While the format of the game is fixed to one on one battles, the experience the game delivers is true to its monster movie heritage and is really a blast to play. Definitely give this game a try out. Privateer Press has produced another awesome game.
Privateer Press has spent the last year hyping up their latest project, Monsterpocalypse. Right from the beginning it was met with skepticism from some of the more hardcore WARMACHINE players and to their credit, the slogan of WARMACHINE once made fun of games with plastic figures. Others feared that Privateer Press couldn't manage two major game lines. Privateer Press was certainly not going to give up on their new franchise on October 10th 2008, the entire world got to experience the Monsterpocalypse. While it will be a while before we know if Privateer Press can effectively manage two game lines, they have started off great by delivering an exceptionally fun game.
Monsterpocalypse's goal was to bring the feel of Japanese monster movies to the tabletop. Players control one or two monsters as well as a host of smaller support units. While the primary action of game will focus on the combat between the monsters, the monsters rely on the support units to gain power and deliver the killing blow. In order to really capture the monster movie experience, the melee always takes place downtown of some city. Every building is completely destroyable and players are encouraged to use the buildings to defeat enemy monsters. Throwing or body slamming monsters into buildings is the best way to inflict a large amount of damage, so destroying buildings are critical to victory.
Currently the game features six stereotypical factions. In this case I use stereotypical in a good way, because the factions are all ripped right from some sort of Animae or Kaiju film. The Power Ranger style G.U.A.R.D stand in defense of Earth and in many cases end of up causing more damage more then enemies they are fighting. The World of the Worlds/ID4 style Martians are looking to exploit the planet and use the resources to preserve their society. The Terrasaurs fill the Godzilla/radioactive monster role. The Shadow Sun Syndicate is a mafia ninja faction who works to accomplish only their objectives. The Planet Eaters represent the all too common invading monsters from space. A Cthulu themed faction rounds the various armies in Monsterpocalypse. If you are a fan of crazy/cheesy monster movies, one of the game's factions will appeal to you.
An interesting dice management system requires players to make effective use of both units and monsters to claim victory. A set of action dice are used to determine which types of figures can be activated. As units use action dice, those action dice become available to the monster. As the monster uses action dice, they become available to units. In general game play will shift from units to monsters and back to units, but clever management can allow for monsters or units to act twice in row. While monsters duel to the death, units race around the city attempting to capture control points and buildings in order to give their monster the ability to perform devastating attacks. If a player has poor unit management, they will find that their monster will be outclassed compared to their opponent. Units by themselves cannot hope to harm a monster, but multiple units can concentrate their fire to actually have a chance to hurt a monster.
Figure quality is pretty much in line with other collectible miniature games. Paint jobs are nothing too special, but in almost every case they look good and there is no evidence of paint splatter. Several of my monsters were either broken in the box, or broke shortly after removing from the box, but those were fixed with a quick gluing. Other people have reported defective figures, but the defective rate does appear to be above normal levels.
While the game described by the rules is a blast to play, I am concerned by the fairly rigid game format. A player's force will always contain one or two monsters and up to fifteen units. All the maps currently available do not allow for large games and really only work well for one on one battles. Due to the placement of support regions placed around the map, it is not even practical to cut up several maps and combine them. The one upside to the rigid game format is that Monsterpocalypse will make an excellent tournament game and Privateer Press has already announced plans for such events.
We waited a year for this game and let me be one of many to say that this game was worth the wait. Privateer Press has delivered one the most fun gaming experiences I have had. There is no reason not to get out and try this game. Even though its a small scale game, it will definitely find ways to make you think.