For those nights when nobody wants to play games ... here comes the Brothers!
Brothers isn't for you if you want a game that makes your brain burn. If you are looking for a game that takes your happy band of adventurers over hill and under dale through many nights of breathless campaigning, then Brothers will leave you short. If you're looking for a deck-building, dice-drafting, worker-placement miniatures extravaganza, then head back to your games library now.
But, and this is a very good "but", if you want a game that sucks you in with its simplicity before captivating you within it's surprising hidden depths then please do give Brothers a try.
Brothers - The Game
Sitting somewhere just below Kingdomino and Barenpark in complexity, Brothers doesn't demand much in the way of rules-reading or set-up. It was on a night when the last thing we felt like doing was playing a game of any sorts that my wife and I decided to open up Brothers.
We were met with a colourful, well-laid out rulebook that could be absorbed with not much more than a casual glance. The rest of the small box was fill with green Tetris-style, pastoral-coloured shapes that were of such a good thickness that even this ham-fisted reviewer didn’t have concerns about bent cardboard. We were up and running and getting competitive within seconds – much to Mrs H.’s delight.
The box suggested a playtime of 15 minutes. We were done quicker than that. Ironically, this is a game where the more you play it the more the play time extends as each player engages in more plot and counterplot. Don’t be deceived though – this is still a quick, filler of a game.
So, why the title Brothers? No idea. There is something in the introduction about “vast Cania Plains”, “Wabbits” and “Gobballs” but it’s pretty irrelevant. To be truthful, the theme is pretty non-existent.
There are some cutesy bunnies and sheep hanging around in pens, but they play little more of a role than the titular brothers. This is a tile-laying game plain and simple. What makes it intriguing is that there are only two main shapes (straight or right-angled) and each player only gets to play one type for each of their two recommended turns.
You quickly realise that simply planning your own moves isn't good enough. In this game, you must anticipate your opponents' as well. Of course, there is the risk of it descending into a stalemate like in titles such a Connect Four. However, due to the set-up of the tiles, this doesn't happen.
With Brothers, you get a 15-minute game of thought-inducing, captivating fun. More often than not, the game will end with scores only one or two points apart.
It’s just enough to entice you back for the second round – there is always hope of a turnaround win! The age rating on the box says 8+, however I feel it would work well with a younger audience. This is especially true when playing the four-player team-based variant (ignoring the rule about not consulting each other).
Final Thoughts on Brothers
Brothers (designed by Christophe Boelinger) is not a game that you are likely to be playing on a regular basis, but it is a great gateway game. You can use it to introduce people of all ages to the board game hobby. Also, Brothers works as a great opener during a long gaming session.
After a couple of games me and my wife had lost our lethargy. We felt inspired and energised, enough to pull out a more complex board game. Perhaps, in some ways, this is the best way to recommend Brothers.
The aim of the game is to get as many of the cute fury animals into the pen as possible. However, once you've spent time being surprisingly competitive on doing so you will feel enthused and excited to head off out into a much wider gaming vista.