It’s not often that you’ll find a board game with a theme as unusual and potentially divisive as Get Me a Fresh Brain, but this B-Movie themed pick up and deliver game packs a lot into a small box and offers players a competitive head to head challenge.
Get Me a Fresh Brain is a game about evil doctors and can be played by two to six players, each of who will control a doctor and two assistants. The objective of the game is simple; each player will race to collect enough body parts to create their own Frankenstein-style monster. The box is quite literally bursting with components and at first glance, the art, whilst fairly lo-fi is unusual and fun to look at.
During setup, the players will choose their doctor and their assistants, then they’ll prepare the town by placing seven cards out onto the table, each of which represents a location. The doctors each have a home base card and a location that indicates that they are travelling. The town itself will be set up with a number of body parts on each location, which is determined by player count.
Each game of Get Me a Fresh Brain plays out with the players sending their doctor and assistant standees to these locations in order to collect the body parts that they want to use in their creation. Each creature requires a body, limbs and of course, a brain. Not all body parts are created equal though, and there can be bonuses to strength or intelligence depending on the quality of the body parts used — which might be relevant later.
On a normal turn, the player will be able to make moves with their doctor and both assistants, with different actions available to each class of character. The doctor will spend at least some of their time during the game just working — which means they will earn money. The assistants will take on the more menial tasks such as purchasing (or digging up) body parts and returning them to the home base.
One interesting and perhaps unusual feature of Get Me a Fresh Brain is the fact that the player must actually have the doctor and an assistant in the same place in order for money or items to be transferred between the two. This means that possessions are considered to be within the pockets of the character holding them — and other characters can actually steal them.
When assistants share the same space, one can attack the other to try and take one of their items. Battles between assistants are always based on either strength or wits, and each assistant has a rating for both attributes. As you might guess, some are strong but stupid, others are smart but weak and some are between the two. Some have special rules such as being red-headed, whilst others have rules such as not being able to attack a redhead.
There are numerous items in Get Me a Fresh Brain as well, some of which are self-explanatory, but almost all of which apply some kind of rule breaking change to proceedings. To refer to the previous example, there’s a redhead wig, which allows the character who equips it to act as though they were redheaded.
Now, I keep picking this redhead example for a reason and that is simply to illustrate one of the negative aspects of Get Me a Fresh Brain, which is that it can occasionally be a bit unclear. The instruction manual provides the players with enough information to get started, but there is little in it to help players get to grips with some of the more obscure rules — they are laid out entirely on cards and can sometimes confuse a little bit.
With that said, the structure of the gameplay is quite simple to come to terms with. You’ll just send out your doctor to the highest value location, do work, send an assistant somewhere to buy something, bring it back, meet the doctor with your other assistant to take the money, then repeat in a roundabout kind of way. When you do obtain enough body parts to build your monster, you’ll need all those pieces plus your doctor back at home base.
When the monster is created, an endgame scenario begins. At this point, the monster will begin destroying the town and assuming it is the only monster, you’ll inevitably win. More often than not though, another player will also have a monster ready to go at more or less the same time and a battle will be fought. At this point, the strength of each monster is added to the role of a dice, and essentially, the last monster standing will win (which may also require destroying the rest of the town and any other monsters that are created in the meantime.)
Get Me a Fresh Brain boils down to a simple gameplay loop that basically asks the players one key question — will you sacrifice the quality of your monster for the speed of having it built. In short, it is usually cheaper and faster to dig up poor quality parts from the graveyard than it is to buy fresh body parts that are inherently better. Having a weaker monster doesn’t mean that you’ll certainly lose any show down, but creating a more powerful one will only take one to three turns longer, so it can be worth the risk of giving someone else a head start.
With some of its rule ambiguities and the fact that it never really changes from game to the next, I think that the interest generated by Get Me a Fresh Brain will be limited, but as a curio, it’s certainly not the worst game you could produce to kill about half an hour either before or after a bigger game. One of Get Me a Fresh Brain’s greatest strengths is its theme, which comes across in every component and through the gameplay really strongly.
Ultimately Get Me a Fresh Brain is quite a niche title that isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but fans of B-Movie horror will certainly find it to be an interesting distraction from some of the more complex games that tend to depict horror themes. For any player, Get Me a Fresh Brain is a game that need not be taken too seriously, and with a willingness to work through a few of the ambiguous rules, can be a lot of fun in small doses.
Get Me a Fresh Brain is available for purchase from the website of the publisher, Baksha Games.