Just a follow-up from our discussion yesterday. I think Bobb totally hit the nail on the head with the “Monpoc is best learned in pieces” bit. Although I was able to persuade my girlfriend to play a game, I think I was only able to do it based on the guarantee that this would only take 15-20 minutes.
Single-Monster, Single-Form, No Abilities, “Breathe” Rules
Breathe is a simple format I invented, designed to let people play Monpoc with only monsters, but still capture some of the strategy of dice pools. In Breathe, you start with 10 A-dice in your monster pool, and no units. When you take a monster turn and spend A-dice, they go into your unit pool (per standard rules). At the end of your monster turn, you can choose to keep any A-dice left in your monster pool where they are, or push them to your unit pool (per standard rules).
If you choose to take a unit turn (or if you have no A-dice left in your monster pool), you take all the A-dice in your unit pool and roll them. For each super-strike you roll, take 1 power die. Then push all the dice you rolled into your monster pool. Your turn ends.
This gives players the option to take back-to-back monster turns, but eventually, they will have to stop to “breathe” (take a unit turn) which will leave them open to attack. It can be used to teach new players the basics of moving, attacking, and power attacks while still offering a strategic dice element.
How it played out:
Molly was a little tired when we started, which made me incredibly glad we were using basic rules. She brawled a couple buildings for power dice and we marched towards one another (she was Leviathron and I was Grindix, but defense 5 and 5 health, to ensure a quick game). Although I explained Brawl, Body Slam, Throw, and Smash, we only ever did Brawl, Body Slam, and Throw attacks. I whiffed a roll, which left me open. She body slammed me through a building. I retreated, brawled a few more buildings to store up some P-Dice, and she did the same. She missed a roll on me. I threw her eight spaces for 2 damage, exhausting both my A-dice and P-dice. She came back at me, and did two back-to-back monster turns, taking advantage of my “Breathe” turn for the win.
She didn’t love it, but she didn’t hate it. It wasn’t enthralling, but it was quick, which allowed us to play another game she did like. And the next time she’s willing to play with me, she’ll have a better grasp of some of the mechanics, so maybe we’ll add in hazards and the rest of the power attacks.