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Subject: Who can resist this game!? rss

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Tim Rogers
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Kamloops
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Monsters Menace America. A game in which you play a monster rampaging across the continent crushing all in his (or her) path, while at the same time using a branch of the military dedicated to stopping the rampage of fellow players' monsters. Sounds like the making of an awesome game to me! Now for some of the details as to how this game was fabulously implemented and produced.

First I draw your attention to the monsters themselves:
Some of them have terrific detail and when they tower over the map you really feel like you're playing this gigantic beast invading North America.

The monsters are certainly the best aspect of this game's production, but the bits are made of sturdy cardboard, the army pieces are plastic models as opposed to cheap cardboard representations, and the cards are of solid stock. All the artwork in the game is fantastic and theme driven and even the rulebook is terrific and is written thematically to give you a feel for the atmosphere in the game. When I see great production like this I can't help but think that this game has potential. The only complaint I have is the character HP track, which is hard to attach, and when moved damages the card (like in Betrayal at House on the Hill).

The back of the box gives you a pretty good feel for the awesome production put into this game.

So, now that you're convinced the bits and pieces are terrific, how about the gameplay and mechanics. Each turn consists of moving your monster around and crushing cities to gain HP and/or infamy or interacting with experiment sites where you can gain mutations, making your monster more versatile and powerful. On your rampage, you may encounter military units. These are typically no problem to swat aside, but do slow you down. However, if you're worried about this, be sure to grab a monster that can evade the military by swimming out to sea, or even fly overtop of most units. This reminds me that I should mention each monster is unique in starting HP and abilities. Some can fly, some can swim, some can swat down airplanes... but I 'll leave most of that for you to explore when you play this game for the first time.

A few examples of mutation cards.

After the monster moves, and crushes something, you mobilize your branch of the military (army, airforce, marines etc.), allowing you to move and deploy units. You may use these guys just to slow other monsters down, or you can gather your units together for a large scale attack and actually try to deal some damage. You can even use nuclear missiles against the monsters! (but be careful because rolling a critical miss on a nuclear strike causes the monster to mutate for free!). Rather than deploy units you can also draw Military Research cards, which give you greater military strength, and in some cases give you access to the special units, some of which are actually super heroes!

(note that these units aren't actually painted when you receive the game, but are nonetheless really cool!)

You may even succeed in subduing a monster with a huge military strike, but not to worry, that player is far from finished. When a monster is subdued he is sent to Hollywood, where he is put on display. Each turn your monster is in Hollywood he slowly recovers HP until he is strong enough to break free and rampage once more across the continent!
Hollywood is down there in the bottom left. Don't that monster look like he's having fun!

The only complaint I can issue comes from settling a victor. I think the game designers figured they'd built something really cool, then couldn't decide how it was supposed to end, so they decided that the monsters would just fight each other in a great final battle, and last monster standing wins the game. This has the advantage that you're never sure if you've lost the game, as with some lucky rolls at the end anyone could come out on top, but it does feel a little anti-climatic to crush North America, and then settle the winner with dice rolling. Then again, I can't think of a better way to end the game, so I guess this is acceptable.

Some final points to take away:
This is a fun game. Sure there's a bit of strategy and decision making, but ultimately you should play this game if your primary objective is to have fun. For a more technical strategy-based game (which can also be enjoyable) I would look elsewhere.
The bits are fantastic! The monsters look gorgeous, and everything about the production was well thought through. I can only criticize the inside of the box, which isn't anything special, and the HP counters (which scratch the cards).
You get to control giant monsters and heavy weaponry!
The game takes between 1 to 2 hours, depending on the number of players, but this game works with any number of people, which I really like.

Now, if you didn't read all that and just want the skinny:
Fun/Theme:
Mechanics:
Components:
Weight:

And if you really don't like reading, this all translates into 9/10.
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Kevin Dusik
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I don't suppose you know someone who would like to trade for my copy? I'd be happy to trade it.
 
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Tim Rogers
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I'll keep my ears open.
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Justin Fitzgerald
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It is a fun idea. Fun game, that's questionable. Every time I have played it, I get a series of complaints:

- The military is pointless.
- It ends in a free for all?
- The choices seem automatic.
- The powers aren't balanced.

For it to work with your group, you have to be willing to overlook the game's shortcomings. My people want it to be fun because the pieces are so much fun. However, there's not much game there to enjoy really.
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Chris Geggus
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Well, I can certainly resist it. Very disappointing game. Certainly set up for kids. However, my 2 teenage boys were distinctly underwhelmed and have refused to play it again. My gamimg group also gave it one try and that was it.

Pros = fun, simple, B-movie style of approach.

Cons = too much luck, unbalanced, too long for its young audience, random end.

Sorry, but nothing going for it in my opinion.

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Tim Rogers
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KakarisMaelstrom wrote:
It is a fun idea. Fun game, that's questionable. Every time I have played it, I get a series of complaints:

- The military is pointless.
- It ends in a free for all?
- The choices seem automatic.
- The powers aren't balanced.

For it to work with your group, you have to be willing to overlook the game's shortcomings. My people want it to be fun because the pieces are so much fun. However, there's not much game there to enjoy really.


The military is pointless! Well... that all depends on how you use your branch! If you're tossing a couple of units against a monster each turn they certainly don't do much. However, if you gather your forces for 2-3 turns and then proceed to either a) form a huge group that attacks the monster en masse, or b) form a perimeter around a monster making it very hard for it to move, then these units can be very effective.

It does end in a free for all.

The choices are far from automatic! With the monster you need to decide where to focus your efforts. East coast with lots of HP, or West coast with lots of mutations, or some mix. Also, you need to grab some infamy at some point to ensure your victory in the final battle. Maybe you want to crush your opponents military bases, not only to gain infamy, but to wreak havoc with their unit deployment. Far from automatic I would argue. And then with your military, you have choices a) or b) above (not to mention which units to deploy and what areas to defend), or you could focus on military research.

The powers aren't balanced... that is true, but doesn't make a huge different in my opinion.

As for enjoyment factor... the first time I explained this game to a group, we also had Winner's Circle being explained, and let me state that just listening to the rules explanation had everyone convined that MMA was the superior game. There was almost a mutiny at the Winner's Circle table when they overheard it explained that "Monsters mutate on a critically failed nuclear strike".

Of course every group is different.
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John Shanahan
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The military becomes slightly more vital if you use a variant rule posted here on the Geek that has the attacker rolling first. So if it's your turn and your military units are attacking an opponent's monster, you roll first. That can let the armed forces put a few hits on the kaiju before they get demolished.

And I get it that the way the rules are written is supposed to reflect how the military is largely ineffective in monster movies, but for game purposes, this variant works very nicely to add a little more depth.
 
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Mike Hill
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Great point, the overlooking the shortcomings game. Not all games are gonna be Amazing, but when you mind one thats generally fun, such as MMA, you play it for the fun parts, not the unfun parts.
 
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Sheridan Hortness
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I bought a copy of this game about a year ago, but still haven't managed to play it. My local game store was dumping it (along with most of the other AH games) for $25. I figured it would be a shallow game, but for $25 I was willing to take the risk. Now I just need to find the right of group of people to play with. The people at game club would definitely not be interested due to the goofy theme, and my war game buddies will probably find it to be too random and un-strategic. At the moment it is sitting with the other AH game that nobody likes to play (Betrayal At House on The Hill) in the top of my basement closet.
 
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Evan Koch
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I dont like the military being pointless instead the military really should be able to damage (even kill) monsters so that the players would have to fear the military AND the other monsters, instead of that "hollywood display" nonsense
 
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Michael Taylor
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Daddy-O wrote:
I don't suppose you know someone who would like to trade for my copy? I'd be happy to trade it.


I'd trade for it! What do you want?
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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cauldronofevil wrote:
Daddy-O wrote:
I don't suppose you know someone who would like to trade for my copy? I'd be happy to trade it.


I'd trade for it! What do you want?

Note that you're responding to a 5 year old post - he may have gotten rid of it by now. I have one I'd be willing to trade, but I'm afraid there's nothing I need on your trade list. If you click on the game page, you'll see 205 BGG users who currently have it listed for trade.
 
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