By Dallas– January 27, 2012
The aim of these alternate introductory rules is to introduce new players to Monsterpocalype with a focus on Monsters, their unique abilities, and some interaction with units while avoiding the often overwhelming and deal-breaking unit turns, ability referencing, planning, etc. These can also be used in any desperate attempt to get your friends to play Monpoc with you “if it just weren’t so complicated and fiddly.” The “Tag Team” monster only alternate scenario in ICN Strategy Guide is consistent with this aim but doesn’t allow any interaction with units. The base introductory rules in the Rise and Now rulebooks have an equally valid strategy of using “left-side” stats only, with full unit turns, but misses the very engaging and fairly unique triggers and abilities mechanic.
Units are placed on the map but will never shoot, move, use actions, etc. Instead, the unit pool dice are used to simulate the goals and outcomes of a unit turn, while enabling the dice management and back-to-back turn mechanics. Monsters interact with units for power attacks (swats, rampages, stomps), actions (tow, TK, abduct, sacrific, etc), abilities, and movement. Building’s hazard and damaging triggers (spire, livewire) are the only building abilities that are in play (optionally, to maintain a really engaging aspect of the monster game with minimal need for referencing). Gameknave / Jugglerv’s reference cards/sheets are also key for this simplification strategy.
Quickly pull units (randomly or that you like the look of) and place them in your unit pool. On first turn, players take turns placing units on all objective spaces (except speed zones), similar to building placement.
- I tend not to focus on the unit defense values during placement, but this, like everything here, is optional.
Basic Unit Turn Simulation
Roll your action dice and generate 1 p-die for each strike rolled. Move dice to monster pool.
- This will average about 5 or 6 p-die a turn and simulates generating power through destruction and securing for a power up on the monster turn. This ensures enough power for dramatic throws and smashes and assumes that units can usually find some way to generate 3 p-die through destruction and 3 p-die from securing.
- For a lower power game, gain 1 p-die for each 2 strikes rolled, rounding up, which will average to about 3 p-die each unit turn, encouraging more building brawls, rampages, and stomps.
Advanced Unit Turn Simulation
The same basic mechanic is used to represent the different goals and outcomes of unit turns; Power Through Suppression, Secure Power Base, Disrupt Power Base, Damage Monster/Building/Unit. Action dice can be allocated to different purposes on the same turn.
- This level of abstraction does introduce a mechanic that does not directly carry forward into the full rules, but it does highlight for new players all of the purposes and decision points of a unit turn (except for screening).
1. Power Through Suppression
Roll up to 10 action dice. Gain 1-pdie for every 2 strikes rolled, rounding up. For each superstrike rolled, move an a-die from your opponents unit pool to a “neutralized zone” in the unit rectangle, which gets pushed to the monster a-die pool at the end of the next unit turn.
- For a slightly lower power game, try rounding down on the roll, but we found it was more fun and reliable to round up. Since the odds of missing are higher than the inverse of the odds of hitting, we often seemed to get rolls in the 2-3 p-die range.
2. Secure Power Base
Move up to 9 a-die to a “securing pool” in the monster rectangle. At least 1 a-die must be used or pushed to the monster a-die pool for the power up roll. On the monster turn, roll to power up as normal and receive 1 p-die for each strike rolled.
- It is simpler to just specify 7 for the securing pool and 3 for the power up, but this gives less options when using multiple a-die options in one turn. Rolling 1 a-die to get 1 or 2 power might be attractive if players have a few a-die to spare or to threaten a power up.
3. Disrupt Power Base
Roll up to 10 a-die and for every 2 strikes rolled, rounding up, move 1 a-die from your opponents “securing pool” to the monster a-die pool.
4. Damage Monster/Building/Unit(s)
Choose a target and roll up to 10 a-die, hitting as normal. Multiple targets or attacks may be taken.
- It is important to remind new players of the odds and that typically only a single attack can be made reliably. However, a viable strategy is to take several low odds attacks.
- This might result in unrealistically easy unit attacks on monsters, specifically; 10 a-die on defense 5 = 81%, v6 = 68%, v7 = 51%, which is pretty close to a 3*5 typical of many unit attacks. Anything lower than this leaves much lower incentive to go for monster or high def building damage, which doesn’t seem to reflect real games.
Okay, let the purging of the blaspheme begin. This worked well for my most recent attempt to proselytize a new player. We tried the normal full rules first but he preferred these rules to start out for his first bunch of games and I still got to have fun practicing my monster game. When we moved back to the full rule set he was much more familiar with the ability mechanics and purposes of the unit turns. I hope this helps you angle in some new players!