Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Bitten

Product-Bitten

Producer– Cat Dragon Games

Price– $14.00 here https://www.amazon.com/Redshift-Games-Bitten-Board-Game/dp/B071Y7MVCY/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1532962819&sr=8-3&keywords=Bitten+Card+Game

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 30 minutes to 1 hour (3-6 players)

Type- American

Depth-Light

TL; DR-Three way monster mash! 92%

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Basics- There can only be one!  In Bitten, players take the roles of Zombies, Vampires, and Werewolves as they attempt to take over a city by working together and against each other.  Each player is handed a lair card. This is a secret role that indicates if you are a vampire, zombie, or werewolf. From here, players are given five cards, and then in turn order, each player will either choose to play a card from their lair or from their hand.  If they choose a card from their lair, the randomly discard a card from the hand of cards they were given. Then, a player chooses to play that card either to a location or to another player’s lair. This leads to the two ways players can win. Each card has one to three symbols indicating zombie, vampire, werewolf.  Locations have a card number on them as well as a possible power. When the number of cards on a location equals the number written on the location, then you count the number of symbols on each card, and the most symbols wins the location (ties are possible). If at the end of any turn, a player has control of three of the five locations, they win!  For lairs, a player may never look at the cards in their lair unless they spend their turn getting a card from their lair. But, after a player plays a card and they have at least three cards in their lair and they have the most symbols of their type in the lair, they alone win! If no one won the round, then players pass their hand to the left, and players continue to draft cards until they pass one card.  If a player only has one card to draft from, then they draw four more, and play continues until one creature has control of the city and the night!

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Mechanics-Overall, the mechanics of this game are really smooth!  It’s a mix of a hidden roll and drafting game that almost always give you something to do.  Have cards of your symbol? Play to locations! Don’t have cards of your symbol? Screw with players’ lairs, but be careful!  There are also other action cards that remove cards and destroy locations, so that is a good mix for the game as the start locations are not what the game boils down to.  That said, this game slightly suffers from a player balance issue as play is really great at 3 and 6, but 4 and 5 can get a bit lopsided for the person without a partner. Actions cards are maybe a bit overpowered as several turns can be blown away by one action card.  It’s not horrible as this is a lighter game, but something to keep in mind. That said, this is a great game to get to the table, teaches quickly (honestly the quick run down above is 90% of the rules), and is a blast to play. 4.75/5

Theme- I feel like I’m gathering territory in this game!  Do I sent my werewolf agents to take over the dance club or the park?  Should the Vampires fight in the sewers? I do feel like an underworld fight for dominance is emerging.  Zombies are a bit of a tougher sell as I’m wondering how hordes of zombies are not noticed in a city? But, that is me being pedantic.  I do like the three sided nature of this fight. Locations where the undead would be get things that help undead like free symbols, and each race gets a place where two would do well alongside other locations where the race does well by sites.  The lairs all have fun names for the different people using the monster from voodoo master to mad scientist for zombie and others for the other two sides of this midnight beatdown. There is not combat between the monsters, so that takes away a bit as the zombies basically wave at werewolves who move in next door.  But that doesn’t break the game. The art also fills the theme as this feels like Sin City with a black and white noir style that feels like midnight. It’s a grim and dirty monster mash. 4.5/5

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Instructions-The instructions to this game are short and easy to read.  However, the instructions need a few more examples. In my first game, we ended up with a three way tie for our first location.  You can tie, but can you triple tie? The rules did not cover that. We said yes and rolled with it. That said, the rules work. If you have an especially punctilious player, then you may end up going to board game geek to fight over rules clarifications, but honestly for about 90% of the players and games, the rules are fine.  They could use a few more pages to describe things, but as written, you can play this game in about 5 minutes. 4.25/5

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Execution-First things first, I HATE SMALL ¼ CARDS!  This game has them, so that always makes me mad.  But, once I learn to deal with my own, internal, mental issues, the rest of the game is really well put together.  Nice sturdy box that fits the cards. The little cards are there to help players see who controls each area, and I’ll admit, even grudgingly, they work well.  The art on the cards is really well done even for just being two tones. I can tell who is what from far away. The card stock feels great. It’s also a small game that you can play on a bar table with friends, and I think this is the place for it as this might not be a weekend killer.  But, Bitten is a great game that is a fun fill between your four hours games or at the end of the night when you don’t want the fun to end. Finally, this game is less than 15 bucks! You can’t go wrong at this price. 4.9/5

Summary-I usually don’t like hidden role games.  I’ve never gotten into bang, and Battlestar Galactica is still on my shelf in the shrink.  But, this game is fun. You can manipulate the others or you can just get work done. I don’t feel bored by this game.  I always have something to do, the cards feel great, and the art makes me happy. It’s just dark enough even though it’s mostly just black and white.  The mechanics flow well, and the theme fits, even if you dig too deep into this one. I also like the portable nature of this game. This isn’t a perfect game as randomness can absolutely screw you and the hidden roles might not be fair, but if you need a game that goes up to six, plays quick, and is fun, then Bitten is a great game to get to the table.  92%

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