Friday, October 10, 2008

#51: Monster Fressen

Monster Fressen
  • designer: Alex Randolph
  • publisher: Simba
  • date: 1998
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/6.6
  • age: 7+
  • # of players: 2-6
  • print status: OOP
  • cost: I could not find any available online... FunAgain has a used copy of Die Heisse Schlacht am Kalten Buffet, which is an earlier version of this game for $21.95. There is a copy of Kangaroo, the earliest version of the game, available on the Geek for $14.95.
I think I paid a Euro for Monster Fressen - which, when you get a gander at the pasteboard tiles, the lightweight board & the generic plastic markers, seems about right - but there's a lot more game in the box than the quality of the components indicates.

This is actually the fifth version of this particular game system:
  • Kangaroo (1974)
  • Generalowsky (date?)
  • Pushover (1981)
  • Die Heisse Schlacht am Kalten Buffet (1990)
  • Monster Fressen (1998)
Give Alex Randolph credit - he managed to keep this baby afloat for 24 years & five different editions.

And here's why - the game play is simple to explain, there's a lovely push-your-luck dice rolling mechanic at the heart of the game, and it's just plain fun. Whether the theme is racing kangaroos, Soviet generals, odd little men riding on golems, scarfing the best food at a cold buffet or monsters sampling dinner from the kitchen, the heart of the game is the ol' "just one more roll" dilemma.

On your turn, you roll a 1/2/3 dice (in other words, a dice with 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3 on the faces)... and then, you may roll another 1/2/3 dice... and then, if you're feeling lucky, you may roll one final 1/2/3 dice. Whenever you stop, the dice faces are totaled - if the total is 4 or less, you get to move. If it's higher than 4, you go back to start. Before you move, though, you multiply the total on the faces with the number of dice you rolled - meaning you can potentially move up to 12 spaces in a turn.

When you pass the cooking pot, you get the top monster food tile - and if you land on the cooking pot space, you get two tiles. They range in value from 1-7. Of course, you can land on the same space as another player... and whoever is on top of a stack gets to dictate how the player below them rolls. Since only the top player gets monster food when you pass the cooking pot, it's wise to set yourself up to be carried across by another player.

The game is played until all the tiles are gone - and the player who gets the last tile gets a bonus point award. Points are totaled & the player with the most is the winner.

I have only played Pushover & Monster Fressen - and though Pushover has a nifty plastic board and great little men, I think it's a much less successful game than Monster Fressen. Monster Fressen looks (to me!) to be the cleanest implementation of the game... and it's been a hit with kids (esp. boys, who love the gross-out food tiles) and adults alike.


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