Bravo! is a very cool little game from Stronghold games for 1 to 6 players that we have played quite a bit over the last few days of sun.
I was sent a box of games to review and amongst them was Bravo! Of course, it goes without saying that these opinions are my own and I would always give you my honest opinion about a product.
As lockdown finishes and we are allowed visitors, our garden is seeing a bit more action and what better thing to do when there are a group of children who can’t run around shouting than to force them to play games with you?
There were 6 of us playing and Bravo! plays well with the maximum number of people, later that evening my daughter and I played alone and it also worked really well with but was somewhat easier to get what you wanted. I did not enjoy playing Solo but it does have a solo variant if you feel the need.
The contents of the box are 1 pad of scoring sheets, 6 felt tip pens and 7 dice and a rules sheet that lists the contents as 1 pad with 4 different levels, 4 felt tip pens and 13 dice. Actually, I read that Bravo! is part of the Noch Mal series of games and adds new rules and the special dice with effects that allegedly change the game. I haven’t played the Noch Mal or Noch Mal Gut so cannot comment on this but the special dice does add an extra layer of strategy that is perhaps missing from the other titles.
I say rules guide as Bravo! is an extremely easy game to pick up and understand with a single read-through. It is essentially a roll and write game where each player takes turns to roll the 7 dice, 3 for colour, 3 for number and 1 special dice to mark off coloured grids or icons on your score sheet.
Each player takes it in turn to select dice, either a colour and number or a special dice which has actions like a Bomb that lets you fill a 2×2 grid anywhere on the sheet or Stars with let you check off two-star spaces which need to be adjacent to an already checked off space.
Selecting a number and colour combination means you must cross off the number of squares equal to the dice and of the colour you select. You must start from an adjacent square that has already been crossed off unless it’s the start of the game and you can fill the H row, and you must be able to use the entire number in one block. It starts to get quite intense as you near the end of the game and your options are not just filling your scorecard but also stopping others from filling theirs.
There are also Jokers on the colour and number dice so there are plenty of opportunities to fill your grid and get ahead, however, what makes the game fun and adds a level of competition is the fact that only the first two people who complete a column can circle a point box. These range from 1 to 5 points depending on how far away they are from the central and starting H column.
Watching dice sit on the table, the ones you need to complete a column or better a colour set, all the while hoping nobody has paid attention to the fact that you need them is genuinely exciting.
A game typically took about 40 minutes or so with 6 of us and ends when two colour bonuses are completed.
In a six-player game, it’s not easy to keep track of who is doing what so you never really knew who was winning until the very end and we added up our points.
I liked this a lot; children can tend to give up or get disheartened if they can see themselves losing so rubbing a win in their face when they still have hope was so much sweeter. Actually, this isn’t true as I am not a horrible person, plus, I didn’t win a single game but I was able to beat my score each game I have played and get fewer and fewer deductions at the end of each game. Who knows, in a few decades I may win a match.
Bravo! is fun, it’s portable being all you actually need are the scoring pads, pens and dice and I can see it keeping children entertained on a train for example during a long journey or sat at a campsite, however, it fell a little flat when my wife and I played a few games.
It just doesn’t offer the depth, planning and strategy that a more rounded game would give but this is not necessarily a bad thing. There are times when you want to do something a little less intense and playing with my children can be a bit frustrating at times when we are playing endless rounds of Labyrinth or Ghost Fighting Treasure Hunters so I am really happy to be able to add Bravo! to our pantheon of potential games.
I like Bravo! It’s not revolutionary and it is never going to set the world on fire but for a casual game that has enough strategy to be interesting for all, whilst remaining accessible enough for even young children to play.
A definite thumbs up from me and certainly one for your collection even if you only take it travelling.