Review: Monstrous (The Game)

Out of all the elements of this new game, the one that hooked the spawnlings was:

Throwing Cards Inside

Despite all of their Evil Genius training to take over the world, they are still little spawnlings at heart. Awwwww…

Of course, they also loved the mythical monsters, the references to Greek Mythology, the fantastic artwork, and especially the competition to be the GREATEST OF ALL GODS!! But let’s be honest here: Any game that allows them to break what is usually a standard rule in the house is ALWAYS going to win esteem points in their minds.IMG_0879

Monstrous was sent to me to play and review by Good Games (Australia). The deal was simply to play it with EG Inc and tell Good Games what I thought. They are familiar with my blog and my ever endearing personality – so they know they are going to have an honest and upfront assessment of this game. As will you.

So What Is It?

IT is a ‘tabletop’ game with card-throwing as a key feature. As individuals, 2 to 5 gods can play; as teams, you can have up to 10 gods fighting over the table. The box says “ages 10 and up” but 7yo Nefarious handed me my glorified derriere so I think you can safely include younger spawnlings. Zaltu (2yo) was not invited to play – I’m already at risk of injuring myself. I don’t need to add her to the mix.

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Photo by Good Games

 

General Guidelines

All the players are gods (it doesn’t matter which god you are – if someone asks if you are a god, you say YES!). And all the gods are a little miffed about dwindling faith on Earth, with offerings and sacrifices and what-not. So Zeus commands the gods to ‘thrown down some monstrous pets’ and scare a little faith out of the pesky mortals.

The real stars of this game are the monsters – and don’t they look beautiful! I have been a fan of Greek Mythology since I was 8, especially the artistic interpretation of the mythic creatures. Monstrous is true to form.IMG_0900

Each monster has a range of powers to use, and it totally depends on which side up your card lands. There are TRAP powers, MONSTER powers, and LOCATION powers. Some of these powers release a ‘Faith’ count to you. And the god with the most faith at the end of the game wins.

Let’s Play

I’m just going to pre-empt all of this with a single statement: I am an un-coordinated git on the best of days. The spawnlings know this. It’s pretty fair to say I lost the game.

The order of events is like this:

  • Throw a Monster
  • Check for Traps (if you have landed on another monster)
  • Check for Monster powers
  • Check for Location powers
  • Collect your Faith tokens (if any)
  • Draw a card
  • End your turn

IMG_0898So, you set up the Locations. Each god has a Player Card, with instructions and guidelines (very handy). You have your Monster Deck, and your Underworld (discard pile). It is easier standing around the table when you have your turn to throw – if your hand crosses the edge of the table, your throw is discounted and your Monster is discarded to the Underworld. Position is everything; Distractions are hilarious.

See – fairly easy going game, right?

Until you have your spawnlings (and husband) start setting up traps on your closest location.

To be honest, I was surprised at how much room there was for strategy in a game I thought was just ‘card throwing’. Each of the monster powers can be used in unique ways to give you the greatest impact on the table. If you’re a complete klutz like me, Pegasus will be your best friend – he has extra throws. Gorgons have always been, and will always be, absolute b*****s. Land on one of those and your card is GONE. And the Harpy – she steals your Faith, just like the lunch of King Phineus.

However, if you’re fellow gods pick up on your inability to throw a damn card, they are likely to start setting up traps on your more … ‘reachable’ locations. Once trapped, you lose your buddy Pegasus FOREVER!! L

Did we like the game?

Oh, yes! I have never played a game that required throwing things at the table. That’s not to say I haven’t thrown things across the table in frustration, but never as part of the game. This was novel and lots of fun.

There are lots of powers and interactions to keep track of during the game, but the rules and structure of the game are very simple to follow. The spawnlings loved it and have asked for it again next weekend. The best part is, you can change the game with locations and layouts, so maybe next time I will have a chance? Unlikely…IMG_0899

If there was anything I would change about the game, it would be the value of the Faith tokens. They come in 1, 3, 10, 30. I think I can see why they went with these combinations, but for the younger age groups, it adds a little extra work. If we had 1 and 2 value tokens, we would probably need more of them – though, the spawnlings would be faster in calculations.

For a throwing game, the cards are pretty good quality. Good durable card with a smooth glossy finish that won’t fade with wear anytime soon. Even when the Cyclops misjudged his step and went skidding across the table into a nearby wall, he walked away without even a scratch.

Monstrous is available through Good Games, for $39.95. Tell them I said hi. And thanks for the Pegasus.

The Normality Of ‘In-Between’

There no longer seems to be a grey area. No ‘kind-of’.

No ‘In-Between’.

You are expected to be either completely for the cause, or completely against it.

Mediocre - Featured

Sometimes, this makes sense. For example:

  • Domestic Violence – completely against
  • Equal Marriage Rights – completely for
  • Secular education – absolutely and completely secular
  • Lycra in my cosplay – no way, uh-uh, not for me

But there are some things that are not life/death, or even moralistic in their conundrum-drumming.

Today’s example of “Taking your advocacy for a First World Issue too far” is gender-specific clothing.

I’m talking pink for girls, and blue for boys.

Now, before you get all defensive and start muttering for Thor’s sake, woman – can’t we just let kids wear what they wantthat’s my frackin’ point!!

We don’t do gender specific clothing in EG Inc. The spawnlings can wear whatever they want (outside of school uniform requirements). I seriously cannot be stuffed arguing this point with them. Pick your battles, minions.

But it amazes me how often complete strangers will point out how confused poor Zaltu will be because I have dressed her in blue today. Or if she is wearing torn jeans and a Batman t-shirt, then I at least saved the day by adding a pretty yellow bow.

Zaltu-Batman

Apparently, unless she is wearing a skirt she must automatically be in the extreme Tom-Boy camp. But if she happens to wear a t-shirt with a pink flower on it, then clearly she is in the extreme Pretty Girl camp.

I have this one particular shopping centre Zaltu and I frequent about once a month – we buy the requirements, and then stop to watch the ice-skating with a milkshake and a doughnut.

And every time, every time, I am admonished by some absolute stranger on my parenting. More often, it is about Zaltu’s outfit. Apparently, this week I was lucky I had remembered to put the pretty bow/clip in her hair to stop from confusing her gender identity. Poor Zaltu was only wearing her favourite jeans and blue dolphin shirt.

Over the last year, my responses have been progressing from “Thankyou for noticing her favourite hair clip WITH her favourite-colour shirt” to “At what point between your table and ours, did you think it was okay to come over and pass judgement on a two-year-old?”

EG Dad says I’m doing it all wrong.

He thinks I should be submitting all comments to scientific evaluation:
TPB-Posterity

“Now, for this survey, on a scale of 1 to 10 – how much do you think I should care about your opinion on my daughter’s outfit?

Okay, now on a scale of 1 to 10 – how much do you think you can @#$% off?

And remember, this is for posterity, so please – be honest.”

Whatever happened to simply being a kid who likes clothes?

Why do we have to join any extreme group on this issue, or any issue that doesn’t involve basic human rights and equality? I don’t think Zaltu (or her brothers, for that matter) care about whether she is wearing a pink shirt for all pretty girls out there.

 

She is simply wearing a shirt because I told her she has to wear a shirt to play in the park next door. It’s a little cold outside.

I am all for encouraging children to wear whatever they want. However, this should not then make them the pin-up poster for the cause. It should not be their social uniform every day, to the point they are interrogated if they wear something else the next day.

It has become so prevalent, where even though I picked up a wicked pair of boots today, I cannot talk about it to anyone without the awkward feeling of explaining myself.

I’m not a Tomboy. I’m not a Pretty Girl. Neither is Zaltu. Nor are most other females I know.

Zaltu-TARDIS

We are not walking talking stereotypes for you to label for your marketing or judgemental pleasure. We are not dressing to fit the category you are trying to shove us into. Just because we are female does not mean we have to be the same as all females all the time. If I bought a pair of shoes today, that does not make me a ‘girl’. If Zaltu plays with Lego Friends today, that does not mean we are abandoning all equal rights in play. If I choose not to take the spawnlings to see the new Ghostbusters, it does not mean I am spitting in the face of ‘girl power’ (thank you Lisa, for a damn good article about this).

We are somewhere ‘In-Between’ and we shouldn’t have to justify, defend, or explain that to anybody.

 

Dressin’ Up A Cast

If you’re a regular minion, you may recognise my usual uniform:

Geek shirt: check

Jeans: check

Lab Coat: check

Moustache: check

Clearly fashion is not one of my strengths. Consider the fashion industry exempt from my plans for world domination.

And yet the physio/doc asked ME to choose the colour for the cast on my freshly fractured wrist.

“Uhhhh… Ahhhh… BLUE!”

Why the hesitation? Why would I care about colour?

Because tomorrow night I’m attending the premiere for Disney’s The Jungle Book, in full ‘red carpet’ mode.

I hope you appreciate the sacrifice I am making here for y’all minions.

I’m going to wear … A Dress.

Photo: Evil Genius Mum

 
Oh, and side note: that’s my dominant hand in the cast. I can’t even do my usual ponytail, let alone fancy-schmancy stuff. I have to go to the hairdressers.

The good news is I will be reviewing The Jungle Book over at GeekMom/GeekDad on 4 April. I’m also scheduled in with a Q&A with Jon Favreau plus any other geeky celebs in attendance.

I’m even dragging Sinister along as Crew.

So stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter for updates! It should be an interesting night!

In the meantime, here’s the official trailer.

Update: Review is in over at GeekDad.

10 Things Parents Should Know About Disney’s The Jungle Book (Live Action)

Round 5: Sinister v EG Mum

Well, that was something I hadn’t planned on for my holidays.

Giving the trumpet a bath.

No. That’s not a euphonium, or a euphemism.

Let’s just take a step back first.

If you are new to the blog, you may not know my parenting style or life purpose. In summation, I am sharing all the life skills for my spawnlings to take over the world. 

Not just the standard things: reading; writingrisk-taking

I’m talking about achieving personal goals. And understanding people. Often combining the two.

So when Sinister told me he wanted to clean his trumpet, I considered this part of ‘achieving personal goals’. School goes back this week and I admire his desire to be organised for it.

  
And yes – I knew he would ask for help. Some life lessons do require active guidance.

But giving a trumpet a bath? I’m talking genuinely putting the plug in the bath, running luke-warm water, disassembling the trumpet (THAT was his job), and then submersing the instrument.

  
And just for a snide extra, Sinister whispered over my shoulder, “how’s that, Sonic? Did she get the temp right for you?”

I had the distinct feeling of being played. And not with a sweet melody.

Despite all my intention to conquer the world, and train the spawnlings to inherit it (when I’m ready), I’m also lazy.

So, if I have been convinced to join in the ‘bathing of the trumpet’… You have to admire his understanding of people. 

I just hope he understands next time his trumpet needs a bath, I’m taking it to a professional with HIS pocket money.

Now, does anyone know how to clean a glockenspiel?

EG Mum v “The Baking Mum”

Well. Good to know where I stand, Zaltu.

The minute Sinister and Nefarious are dropped at school, Zaltu knows it is her time.

Parks are visited, pigeons are tormented, EG Senior Citizens are wooed.

When we arrived at the playground, Zaltu made friends with another toddler. A toddler who had … Biscuits. Yeah!!

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And not just any biscuits. Jam drops.

Google it.

I was so proud of my Little Miss Opportunity.

Until it was time to go.

“Okay, kiddo. Time to go home!”

So, Zaltu waved goodbye to me. Okay.

Then walks over to the other kid’s mum. The Baking Mum.

Zaltu walked over to The Baking Mum and took her hand. She took The Baking Mum by the hand and started walking out the park, towards home.

Clearly, she had made her choice.

Obviously, I need to get back to the kitchen.

Hey, Baking Mum! I see your Jam Drops and raise you Chocolate Chewbaccas.

Stay tuned.