Review – Beasts of Balance

Rob Kalajian review 0 Comments

Beasts of Balance
Designers: George Buckenham, Alex Fleetwood
Publisher: Sensible Object
Year: 2016
MSRP: $99.99
Players: 1-5
Play Time: 15-20 minutes
Ages: 7+
Rules Available Online: Sort of
BGG: Beasts of Balance

Prelude

Created by a team of designers from Sensible Object, Beasts of Balance combines elements of toys, boardgames, and video games to create a unique dexterity game experience where players work together to build an amazing digital environment.

Play

Beasts of Balance is a balancing game where players stack objects onto a plinth that connects via Bluetooth to a mobile device. Objects placed on the plinth populate the game world on the mobile device and count towards the players’ score. The game contains several animals, elements, and artifacts that each affect the environment in different ways.

There are beasts that populate the air, sea, and land. This is where the balance part comes in (well, other than actually balancing the pieces on the plinth.) As players build they need to keep the three different parts of the environment in balance. Too many water animals? Your land score may go down.

Along with the beasts, there are elemental pieces that can boost their respective animals’ scores. There’s also artifacts that can merge two beasts or migrate a beast from one area to another. Merge a shark and eagle to get a completely new creature, or migrate a boar into the ocean to get another. There are tons of unique beasts to unlock in your app’s bestiary. You can also unlock Elemental Beasts by getting a beast’s individual score up past 20.

Beasts of Balance also includes two Disruptors. These provide huge in-game bonuses but require you to hold, tap, or take some other action on the mobile screen while stacking items. This makes it much easier to topple the whole tower.

This brings us to the last part of Beasts of Balance. When the tower topples a volcano appears on screen, ready to erupt. Quickly rebuild the tower to save the world. If not, it’s game over and the total score is tallied.

The final score is calculated by your actual beast scores and your new discoveries made during the current play session.

Pieces

Beasts of Balance is a beautifully designed game. All the plastic pieces are colorful, carefully weighted, and created using angles so that each piece can be stacked onto the plinth in many different ways. The actual app, itself, follows the same design sense and is a joy to watch as the physical pieces come to life as the players create their world.

Beasts of Balance

Another cool thing is that you can 3D print your own pieces for the game by grabbing the STL files from the Beasts of Balance site. To use your new pieces you’ll need to buy a DIY pack that will get you RFID tags for these.

Perspective

Beasts of Balance is a lot of fun. A lot of fun. I’m a huge fan of stacking games as it is, but the worldbuilding aspect with the mobile app takes the game to the next level. Discovering new beasts and attempting to take your score even higher is exciting and satisfying.

There are a few problems as of right now. The first is the lack of a competitive play. All the players work together to create the best score possible, but there aren’t leaderboards for groups to compete against other groups. It wouldn’t make sense to have local players compete against each other, but it would be nice to have a global community of players that compete against each other in various challenges.

The other problem Beasts of Balance has is its price. At $100, plus needing a mobile device to play, it’s pretty pricey. Even with a box full of amazing pieces and the Bluetooth plinth needed to connect to the app, it’s a lot of money to pay for a dexterity game. A bit more content might help alleviate this.

Beasts of Balance sets out to provide a beautiful, unique, and entertaining experience and certainly does so. Price aside, the game is a blast to play.

A copy of Beasts of Balance was provided free for review by Sensible Object.

Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn's Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.
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