Giant monsters from above! Slithering aquatic terrors from below! And bizarre fantasy creatures coming at you head on! I hope you’ve got your head on a swivel because today’s games are coming at you from every angle.
Monsterpocalypse: The Board Game – Kickstarter Nov. 2
If you ever watched a Godzilla movie as a child, you probably followed it up by building a city out of blocks, then making your own creature double-feature by stomping and smashing through them. In 2008, Privateer Press tapped into that destructive glee when they released Monsterpocalypse, a miniatures game where players controlled giant monsters to smash cities and their opponents. The miniatures were big, bulky, pre-painted, and had a wonderfully nostalgic “guy-in-a-rubber-suit” look. Flash forward to 2018, and Monsterpocalypse 2.0 was released. Bigger monsters, streamlined rules, and gone were the pre-painted miniatures which were instead replaced with customizable plastic and metal figures aimed at the hobbyist crowd. But now through a partnership with Mythic Games (Enchanters, Solomon Kane), Monsterpoclaypse is coming full circle with Monsterpocalypse: The Board Game!
One thing that Privateer Press and Mythic have gone out of their way to make clear is that the new board game format is not Monsterpocalypse 3.0. Instead, it is an attempt to make the game more accessible for fans like myself who just don’t have the time or inclination to paint and construct miniatures. So this game is completely compatible with the current rules.
For those of you who have never played this gem of a game, it is much more than mindless monster mayhem. Players have to carefully budget action dice between their units, smaller creatures used for securing locations, and their monster, whose job is, let’s be honest, to just do as much damage as possible. Without action dice, you cannot summon units, move, or attack. Units also need to be positioned to secure buildings, granting bonuses, as well as power points that grant you bonus power die. These power die can be used by monsters to perform special maneuvers such as body slamming other monsters or toppling buildings onto hapless opponents. And watch out! If your opponent’s monster takes enough damage, it will transform into its ultra form!
So if all of this is the same, then what is changing? Most of the changes seem to be about improving the overall aesthetic and accessibility of the game. City maps have been redesigned to add texture and more vibrant objectives, and they’re being upgraded from paper maps to actual game boards. Monster boards are getting a facelift as well, with most of the rule jargon getting replaced with symbols. The monsters will be made of plastic to cut down on cost, will come preassembled, and will have fully textured bases complete with smatterings of rubble. No, new players can crack open a box and start playing right away, but veterans can use their current models on the new components if they say choose.
But don’t think the new version is just a cosmetic face lift. The standard box comes with rules for 1 to 2 players, but the expansion option adds a 3 to 4 player option. Why would you need 3 to 4 players, pray tell? Because of Apex Monsters. These creatures represent the ultimate in kaiju evolution. This box will feature 5 never-before-seen versions of existing monsters but with even bigger sculpts. Like the “Mega” and “Chrono” versions of monsters from the original Monsterpocalypse, these monsters will feature completely new abilities and will necessitate all new strategies to combat them. Honestly, just when I think I’ve reached peak excitement about this game, Mythic and Privateer Press find some new way to blow me out of the water.
Slay the Spire: The Board Game – Kickstarter Spring 2022
Now let’s move from towering monsters to monsters in a tower. Slay the Spire, Humble Games’ deck-building dungeon crawler, is killing it in the video game sphere. But it only seems logical that a video game based on multiple boardgame design mechanics would come full circle and find its way back to the tabletop.
As I mentioned, Slay the Spire has been hugely popular with 1.5 million copies sold. And it’s popularity is for good reason. After all, it’s literally nothing but interesting choices. Start by choosing a unique character with their own fighting style. Then, choose your path up the spire, consisting of many hundreds of possible encounters. During each encounter, you will battle bizarre and imaginative monsters by choosing the best combination of cards from your hand. But each card costs a certain number of action points, and you likely won’t have enough to play all of your cards, so choose wisely. And after each battle, you will have to choose 1 of 3 cards to add to your deck. To add to this gluttony of choice, not every encounter is a battle. Some are mystery encounters where you’ll discover traps and…food…mysteriously dangling from the ceiling. Or you might be forced to choose between going to the shop for some healing or battling an epic monster for that sweet, sweet loot.
At this point, the most we can do is speculate on what the physical game will entail. It seems like the transition would be fairly straight forward. As evidence I present, *gestures at 743 other deck building games* , but Contention Games will have to get creative in a few places. Particularly when it comes to damage and card tracking. Currently, Slay the Spire automatically calculates all of the numerous buffs and penalties that can occur, but that much math might be a bit much for your average tabletop gamer. There are also some cards that replicate themselves, something that is difficult to do with physical components. But considering how much fun Slay the Spire is in its current iteration, it’s hard to imagine that it won’t be able to keep the magic alive.
FLOAT: From the Deep – Kickstarter Nov. 3
We started with colossal beasts bending down to eat you, now we’ll end with nightmare creatures rising up to eat you. From Bright Light Media, makers of Mixtape Massacre, comes FLOAT: From the Deep. For anyone who knows anything about Mixtape Massacre, it probably won’t shock you that FLOAT is horror-themed as well. But while Mixtape focused on the slasher genre, FLOAT delves in to a much more primal fear. Just what might be down below us under the waves, just past our vision? And how hungry is it?
In FLOAT, 2 to 5 players will try to help survivors of a sunken ship continue to survive on a life raft as they head for a distant island. The game takes place over 7 days, and each day begins with a daily status and signs of a creature tailing your boat. Over the course of the day, you will have to make sure that your particular group of survivors stay hydrated and healthy, pick up new survivors that you encounter, and do everything possible to stay ahead of…whatever is chasing you. Even if it means sabotaging other ships. This is where I point out that I don’t have to outrun the hideous nightmare squid, I just have to outrun you.
One thing that kept coming up in a Q&A with the designers was whether or not this game would be compatible with Mixtape Massacre. The designers were adamant that these two games were completely separate entities, with FLOAT: From the Deep looking like a very tense, hyper-focused wave of horror compared to the nostalgic 80’s slasher fun of Mixtape Massacre. I am very much looking forward to this game, though I might relegate it to the non-beach months of the year.
By Zane Messina