Monster Hero Academy is a game by Abdul Rahman Ibrahim, published by Blue Mana Games. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players will take on the role of academy teachers. Each teacher will select the best students to take part in tests to gain reputation. The player that is best able to manage students and gain the most reputation by the end of the school year, will be declared the winner.
To begin, the various cards are separated into decks of the same type. The Academy Reputation cards are lined up to form an ascending scale for keeping track of points. The test deck of cards is shuffled and the top card is placed face up. Each player chooses a teacher and receives the matching teacher card and token. The Class Monitor is chosen randomly and given the Class Monitor badge to wear. Once the setup is complete, the game is ready to play.
The game takes place over 4 seasons. Each season consists of several different phases. Those phases are the Academy phase, Opponent Roaming Phase, Action phase and Test Evaluation phase. In the Academy phase, the Class Monitor aka the first player, shuffles the deck of student cards and discards a number of cards face down from it, depending on the number of players. The Monitor now looks at the remaining cards and chooses 1 student card for himself in a drafting mechanic. The rest of the cards are passed to the next player who then does the same thing. This continues until each player has drafted a card. The rest of the cards are discarded for now. Players then place their Teacher card face down in front of themself. This takes us to the next phase, the Opponent Roaming phase.
In the Opponent Roaming phase, the last player shuffles the Opponent deck. Starting with the last player and going in reverse order, each player flips the top Opponent card over and gives it to a player that doesn't have a face up opponent card in front of themself. This could even be themself. Once the Class Monitor places a card, he discards any extra cards.
The next phase is the Action phase. Starting again with the Class Monitor, each player gets to play their Student and Teacher cards, using any student abilities if applicable. Penalties are applied from Opponent cards if the conditions have been met. Test score are then calculated based on stat modifers that match test cards and teacher cards.
The last phase is the Test Evaluation phase. In this phase, test scores are compared based on the previous phases results. The highest test score gets the 1st place reward noted on the test card followed by 2nd and 3rd place rewards. Teacher tokens are moved up the track based on the number of reputation points they acquired. Bonuses are applied if applicable. From this point, all the student and opponent cards are placed back into their separate decks. Teacher cards that have been played are removed from the game, as is the test card that was played earlier. A new test card is revealed for the next season and everything starts back over at the beginning. This continues until the end of the 4th season. At this point the game is over. The player with the highest reputation is the winner and Teacher of the Year.
There aren't a lot of pieces to this game. Most of the pieces consist of cards. There are Student, Opponent, Test, Teacher and Academy Reputation cards that form the reputation track for scoring. I really like the whimsical artwork on the cards. The quality isn't quite as good as most regular card games, yet they're still pretty nice. The glossy finish looks to be able to withstand lots of shuffling. I wish that the reputation cards could have been made into a board instead of using cards. Even so, it gets the job done and looks really nice with the artwork. The teacher tokens are made from a thick cardboard and have images of the different teachers on them. These are really nice. This is kind of what I would have liked to have seen used for the reputation meter, maybe in a double or triple fold. The class monitor badge is a metal pin that you pin onto your shirt. It's kind of like those old buttons we used to pin on our jackets back in the 80's. I really like this. It's kind of nostalgic. However, It could have easily been just a large cardboard token like the teacher tokens. I know that sounds like I didn't like the components, but I really did. I also realize that several of my statements sound very contradictory, so I'll simply let my grade talk for me.
8 out of 10
The rulebook isn't very large piece of literature. It's really more of a rules sheet. It has some really nice art on it and several examples of gameplay as well as setup pictures. Everything is super simple to understand and read. The only thing I wasn't sure about was whether the Class Monitor should change each season to a new player or should it stay with the same one. We went with the former and changed it every time. That way everyone had a chance to be first. Still even with that little minor problem, I really felt like the rules themself were really well thought out and put together.
9 out of 10
This game has a really cool drafting mechanic that I love. Think 7 Wonders or Fairy Tale. Everything is really smooth and works really great. There's not a lot of strategy and most of what this game's about is random. You don't have a lot of control over the cards you get, but you can control what others get. I guess that there might be a bit of a take that to some of the gameplay, but I didn't really see that evident in our plays. This isn't a long game to play. It really works great as a warm up game or a light filler. All total, I really enjoyed playing this and look to play more of it soon.
9 out of 10
Monster Hero Academy is a light weight game of card drafting. The artwork is really light and cute. There's not a whole lot of thinking to this game so you don't have to worry about burning your brain. I highly recommend this game for pre-teens. That said the 4 year old liked the artwork and the 13 year old liked the mechanics of the game, of course he's played 7 Wonders many times with me. This is a great introductory game for working your kids into meatier games like 7 Wonders or Fairy Tale. The artwork will make you smile and you'll find a lot of joy while playing this. I hope to see an expansion for this adding new students, teachers and tests to the mix. Till then, we'll keep enjoying this one.
9 out of 10
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