Friday, July 17, 2009

Savage Monster Island Apocalypse

So here we go. If you want to play some awesome kaiju action, there's no better choice than Firefly Games' Monster Island. This isn't actually an RPG, per se, but it does use a simplified version of the Action! RPG rules from Gold Rush Games. This is a very simple miniatures game, where you can play a kaiju (or in other supplements, a human army or an alien invasion force) and knock the crap out of other kaiju (or army or invasion force). The simplified rules make this an easy game to pick up and play, after making you kaiju (or army, etc.), all you need are some d6s, and something to represent terrain and your character. The core book actually suggests two ways of doing this: you can either pull out a battle mat and use the figure cutouts provided in the book, using the grid or hex squares for movement and range, or you can, if you have them, grab any toys that would look good as a kaiju (for instance, I have collectable action figures of Godzilla, Voltron, Great Mazinger, Kamen Rider, and the original Megazord from Power Rangers - there's even a two headed dragon I've had since I was four that would work well) and use some random things around the house, such as felt cutouts, salt and pepper shakers, boxes of Hamburger Helper (Beef Stroganoff is the best), as terrain. Then grab a tape measure to gague distance for movement and range. While I can appreciate the "off the cuff" method of the second option, I prefer using the battle mat and miniatures. It just makes everything easier to manage. While the core book is plenty enough to get some kaiju brawling going on, there are supplements that expand on the carnage. Each supplement adds new powers for kaiju as well as expanded rules. In Escape from Monster Island, you can create your own human armies, complete with soldiers, artillery, scientists, and maser tanks (the ones that have a huge ass satellite dish that shoots concentrated electromagnetic energy). In Invasion of Monster Island, you can create your own invasion fleet of aliens, complete with mothership. Then there's Revenge of Monster Island, which expands on all the different factions, as well as rules for combat, terrain, and movement and a background of that hotbed of kaiju action, Tokyo. With all the options this game provides, you can have one hell of a battle, but I did notice something. If you only have two players, things can get pretty frustrating. Say you play a kaiju who has a radioactive blast attack (like Godzilla), but the kaiju you're up against not only can hit you with his blast attack, but is immune to yours (Immunity is one of the powers a kaiju can take). Basically, your blast attack is useless and you're most likely going to lose. That's where things can be a pain in the ass. There are two solutions to this: either create a roster of kaiju for you to select from and pay attention the the kaiju your opponent is playing, or have more people join in the fight for a multiplayer throwdown ala Destroy All Monsters. Personally, I recommend both. Two player fights can easily get one sided and more players means more carnage - everybody wins! The books have their own sample kaiju to use, but it's much more fun to make your own. I turned the Abdominal Snowman into a kaiju. I just gave him the Amulet of Dai'kithu and watched him grow. His six-pack looks more like a fleet of beer trucks now. If anyone wants to use him in all his abdominal glory, here's his stats:  

Abdominus, the 100 foot Yeti of Doom! A 45 point kaiju Attributes Strength - 8 Reflexes - 8 Health - 8 Mind - 2 Life - 40 Evade - 18 Toughness (including Armor power) - 13 Daze - 10 Move - 8 Damage - 4d6 Powers Armor (Invincible Abs) - 5 Clinging (can climb vertical surfaces) Entagle (Ice Breath) - 4 Food Source (can eat people to increase powers) Immunity (Cold) Swimming - 1

So, if you want to pick up the Monster Island game, go to the Firefly Games website. You'll find the core book (both in .pdf and print) and the supplements, including gazetteers for some of the major US cities, in their Catalog and a couple of freebies in Product Support. I better get going. Abdominus is having too much fun doing belly flops on city hall. Kaiser out

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