Review: Bravo!

Bravo! is the successor of the famous game Encore! In this version there are a lot of extra options that give the game more depth. This makes for even more fun!






Game explanation

Bravo! is the successor to the well-known game Encore! In this roll&write you have more options than in the first version. You can play this game with 1 to 6 people. 

The aim of the game is to score as many points as possible by filling whole columns or rows. You do this by crossing off colored boxes. A turn begins with all the dice being rolled by the starting player. Then he or she may choose a combination of a number and a color. You may then cross off that number of squares of that color. Crossing off boxes is only allowed in the starting column H or adjacent to already crossed off boxes. This way, you can fill up columns and rows. Are you the first to complete a column or row? Then you get the 1st bonus. Other players can only get the 2nd bonus if they also cross off that column completely. This 2nd bonus gives you a lesser reward.

In addition to numbers and colors, one side of the dice shows a question mark and a black color, these are jokers. You can use jokers for any color or number. However, this will cost you a joker field. There are 6 joker fields on your score sheet. So be careful not to use them too quickly. You receive one point for each joker field that is not crossed off at the end of the game.

Different than the first version of this game, a special die has been added to the game in Bravo! On this die are various actions that you can use provided that you have circled a special dice field on your score sheet. These fields can be unlocked by crossing certain boxes or, for example, by being the first to complete the start column. If you decide to use the special dice, cross off 1 circled special dice space on your score sheet. Therefore, if you have no more circled spaces you may not use the special dice. The special actions are as follows: 

Bomb: you detonate a bomb and may immediately cross off 4 squares in a 2×2 square regardless of colour or location. This does not have to be adjacent to other squares either.
Heart: you may circle a heart on your score sheet. Each column has a heart score field in addition to the standard score you get for it. If you have a full column you write the current heart value here. With these hearts you get bonus points for filling up a column.
Stars: You may directly cross off 2 stars on your score sheet. These stars must be adjacent to already crossed off boxes or in the starting column.
Three in a row: You may immediately cross off 3 boxes in a row (not a column). These boxes do not have to be adjacent to each other but must be adjacent to already crossed off boxes or in the starting column.
Colour block: You immediately cross off a block of 1 color. This may be done up to a maximum of 6 squares. The first square must be adjacent to a square already crossed off or in the start column. This is a good way to cross off a block of 6 squares in 1 turn.

The game ends when one of the players has completely crossed off 2 colors, or if you play solo after 30 rounds. You also get bonus points if you have completely crossed off a color. After this round, everyone adds up their scores. There is a handy place for this on the right side of your score sheet. You get points for completely crossed off colors, total row/column score, heart score, remaining joker fields, remaining special dice fields and minus points for remaining stars. The player with the most points obviously wins the game. 

Our thoughts

After playing Encore! via the mobile app, Bravo! quickly caught our attention. In Encore! you miss some extra options that you have in this version. It provides just a little more depth and replayability. Encore! remains a wonderful game that we like to play quickly on mobile. However, with more people or a bit more time we will always choose Bravo!

These options do provide a bit more rules and therefore might be a bit harder to explain, but the rules are still very simple and easy to learn. Especially if you have played Encore! this version will be no problem for you. Because this game is so accessible and easy to set up we also like to take it with us when we travel or visit parents.

The score sheet is designed well and everything is described very clearly. Crossing off the boxes is very satisfying, especially when you can cross off a box that you really needed. The only disadvantage of the sheets is that they are not double-sided, this could save a lot of paper (and money). If you're a fanatical player you play through the score sheets pretty quickly. Fortunately, you can buy separate score sheets. You can also plastify a score sheet and use it without limit. For many players of Bravo! this could be a smart option.

With roll&writes, we always like to keep track of our score and want to play again and again to improve our high score. This, along with its accessibility, ensures that we will often grab this game off our game shelf. Also, the playing itself feels fairly easy. You're not constantly doing the math like in Clever, but it's certainly tactical enough. Even after playing countless games, Bravo! is still challenging for us. We can't wait for the successor of Bravo!

Playing with 2 players

We think Bravo! is perfect with 2 players. You can keep an eye on what the other player is doing and you are not waiting too long for each other. A turn does not necessarily take longer with multiple players because you only have to wait for the starting player. With two players you have a little more interaction because you really pay attention to what your opponent is doing. You can try to thwart them with certain choices. With multiple players you don't really have an overview and the starting player will probably choose for himself and not to thwart others.

 Pros and cons

+ Simple and fast
+ More options
+ Clear scoresheet

Scoresheet is not reusable
- Only 1 type of scoresheet in the base game

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This game has been kindly gifted to us for review purposes by 999games.