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Game review: Awesome Beasts of Balance a harmony of technology and tactile boardgaming

Posted May 16

Beasts of Balance includes an electronic plinth and 24 beautiful Artefacts designed to stack in fun and surprising ways. (Deseret Photo)

One of the coolest aspects to board gaming in the 80s was the frequent use of an electronic component. Today a few board games utilize a digital device to create new ways to play. One of the best of these new hybrid games is Beasts of Balance.

When one open's the large box containing the game Beasts of Balance, one notices two things right off the bat. First, there are no game instructions. Players will receive direction from a companion app played on a digital device that walks them step by step through the game rules. Learning the rules for Beasts of Balance was one of the most pleasant game-learning experiences ever.

The second noticeable thing about the game is the set of 24 multi-colored pieces of various shapes and sizes. One of the largest components is a plinth, which looks like a small scale. What on earth could all of these pieces do?

The plinth is used as a base to support the stacking of the colorful pieces from the box. The goal is to stack as many pieces as possible. The pieces are themed around animals and animal power. Players get to choose which pieces get placed in the stack on their turn.

The coolest thing about Beasts of Balance is that each playing piece in the game has a digital ID tag that can correspond with a digital device. The iOS or Android device needed to play the game will register which playing pieces are being used.

The core pieces in the game represent animals. The goal is to evolve these animals into something new and interesting. There are multiple ways to this as the pieces of the game all interact differently depending on when they are played.

For example, the octopus is played on the plinth followed by the toucan. The next piece added to the stack strengthens water-based creatures so the octopus grows in strength. The next player adds a crossover piece that combines the toucan and octopus into a brand new species of creature. And on and on.

Bascially players are simultaneously trying to stack game pieces and evolve creatures. The piece needed to grow one of the animals may not be the best piece to play in order to maintain the integrity of the stack. There are so many tough choices.

If the stack of components on the plinth ever falls, players will have just a few moments to restack them or lose the game. When the game is lost, a final score is given. The app keeps track of the scores as well as the new creatures that have evolved from each game. Players can try to unlock new species of creatures or improve their scores. There are more than 100 to discover.

This game has won a variety of awards (and rightly so) because of how innovative it is and how much fun it is to play. Adults will love this game. Kids will love this game. If kids can stack blocks, they can participate. All things considered, this game is excellent. It comes with a strong recommendation and is a joy to play. Additional and different animal pieces can be purchased from the publisher's website. Find out more at BeastsofBalance.com.

Email: rmorgenegg@deseretnews.com

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