Board Game Review

Badabooming and Bidding (Heroic Echoic Review)

Anytime I’m teaching about onomatopoeia, the first thing I do is check the spelling. What a ridiculous word. Then, after a quick grumble and a few corrections, I refer to old school Batman. I’m talking about the Adam West era of convenient Shark Repellent Spray™ and comically overdramatic fights. All of which were completely child friendly, as no punch ever landed without cutting to a colourful splash of sound! Why hear it when you can read it? Heroic Echoic by Happy Clash Games is a game of superheroes and their associated sounds. It’s a competitive bidding, hand management game for 2-6 players that takes around to 35 minutes to play.

Gameplay

Heroic Echoic takes place over player turns, where they can choose to draw cards or begin a competition. There is no hand limit, and you will be holding lots of cards. As soon as any players has collected five heroes, the game ends and they win!

To set up, you shuffle the deck thoroughly and make space for six cards next to the deck. These are referred to as Dumps, and are where players will Dump cards. Players start by drawing a card each, with the first alphabetically indicating the first player. Everyone then Dumps a card. If a Dump pile is ever empty, it must be filled before more cards can be added to other Dumps.

Taking A Turn

On a turn, players draw one card for the deck or a Dump pile, or begin a competition for a hero in their hand. Echoic cards have two distinct elements to them: the onomatopoeia and the hero symbols they link to. You’ll want to aim to have as many hero symbols of a certain kind before starting a competition for that associated hero. Because Echoic cards have more than one hero symbol on them, they can be very flexible in their use. But remember! All cards used in a competition are dumped, whether you win or not!

When a player begins a competition for a hero, they declare which hero it is and show everyone its associated symbol. Players can then freely bid Echoic cards for that hero, with the highest bid winning the hero. Ties are settled by the starter of the competition. Once a competition is resolved, all players take turns to Dump the cards they bid. Play then continues with the next player after whomever started the competition.

Powers and Victors!

Heroes all have powers associated to them which go into effect immediately. These clearly state their use, how they benefit the player, and how they’ll affect others. These powers stack up as play progresses and, because of this, competitions become more fierce. As soon as any player has 5 heroes, they claim victory!

How It Handles

Heroic Echoic is one of two things. It’s either a super light betting/set collection game as a filler, or a lovely family game as an introduction to bidding. It does both these things well, but one it champions at!

Getting to Grips

The rules for this little game are thorough and explain plenty enough, but it took a read or two to master them. Undoubtedly, your first play will have some teething problems as there’s lots to get your head around in a short game’s session. By game two we were biffing and boshing our way to superiority and dominance. Heroic Echoic is a game that’s easier to learn through teaching than through learning. It probably needed a video explanation – one watch and you’d have it. Something that no doubt someone will whip up for the future!

Collecting Many, Many Cards…

Starting the game is a bit weird to kick off. You’ll play the game and find yourself getting more, and more cards. So many cards… I genuinely can’t emphasise how many cards you’ll have. So, so many cards… But this is to your advantage. Cards contain the symbols you need to win in competitions, and often allow you to manipulate the game!

Our first game has us questioning how many cards was too many, and there’s honestly no limit. After I had collected 23 cards, I felt confident I could claim the Hero I wanted. I played him, bid aggressively, and still lost! However, I managed to claim two others I didn’t feel confident to win. The bluffing element comes in strong with putting a strong bid in immediately to deter the competition. After all, cards spent on one hero can’t be spent on another!

Heroic Echoic’s simple concept is drenched in opportunity to manipulate the game through its developing effects. Who you claim will change how you draft and gain cards to your advantage, but initially it is a cash grab. It’s only as you see what the heroes can do, and what’s going into the Dumps, that you’ll recognise how the game can be utilised.

Because When Everyone’s Super…

The heroes of Heroic Echoic are unique, varied, and gorgeously illustrated. There are some clear pop culture and board game references, but it’s wonderful to see. There’s also good variety in abilities and opportunities to do damage! Some are more centred around collecting extra cards, some about choosing a best suited card, and some about reducing others’ bids.

Our only issue with the heroes was that we had to play to their playstyle to best utilise them. If you’re big on aggression, you may struggle to keep it calm and play it cool with heroes that just collect you more cards. Whereas those who don’t like to upset others may not enjoy the aggression some invite. It’s tricky, but it’s no big thing. And it’s also the reason we saw this as a better intro to bidding than as a pure bidding filler. The hardcore among us will want something where they can build a preference and use it. Families, in my experience, are better at utilising things on the fly because they remembered it. In both gaming instances, I enjoyed it… It just meant I couldn’t upset people as easily!

Final Thoughts

Heroic Echoic was a lovely experience and well enjoyed by our group. It was quick fire, competitive, and over and done with in good time. The first play is deceptive, and will need a second to rectify rule some confusions, but it’s forgiven for the great experience it presents. Moreover, the game’s visuals and presentation makes it a gorgeously enjoyable game with great aesthetics for the theme. As hobby gamers, it’s not one we’d always choose between the heavy games, but thinking from the family side, it’s perfect. Families will get a lot of mileage out of the game and it’s super easy to pick up if you’re being taught it. If you’re wanting to bosh, bash, click click, splorsh and wallop your way into a lightweight bidding game, Heroic Echoic is a top choice!