Bullet ♥ is a face-paced real time game where you had to defend yourself while hoping to overwhelm the other players.
Total Play Time: 10-20 minutes
Designer(s): Joshua Van Laningham
Artist(s): Collateral Damage Studios, Sebastián Koziner, Usanekorin, Davy Wagnarok
Publisher: Level 99 Games
Bullet ♥ is a unique game where you react to bullets, or pieces, that are attempting to hit you. Bullets will be placed on your sight board as they are fired toward you – and you’ll be able to react to the bullets clearing them and oh so conveniently redirecting them to other players at the table. The main mode to play in Bullet ♥ is the standard timed mode where you have three minutes each round. Each player will be a specialized heroine which will act as an asymmetric faction.
This is a general overview to provide context for the review, not an in-depth how to play. Some rules may be glossed over or missing.
Bullet ♥ is a one to four player game with asymmetric characters. I have played four out of the eight available characters and have played against the other four. The wooden bullet tokens are not included in the base game but do vastly improve the game experience. This review will mainly cover the standard timed mode of the game.
Bullet ♥ is a real time game where each round is played in three-minutes. During those three minutes, each player must resolve all the bullets within the personal supply, or “current”. This game does include plater elimination but due to the fast pace nature of the game, eliminated players will not have long to wait before the game end.
The game consists of multiple three-minute round where each player is simultaneously taking their actions. Due to the fast-paced nature of the game, there tends to be some hand flailing and some accidentally thrown pieces. Or maybe the group I play with just gets a little over excited.
During the setup, you will choose the Heroine you want to be from the eight available options. Each heroine as their own character board, AP board, and pattern deck. The sight boards are standardized so everybody just gets one. Each player will draw three patterns for the first round (unless their unique ability says otherwise), as well as add ten bullets from the supply, or the “center”, to their current.
The round begins when the three-minute timer start. Each player will resolve their own board and once they are satisfied with their results, they can end their turn. At the end of the turn, each player will gain a power-up tile, draw pattern cards up to their hand size, reset their AP and gain bullets according to the intensity level. The intensity level is there to add more bullets in the economy and increase the difficulty of the game.
Once every player is done, the intensity track is increase by one plus one for any heroine that did not survive the round. Any bullets in a player’s incoming are will go into their current as well. And then it begins again.
During the three-minute turn, you will have the opportunity to do four things:
- Place bullets
- Use Patterns
- Use AP
- Use Power-Ups
Placing bullets is essential because there cannot be any bullets in your current at the end of the turn. This mean you cannot go onto the end of round cleanup until all bullets have been placed on your sight board. Patterns, AP, and power-ups will all contribute to controlling the amount and placement of bullets on the site board. AP will generally be used to move the bullets around and patterns will “clear” the bullets. Cleared bullets will remove them from your sight board and send them to the incoming area of the player on your left. Power-Ups are special one-time use tiles that give you an instant benefit from drawing new patterns, to clearing bullets from your board.
Understanding how the bullets interact with your sight board is one of the key concepts in the game. Each bullet has a color/symbol and a number printed on it. The color/symbol on the bullet will indicate which of the five columns that the bullet will go to. The number on the bullet will indicate how many blank spaces the bullet travels down in the column.
In this Mode, Bullet ♥ ends when one player is left standing. But if everyone gets eliminated, that the heroine who has the least number of bullets in their current at the end of the rounds wins. So, even if you get eliminated, don’t clean up your board just yet because you might still be able to win!
Who Will Like it?
This is this a great light to mid weight game that has a very fun real-time component while being competitive. I’m honestly having trouble thinking of a game similar to bullet because it is so unique in its game design.
What I Think
Bullet ♥ is such a unique game, it really feels like some sort of Tetris Royale where the main puzzle of the game is engaging and constantly increasing in intensity as you throw more challenges are your opponents.
What did I like?
I love the timed aspect of the game, making the decisions difficult but also limiting your time to necessarily make good decisions. Especially since if you don’t place all the bullets in your bag before the end of the timer, you must place them out without being able to react. The balance of using AP, patterns, and power-ups can bring a great amount of options and approaches. You can also control complexity by choosing which characters to play.
What didn’t I like?
This game is really random. Not only do you have random bullets coming at you but the patterns you draw to your hand each turn is random. And, to some extent, the available power-ups are random even if you do get to choose if you’re fast enough.
Bullet ♥ is such a unique game and a breath of fresh air especially between games during those marathon sessions. While the game is light, it can be overwhelming with the time constraint, so I feel that this game pushes into the mid-weight level on that aspect. But it is a game that can get your heart racing.
Rulebook/Learning the Game
The rulebook for Bullet ♥ is well laid out and walks you through the steps of the process very well. I would say there is some interesting wording that can be misinterpreted or glossed over if you’re not paying attention. Also, to play the other modes of the game, there is some referencing that can be done but learning the game took about 20 minutes and teaching the game was about 10 minutes.
The first play we did, we did the first round without the timer to help us understand what were doing. It gave us the ability to make mistakes and ask others to help in areas that were confusing. After that first round, we started using the timer and pushing the game faster and faster until there were two players left at an intensity of 10.
The subsequent plays were more about exploring the potential of other character and their own internal mechanics rather than the core loop of the main game. Learning the different characters provides even more complexity and interesting options keeping the game engaging even in further plays.
This game is so fun to play and can increase my heart rate depending on the excitement of play. There is so much to explore within this box, and I am very excited to learn about all the characters and play again. I will admit, I probably couldn’t binge play Bullet ♥ but I definitely wouldn’t say no to playing a game.
*See my rating scale Here