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Review – Monsters! Monsters!

12 December, 2010

Monsters!  Monsters! is a real ‘one from the vaults’ showing some of the early variations on a theme that showed up in the early days of gaming.  While just the nostalgia of it may be worthwhile for some, it is more of a framework than a fully realized game but there are good ideas here and some fun art.

Monsters!  Monsters! is a 48-page PDF (with four pages of covers and art in a separate file) containing a basic RPG by Ken St.Andre and published by Flying Buffalo Inc.

The PDF is a full scan of the original (from 1976!), with a few additions, which is troublesome for two reasons: 1) it makes the file extremely large, and 2) you cannot search the text.  Apart from that layout is a standard single column design with black and white art that enhance the theme of this product.  The various tables are clear and overall the entire product is easy enough to read.  An eight-page (originally a pullout center section) details the Woodsedge Inn and environs, staff and guests as an “adventure location” for the monsters to raid and pillage (or for general use).

The idea of Monsters! Monsters! (hereafter M!2) is simple, the monsters are fed up with their homes being ransacked by adventurers, so they have come out of the dungeons and are looking for some revenge.  You get to play those monsters.

Character generation is designed to be random, you draw a card from a standard deck of cards and it tells you what monster you are playing, ranging from orcs to dragons, black hobbits to gremlins, slime mutants to giant slugs.  In best tradition, you roll 3d6 for each of six statistics modified by monster type, equip them (if needed) and go out into the big world to raid and loot.

Each of the monster types gets a brief description most of which are quite amusing and some of which are expanded upon by giving them (optional) magical powers later.  Character advancement, game play, and -of course- combat follows.  Characters that need such can gather weapons, armor and spells, but many monsters are well equipped for mayhem with only their claws and fangs.  Some general discussions on other things are touched upon, but it is all very lightly defined.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThruRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: If you want to take a look at the modern incarnation of the rules set, you can get a free copy of Tunnels and Trolls

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