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Monster Slaughter Kickstarter Preview


Quick Look:

Designer: Henri Pym
Artist: Edourd Guiton
Publisher: Ankama
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-5
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 45-60 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Monster Slaughter. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.

Midterms are done, and Bob and Britney have invited three of their friends to go for a final camping trip before the winter snows start falling. With a wonderful cabin, lots of rooms, in the middle of nowhere, it’ll be great! Food, drinks, games; what can possibly go wrong?

And you are all good with this!! A weekend away from everyone where cell phones won’t work, and no one to bother you. For you see, Bob, Britney and their friends won’t make it through the weekend. You and your family will make sure of that, as you break through the walls, smash windows, kick down doors, and take them out.

But you are not alone. The other monster families have also decided that they want to partake in the fun, and the code between all the monster families prevents you from harming them. Of course, if you just happen to drop a weapon or two that allow the humans to hurt them, well, it wasn’t you that hurt them, so that’s okay.


Review:

Rules and Setup:
Setup of Monster Slaughter, while it may look daunting, is very easy. Using the box itself as the cabin, you begin by putting the room dividers in the slots that are already cut into the sides of the box, then sliding the doors and windows into place. Each piece is slotted to fit into the openings in the box, allowing for easy placement or removal. Once that’s done, you’ll put together the six pieces around the outside of the box. These pieces are large puzzle pieces and are slotted to fit together, creating a circle surrounding the box (or "cabin").


Once the play area is set up, you will be creating a few decks of cards to be used throughout the game. The first pile is for the Nocturnal Event deck, which consists of thirteen Event cards, plus a random Surprise Visitor card. Shuffle this deck, then place it on the spot on the play area designated for it. Each player then selects the monster family they want to play.


The game comes with four different families (each family consists of a Father, Mother, and Child): Werewolves, Vampires, Golems and Zombies. Each monster has a select group of cards, which are used to create the second set of cards called the Game Deck. Once both decks are created, you’ll take the Game Decks, shuffle them, and place them onto the area surrounding the cabin marked for the individual rooms. Shuffle each Student card and place one of them on top of each of the room piles. This will determine which student is in room at the start of the game. Distribute the tokens to the life tracker, determine who goes first, and the hunt begins.


Game play occurs over nine turns ("hours"). You have one turn to select what zone you will start in before the clock begins at Midnight. During this "pre-phase," player one starts by placing their monster miniature in one of the four outdoor zones, then allows the player to the left to do the same. This continues until each player has placed one of their monsters. Once that is done, Midnight occurs, and the first Event card is turned over and resolved. Then, each player will place their second monster on the board before the clock moves to 1 A.M. Similar to the Midnight action, an Event card will be turned over, and the final monster will be placed by each player. Once this is done, the time tracker is moved to 2 A.M.

Gameplay at this time begins by each player turning over the Creature card for monster #1 and taking their actions before passing to the next player. Turns and abilities varies depending on the family member you are playing. A child will have three actions each turn, but they only roll two dice; the mother has two actions but rolls three dice, while the father has two actions and rolls four dice.

Play continues until either all humans are dead or 8 A.M. has been reached on the time track, and each player plays their final turn. Points are added up, and the winner is determined.

Theme and Mechanics:
The theme of the game is a reversal on the "teenagers in the woods trying to escape" trope, where you are playing as the creatures attempting to kill all the humans in the cabin. Artwork and components are all wonderfully done based on this theme, and it uses a mechanic that is being used too infrequently by using the box as part of the playing area. This works wonderfully and allows for a greater playing experience.

Mechanically, each turn of the game consists of turning over an event card, then rolling dice and determining the actions you wish to take across the players. As each creature and family has different abilities and powers, every time you play, you have variability in your actions and tactics.

Let’s go back to the theme for a moment and talk a little about the twist that Ankama put in the game. You see, while you are all trying to kill the humans in the game, you don’t really want the other monster families be the ones doing it. Some of the cards allow you to help the humans in defending against the attacks. Want to get the points off the person in the room instead of letting the player whose turn it is get them? Throw down a card that gives the defending student an active defensive die to move them out of the room.


Game Play:
Game play is solid and fast, with each player's turn moving along quickly. On your turn, depending on the monster you are playing, you will be able to take the following actions: Move, Sneak a Peak, Smash a door, Search a room, Scare a student, or Attack Students. As we had mentioned above, each family member has a specific number of actions available; Success and failures are based on the number of dice that each monster has and can roll. Each action allows for specific activities to occur, but only one of them allows for you to draw cards into your hand, and that is when you Search a Room. When you call for that action, you will roll your dice, count the number of successes, and draw that many cards, up to a maximum hand size of seven cards.

The cards all consist of two types, requiring either an immediate action (a student or a trap) or a delayed action (defensive object or bonus action). You will draw the cards one at a time and resolve each one upon drawing them. You may choose not to draw a card, regardless of the remaining success that have been rolled.

Artwork and Components:
The artwork on Monster Slaughter is very appropriate for the game, with a bit of a stylized cartoonish feel to the monsters and weapons. Ankama has a reputation for putting quality into their design, and you can see this in both the artwork and components that they use in this game. From the shading used in the artwork to the design and layout of the box (which is really the cabin used in the game), when this is set up on the table, you’ll find yourself constantly noticing how the artwork, components, and theme really work together.


Let’s talk about the components. As mentioned at the beginning, I received a prototype to play through, but with the exception of miniatures and a few cubes and chits, the artwork, game board, and box were all beautifully done. The pieces all fit together, the box and game board are of a nice, thick cardboard that is colorful and glossy.

The card stock is a good thickness and holds up well to the shuffling that is done during setup. Dice all have custom sides on them, and the chits are all clear with images to help differentiate them.

Mentioned above was the ability to kick open a door. The way that Ankama have designed the game to allow for this is by actually making specialized tiles that fit over the openings of the cabin. What you will do when you break a door is remove this tile, which then reveals an actual opening in the cabin or wall. These tiles fit perfectly with the box and add to the overall theme.

The Good:
Gameplay is fast, and the game is very quick to learn. While the age listed is 14+, that is mainly due to the theme of the game, not due to the mechanics or gameplay. Artwork is great and fits the theme of the game, and the components are perfect for the game. Gameplay takes around 45-50 minutes on average, and with the inclusion of cards that impact other players on their turns, interaction between the players is constant throughout the game.

The Bad:
The largest challenge can be attributed to it being a prototype, but the initial setup with the cards and chits took a bit. As this is still on Kickstarter, I’ve already seen comments made from Ankama where they’ve acknowledged and tweaked some items to make this easier. Another factor, and again attributed to the prototype and being on Kickstarter, is the limited number of Special Character cards that are dealt into the draw deck. Ankama has already addressed this by adding Stretch Goals that added additional ones to the game.

Final Thoughts:
After reading the rules and setting up the board on the first play through, we all just looked at it and kept moving the special tiles and looking through the cards. It was such a different setup from what we’ve seen before, and it's an absolutely wonderful layout. Setting it up takes minutes, learning the rules about five minutes, and minimal reference back to the manual after that. A great game to bring to the table.

Players Who Like:
If you like a game with minis that doesn’t take itself incredibly serious and has enough take-that, this is for you!

I am giving Minster Slaughter 8.5 out of 10 super meeples.


Check out Monster Slaughter on:

                 

Monster Slaughter is on KICKSTARTER between now and November 30, 2017.


About the Author:
Delton Perez is a FLGS owner with 2 locations in Puerto Rico. Originally from Boston, he currently lives in the wilds of Ohio (O-H!!), where he currently resides with his family. By day, he is a Retail Consultant working in New York in the Fashion Industry, but by night, meeples, dice, and cardboard take over. Delton also runs a gaming organization based in Northeast Ohio that focuses on running game nights at Libraries, Schools, and Churches on a scheduled, monthly basis. At times, Delton has even been able to sleep, though proof has yet to be found.
Monster Slaughter Kickstarter Preview Monster Slaughter Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by Delton Perez on November 21, 2017 Rating: 5

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