Review: Bears vs Babies – different kind of war

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Bears are hungry, but filling such a big grumbling stomach is not easy. The best way is to catch a defenseless baby. Vulnerable baby? That‘s not true for a long time! Children have evolved to defend themselves. They become armed up to their teeth. If bears want to catch some food for the winter, they have to work together and with cunningness.

And exactly combination of bears and babies was intriguing for designers (Exploding Kittens) and . Their joint creation is called naturally , and it is a game, that was released in as self-published. Well, that‘s not quite true, because both authors have received a lot of help from fans, which ran about a year ago. They have also gathered three million dollars from more than 55000 fans.

How well have these money been used? According to the plushy box, you can still guess so well. Game immediately attracts your attention with bear’s coat, that covers whole lid of the box. And just below it is a four-colored bottom, that holds more than a hundred (exactly 107) cards and cloth game board. The player spread it in from of them and then shuffle all cards into one big deck.

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That is, if they do not want to play a learning game, that does not include twenty of them. Still, they must not forget to sort out four bear heads, that will serve as jokers. From the remaining stack of cards, each participant will receive four random cards to have five (with bear) in hand. Preparation will be slightly extended, if one of the participants gets a baby card. He must immediately place it on the board to start a pile corresponding to its color – earth, water or air. And he obviously gets a replacement. All remaining cards are then divided into three roughly same packages and placed as drawing decks on the table.

In his turn, player has three different actions. Base of everything is using action points (two to four according to the number of participants) and these can be divided between drawing or playing cards. Players can hold any number of cards in their hand, but they will especially want to use them to create monsters on the table. Their assembling always starts with playing the head, which may belong to one of three elements – living on the ground, in the water or in the air. Then, using same number of stitches, head (and later other body parts) can be stitched together with other cards of the body to get some frankenstein monster. All cards always have their strength printed in the upper right corner, but all heads are universal. Instead, player can choose to spend his whole turn differently by picking one particular card from discard pile.

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Even as the cards are drawn out from deck every turn, it is still true, that any card showing a baby must immediately travel to the center of the table in baby army pile. And with the picture down, so the value of the card (yes, even children have combat power) is always known only by to the one, who drew it. During the game, players get soon into a situation, where they are unable to estimate strength of the army for each element.

But moment, when all these built monsters finally pay off, is when one of players decides to provoke one of baby armies. Player himself has to choose, whether ground, sea or air troops will be provoked and report it to all opponents. At that moment, members of the baby army are revealed and the players add up power of the individual cards to get its strength. One after the other, players compare power of their monsters (all their parts of body) in the same element. If at least one of them can defeat enemy army, then everything is fine and player with the strongest monster gets baby cards into his scoring pile. If babies win, nobody gets anything and only baby army is discarded. All participating monsters always go into discard pile.

Players build monsters and send them to provoke babies and to war. It is always possible to confront only one element. For their achievements, they are rewarded with baby cards, that have their strength converted to victory points. These will become important, when the last card comes up and there is nothing to be drawn anymore. Players will play the last round with cards in their hand and then add up their profits. Winner is the one, who has the most points.

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Bears vs Babies will most likely provide fun to you, if you do not mind a little stupid and crazy card games, in which you are going to relax and laugh. This is all, that’s in there. Really crazy theme succeeds very successful Explosive kittens and even this time, designers did not forget, what is really fun about those fast card games – a true conflict!

It is not easy to give a firm verdict about this game. There are players, who will hate it for lack of tactical possibilities and blame it for not being a game. Yes, there will be many of these. But then, there are lovers of crazy fun, who enjoy this unpredictable and extremely casual type of games.

Game definitely offers an interesting approach, where although its all really random, individual participants are able to influence their chances. Especially timing of provoking the babies is not only about means to get points, but also a tactical option to harm your opponents.

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Bears vs Babies offers great emphasis on rivalry and conflict. You need to provoke, when its good for you and not for others to get points. And even have good guess about enemy army strength. Overall, however, match is a drop longer, than it should be. It takes a total of twenty minutes, which is far more than Exploding Kittens and enough to make the game feel stereotyped.

Even processing is very strange. Furry box itself is the most flamboyant. Unfortunately, illustrations do not reach the quality of those we met with kittens. Above all, pictures of children crossbreeded with various items and animals are strange. Even though monsters slightly raise the flag back, they are only silhouettes with no sophisticated imagery anywhere. From the point of processing, there are certainly reserves in the box, which you will regret mainly due to gathere finances, that were maybe not used properly?

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Bears vs Babies is a very controversial creature of a game. It tries to be a lighter entertainment, which is true. But illustrations fail to support it. Fortunately, creating monsters and provoking kids is enough to still have enough fun on the table. Its not to everyone taste, but there is a game in this box at least for some players. And with the right audience, Bears vs Babies is a crazy card game, but nothing more.

DesignerMatthew Inman, Elan Lee
ArtistMatthew Inman
Publisher(Self-Published), ADC Blackfire Entertainment, Asmodee, Gém Klub Kft., Rebel Sp. z o.o.
Year Published2017
# of Players2 - 5
User Suggested # of Players Best with 5+ players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5 players
(25 voters)
Playing Time20
Mfg Suggested Ages7 and up
User Suggested Ages8 and up
(13 voters)
Language DependenceSome necessary text - easily memorized or small crib sheet
(4 voters)
CategoryAnimals, Card Game, Comic Book / Strip, Humor
MechanicAction Points, Hand Management, Player Elimination, Set Collection, Take That
ExpansionBears vs Babies: Exclusive Backer Card, Bears vs Babies: NSFW Expansion Pack
FamilyAnimals: Bears, Card Games: Matching, Crowdfunding: Kickstarter
Primary NameBears vs Babies
Alternate NamesMedvědi vs. Mimina, Niedźwiedzie vs bobasy

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Bears vs Babies – different kind of war
Final word
Bears vs Babies are probably not exactly, what players and fans of Exploding Kittens were waiting for. It is a game almost without tactics just like the previous game, but also without a good humorous overlap. Fortunately, several elements move it towards entertainment, but it will not suit everyone. Additionally, the illustrations are quite strange and matches are longer than necessary. Overall, Bears vs Babies are a little above-average card game, that gets you amused with its crazy theme.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
building monsters
provoking children can also be used as harm to others
nice box
simple and fun (with the right players) game course
Cons
luck
strange (maybe upturned) illustrations
long matches feel stereotypical
3
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