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"Kaiju game comparison - #1 Monster Island" Topic


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504 hits since 26 Apr 2020
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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superbruno26 Apr 2020 5:30 p.m. PST

I recently got the urge to play a Kaiju tabletop wargame and got my hands on a few rulesets (Monster Island, Giant Monster Rampage, Giants, Monsterpocalypse and Mighty Monsters). Not knowing which would suit my needs better, I tried to find information on each game. However, I didn't find enough information to compare each system in a satisfying way, so I decided to try each game a few times to form an opinion on each.

To make the comparison easier, I wanted to make each game as similar as possible. Same monsters, same terrain. Monsterpocalypse is the least flexible system so I used monsters from that game, and tried to port them to the other systems. The 4 monster I chose were Defender X, King Kondo, Gorghadra and Yashet.

The first I tried is Monster Island, which is, I think, the simplest system. I played 2 solitaire games to get a feel for it and it was enough to form an opinion.
Creating monsters in Monster Island is quick and easy. You have 30 points of creation that you need to spend on 4 stats (Strength, Reflexes, Health and Mind), and a dozen generic powers. 

Trying to keep them as close as possible to Monsterpocalypse was difficult with the rules of Monster Island. I did my best but I also went with the look of each figure and my perception of what they should be like.

In Monsterpocalypse, King Kondo has special powers that affects small units, something that is not available in Monster Island. But the names of his powers gave the impression of a powerful, fast moving, angry monster. So gave King Kondo great strength and reflexes, and average mind, the capacity to leap 9", regenerate 1 hit point every turn and since he has chain on his arms, a special chain attack on normal strike that does a lot of damage.

Defender X was also difficult to convert, so I had to go once again with the general feel of the character and his look. He had to have blast powers, to be able to fly, and since his role is defensive I also gave him some armor. That didn't leave much points for his stats so I gave him only 4 in reflexes (max of 6.).

Yashet is a character that is quite agile and can regain health. So I gave him high health and reflexes, the power to regenerate 2 health points each turn. He had big claws so I gave him a bonus in close combat, and his tentacles went well with entangle.

Finally Gorghadra strive on destruction and not much else. So I gave him low mind, high strength and average reflexes. I also gave him blast power and some armor.

Creating the monsters, I felt there was not a lot of options. Also, you quickly run out of points, so having more than 2 special powers is too costly on the stats.

Next, I decided to set-up the terrain with lots of buildings (having read lots of rules recently, I forgot that buildings are useless in Monster Island). Then I was ready to play.
I quickly realized that my terrain setup was not interesting, but I continued playing, wanting to learn the basic system. Defender X and Gorghadra were pretty useless, while Yashet dominated the battlefield. I had made another mistake. Reflexes is supposed to be maximum 6, but I gave 8 to Yashet. At the end of the game, I revised the rules, adjusted Yashet's stats, and changed the terrain.

I placed lava pits, geysers, rocks and tree trunks on the battlefield instead of buildings, then started a new game. Once again, Defender X and Gorghadra were useless while Yashet and King Kondo were really strong. I used a few special attacks like ram and throw (King Kondo was thrown into a lava pit twice) to add some excitement. Yashet easily won the game.

After two battles, I am disappointed with Monster Island. There are a few problems that keep it from being fun. The biggest flaw being the way combat is resolved. To hit, you have to roll 3d6, add your reflexes, and compare it to the evade stat of the target. The problem is that evade is directly linked to reflexes. So if you have high reflexes, you have high evade, and if you have low reflexes, you have low evade. What it means is that a monster that is good in combat is also very hard to hit. And a monster that is poor in combat is also easy to hit.

For example, Defender X had a 4 in reflexes, and 14 in evade, while Yashet had 6 and 16. So when Defender X attacked Yashet, he had to roll at least 12 on 3d6, so 37% chance to hit. Yashet had to roll only 8 to hit Defender X, so about 84% chance to hit. Add to that the fact that ranged attack suffer from penalty for every 5'' of distance, and Defender X had practically no chances to hit Yashet. I had built Defender X as a ranged attacker, but couldn't hit anything. Same story with Gorghadra.

Thus, while you can customize your monster anyway you want, you are in fact quite limited in your choices if you want to have some fun.

The next problem is the generic powers. Some are pretty powerful like Immunity, Extra heads, Hand-to-hand attack and Entangle, while others are less interesting, like flying, ranged attacks or swimming.

In conclusion, the reflexes/evade flaw is too important to ignore and for me it makes the game uninteresting. Next, I am going to try Giant Monster Rampage.

Uparmored27 Apr 2020 3:24 a.m. PST

Nice read. I recently watched all the Heisei Gojira films on laserdisc. CSB..

JMcCarroll27 Apr 2020 7:58 a.m. PST

I have written a rule set on Kaiju fighting and suggust a few things.

Monsters do not have to be the same in point values unless you use tournaments. Godziila will beat Gigan every time, short of bad dice rolling.

Need to get the proper balance of ranged fire vs. close combat. Change range and strength of weapons to balance.

Who is playing the game? Rules for kids should be simple, adults more complex. Rules and Monster stats work best on one two sided sheet.

Good luck, have fun and remember it is only a beer & pretzels game.

superbruno27 Apr 2020 11:45 a.m. PST

Thanks! I do remember that it's a beer and pretzel game. But most important, is that every player has a good time.

Having a player that can't do anything interesting for the whole game because the system is flawed doesn't make a good a fun game.

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