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Subject: Two Rooms and a Boom: As good as social gaming gets rss

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Andrew J.
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Missouri
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aaj's favorite SOCIAL DEDUCTION game

Retail version box cover.

Two Rooms and a Boom is a pretty decent social deduction game that improves on Mafia/Werewolf to make for a solid filler for 12-20 people. Social group games like these are usually very low on my list, but Two Rooms and a Boom fixes some of my key complaints with the older games of its type.

Vladimir Lenin, our equivalent of a bomber

In Two Rooms and a Boom, the Red team and Blue team are trying to figure out who is who. The Blue team has a president that must be protected, and the Red team has a bomber that is trying to get in the same room as the president. At the end of each timed round, occupants of each room will vote who to send over to the other room. In this way, the bomber will try to get next to the president and win the game for Red. Blue wins if the president ends the last round in a different room than the bomber.

Special cards, like spies, can spice up the basic game mechanics a great deal

2R1B fixes my key complaints about Mafia/Werewolf: first, "villagers/commoners" have something to do even if their role isn't particularly special. While Two Rooms has special powers just like Werewolf, even the villages in Two Rooms have the opportunity to vote on their room's leader (who decides who is sent as a hostage). They're just as involved in figuring out who is red and who is blue as the 'special roles' are. Secondly, there's no way to die in Two Rooms, so you'll never be sitting on a couch wishing that everyone else would just finish up already.

Finally, there's no narrator in Two Rooms, so you're not subjected to lame storytelling -- instead, the whole game is driven by a timer. This adds a lot of pressure to your decision making and can rush you to make poor decisions. I appreciate the timer element a lot.

I enjoyed my plays of Two Rooms and a Boom more than I thought I would, even though I've lost most times I've played. We've designed a custom Russian Civil War-themed version of the game, and to us that's more enjoyable than the generic 'president/bomber' scenario. YMMV, of course, but this is an exceptionally easy game to pnp/retheme.

Custom 7 Noyabrya cover

Gameplay
.. Abstract ----♦------ Thematic
....... Luck -♦--------- Skill
.... Simple ♦---------- Complex
. Strategic ---♦------- Tactical
... Friendly --♦-------- Cutthroat

Other
Graphic Design/Components: 2/5 (PNP art leaves a lot to be desired)
Insert: NA/5
Rules Clarity: 5/5 (character reference is very helpful)

Overall: 3/5

tl;dr: If you really must get a group party game, get this one. Avoid Werewolf and Mafia, whatever you do.
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Samuel Hinz
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Re: As good as social gaming gets
when you rate luck so highly why would i choose this over Mafia? or maybe the question is what do you believe the luck factor is for mafia?
 
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Andrew J.
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Re: As good as social gaming gets
I would rate this and mafia very similarly. I don't necessarily see luck as a bad thing, it just means that you have no control over which character you will get, which means your strategy in the game will be randomly decided for you every time. Again, not a bad thing, but just the way these role games work
 
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Geoff Conn
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Re: As good as social gaming gets
But that's only at the very beginning of the game. And I disagree that your role entirely determines your strategy, I would say that there are many ways to try and advance your game independent of your role. So far more skill than luck, although its hard in this kind of game to make that skill count when so many other players are involved.

That's the challenge.
 
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Andrew J.
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Yes, I agree that there are 'good' and 'bad' ways to play a single role, but with so many players (many of them casual, as that's often in the nature of large-group games), it's hard to make your role count and be unique in the mix with a dozen other people. I do love the small room discussion dynamic of Two Rooms, though.
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