Beasts of Balance by Sensible Object Review


Beasts of Balance by Sensible Object Review 1

Publisher: Sensible Object

Game Type: Cooperative play, action/dexterity, hybrid board/video game

Designer: George Buckenham, Alex Fleetwood

Initial Year of Release: 2016

Artist: Tim Burrell-Saward, Lyall McCarthy, Chris Shaw

Theme and What is it?

In Beasts of Balance, players are celestial beings with the power to create! Start with animals from earth, like bears and eagles, and use your magic to create entirely new mythical creatures of the land, sea, and sky.

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Gameplay Mechanics

The first order of business when playing Beasts of Balance is to download the app onto your mobile device. Trust me, it’s amazing.

Players then choose from a selection of Artefacts, which include Beasts, Elements, Miracles (of Haste and Distraction), Crosses, and Migrates.

Scanning and placing a beast on the plinth, or the base, is a solid first choice and adds that creature into the colorful world that’s depicted on your mobile device. Add another beast and it appears too! If one beast is stronger than the other, the lower ranking beast gets jealous and loses points!

If Octopus has gotten so jealous and lost so many points that it’s down to one point, it becomes endangered. You can compensate for this by adding Element Artefacts to your tower. Adding a Water Element (blue artefact) to your tower will grant points to the water creatures in your world, thus (hopefully) saving Octopus from the brink of extinction!

Cross artefacts are used after placing two beasts on the plinth. The cross produces a new hybrid of two of the animals.

To use a migrate artefact, wait until the little flitting firefly is hovering over the creature you wish to change, scan the artefact and balance it on your tower. The creature will then migrate from one element (land, sea, sky) to another, becoming another creature entirely and adding this new beast to your bestiary, or index of created beasts.

For added fun, keep building new towers and try to fill your bestiary with all the possible combinations of creatures the game offers!

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Initial Impressions

I was incredibly excited about Beasts of Balance, especially since I have a 9 year old. The pieces look great, the box art is very inviting, and I am personally very excited about the intersection of board gaming and video gaming, two of my favorite pastimes. I was curious about how exactly the technology would integrate with the physical game components and I was not disappointed.

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Game Build Quality

The beasts are incredible. It’s not a cheap plastic; it has a really nice soft finish to it. The plinth is wide enough to make a fairly stable base, but small enough to provide quite a bit of challenge for players young and old alike.

And guys, the app is AMAZING. We’ve played over a dozen times, and have had ZERO technical issues scanning artefacts, having the plinth recognize when they’ve been stacked, and having the app respond appropriately. No crashes, no bugs. It’s as seamless as can be.

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Artistic Direction

I’m in love with the art on the box — it incorporates familiar animals stylized in a fantastical sort of way that captures the imagination of children and adults alike.

The animals are easily recognizable as the bear, the eagle, etc., but are molded so that they have some semi-flat surfaces to enable stacking.

And the art in the app is just incredible. I’ve posted a lot of screenshots because they’re just simply gorgeous.

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Fun Factor

Tons of fun. I enjoy it myself for solo play because I’m totally into the challenge of trying to complete my bestiary. I must discover all the beasts!

Playing with my nine-year-old is a lot of fun, especially since it’s cooperative, and he really enjoys sharing the game with his friends when they come to play. They also really get a kick out of a board game that doubles as a video game. It’s easy to learn, quick to play, and quick to put back up when they’re done.

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Age Range & Weight

I would play this game with kids ages 3+. It would be great for developing fine motor skills and cooperative play encourages social development. It’s very lightweight, but surprisingly addictive.

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A lot of features of this game remind me of Pokemon. The beasts, the crosses and migrations that create new, fantastical creatures. Collecting the whole set in your bestiary. Any kid (or adult, I don’t judge) that likes Pokemon would probably find this game just as fascinating as I do.

One thing I would like to see in future editions is a paper copy of the instructions. The app tutorial is great, but the Miracle Artefacts are a bit difficult to use, and a written reference would clear up the matter quite easily.

Sensible Object has done a stunning job of integrating technology with board gaming and I am very keen to see what they come out with next!


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