Being an all powerful God in ancient Greece comes with some pretty sweet perks. It can even go to your head a bit, looking down on those silly humans making sacrifices and offerings just to appease you. However, sometimes faith can be fleeting. Zeus has become unhappy with the level of dedication being displayed by the mortals lately. He’s made an order for a show of power that will restore the awe and belief that he’s become accustomed to. By his decree, players will rain down monstrous creatures from on high to remind people who’s in charge of the world. Time to introduce a little bit of chaos!
From CMON and Good Games Publishing, Monstrous is the thinking person’s dexterity game, with a ton of strategy to consider on every turn. Players become Greek Gods, throwing classic mythological Monster cards from atop Mount Olympus on to ancient sites. They’ll fight for control of the different locations to earn Faith points. At then end of the game, the player who has earned the most Faith will win a God-like victory!
“We settled on Greek mythology within 30 minutes of the first creative push for the game. We considered Cthulhu or Norse themes, but mythic Greece won hands down,” said Kim Brebach, designer of Monstrous. “The fact that you play giant gods hurling monsters down to Earth at the mortals just fits so well with the fundamental physical and mental experience of the game.”
You’ll start with a deck of twelve different Monster cards pulled directly from Greek myths. Each Monster has a thematic ability, triggered at different times. For example, Gorgons kill whatever Monsters hit them; the Cyclops picks up other Monsters and throws them; and Harpies steal offerings made to other gods.
“Monstrous is fast to play, with players standing and moving around the table, throwing and resolving their turns in under 30 seconds. It’s tactical, dynamic, and replayable with a range of location based scenarios,“ explains Kim.
The target area for the Gods is created with Location cards. The different Greek sites, like Sparta, Athens, and Corinth, all have a location power that can be used when a Monster lands on it, allowing you to do things like force other players’ Monsters to be discarded, draw more cards, or even take a Monster from your Graveyard. Locations also earn you Faith points when you’ve launched a successful attack against them.
During your turn, you’ll toss one of the three Monsters in your hand, but there is a lot to think about before you let fly. Based on the current state of Greece, you may want to avoid certain locations if they are covered by trap Monsters, or you may try to land on a location that will unlock a special power or earn you a bunch of Faith.
Besides being a fair distance from the table, there are no rules about how you toss your Monsters. The rulebook suggests removing the chairs from around the table (you really won’t need them) and taking a few practice throws to get the feel. As you’d expect, Kim has mastered his own throwing technique.
“I've seen a few styles work, but I rely mostly on spin-throwing the card up from table height to arc down on top of the target. This minimizes sliding and overshooting once you’ve got your parabola targeting tuned in.”
Monstrous is unique in the dexterity game genre because getting the technique down is only half the battle. You still have to figure out the best strategy to attack the board with.
The battles get pretty intense with some nail biting tosses that can decide the fate of the game. A successful throw or a near miss is a white knuckle affair. With each player drawing from their own deck, the Monsters will come out at different times. Every game is going to have you figuring out a new strategy. Getting the right Monster at the right time can be really helpful, but you still have to make the throw.
Monstrous will make you feel like a God, but when you’re competing with a bunch of Gods, winning will come down to a matter of faith! Monstrous lands in your FLGS this Friday!
Learn more about Monstrous here.
This article was originally published in GTM magazine. Learn more here.