Back or Brick Kickstarter Table Top

Back or Brick: Bardsung

Become those who songs are sung about in the epic dungeon crawler from Steamforged Games.


  • Quick to set-up
  • Non-standard fantasy races/classes
  • Dungeon crawl
  • Session Length
  • Campaign Game
  • Price


  • Dungeon Crawl
  • D20 based
  • Very much D&D inspired
  • Price

The Page

I think that they do a solid job on the page. I get some idea of the game play and while there are obviously a lot of minis in this, they could highlight them a lot more. And that’s not saying that I want them to highlight it more, in fact I appreciate that they don’t. Too often games like this focus on the minis and then not at all o the game play.

I also like how they show off a number of guest writers for it, which some fun names in there. I like it when games can pull in more creators to help give different parts of the game a more robust and interesting feel to it. It also helps with the diversity in the game, because a smaller team, though Steamforged Games is not small by any means, can mean that you have less diversity in the game and creators.

I will knock them a little bit, as I do most campaigns on Kickstarter, the information for the game play is pretty low on the page. So I don’t have a ton of idea until I’m about halfway down and they’ve tried to sell me on add-ons shown off the minis a few times. And while the section is fairly large, I feel like it’s actually light in details for the game play itself.

The Game

So, this part is interesting and I am looking at the game from what I can tell in the rules, plus watching some game play.

They talk about simple character creation and it being simple to get up and go overall for this game. This is both true and a lie. Character creation is definitely simple, you get a starting set-up for your character, you toss on a couple of tokens to note things, and that is great. I like how simple that get into the game is. Same with setting up the map, you have a starting map spot and your character and that is it, and you’re ready to go.

But it’s also a lie. When building your character, you get to choose how you progress. They made it free and open so that you won’t have to be stuck in a class. I like that aspect about it, but that means in future games and future times when setting up your character, it won’t be as simple, in fact you’ll have to keep track of what you’ve done. Plus the action dungeon crawl itself. Gloomhaven doesn’t pretend it has fast set-up, this does, this probably has longer in game set-up than Gloomhaven does just because you are flipping a card, that tells you what map tile is next, you find that tile, then you need to figure out what bad guys go on there, then you need to shuffle up the combat order that people go in, the marching order. I’ve played Shadows Of Brimstone which uses a set-up mechanism like that, it’s faster to get it going on the table, it is not faster when all set-up time is considered.

I do like how the enemy AI works. It isn’t completely unique, as things like Sword and Sorcery and Imperial Assault have done this as well, but it’s basically a list of things. If the enemy can do the top thing, that means they do that, if they can’t, look at the next one, and so on and so forth. It makes enemy combat easy to do, but can make it a bit predictable. This compared to Gloomhaven which has an enemy deck so you don’t know what might be flipped up.

Back or Brick

So there are things that I like about this game and things that I don’t. I do think that this game has some interesting characters, but at the same time, it also has a lot of D&D related characters and monsters and I could just play D&D. Then there is the D20, I didn’t talk about it much in game play, but you are rolling a D20 to do things, and the issue with that is that a D20 has massive variability. In Dungeons and Dragons that can be an issue, but D&D is a much about the role playing as it is the roll playing. This is a board game, so as much as they want it to be like an RPG Board Game, it is going to be a board game first, which means that variability sucks. For me, this ends up being a brick because of that, and because I don’t believe the set-up and getting going is that much faster, it just shifts it to down time in the game versus at the start of the game. Add in the title, I like the idea of bards singing about your deeds, but from what I can tell the name is just a fun name and doesn’t have anything to do with what you really are doing in the game.

How about for you, is this game a back or a brick?

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