Sunday , December 3 2023

Card Game Review: ‘Monster Mania’ from Meet Me At The Table

Monster Mania from Meet Me At The Table Games brings the world of kaiju to the classic world of combat card game play. Giant monsters are no stranger to gaming, whether it be the old school Rampage video game or the newer King of Tokyo and Attack of Meeple City tabletop games. These each have their charms, but they all carry the similarity of each player having just one monster as an avatar. With Monster Mania, players have the chance to lead an army of monsters into an all-out rumble.

In Monster Mania, each player receives a play mat with spaces dedicated to different card types, leading, of course, with the combat zone where monsters will dwell. Support cards go in slots under the monsters, giving bonuses to their eventual attacks, as well as areas to keep track of attack points, prize points, and discards in the Rubble Pile. Players draw up a hand of five cards and begin their strategies based on what chance has given them.

Strategy in Monster Mania will keep players on their toes. Rather than having decks being built, allowing for long-term planning, Monster Mania keeps the cards more randomized in a shared deck. This levels the playing field for new players while keeping a constant challenge for even the most experienced player to maximize the hand dealt each round. Players will build their monster forces, add support cards to power them up, attack through the environment, and hold back counter attacks all from the same draw, requiring a constant balancing act of planning and luck.

Monsters in Monster Mania do not attack automatically per turn as in most combat card games, instead being driven by an innovative attack points mechanic. Players collect attack points by discarding certain cards rather than using them for quick damage or through special bonuses from properly collected cards. Choices will have to be made each turn whether to burn a few attack points for a quick hit of a light amount of damage or to hold out for a devastating blow later on. Each time a player defeats a monster by bringing its health to zero or less, they win a prize point. The first player to five prize points wins the round.

While solid gameplay keeps Monster Mania engaging play time and again, the best draw of all is the strong kaiju theme. The game features a host of monsters with delightfully punny names like the giant cobra Venom S, lava-based Volpanic, animated oak Tree-mendous, Gi-Ant, Terrorsaur, and so many more. The power-ups from support cards, counters, and environments feature thrown semi-trailers, tanks used as clubs, and everything a kaiju fan could want. Fun art and smirk-worthy flavor text are the icing on the enormous cake.

Monster Mania is a card game for one to six players aged ten and up. Its length depends on the number of players, as well as their general speed determining how they will play out their round, making Monster Mania a medium to lengthy game lasting about an hour for the traditional battle royale with a full table. Monster Mania also goes the extra mile with numerous variants that allow for solo play with mission-style objectives and challenges, cooperative play for team-ups, and customized rules for faster fights where monsters come out swinging.

About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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