One of my games to look out for at the London Toy Fair this year was Monster 12. It was my pick from the range of ‘Open and Play’ games Kosmos is releasing. The idea being that the games are so easily learnt that anyone can play them. Well, I put that to the test, so I can tell you more! That shouldn’t come as a surprise you’re visiting a website that is literally called Board Game Review!
A range carrying the title ‘Open & Play’ should be pretty quick and easy to set up. Monster 12 is just that. Open up the box, shuffle the cards and deal three face up. Then place the dice on their respective squares on the box. You are then indeed, opened and ready to play!
Players will be competing to be the first player to catch at least twelve monsters. Which has probably left you wondering how on earth did they come up with the name! You will also need at least one monster of each colour captured to secure victory.
On each of the cards there will be one to four monsters. These will vary in colour which corresponds to the colours of the die. They also have a different amount of eyes. On a player’s turn they will be selecting three dice to roll. If when rolled, the pip value is greater than the amount of eyes the monster has, you place that die on it and it is captured. If all the monsters on a card have dice on it, you can choose to claim it, ending your go. You may however wish to push your luck and roll again to try and capture another card too! You can claim all three face up cards. If ever you roll dice and do not capture a monster your turn ends and play passes round to your opponent. You can also stop rolling without capturing a card, but where is the fun in that?
There is a restriction when choosing dice, they must be able to be allocated to a monster, i.e. you can only roll two red dice if there are at least two red monsters and not just one.
Play continues until one player wins. There is also a chart of objectives in the rulebook that players can compete for. If a player gets all the objectives they gain a special card included in the box. This adds another dollop of interest to each game of Monster 12.
What it’s like
Monster 12’s core mechanic is push your luck. This is a kid’s game and strategy is light. You do have to work out the optimal dice to roll, but this is usually a case of picking at least one low-eyed monster colour and some trickier dice to increase your chances of having additional rolls.
Play proceeds fairly quickly, but there is short periods of downtime at higher player counts when a player rolls, rerolls and rolls some more. Overall though play moves round at a decent pace as there isn’t that much to consider on your turn and there is plenty of duff rolls that see turns end abruptly!
The game is simple enough for most ages. The light strategy of what dice to pick can be taught easily enough.
The coloured dice zing on the tabletop as they get chucked around. The artwork is bright and colourful to engage younger players too. I am a sucker for a magnetic clamshell box and so I am in no way disappointed by the storage solution.
Its also small and compact enough to take on your travels and probably even compact enough to play while travelling!
The rulebook was clear and concise and got us playing quickly. However, I did test my ‘notoriously bad at rules’ wife, to see if this could be opened and played. I think with more time she might’ve got there, but there were mistakes around having pip values higher than the amount of eyes and not rolling more dice of one colour than there are monsters of that colour on display. This sounds bad but by her own standards this was pretty good!
All in all, Monster 12 is a nice production.
What the kids thought
Max (8): I really like it. The theme is really good. The achievements are fun to earn. Oh and I like the magnetic box. My favourite is the purple monster as it has a different number of eyes and is a cool colour!
George (12): Monster 12 is a good, quick game of rolling dice and I enjoy the element of risk.
Harrison (15): Despite the push your luck, which I’m not generally keen on, I like it, because it is quick and I don’t mind so much if I win or lose.
Final thoughts on Monster 12
I enjoy a game of push your luck fun, so I am very pleased Monster 12 resides on my shelves. I can see me throwing this in my backpack when we go on our adventures. Unlike games like Stomp the Plank, Monster 12 doesn’t quite transcend to a game that you’ll play once the kids go to bed, but when they are awake and you want something quick to play after dinner, this is a great option. Playing up to five people really helps me out too!
I assume the target audience for Monster 12 are families new to modern games. If it does indeed tap into that market, it will be a fantastic flag bearer for the hobby and hopefully lure those new-to-the-hobby to explore some of the other fantastic family and children’s games that are out there!
As an entry level game this is great fun and it should also work with children with shorter attention spans too, because let’s face it, rolling dice is always a blast!
Number of players: 2 to 5
Board Game Review Recommended Age: 6+
Publisher’s Recommended Age: 7+
Playing Time: 12 minutes
Setting Up and Take Down Time: 1 minute
Designers: Peter Wichmann
Just like a Hear’Say song, Monster 12 is pure and simple. I don’t mind that. It is a very good option for its target audience. Quick, easy and luck-based dice chucking!
Artwork and Components
Value for Money
- Beautiful coloured dice
- Fun artwork
- Travel sized
- Achievements to unlock in rulebook
- Strategy is light
- Dice rolling is luck based
Buy Monster 12
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