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MOONGHA INVADERS- Best AT game of 2010

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08 Jul 2010 12:34 #67840 by Michael Barnes
Yep, you heard that right, a fucking Martin Wallace game completely puts to shame everything FFG has released this year. MOONGHA INVADERS is more of a _classic_ AT game, as in the kinds of games that inspired this movement and this website, than anything else that I've seen in a while. It's awesome, and it's a god damned shame it's OVER A HUNDRED FUCKING DOLLARS because it's some snooty limited edition/convention only print run of about 600 copies.

It's a movie monster game. And a better one than MONSTERS MENACE AMERICA and MONSTERPOCALYPSE put together. Each player has several different monsters, ranging from these alien vampire guys to blobs to a giant city-smashing robot. They all have special powers except the robot, who's just super tough and gets a ton of dice. THe action selection mechanic is _brilliant_, there's an array of different things you do- create (meaning you put a token on a monster to "build" it, heal, move or hide, attack, bring in a human hero, or call in the military. One of the really, really awesome things is that you can take an action token of any variety and store it on a monster so he can use it later. So you can keep piling attack chips on a monster while he's in hiding, effectively charging him up, and then letting him unleash destruction, getting his full attack dice for every chit saved up. But if your monster gets unhidden and attacked, you risk losing all that long term planning. The goal is simply to wreak havoc and smash cities while using the human forces to stop others from doing so.

Theme is _exceptional_. Mechanics are directly pulled from the giant monster movie canon, and they totally capture the whole thing where the monster shows up, wrecks the city, gets shot up by the army, and skulks away. The heroes are used to track down hiding monsters and to rally the armies to attack. There's a nuke that you can drop on a city to do a little monster cleaning, but it can cause massive collateral damage if you're not careful.

Visuals are _great_. This is a cheap production and it shows, but it's all done in black and white comics-style drawings and the whole thing is striking in black, white, and red. Little touches like all of the heroes having different faces (like a country sherrif, a dude with an eyepatch, an army general, and so on) give it a lot of character. There are no cards, everything is done on wood.

It's ruthless, highly interactive, highly narrative, and you roll TONS of dice. No fucking card based combat or bullshit mechanics to get in the way of fun. It's the kind of game where you do something just because it would be cool. There was a situation last night where Dan Baden laid waste to Paris with his robot. I had something planned to do on my turn, but I put it on hold because a nuke was available and I felt that he needed to be punished. So I nuked him, rolling eight dice, and blowing up his robot. Fun and hilarious. About 90 minutes all told, and the game seems to really want to be a four player game.

And the fonts. The game's logotype is great, and most of the other fonts are comic book lettering. NOT comic sans. It looks appropriate, cool, and fun.

The game just fucking rocks. I'd actually buy it with my own money in a heartbeat if it were fifty dollars. But at $120, no way. Hopefully someone will get the rights to it from MW and publish it properly.

But yeah, I'd absolutely give it GotY if it were more available and provided nothing else this awesome comes out in the next five months.

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08 Jul 2010 12:43 #67843 by Steve Chaos Weeks
Replied by Steve Chaos Weeks on topic MOONGHA INVADERS- Best AT game of 2010
The game sounds great but if it is a cheap production, why is the price so high?

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08 Jul 2010 12:45 #67844 by ufe
WTF? This sounds like the perfect game for me, but I'll be damned if I'm spending $120. Only played Monsters Menace America once and it was meh, and I have no interest in Monsterpocalypse since it's collectible. I need my giant monster fix!

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08 Jul 2010 13:10 - 08 Jul 2010 13:10 #67846 by Chapel
It is a fun game. Definitely a hybrid on many terms, but it all works well together.

Man, Barnes...we are like simpatico you and I.
Last edit: 08 Jul 2010 13:10 by Chapel.

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08 Jul 2010 15:18 #67854 by Michael Barnes
The game sounds great but if it is a cheap production, why is the price so high?

Wallace was commissioned to do the game as a limited run for an Italian games club that wanted a premium item for a convention. There were 600 copies made, and I think something like 200 of them Wallace sold through Treefrog. The rest are from this games club, and they'll only sell them to the US in cases. With the shipping, they come out to like $120 each. Thoughthammer has a couple of D&D copies, but you're still looking at $100.

The production is cheap but it's not bad at all. It's actually pretty good, it's just that they did everything on wooden blocks to save printing costs. So like all the heroes are wooden squares with stickers on them. It works, don't be scared.

Man, Barnes...we are like simpatico you and I.

Yeah, I've always suspected that when it comes down to it, you and I actually have very similar tastes.

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08 Jul 2010 15:32 #67855 by moofrank
The production isn't THAT cheap. It matches the Treefrog model. Nice board, rules, decent layout and a ton of wooden pieces (with labels in this case).

The Treefrog games run $60 + shipping. These cost about $75, and about $40 to ship from Italy. Treefrog themselves never sold any, you had to get them from the convention organizers who had about 60 left.

The Treefrog model is actually pretty nice. Martin has worked out that he can sell 1000 copies of anything he wants. So he is doing a fixed format with a board and wooden pieces (which are far cheaper than plastic in a small run game. This fact drove the look of Euros.)

Then he does whatever he wants. So far, he's done quite a few middleweight train-themed Euros. After the Flood, though, we desperately need to get the table. I also have Gettyburg, which is a full out 2 player wargame using a similar action mechanism to Moongha.

And I like Empires of the Ancient World better than Mare Nostrum. The battles are just so much more epic feeling.

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08 Jul 2010 15:33 #67856 by moofrank
...and no mention of the other game discovery last night? That should just become a Swamp Castle fixture.

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08 Jul 2010 15:56 #67857 by Schweig!
You got to be fucking kidding me. I had the chance to play this game last week, but I turned it down because a) butt-shit ugly b) Martin Wallace, and most importantly c) I wanted to play Greed instead, and did.

Anyway, Michael, I hope you acknowledge that you just lost any credibility talking about price and theme. (City smashing is pretty washed out, especially since Monsterpocalypse was a hit just this very year.) In this regard it doesn't matter if Moongha is a great game, because Horus Heresy is as well and Defenders of the Realm probably too, but you dismissed these games out of hand because of their price, theme and/or design.

Ugliness defined:

I will probably end up playing Moongha soon, but if it's anything like Struggle of Empires or any other Wallace, it's going to blow.

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08 Jul 2010 16:31 - 08 Jul 2010 16:37 #67859 by Shellhead
Visually, this game is a disappointment. The pictures posted at BGG practically hurt my eyes, though the fonts and the black and white artwork at least support the theme well. Otherwise, it looks like Wallace really banged a square peg into a warfrog-shaped hole. This theme practically begs for plastic figures, but instead there are wooden discs. I understand that the limited production run must have presented a serious problem in terms of component cost, but I'm a firm believer that some things should be done right or not at all. This may sound petty, but in the $100 to $120 price range, a boardgame should be outstanding in every respect, and this one isn't. Maybe the regulars at Swamp Castle will play any game at least once, but around here, it's really hard to get players to try something that looks like an unpolished prototype.
Last edit: 08 Jul 2010 16:37 by Shellhead.

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08 Jul 2010 17:05 #67861 by Michael Barnes
A couple of points:

- GREED INC. costs just as much as MOONGHA INVADERS, and it looks much worse and has even cheaper components
- It doesn't matter if a theme is played out (two games makes it played out?) if the game does it better than the others
- There is absolutely no justification for the price other than it was a tiny print run, literally a fraction of the number of mass-produced, made-in-china copies of HORUS HERESY that will be hitting Tanga one day soon. That being said, I'd rather pay $100 for a damn good board game than $100 for a piece of foetid shit in a bigger-than-usual box. We're talking about a completely different economy of scale, but no, no board game should be $100. Like Frank said though, it was really closer to $70 before import.
- Plastic figures would be cool, particularly if they were NEXUS OPS style dayglo figures. But it doesn't need them to generate setting, narrative and atmosphere and that's the mark of a really good design. The theme is strong enough to stand without them, and also without a bunch of shitty flavor text or ugly genre illustration.
- The game is not ugly. It's very stylized and in a very European comics fashion. the board could have used a little more illustration for the city holding boxes, but everything else looks great. I like the comics art approach given the subject matter, it completely works.
- I don't know that F:AT deserves to know about MONSTER DERBY at this point. It would DEFINITELY be called ugly.

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08 Jul 2010 17:25 - 08 Jul 2010 17:30 #67863 by Schweig!
Michael Barnes wrote:

A couple of points: [...]

You don't have to tell me that, I'm not stupid.

I just think it's ironic that your "Best AT game of 2010" is 1. expensive 2. ugly (at least from a functional point of view, for me also aesthetically) 3. the theme is old (I know more city rampaging games than zombie games), after you vehemently argued against these attributes in other games.

I don't know that F:AT deserves to know about MONSTER DERBY at this point.

Why, because two or three users here can tolerate Comic Sans, can afford War of the Ring Deluxe, or like LNOE?
Last edit: 08 Jul 2010 17:30 by Schweig!.

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08 Jul 2010 17:43 #67864 by Steve Chaos Weeks
Replied by Steve Chaos Weeks on topic MOONGHA INVADERS- Best AT game of 2010
Ok, I will only tolerate so much Barnes bashing.

As long as he is talking Boardgames, we are in good shape.

Stand down Schweig

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08 Jul 2010 18:08 #67866 by Schweig!
You two go and get a hotel room.

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08 Jul 2010 18:21 #67867 by Stephen Avery
I'm with Swhieg on this one. I might note that again a GotY is nominated that is rare, expensive and totally inaccesable to most people.

In his defence though I read Chapel's blog and it did sound pretty neat.
chapelsbrain.blogspot.com/2010/04/wallac...oongha-invaders.html

However, I'm over it and don't really care. Call me when they remake it using plastic monsters.

Steve"blue collar gamer"Avery

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08 Jul 2010 18:27 #67868 by KingPut
MOONGHA INVADERS is the Best AT game of 2010 I hope there's something better than this coming out in 2010. I've only played Moongha Invaders once and it was ok. I'll play again but personally I won't buy it for $40. Maybe $30 but I'm a cheap bastard.

My take on it the game is that it's kind of a rethemed Perikles, Byzantium and Gods Playground which are all Wallace Competaration or Coopation games. They're all games where the players are fighting against both sides of the war and the winners the guy with the most victory points which are gained by winning battle, killing stuff, controlling something or not getting your city blown up. I like all 4 games I've listed but I think Perikles is the best even if the board looks like a spread sheet.

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