“Critical Fail” Action Cards

This not-very-special Action card means the Player Character has failed to complete their action for the round in the most spectacularly embarrassing way possible. Unlike other Action cards, the “Critical Fail” Action card is played face-up as soon as it’s played. The player then immediately draws a new Action card.

Step 4: Resolve!

When all players have placed their Action card and drawn a new one, the hidden cards are simultaneously revealed.

If the Party Encounters a Monster

Add the Hit value of all the Action cards together, ignoring any Action card with a value that is less than the monster’s listed Armor Class (be sure to take into account any special abilities the monster may have). The sum value is the player’s total damage dealt to the monster. If the total damage is equal to or greater than the monster’s Hit Points, the players have slain the monster.

If the monster is still alive (that is to say, the total damage dealt is less than the monster’s Hit Points), the monster attacks back. The Attack die is rolled. On a roll of “1” or “6”, the monster damages the Player Characters, reducing their Health.

In addition, if a player played a “Critical Hit” Action card, 10 points of damage are inflicted on the monster and the player who placed the “Critical Hit” Action card avoids all damage dealt from a monster who attacks back.

When a Player Character’s total Health Points is reduces to zero, the player takes a Faint token. For every Faint token the player has, the Player Character’s score is reduced by -4 at the end of the game. The Player Character is out for the duration of one combat round, but will return in the next round with full Hit Points.

If the Party Stumbles Upon a Trap

Each trap has a range value (even number, odd number, or a number value range, etc.). All players reveal their card. Any player who played an Action card with a Hit value that matches the “Trap” Dungeon card’s listed value escapes unharmed. Any player who played an Action card that does not match the “Trap” Dungeon card’s listed value reduces their Player Character’s Health by -1. Any player who played the “Critical Fail” Action card receive 2 damage from the trap! The last player to play an Action card is always hit by the trap and takes damage.

If a player plays the “Critical Hit” Action card, they successfully avoid the trap. They also, if they so choose, can purposely “push” another player into the trap, inflicting damage to that player’s Player Character. Not nice at all, but when it comes to dungeon raids, anything goes!

If the Party Finds Treasure

Resolving “Treasure” Dungeon cards is done in the same way as resolving a “Trap” Dungeon card, except no damage is dealt to those players who cannot play an Action card that matches the “Treasure” Dungeon cards listed value. Any player who successfully does so is awarded 1 Treasure token. Any player who does not, is the last player to play an Action card or plays the “Critical Fail” Action card is not awarded a Treasure token.

If a player plays the “Critical Hit” Action card, they successfully find the treasure, but instead of being awarded a Treasure token, they can draw two Loot cards, select one to keep and discard the other.

Step 5: Continue Combat or Loot the Body!

If the Player Characters encounter a Monster and the total damage dealt is less than the monster’s total Hit Points, combat continues. Repeat steps 3 and 4, leaving cards out to help keep track of the total amount of damage inflicted on the monster.

If the monster is slain, the Player Characters can now loot the monster’s body for treasure! The Player Character who dealt the most damage receives Loot cards equal to the Loot value displayed on the “Monster” Dungeon card. All other Player Characters receive a number of Coins equal to the Gold value displayed on the “Monster” Dungeon card. The Player Character who dealt the second most damage also receives a bonus Coin equal to what is listed on the “Monster” Dungeon card.

Loot cards represent special treasure found in the dungeon that transcend the common gold coin. Not only are Loot cards worth more points at the end of the game, but they also provide the player special bonuses, but doing so will force the player to discard the Loot card after it’s used. Some examples of Loot card special abilities include healing Player Character, extra treasure, hit bonuses to attacks, and switching cards with other players.

Step 6: Keep Exploring!

The round now comes to an end and a new round begins. The next player in turn order sequence now takes the Attack die and is the next round’s Party Leader.

Ending a Hard Day of Dungeon Exploration

The game ends after the third and final “Boss” Monster is slain or all Player Characters have “Fainted” at least once. All players now add up the total amount of treasure they have earned by counting Coin tokens, Treasure tokens, and Loot cards. The player who accumulated the most treasure wins the game!

Game Variants

There are a few different ways to play Loot the Body! depending on the total number of players and if you like to play a more cutthroat game.

Two-Player Variant

If only two players are available to go on a quick dungeon run, create a third “dummy hand”. This “dummy” will help the players survive the dungeon and is controlled by whichever player is not currently the Party Leader.

Mayhem Mode

This special game variant changes the game set up and game play to be much more aggressive. Players still depend on each other to help win battles, but the game play is far less cooperative. It’s more “stabby-stabby” and less “helpy-helpy”. New cards are introduced that make the game feel and play a bit more dangerous.

To learn more about Loot the Body!, visit the Kickstarter campaign.

Final Word

The Child Geeks had fun with the game, especially the semi-cooperative element where they all understood they had to work together, but not necessarily play nice. According to one Child Geek, “I like games where you have to work as a team, but you don’t want to help out too much. Makes the game feel a lot more interesting to play when you know the player next to you is a friend and a potential enemy.” Another Child Geek said, “I think the best part is how fast you have to play. It can get me really angry at times, but most of the time it’s a lot of fun.” Some of the Child Geeks, especially the younger ones, had difficulty at first playing cards quickly. Regardless, all the Child Geeks voted to approve Loot the Body!, finding it to be fast, fun, and exciting, even when they did play a card or two a bit slower than the rest.

The Parent Geeks also found it to be an entertaining game. Both the casual crowd and the more experienced Parent Geeks found Loot the Body! easy to teach, fast to learn, and fun to play. According to one Parent Geek, “I really like the semi-cooperative element to the game. It adds a different dimension to the game play where you have to consider not only your moves, but your supposed friends, too.” Another Parent Geek said, “This is what dungeon exploring is all about. Yes, you might be friends in the tavern when everything is safe and the ale is flowing, but when you are deep in the dungeon, it’s every dwarf and elf for them self!” Loot the Body! was found to be not only entertaining with other adults, but with the family, too, although some of the Parent Geeks found it difficult to back-stab their own children in the heat of battle. Nevertheless, all the Parent Geeks voted to approve the game.

The Gamer Geeks enjoyed Loot the Body!, finding it to be a faster and lighter, but still entertaining and challenging version of Cutthroat Dungeon. According to one Gamer Geek, “The game is very straight forward and I wouldn’t like it very much if it weren’t for the speed and accuracy challenge the game requires of its players. You have to be fast, but smart, too. I think that’s a rather shrewd way to make the player pay attention to the game. I loved it.” Another Gamer Geek said, “This is a straight up dungeon crawl, but I like the subtle tactical card plays and hand management that each player must take into account, as well as how to properly manage the other players at the same time. For a little game, it feels a bit bigger than what it really is.” All the Gamer Geeks voted to approve Loot the Body!, finding it to be a perfect hit at their table when a quick game filler with teeth was needed.

Loot the Body! hits all the right marks with our players. It challenged them to be physically quick, mentally fast, and constantly reconsider the lay of the land…or better put…the dungeon. There is downtime in the game and thank goodness for that, as some rounds of game play can go very quickly. Loot the Body! can feel a bit hectic at first as players learn the cards and the possible encounters. Expect your first game to be a bit clumsy as a result, but game play will quickly improve and become much more interesting.

As for me, I very much enjoyed the game, finding it to be a quick dip into the darkest dungeons where danger was all around you, including your own friends. The semi-cooperative element adds another layer of danger and suspense as cards are quickly played and then revealed. This unique level of danger adds to the overall threat level that makes turning over every card a moment where players hold their breath and then either let it out with a sigh of relief of a gasp of disappointment.

Do try this fun game with your family and friends. It’s pretty fast and takes the players on a fun adventure through a dungeon that is full of monsters and friends who are just as bad as the monsters. Thankfully, the game correctly balances the semi-cooperative element, making sure that players always need the help of their friends, but as the game continues, the value of said friendship begins to look increasingly less valuable than the treasure being accumulated. Friendship will help you survive, but greed will win the day.

This is a paid for review of the game’s final prototype. Although our time and focus was financially compensated, our words are our own. We’d need at least 10 million dollars before we started saying what other people wanted. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek which cannot be bought except by those who own their own private islands and small countries.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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