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KA Plays! – Monsterpocalypse: The Board Game


Monsterpocalypse is a game that is very near and dear to my heart (See Exhibit A below), so when I saw that Mythic’s latest Kickstarter campaign for Monsterpocalypse: The Board Game featured access to a Tabletopia demo, I knew that I had found the next “KA Plays!” article.

Exhibit A. Not pictured: my wife’s sighs of resignation.

For anyone new to the game, Monsterpocalypse is a skirmish game in which each player controls one or more giant monsters, or kaiju. If you’ve ever seen a Godzilla movie, you know that kaiju typically don’t play well together, and this holds true here as the goal of the game is to be the last monster standing. You are joined by smaller “unit” monsters who will help you by harassing your opponent and securing buildings and power-ups that are beneath the notice of your alpha beast.

Joining me on this adventure is good friend and MonPoc newcomer, Jeremy. Monsterpocalypse is a highly strategic skirmish game, and getting into the mind of your opponent is crucial. To help with this, Jeremy and I completed a kaiju-inspired psychological profile activity to give each other an idea of how the other thinks.

What does your true kaiju form look like?
Jeremy: A giant squid
Zane: A colossal flying centipede

What name do people scream in terror at your approach?
Jeremy: Mr. Ink-Credible
Zane: Skitterax

What is your ultimate attack?
Jeremy: Ink Spray
Zane: The Dance of 1,000 Legs in which Skitterax waves his many legs in a way that opponents find both terrifying and strangely alluring.

Analysis?
Jeremy: Appears soft on the outside, but is really full of trickery and deceit. Also, great at naming giant monsters.
Zane: ” I don’t think I want to do these articles anymore.”

Having glimpsed the inner workings of my opponent’s mind, as well as a very helpful website for naming squids, it’s now time to get to crushing. The Tabletopia preview comes with all of the monsters and unit from the core box, and Jeremy opted for Pteradax and the Terrasaur faction. Pteradax is a particularly quick monster that loves to drain an opponent’s energy. I decided to go with Rogzor of the Planet Eaters. He specializes in ranged attack that cause buildings to explode and, since monsters gain more energy from destroying buildings and units, this might help me counter Pteradax’s “Energy Sap”. We then set up our city, grabbed our support units, and got ready to brawl.

Ladies and gentlemen, your fighters for the evening.

Monsterpocalypse is a registered trademark of Privateer Press, inc. 2010-2021. All associated images are copyright Privateer Press, Inc. Used with permission.

Before going any further, you need to know that this game is all about dice. Each player begins the game with 10 action dice, the game’s universal currency. Spawning units, moving and attacking with any of your forces, and using special actions all require using at least one action die. These dice begin in your unit dice well and as you spend them or roll them, they are pushed to your monster’s dice well. Both monsters and units also have access to boost dice, the amount of which is indicated on their cards. The better a monster is at a particular kind of attack, the more boost dice they get whenever they make that attack. And lastly, there are power dice. These dice, only available to monsters, can be used to increase a monster’s chances in an attack, activate one of several power attacks that all monsters can perform, or both. Players earn these dice in their monster’s “Power Up” phase by securing buildings and power points with units, or anytime by destroying buildings and units.

The game begins with all dice in the unit well, so it looks like I’ll be taking a unit turn. I spawn 5 units, 3 chompers for brawling and 2 scorchers for blasting. I only secure 1 building and 1 power point with them, opting instead to position my units for an attack. Having spent all 10 of my action dice, it’s time for Jeremy to make his opening move. He spawns 6 units, creating quite the sizeable horde. But left with only 3 action dice, he is only able move 3 units and thus only secures 1 building which could spell trouble during his monster’s “Power Up” phase.

Don’t forget the little guys.

Monsterpocalypse is a registered trademark of Privateer Press, inc. 2010-2021. All associated images are copyright Privateer Press, Inc. Used with permission.

Since my monster has a full well of action dice, there’s only one choice for me. Rogzor powers up and grabs 2 power dice from my high rise and power point. He then advances and uses his long-range attack to blast a building in Jeremy’s territory. And when it comes to blasting, Rogzor does not play. His special “Devastation” ability causes the building to explode, taking out Jeremy’s pterodactrix unit that was just in the wrong place at the right time. Where there was once a building, there is now just a flaming hazard. While Jeremy’s monster Pteradax can fly, Rogzor will have to be careful about not landing in the flames. But that’s a worry for another day. Between the building and the unit, Rogzor nets another 3 power dice, bringing this turn’s grand total to 5. With plenty of action dice still in Rogzor’s dice well, I end my turn. Jeremy takes a monster turn as well, swooping in with Pteradax and firing one of his energy sapping blasts which fails to penetrate Rogzor’s rubbery hide. Feeling vulnerable, he uses Pteradax’s “Tow” action to pull one of his bellower units in front of him as a shield since monsters can’t end their turn on enemy units. Now if I want to close for a power attack, I’ll have to stand in the flaming wreckage which will damage Rogzor. It seems the psych profile was right: nothing but trickery and deceit.

With action dice in Rogzor’s dice well, I decide to take another monster turn. Rather than wade through fire, I instead lean into Rogzor’s strengths as a ranged fighter. My 11-dice attack roll combined with Rogzor’s defense-lowering “Penetrator” ability mean this attack should be a sure thing. Which makes it all the more frustrating when Rogzor manages to come up short on the dice roll leaving Pteradax still unscathed. The next few turns are a flurry of unit activity. Both sides spawn more units in an attempt to secure more power dice, but thankfully one of my scorchers manages to take out Jeremy’s pterodactryx again, leaving the unit count in my favor. Looking to get some revenge for his units, though, Jeremy uses his power dice to send Pteradax on a “RAMPAGE!” This power attack causes the monster to rush forward, attacking all buildings and units in its path. Pteradax has a very successful run, crushing several of my secured buildings and units in the process, but Rogzor responds by devastating yet another building, this time destroying 3 of Jeremy’s units.

Look at that smile. He’s just so happy when stuff’s exploding!

Monsterpocalypse is a registered trademark of Privateer Press, inc. 2010-2021. All associated images are copyright Privateer Press, Inc. Used with permission.

At long last, Rogzor scores first-blood by blasting Pteradax and dealing 1 damage. In Monsterpocalypse, most successful attacks deal just 1 damage. However, power attacks and certain special abilities can cause monsters to collide with buildings and hazards, increasing the damage taken. Jeremy takes full advantage of this rule when he has Pteradax use the “Body Slam” power attack to slam Rogzor into 2 different fire hazards left over from his rampage. But the Planet Eaters will not take this lying down! They retaliate with a 13-dice combined attack from my now swarming units…and miss! Wait a second, is that ink on these dice? Before I can investigate further, Jeremy is already on the offensive again and Pteradax uses a “Stomp” power attack to destroy my entire legion of units.

Rogzor retaliates by blowing up the Terrasaurs’ special HQ building, Mt. Terra, and all of its pitiful defenders. Following an ineffective unit turn from Jeremy, he then turns all of those shiny new power dice into an 11-dice power attack from Rogzor.

It. Misses.

Once again, Jeremy’s slippery, cephalopod tactics have somehow rendered my dice useless. For the first time Rogzor, Destroyer of Worlds, knows fear.

Pteradax reverses the attack and instead slams Rogzor into the very same building meant for him. But perhaps there’s hope! The damage from this attack triggers a terrible transformation in Rogzor, and he switches to his “ultra” form. Every monster has 2 forms in Monsterpocalypse, an “alpha” and “ultra” form which brings new and better abilities. In Rogzor’s case, his blast attacks now come with 6 boost dice and the “Beat Back” ability, letting me push monsters I’ve just blasted 2 spaces.

Unfortunately, it’s a unit turn for me, but I manage to secure 2 buildings and a power point, ensuring plenty of extra power dice for Rogzor. Things look grim when Jeremy, who is able to take another monster turn, lifts Rogzor in Pteradax’s talons and slams him yet again, leaving him with just 2 hit points. But Ultra Rogzor rises from the flames, charges up his blast attack…and hits! The “Beat Back” ability slams Pteradax into a building and the subsequent inferno, dealing a whopping 3 damage. Realizing that he must now take a unit turn while Rogzor still has dice remaining, it

is Jeremy’s turn to fear. His units try to snatch away my secured buildings and power points but fail utterly. Surely this planet is ripe for devouring!

Rogzor blasts again, and again scores a 3-damage hit! Pteradax now becomes Ultra Pteradax, but with only 3 HP remaining, it’s anyone’s game. At least, it seems that way. Ultra Pteradax comes with the “Air Drop” ability, allowing his “Throw” power attacks to fling monsters +2 spaces. This extra distance allows him to toss Rogzor just far enough that he collides with yet another building, ending the game once and for all. Earth is safe again….for now.

The Earth is safe…for now.

Monsterpocalypse is a registered trademark of Privateer Press, inc. 2010-2021. All associated images are copyright Privateer Press, Inc. Used with permission.

Exciting as this was, this was only one of many possible scenarios. Monsterpocalypse 2.0 from Privateer Press has a vastly increased monster selection, and it looks like all of those monsters are making their way into the Mythic boardgame version. And with 8 total monsters to play on the free Tabletopia version, it’s definitely worth heading over to the Kickstarter page for a look.

by Zane Messina

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