M-Lands (a.k.a. Monster Lands) is a competitive game that combines resource management, worker placement, and fun combat. Each player controls a clan and has to grow it to be win the Queen's crown at the end of the game. Killing or capturing monsters, conquering terrains, accomplishing missions, or saving the Citadel are the ways to win glory and money, and this is the key to be the best clan!
Each clan begins with one leader and one mercenary that gives a number of dice of one of three types: action (red dice), persuasion (yellow dice), and magic (black dice). On your turn, you can use these dice to get more mercenaries (which give you immediately more dice); get gold, traps, shields, potions, venoms, objects to equip your mercenaries; or send any of your mercenaries on a mission or in a terrain to try to kill or capture the monster. When all players have placed their dice, the combat phase begins…
Each terrain has four tracks, and each track has a limitation of the number and type of dice you can put in there. You have to place all dice in a track in one action (you can't place more dice later), and add traps or shields to protect yourself against the monsters and manipulate your dice results! Traps and shields are one way of controlling the luck of combat, but your mercenaries' talents and equipments will also influence the dice results!
First the monster attacks; to do this, roll the number of dice that their card indicates, plus one die if the monster is in its habitat. Each hit can be avoided by a shield or a discarded potion. If a mercenary gets more than one wound, they die and the monster attacks the next player. If not, the player rolls the placed dice plus the bonus dice of activated traps and tries to get the capture or killing value. If the monster is not captured or killed, the next player adds the result of the previously rolled dice to their own result — but before doing so, they have to survive the monster's attack!
Beware! If a monster is attacked and is not captured or killed at the end of the combat phase, the monster enters the Citadel, then things get complicated…
If no monsters are on a terrain but players are on it, the players fight to conquer the terrain the same way that they fight monsters, but with no attacks on them. Each terrain gives glory and special actions that you can take in the placement phase. When no more mercenaries can fight against monsters or conquer a terrain, each player removes all dice, and a new phase begins. You are angry because you were in a track and won nothing? Don’t worry! While your mercenary was returning home, they loot some villages on the way home; sometimes it can even be better to return home with empty hands!
Finally, you have to pay your mercenaries as they don't work for free, and they charge more as your clan collects more glory points. At the end of the sixth turn, the player with the most glory wins.