Review – Braggart

(2-6 players, Aged 10+, 30+ mins playing time) 
An example of a Boast with all the possible card types
An example of a Boast with all the possible card types
Designed by Kyle Daniel, published by Spiral Galaxy Games and provided to me by Games Lore Ltd as part of my work with Imagination Gaming.

A long time ago in a land far away where men did great deeds and the ladies stayed at home there was a little known pub called the Hero’s Return where men regaled any who would listen with tales of great valour. But when the real heros left to put their lives at risk, the men left behind created ever great stories fuelled by
imagination and alcohol rather than real life! This then is the setting for the game, you and your fellow ne’r-do-wells have gathered to brag about your supposed adventures, but given you know the quality of your companions you may well interject when they are telling their tale to tell what really happened.
Various Braggart Cards, including the 2 Liar and 4 Ploy card types
Various Braggart Cards, including the 2 Liar and 4 Ploy card types
Each player is dealt four cards from a deck made up of:
  • 92 Boasting Cards (14 scenes, 32 deeds, 32 foes and 14 results) 
  • 10 Liar cards (Liar and Outrageous Liar) 
  • 11 ploy cards 
The “Lead Player” card is allocated to who ever the group wants to go first.

Each round starts with the “draft” where all the players go to the bar for inspiration. The Lead Player places as many cards face up in the middle of the table as there are players and then takes first choice placing one of the cards into their hand, each player then selects a card and does likewise.

With the draft completed each player can either go back to the bar for more inspiration (three more cards) or construct a boast from their suspect memories i.e. the cards in their hand. The Ploy cards can be used at this point as they have various special abilities, such as stealing cards from your fellow players, very much in keeping with this kind of game.

An example of the Liar card being used to substitute a card
An example of the Liar card being used to substitute a card
The boast you create must have a Deed and a Foe card but may also have a Scene and or a Result card. Depending on how impressive the boast is more or less points are scored, denoted by the numbers on the top right hand side of each card. If the boast is particularly impressive (high scoring) then one of your fellow players may interject (using a Liar card to change one card or an Outrageous Liar card to change two of your cards) and tell what really happened. This is achieved by substituting one of their low value (and generally embarrassing / feeble) cards for one or two of the high value cards making up your boast. So for instance instead of your boast stating you ‘skilfully outwitted’ you might suddenly find one of your fellow players has used a Liar card to substitute a card stating that ‘you wet yourself’!

However, given the mechanics of the game it maybe that you construct a fairly embarrassing story as a way of slipping a high scoring card past your fellow players and into your scoring pile. At the end of each round the player with the boast that has the highest points total wins the round and puts all the cards they used in their boast into their scoring pile, whilst everybody else with a boast may put only one card in their scoring pile.

Slightly strangely the points total at the end of the game is calculated using the numbers on the bottom right hand side of each card and not the ones on the top of each card.

An important part of the game is not just focussing on the points scored as they lay their cards / boast down in front of them but that the players enter into the spirit of the game by reading the story as constructed by the cards. Interestingly and no doubt for added amusement the designer has personalised the Deed cards so they all start with “I” resulting in Deeds such as “I was Captured and left at the mercy of…” Foes such as “a necromancer and her legions of the dammed” for lots of points or “Simon the lonely ogre” for a lot less points but more laughs.
Sample Foe's from Braggart
Sample Foe's from Braggart
Depending on how well you know the players or how you are using the game then the boasts can always be embellished a little further.

This is quite obviously a light fun game that will be enjoyed by those looking for something different and is likely to work well with:

1. Anybody who enjoys the fantasy genre in its many forms

2. People who enjoy story telling games

3. Social gamers

4. Gamers looking for a game to use at the end of a session

5. People working with children as a way of helping fire their imagination and creativity.

It is easy to explain, simple to play and very amusing. It has a suggested playing time of 30-45 mins but I would suggest that you play a number of rounds based on how you all feel about the game and end the game when it feels right. Yes the game system ensures there will be a winner, and there are some tactics in the game but I doubt that anyone is going to get too excited over winning or loosing at Braggart.
A sample boast
The boasts are often amusing

Did it work for us? 
Yes is the simple answer, it isn’t role play so you can use the words given or embellish them as much as you like; our group really enjoyed it. We will definitely be getting it out again, although I think it may be a better game at the end of the evening once everybody has warmed up and relaxed than at the beginning of the evening.

Our only proviso was that it is suggested that the Lead Player card should go to the player with the lowest scoring boast in the last round; our thought was that it may be simpler to just have each player take their turn as the lead player as a number of times we had only one scorer and 2 or 3 people going to the bar.

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