Updated: Mar 15, 2021
I don't know if the idea for this game started with the punning title or with the cuddly teddybear Ewoks from Star Wars, but Barbearian Battlegrounds pits two to four competing clans of warrior bears against each other in a quest to be the first to amass seven Glory tokens.
Each player starts with two Glory tokens, so the journey to collecting seven involves taking tokens from opponents by launching a successful raid. Glory can also be earned by a player completing the secret objective on his trial card and by gathering resources and exchanging them for upgrades. Resources can also be exchanged for 'mercenaries' (single-use black dice) and even to buy up to two more dice to add permanently to your arsenal.
The game is played by allocating dice to attack, defence or gathering. At the start of each turn, all players simultaneously roll their initially three dice and then they secretly allocate them on their individual boards. That's what the screens are for. This provides imperfect information that makes for an interesting mechanic: you know exactly what your opponents have rolled but, until the simultaneous reveal, you don't know how they have decided to allocate those dice. Cue opportunity for bluff and counter-bluff. There is every likelihood that a player will use a 6 to attack an opponent, but, unless you are playing a two-player game, you don't know which opponent they will go after. The player may alternatively choose to use their 6 to lock (flip) one of their Glory tokens so that it becomes invulnerable to being raided by an opponent.
Simultaneous dice rolling and allocation makes this a game that plays fast and is refreshingly immune from AP (analysis paralysis). That makes Barbearian Battlegrounds a game that can be played as a filler. Rolling dice means that, inevitably, there is a high luck factor: if your opponents roll a lot more sixes than you then you are probably not going to win. As this is a short 20 minute game, however, that's something you will forgive. You may even find that your secret objective allows you to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Barbearian Battlegrounds is designed by Leaf Pile Media (Ian VanNest and Walter Barber) and published by Greenbrier Games. Shown here is a preview prototype: expect upgraded components (but no Lego Ewoks) in the final published version.