Profile photo of Nate Parkes By Nate Parkes On June 14, 2012 Posted In Other

Help me teach my lady to destroy me

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June 14, 2012

Hey all:

Sorry, I’ve been posting like crazy, but I want to get your input on something. My girlfriend, Molly, has said she’s willing to try Monpoc with me. She’s a gamer, but she prefers euro-style boardgames and abstracts, and she’s intimidated by the number of rules and abilities in Monpoc. I promised her I would make her first play easy, by having reference cards for her and having a simple force.

We talked a bit about what she wanted to play, and she was drawn to the Tritons. I thought about it a bit, and I suggested Ultra Crustaceor. I know he’s not a top-tier monster, but he’s only got 8 abilities across both forms, so there’s not as much to remember, and he’s got nice basic tricks, as well as the ability to consistently hand out 2 points of damage.

Here is how I imagined her force:

Ultra Crustaceor

2 x Elite Steel Shell Crabs

4 x Grunt Steel Shell Crabs

2 x Elite Spadefin Skimmers

4 x Grunt Spadefin Skimmers

3 x Nautilus Blasters

For buildings, we’re going to use 6 x Apartment Building, 6 x Downtown High-Rise, and 6 x Post Apartments. That was she only has to remember 3 building types, and there’s a good mix of spire, fire, and high occupancy.

I know it’s far from an optimal list, but I think it’s accessible, and will provide some strategic options without being overwhelming.

The question is: what do I run against this? (Remember, I want her to have the advantage.)

  1. I think you’ll need to do a brawling monster, because of Crusty’s low defense. From the list of units you took, I’d suggest something in the Planet Eaters regime. Maybe Ultra Zorog if you have him. Or you could do moles and run Hammerklak.

  2. I think you’re starting too big. Monpoc is best learned in small bits. Unless she really insists, start small. Let her pick the monster, but explain that the first several games are going to be gradual introductions to the various rules.

    So start with just the alpha forms, and 2 buildings each…just as if you had both bought an original starter. Run the first game using 10A monster pools every turn and just get the hang of how to move the monster and make attacks, including power attacks. Don’t play with the right side of the figure, meaning no abilities for now!

    Next game, make it 4 buildings and add 5 units each. But still ignore the abilities.

    After she’s got the hang of the basics, start to expand slowly. Throwing her into the deep end with everything all at once is likely to turn her off the game before she really gets a chance to enjoy it.

      1. Brawl Building, get Power dice. That first game should be more about learning how to spend A dice, moving around, and walking up and punching something, or maybe shooting it, with just a couple Power Attacks thrown into the mix.

  3. Do you own the Voltron set? I think I remember you saying you have the map, so I’m assuming you have the set. You may want to play her a straight Voltron/Lotron game with just the Galaxy Garrison/Planet Doom units. Simple map, no buildings. The only more complex part is the morphers themselves. I think the Voltron set was designed to be an “intro to Monpoc” game.

  4. The stat cards are great for when she starts getting into more figures. I know you saw Angela using them, and they were a lifesaver for her to start learning the abilities.

    I’m terrible at teaching games. I’m the kind of person that wants to understand all of the nuances right away, so I try to explain it that way and I think I end up overwhelming my would-be pupils. Fortunately, Angela is very patient… :)

      1. I took about two or three times of teaching Angela before she really started to get it and it wasn’t until MonCon that she really started to “play” entirely on her own. If she’s willing to keep trying it, she’ll get it eventually. :)

    1. I can’t tell you how many times he would explain something to me only to realize I’d zoned out five minutes ago and still had no idea what that stupid symbol meant – that’s why the stat cards were the key to my ability to make my own moves – I’m a visual learner and needed everything written out for me.

      I also read the entire rule book once upon a time and the pictures of the power attacks helped (my semi-photographic memory needs pictures!). But for the longest time, I’d always decide which power attack looked good to me and then Philip would fill in the gaps, explaining how that would work, why I couldn’t do what I wanted and/or what abilities in my stash would help/hinder my attack.

  5. All this feedback is great.

    I think what’s I’m going to do is a variation of Bobb’s idea: two monsters, no abilities, no units. But I’m going to use a full city of buildings (for power dice generation and movement/power attack challenges).

    1. Two monsters and no units is a great intro to the game in my opinion. Gives a lotof potential for power attacks and big damage without the complication that units bring to the game.

      When I run a very basic demo, that is what I use.

  6. I remember reading a good blog on how to bring beginners into the game. I’ll try and put forth what I remember. They taught the game in stages.

    1) Play the game but don’t use any of the abilities. Don’t use the power attack options yet.

    2) Play the game without abilities only now use power attacks too. It’s good if you let them smash or throw you so they get the hang of it.

    3) Play the game with abilities. There’s a site that has all the ability cards. I would print them out and have them on hand. A mirror match can be nice because it’s one less monster for them to try and figure out.

    When I teach new players I like to run Hondo. With armored I can let them throw/smash me around a few times before I’m dead. He also doesn’t dish out a lot of damage. I also tend to play Faction pure at first then slowly add in Agenda units. Much later will I bring up Splashing. Good luck and I hope this is helpful.

      1. Sorry, he can dish out damge, but not as much as some, like Tharsis. I usually just run out and let them beat on me and bunch them back some.

  7. When she does learn the basics and you get into full games against her, don’t think “what should I run against her so that she has the advantage” just pick a cool monster or one that is fundamentally opposite so you can show her some cool tricks, and just adjust your playstyle so that you don’t pwn a noob. For instance pass up on that crusty-killer 5 damage power attack and make sure you don’t turtle up or super screen so crusty can’t ever get you since it can be easy to get frustrated if you start feeling hopeless in MonPoc.

  8. I keep hearing “stat cards” and i hope that means what I think it means… 😉

    Start with the tag-team format and a whole field of buildings. The game is much simpler when you only have to worry about 2 monsters. Pick monsters with really high base stats, so they’ll have a chance to hit (ultra crusty and mega leviathron would be good; leviathron’s Armored in all forms is really helpful in tag-team, and his high base stats mean that after all buildings are gone, he can still land some hits) Avoid monsters that affect units; anglax would be terrible (i found out the hard way that ares mothership is also awful in tag-team, Power Sink notwithstanding).

    Also, play only one form for the first game. It will keep it short and sweet.

    For the second game, go with 2 forms and buildings with hazards, spire, and live wire, to teach some positioning (crusty can brawl live wire buildings from a distance, so she’ll get some respect for unique monsters’ abilities.

    For the third game, play vanilla. Buildings have no abilities beyond their hazard, spire, and live wire status, and units are ALL 5-move, 3 def, 2*1, 2*2 with jump.

    I actually played vanilla for my first 4 real games, because Gearbox set me and my friend up with a really complicated Def-x vs gakura match and I almost quit right there. I needed time to wrap my head around unit positioning before complicating it wih rules.

    I can make you a “vanilla unit” stat card if you want… ;D

    1. Naturally, I mean your wonderful stat cards. Additionally, your stat inserts are FANTASTIC. I made proxy megas for all the megas I was missing (I’m just finishing the painting).

      Do you think it would be possible to create a stat card for Bobb’s custom Quantum Terra Khan? I have a spare hyper Terra Khan, and I wand to make it into that quantum? No biggie if you’re busy; no pressure.

      1. I made the quantum ares mothership, didn’t I? ;p

        I’ll make custom cards or inserts for anyone who asks; just message me.

    2. If you think it means that all the hard work you put into making beautiful stat cards for every figure is really appreciated… then that’s exactly right! I know that my wife loved having them with her at MonCon and, from all the chatter, it seems that a lot more people use them than I’d ever suspected.

      1. Sweet; good to hear (i mean, i know they’re a solid resource, but going months with relative radio silence can take its toll. i don’t want to seem like I’m farming for praise or anything. ;D

      2. I’ve been playing the game with my son for just over a year now and we still use them. Great tool cause I can never remember if a monster gets 3 boost or 4 on a brawl attack.

      3. “I can never remember if a monster gets 3 boost or 4 on a brawl attack.”

        isn’t that, like, the easiest thing in the world to reference while you’re playing? 😉

      1. sweet. I was going to make an army builder to celebrate series 6’s launch, but then series 6 never happened. sad_face.jpg

        maybe i’ll get to it when all this newborn stuff calms down.

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