It’s been a little over six months since I first tried out Privateer Press‘s Monsterpocalypse collectible miniatures game at GenCon 08. Although initial reactions showed potential I decided to hold off forming a definite opinion until I played the game more and got a better feel for it. So now that I’ve had the chance to do so and have reevaluated the game I’ve determined that my opinion hasn’t changed much, and that really isn’t a good thing.
I’m just not sold on Monsterpocalypse. It just doesn’t reach out and grab me and shake the dice (and bucks!) out of my pockets like some of the other games I’ve played do. There’s a lot of good aspects of the game – the resource management aspect is interesting and the monster-on-monster power-attack-fueled combat is phenomenal. The mechanics themselves are pretty solid. There’s some ambiguity on special rule interaction but on the whole the rules just work.
On the other hand so much of the game is built around the units – using them to claim areas of the map or killing your opponent’s units to build up power dice. It really takes a lot of the focus away from the monster. Units have so many responsibilities and tasks to perform and so many options to do so just so that a couple turns in your monster can really start trashing the opponent – assuming he’s not keeping away while his units do a lot of the work for him.
If there were no units in Monsterpocalypse or they were de-emphacized to the point where monsters did basically all the work I would enjoy the game much more. That wasn’t destined to happen though — the myriad of unit types and the fact that you field fifteen in your army was necessary to promote unit booster sales. That’s just a key to maintaining the (IMO detrimental) collectable nature of the game.
I guess what it comes down to is that in a game about giant monsters smashing each others’ face in, I don’t think I should be spending over half my play-time dealing with units. For me the kaiju genre has always been about the monsters, but too much of Monsterpocalypse emphasizes the units. And IMO that’s not a good thing.
That said if Monsterpocalypse was still insanely popular locally I’d probably keep playing but that’s not the case here. In the beginning there were always Monsterpocalypse games going on during open Warmachine/Hordes game nights locally (most MonPoc players were also WM/H players). You don’t see that anymore. Monsterpocalypse has become “that tournament game” that only really gets played at organized events. And our last two tournaments have had four players show up to in total. That’s not a thriving community.
Will the newest expansion I Chomp New York revitalize the community? I really can’t say. But I can say it’s not likely to rekindle my interest even if it does. It’s not a bad game and I realize there are players who really enjoy it, but for me the game has just lost its luster.