It's been a long time since I last played a Table Top game featuring Giant monsters. Especially one where you just sit down with a sheet and build a monster from scratch in just one sitting.
Well, I think I have found that game again, and I can say that "Monster: Destroy All Cities" is an easy to manage, pick-up-and-play, Giant Monster Mass of fun! And with the likes of "Monster Island: the Game of Giant Monster Combat" being out of print and extremely hard to find. I can see this game as a really good replacement. Though there are a few details that I would like to address in regards to some aspects of this game, but we'll certainly get to that soon enough.
One of Many
I won't lie, this game isn't the only Kaiju / Giant Monster game out there. There are plenty of games to look at (Plenty right here on this site alone). But I can tell you right now that it is hard to judge whether or not you will like many of them. As there are many angles that a Kaiju games can approach. From board games, to crunchy Rpg games, to even story driven affairs, with most players ether ending up as a Character driving a Mecha or a Human guiding a Kaiju through a special link that they share. There are ALOT of games out there, and that's more than enough material to read and draw up conclusions about. Maybe too much material, as I have spent Years trying to look for a Kaiju game after getting into DnD and discovering that there were a Ton of Rpgs out there that I could play!
And to some degree that was cool, until you find out that some of the good ones don't really exist anymore.
Point is, the journey to get to this game wasn't easy, but it certainly was worth it.
Good ol' Stomping Fun!
Honestly at a $1.49 along with free pdf Character / Monster Sheets, how could I not place a purchase down for this? It was a tough call at first, yet once I got it printed out and sat down with it, my outlook changed.
One thing I noticed right off the bat was just how light a read this game pdf was, stacking up to a nice 48 pages that give you all the rules and the ideas for what to use on you table to get this game started, with more suggestions after monster creation.
Speaking of which, Monster creation being failrly sparse, with only 3 defined "Body-Types" or Monster-types. Those being Avian, Saurian, and Simian (You can sorta tell as to who these monster types are a mirror of). With the Fourth and Fifth body-types being Xenoform and Mech (or Mecha).
The game has a point-buy system for Monster skills and abilities that go towards your overall strengths. Letting all monsters start out with the same amount of points, while Xenoform and Mech both get their own own set of points. All in all though, most of the Monsters starting out will be roughly the same in terms of fighting potential. So while they start out small, the game really makes you feel like a powerhouse as you go toe to toe with your enemy players. Its simple and easy to use, and almost feels like watching a wrestling match take place (just like all my favorite Giant monster movies!)
With the only difference being how you use your Skills as you Tactically try to outwit your oppnent.
The name of the game being to win! Winners gaining two points for every win, and Losers gaining only 1 point just to keep up. However, if your Kaiju decides to Fly or swim away, than no points are added. Running away being the real loss for any player.
A Few Missing pieces
As much as I like the sparse material, there are a few key details that I feel I must address. with one being the skill list, as there are only 24 skills on this list and most of them are terrestrial based, meaning while your monsters do get alot out of Acid Spitting, Radiation Blasts, and Earth shattering attacks. The Game doesn't quite give you a whole lot of attacks that vary, in fact it much of the skills are a mix up of support Abilities, movement based (Tunnel Vision, Flight, etc), or mostly close-range brute fighting. None of its bad. But I do kinda wish there was more. as we don't have say, a Whirlwind or Tornado attacks, Watergun or an Ocean Vortex, Energy Blade(s) options for Mechs. Or even the option to do a Tail Strike or Tail-Whip. Not even a Sonic Scream? Sure there probably is a way around that, but it clearly seems that the list was still being thoughtout at the time.
And while it is true that the Xenoform and Mech (Mecha) Body-types do exist to make up for the lack of the Diverse Kaijus species out there, I'm alittle vexed as to why we aren't given an Insect, Aquatic or Astro-Monster Type to use either?
There is also one thing that I would like to point out, Hit-Points. While it is true that all monster gain the same hit-points (10) no matter what body-type. In one of the sample monster,the Hit-Points on it are at "11"! I don't know it if this is a typo, but from what I can tell, there is nothing in the book that details about raising your maximum HP. I combed it pretty thoroughy. Was I missing something?
While not perfect, I don't believe this game (or any other) has to be in order to enjoy it. Supplemental material would however make this beautiful game even more enjoyable. Still, even if none of it comes, it may be possible for a game master to homebrew up some minor tweaks and changes. Heck, even so much as writing Insectoid under Xenoform makes it more interesting and personal.
But probably one of the biggest changes that could be good suggestion to follow up on; would be to allow minor annoying enemies to show up, like Jets and Tanks, we already have rolls for Missiles and Bombs, but as for simple stats from DFs (Defence Forces) or Aliens and their Space weapons would be interesting. Although, that can simply be up to the Game master to create, and the game itself seems to allow for the modification of "units" to be added like that.
Heck, even changing up the combat and giving people a few Scenerios, such as having some Kaiju protecting their eggs or stopping a bunch of humans or aliens out to enslave the Kaiju makes for a change of pace when it comes to the combat.
All in all, I found "Monsters: Destroy All Cities" to be a great addition to my collection, and I'll probably be playing it alot more often. And if there comes a time where some more material is added to this game, I'll pick that up too. But For now, I think I'll play it as it is for now before giving my friends a few homebrewed challenges to offset the wrestling vibes. :)
Thank you James & Robyn. :)