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Sarah @ Token Trove
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Frankenstein's Bodies
Players: 2-6
Minimum age: 10 and up
Playing time: 45-60 Minutes
Game Type: Hand Management, Set Collecting, Bluffing, Sabotage
Game Designer: Andrew Harman
Publisher: YAY! Games

Before we begin, look over at your board games, I guarantee you that you will not have anything like this in your collection and by the end of this I also guarantee that you will want it. In Frankenstein's Bodies, players are rather shady looking surgeons who are looking to impress Frankenstein by making abominations out of dismembered body parts.

Each surgeon is out for themselves and will do whatever it takes to sabotage their competition by surgically removing prized body parts and then replacing it with a juicy infected body part which they may have fished out of the disposal bin. Your fellow surgeons will look in horror as their creation has now been butchered into a half man, half woman, headless, infected abomination which would make even Frankenstein shudder in horror. One things for sure, "a persons life or death is but a small price to pay for the acquirement of knowledge" and victory points!

Each player begins the game with their own theatre complete with two operating tables on which to create their very own abominations. There are six different surgeons each of a different colour represented on the tables. Each player is then dealt a hand of five cards, which could consist of anything from a mans carbolic spray...or even the ability to rummage through the bin of discarded body parts.......lovely! In addition to this, five cards are laid out face up in the middle of the table and the remaining deck of cards placed beside them. A turn then consists of each player picking up two cards and playing two cards. They can either choose to pick up one of the five displayed cards and one blind card from the deck, or two blind cards.

Players here are looking to build the best bodies they can for Dr Frankenstein, so as you can imagine one of the first things a good surgeon should do is look for body parts whether it be man or woman, however if you do not plan correctly you may end up with a abomination on your hands which will certainly not please Dr Frankenstein.

While body parts are something they need to focus on, players will also want to be on the look our for every other card! Each card in Frankenstein's Bodies is worth picking up, you never know when you will need to look through the disposal bin filled with infected body parts or whether you need some Carbolic Spray to clear a juicy infected body part which was graciously gifted by a fellow surgeon, gee thanks! This will prove to be a difficult choice, choose wisely and you will be heading off in the right direction, building Dr Frankenstein's best creation yet! Choose incorrectly and you may find yourself with more infections and problems than you can handle!

The game is played over two rounds. Scoring in the first round is all about how many uninfected body parts you have, but in the second round Dr Frankenstein will want perfection from you. That means bodies that are all man, all woman and are of one colour. There are one of three ways you can gain points at the end of the second and final round.

If you've got lots of parts of the same sex, but of a multitude of colours you can earn one point per matching body part. If you have a lot in the same colour but its a mish-mash of male and female, you can earn two points per body parts. However, the piest de resistance of Frankenstein's creations, where both sex and colour are both matching, will earn you three points per body part. Each player can only use one of these scoring methods, but they can choose which one they think will bag them the most points.

I'm going to start by saying that the art work on this game is gruesomely graphic with bones exposed and blood spurting across the table, but it's a lot of fun at the same time. The limbs are more than just random body parts, they actually represent something of the character of the person to whom they once belonged. Hands still clutch onto flowers or axes, there are still shoes and bodices on the women and they're all perfectly designed to allow you to seamlessly build your body on the table. Lets take a look at some of the cards you can play other than the body parts themselves.

Master Surgeon Cards
Your fellow surgeons around the table, they're not you trusted colleagues, they're very fierce and crafty opponents, and this card is one of your best defences against them. When played against your chosen body part at the top of your theatre it demonstrates that you've become a master surgeon in that area, and those body parts are safe from the tampering of your fellow surgeons.

Surgery Cards
You wouldn't be much of a surgeon if you didn't remove a few body parts, and that's what these cards are for. They can either be used to rehash your own creations or better still, you can get hacking up the bodies of your opponents and steal the parts for yourself!

Deflection Cards
Use this card when a fellow surgeon is trying to operate on your table and you can tell them "No, no, not in my theatre!" The best thing about this card is that unlike the Master Surgeon card it's not placed out in the open for anyone to see, so your opponents are never going to know whether or not you have the means to defend yourself....and there's nothing to stop you from bluffing yourself some defence even if you don't have one of these!

Carbolic Spray Cards
From time to time you're going to find yourself with an infected body part or two on your table. Any body parts that are moved from one players theatre to another will inevitable become infected, so any parts you may steal will be infected. Other surgeons may also rummage through the bin and dump an infected body part on your table. A bit of carbolic spray, however, and they're as good as new. Well, as good as any of the other dead body parts anyway!

Relocate a Surgeon Cards
There's nothing more infuriating than one of your opponents becoming a master surgeon in all body parts, and thus creating a wall of defence to block all your medalling. However, all is not lost. When played this card allows you to relocate one of another players Master Surgeon cards to your own theatre. Who's the master surgeon now!

Body Quality Card
This card allows you to increase the quality of your body parts. When played they allow you to place a token of the displayed value on top of a relevant body part and increase its value by that number of points.

Infection Tokens
These tokens are quite small, but that makes them the perfect size to slip onto a body card to represent that that part is infected. The colours stand out well against the body part cards, so they serve their function well.

Quality Improvement Tokens
These tokens work in the same way as the infection tokens, except that instead of causing you body parts to be worth fewer points, they increase the number of points you can get by improving their quality.

Frankenstein's Bodies is evil, I mean really evil! The amount of backstabbing and sabotage that takes place is enough to make anyone scream in anguish! However as you know it is not that uncommon these days for games to have a saboteur or give the player "take that" actions, but what makes this game different is that everyone loves it!

The joy on everyone's face when the backstabbing starts is fantastic, and this is something that other games of this type fail to capture. The artwork is also wonderfully ghoulish! It always draws the attention of passers by when it hits the table. They could have gone the safe route and provided some alternative art work but this would have ruined the charm, the visuals are what captured me in the first place.

Our final thoughts for this game are pretty much clear to see, we love it! The level of player interaction and fun that we've had from this game is unmatched. I could bring this game out and play it with people who have never seen or heard of the game before and by turn two, they would know how to play and by the end of the game they would want to play again. I looked over at the meanest game in our collection and it doesn't even come close to how mean this game is, but that's okay because that is what is fun in Frankenstein's Bodies.

When we played during our board game lunch session, there were some reservations at the beginning, but each person loved the game as seen by the following testimonies:

Nicole: "Once getting to grips with what I needed to collect and protect…and figuring out how to do as much damage to the other players body parts on their boards this game is so much fun!! Its gruesome and a lot of fun to play. I thoroughly enjoyed this game as a lunch time game."

Simon: "Frankenstein Bodies is easy to pick up and play and is as a lot of fun! Between assembling two bodies of your own, protecting them and deciding which of your opponents creations to mess with Frankenstein Bodies is as tactical as it is challenging. I would recommend this game wholeheartedly, it’s ghoulish fun!"

Sarah: "This is one of the most fun games we've played on our lunch, because the take that mechanic gets you laughing, as does the humorous way you find yourself saying, 'I'm going to steal your head now!' I don't think I've got any other games where that's the kind of banter flung across the table. This is definitely one I want in my collection."

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