Entering Gameception With Chris and Johnny O’Neal

It’s time we take a trip into your memories. Get ready to head down a level or two, as we recall back to a time when you spent your childhood hours whiling away at old 8 and 16-bit game cartridges (it’s no longer safe to go down into the abyss that is the 4 and 1-bit days). They were a formative time, full of challenges, frustratings, and above all, fun. Though there were dangers: someone could bump into the console, your dad would unplug it on you for not doing a task of his yesterday, or you had to leave it secretly powered on because you were soooo close to the boss and didn’t want to give up now.

Fast forward a few decades, and Brotherwise Games introduced a solution to all of those pitfalls in Boss Monster, a card game based on those old video game adventures. Boss Monster had everything you needed: all of the silly graphics! An exceedingly rudimentary rules system! And no need for electricity!

Yes, through decades of testing, the video game world of the 1970s and 80s was finally perfected in paper form in 2013. All seemed safe and the world was good.

But you should have known: just like the games of yesteryear, bosses rarely stay down for good. And when bosses return to their lairs, pesky adventurers can’t resist the siren’s call to challenge them yet again. Yes, Boss Monster 2 is before us! This time around, we snagged an interview with Brotherwise designers Chris and Johnny O’Neal to find out what brings us back to the dungeons of old.

Also, we figured it was the best way to ask for some cheat codes. Enjoy!



Level One

Cardboard Republic: You’re currently making Boss Monster 2! Was it during the first game’s development you considered a sequel could be feasible, or was it only after the game’s release? 

Players have been asking for expansions ever since our original Kickstarter, and that campaign’s success told us there would be room for a sequel. We were working on Tools of Hero-Kind, but we always knew that was a mini-expansion. So, Boss Monster 2 has been in development since 2013!


Boss Monster 2 Madmans_Manor_ACR: Will Boss Monster 2 be a new standalone game, or will it be compatible with the base game?

Both! Boss Monster 2 is a full 160-card set with everything that 2-4 players need for countless hours of dungeon-building, hero-slaying fun. On its own, it’s a great jumping-on point and our favorite Boss Monster experience yet. But it’s also all-new, so it doesn’t invalidate any of your original Boss Monster cards. Shuffle together the Boss, Room and Spell cards from both sets for maximum variety and fun.


CR: What sort of new chaos will be unleashed upon the poor adventurers this time around?

In Boss Monster 2, we really focused on giving players meaningful choices. In the original, Spells could be a bit of dominant strategy but were only available by playing Mage Rooms. Now Cleric Rooms also give you access to Spells, and the Thief and Fighter Rooms give you a lot of interesting decisions to make. We’ve also introduced Epic Spells, which invite players to choose between a lower-powered basic ability or a higher-powered effect that requires you to meet a certain prerequisite.


CR: Are any of these features in Boss Monster 2 ones you wanted to make the first time around but were cut??

Most of these ideas emerged over the last two years, from player suggestions or our own experiences. However, “Hybrid Heroes” are an idea that dates back to our original Kickstarter campaign. These are powerful Heroes drawn to whichever player has the highest combination of two treasure types. They add variety and are especially nice for breaking stalemates in multiplayer games.

boss digital

Just tap your monitor to begin



Level Two

CR: Between Boss Monster 1 and 2, you created a digital Boss Monster. So, why make a video game based on a card game based on a video game?

That’s something else fans have been asking for since our original Kickstarter! We always liked the idea but didn’t have the technical knowhow to create the videogame-cardgame-videogame of our dreams. So we partnered with Plain Concepts, creators of Wave Engine. The initial version of the app is out now on iPad and Android tablets, and is coming very soon to Steam and Kindle. We’re looking forward to seeing the app grow over time, with improvements and expansions rolling out over the next few months.


CR: How do I enable God Mode? Because IDDQD isn’t working…

Unfortunately, God Mode is disabled in the app. In the tabletop version, it is achieved by beating one of the game designers in 23 consecutive matches.


CR: You do also realize that in doing so you created Gameception, right? How will we know what’s real anymore?!?

We recommend spinning a Boss Monster card and waiting to see if it falls over.


Level 3

Boss Monster 2 RED_DRAGONCR: Why do you think Boss Monster has resonated so much with audiences, even among other 8-bit retro style games?

We like to think it’s because the game is fun! One thing we’ve heard consistently from our players is that Boss Monster brings everyone to the table. The theme gets a lot of people interested, but the gameplay keeps them hooked. It’s easy enough for non-gamers to pick up quickly but deep enough to keep more serious games engaged. We’ve tried to make that balance even better in Boss Monster 2, with more player interaction and strategic choices.


CR: Boss Monster gets a lot of praise for sneaking (and blatantly putting) other geeky references into the game. Will you be keeping with the same idea this time around?

We like to parody geeky pop culture and pay homage to the entertainment we all love. Expect even more references and humor in Boss Monster 2.


Boss Monster 2 PityCR: Lastly, we know it’s a bit early, but do you have a particular favorite card or reference included in The Next Level?

Wow, it’s so hard to choose! Brother One is partial to Secret Stash, which is not only a fun reference but can have a really big impact on a game that’s all about “bidding” for Heroes. Brother Two likes the spell Pity, which allows you to remove a hero from an opponent’s dungeon. And of course, if you’re able to play this spell on the Fool hero, you’ll get to channel your inner Mr. T!
Thanks for talking to us today, and thanks to all of you reading this who have given our game a try!


boss monster 2

Boss Monster 2 invites players to head back to the dank dark caves that they got to know so well from the first game and take another whack at being the biggest baddest evildoer they can be. It seems like a sound idea. After all, who couldn’t use a bit of renovation of their subterranean lair now and again? With a host of new competition to face off against, foolish heroes to slaughter, and in-jokes to enjoy, Boss Monster 2 says, “come for lichen, stay for the ribs of the fallen.”

To the caves with you! Quickly now! Get up those defenses before it’s too late. It may be easy to be a monster, but to be one with some longevity, it requires a bit of effort. You can grab the Cave Upgrade Kit over on Boss Monster 2’s Kickstarter.


Photo Credits: Boss Monster artwork by Brotherwise Games.