Reviewed by Chris Kovac
MOONGHA INVADERS (Treefrog Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 120 minutes; about $90 for the Kickstarter edition)
Moongha Invaders (subtitled “Mad Scientists and Atomic Monsters Attack the Earth”) is the second edition Kickstarter version of the 2010 game by Martin Wallace with upgraded components and rules along with an exclusive two player game. In this review, I will focus on the four-player game where the players are various alien factions invading the earth and trying to score points by destroying cities and keeping the damage to their own secret cities to a minimum.
To start, each player gets all the pieces of one color which include a set of plastic monsters, their hide markers, rubble pieces and a pass marker. (The card deck and player aid cards are only used in the two-player game.) The board itself has a player aid built into each edge so the players set up their monsters on the appropriate spaces on the side closest to them. The player aids list the monster’s stats (cost, damage capacity, movement allowance, attack strength) and any special abilities the monster has. Rubble tokens, hide tokens and pass tokens are placed in front of you. Heroes, earth military units and the brown neutral rubble tokens are placed near the board. The board consists of a series of interconnected city spaces with a turn track and action chit spaces below. After you have claimed all your pieces, you set up action markers on the six action spaces.
Each space lists its default number of action chits or figures it starts with except for the white attack tokens which are listed on the turn number in a white circle. You then roll the number of dice shown on the turn number to generate extra action chits and hero/military units. You put the appropriate marker or figure on the appropriate space depending on the numbers rolled. For example, if you rolled a one, you would put an extra action token of the appropriate type on the one space. You are now ready to play.
During your turn, you either take an action token, place a hero/military unit from an action box or use your pass token. Now let’s look at each action more closely.
The first action space (orange) is build/heal action tokens. These action tokens are accumulated to build your monsters. You can build and place a monster on the board on any city space if you have enough build tokens equal to its build value (these markers are then returned to the stock). All new monsters are placed hidden (shown by placing the appropriate hidden marker on the board). These markers can also be spent to heal one wound on a monster per marker spent.
The second action space (white) is for attack markers. Attack markers can be accumulated and, when you have taken an attack marker and placed it on a monster, you must decide if you are going to attack with that monster. You can attack other revealed monsters, the cities themselves with monsters marked with a city symbol (Bloobs, Moogre and the Mechoor) or heroes and other military units. Each attack marker allows you to roll the number of attack dice equal to the monster’s attack rating. Every four, five or six rolled is a hit resulting in a wound on an opponent’s monster (neutral brown markers are used to record wounds), a rubble marker on a city (maximum of eight) or the elimination of a hero/ground military unit. All ground units in a city including heroes must be eliminated before a city can be attacked. If the number of wound on a monster is equal to its defense rating it is removed and returned to its owner (it can be “respawned” unless killed by an opponents Moogre which, in this case, the player who eliminated the figure gets the figure for points at the end of the game.
The third action space (purple) is for the hide/move markers. You can use an action from this space either to move a monster up to its movement value between interconnected cities or to hide a revealed monster (using the hide markers). Hidden monsters cannot be attacked except by Shagoos and can only be revealed by heroes.
The fourth action box (grey) contains heroes. If you take a hero figure from here, you can place it on any city space. For each hidden monster in the space where you put the hero, you roll a die and, on a four to six roll, the monster is revealed. Furthermore, you attack any Drakor(s) in the space and kill it on a four to six roll.
The last two action spaces contain military units. During your turn, you can take a military unit and place it on a city (or attack if you use fighters or the atomic bomb). It (plus any existing military figures in that space) will attack monsters of your choice in that space. Military units can attack from between two attack dice (infantry) to eight attack dice (atomic bomb) There are special rules for aircraft and the atomic bomb the rare times that these are available since they will also damage cities in their attacks (their damage to the city is shown by the neutral colored rubble markers).
If you do not take an action, you can put your pass marker in any action space of your choice including those with no action chits or figures. If you get another turn, you can remove the pass marker from its space and perform that action even if there is no action marker or figure on that space. If it requires a figure and none is available on that space, you can pull a figure from the board placing it in the city space of your choice. If all players either place or remove their pass markers on the same turn, the turn is over. Any remaining action markers or figures on action spaces are removed and the turn is advanced. The base action markers are placed on these spaces and then the bonus action dice are rolled (as shown on the turn space) with the bonus action markers/figures placed and the first player shifts one place to the left of the last start player.
The game will end if one of three conditions are met:
- You played either eight (three players) or nine turns (four players).
- If one player has played all the rubble markers of his color.
- If all the neutral brown rubble markers are used.
Points are scored then for city tiles, damage inflicted on cities, Drakoors and Moogre trophies. Secret city tiles are revealed and, for each tile with two or less damage, you get five victory points or three victory points for up to seven damage. Each city with damage is then scored. The player that caused the most damage gets four victory points, second place one victory point and ties for first place two victory points per tied player. Drakoors, if they are alone in a city space, are worth three points. They are worth one point less for each monster figure in the space. Finally, each monster killed by your Moogres figure is worth victory points equal to its damage value. The person with the highest score wins with ties broken by the player with the most rubble in the most cities then by most rubble markers used.
The game has good components and the rules are well written and illustrated. As mentioned, you even get a bonus two player game where one player plays the monster and the other the heroes and the earth defense forces defending a city.
Overall, I found that that the game played well but felt a bit repetitious after awhile as you repeatedly build and attack with monsters but only in a very abstract way. Though some planning is involved, you can often be at the mercy of the dice rolls in terms of what you can do per turn and what happens to your monsters. I also found the large size of the figures and their numbers can be problematic. Towards the end of the game, when most of your monsters are on the board, you end up with a very crowded board that makes it hard to keep track of damage and who was on what space.
Moongha Invaders is very much a gamer’s game and would most probably be enjoyed most by fans of Martin Wallace or people who enjoy monster fighting games. A 7.5 out of ten. – – – – – – – – – – – Chris Kovac
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