I’ve been quite critical of Steamforged Games’ products in the past. A few years ago, the developer’s interpretation of the Dark Souls universe let me down because of its strenuous, repetitive style of play. Later, Resident Evil 2: The Board Game had a lot of interesting concepts, but just as many build quality issues. With Monster Hunter: World – The board gameHowever, the UK-based developer seems to be shooting at all cylinders.
I spent the weekend with an early, incomplete prototype of the game. After defeating a Great Jagras and an Anjanath for a couple of hours, I found that this was a surprisingly nuanced tactical miniatures game. Monster hunter manages to avoid some of the pitfalls and missteps of games in the same genre. It adds complexity without making things feel overwhelming.
It doesn’t hurt either that the miniatures – at least these 3D printed models – are spectacular.
in the Monster Hunter: World – The board gamePlayers take on the role of skilled warriors who work together to defeat massive creatures. Each creature is controlled by a deck of cards that is shuffled before each hunt. Only when players learn their subtle moves and tendencies can they hope to defeat monsters in time and end the campaign.
As a board game Monster hunter most similar Kingdom death: monsters, another tactical mini-game featuring AI-controlled monsters. Kingdom death is known for its high profile permadeath mechanics who can hold up a campaign that lasts for weeks. Steamforged’s approach, on the other hand, is much more forgiving: life is running out and characters just pass out. During a hunt, you faint three times and the monster runs away, sending you and your comrades home empty-handed, but otherwise ready to fight another day.
Where the nuance comes into play is the creature’s AI. In the picture above you can see on the left these AI cards with titles like Head Slam or Forward Roll. Use of the iconography that the Monster Hunter: world In the video game, each card tells players where to move the creatures and how to attack with them. With Head Slam, for example, the Jagras move two spaces forward before attacking the area directly in front of it. In the meantime, it attacks seven points of damage with the forward roll and then moves forward. Each lunge takes it out of position, giving players two chances to attack it.
However, the cards also have a type symbol on the back, which means that players can read the monster’s movements in advance and – at least partially – predict what they will do next. It’s a simple innovation, but one that can give savvy gamers an advantage in future battles.
However, I wonder how easy it is to read these cards in practice. Kingdom death: monsters simply writes that the creature moves out with words on much larger cards. The result is a kind of checklist that groups can follow from top to bottom to make sure they’re doing everything right. Steamforged’s reliance on clever iconography might make it more appealing to fans of the video game franchise, but it could also mean certain features of each map are skipped or overlooked from time to time.
However, that could change. As with the thumbnails, everything you see in this article is a work in progress.
Another innovation is Monster hunter‘s player attack system that is tracked with a sideboard. Players attack by placing cards from their hand on the sideboard one by one. These cards contain a lot of information, including whether to stun the monster or break parts of its body off with repeated blows. There is also an endurance system in place, which means that players need to use their resources wisely.
It’s a much more extensive system than I’ve seen in previous games in the genre, and gives players plenty of reasons to upgrade their weapons later in the campaign. However, it is the campaign part itself that is still largely a mystery to me.
According to the instructions, players can face different and more difficult monsters over time. The more challenging the creature, the more lucrative the rewards, which can then be converted into new weapons and armor. The base game, which will be available through Kickstarter for $ 70, has a 30-hour campaign, according to Steamforged. This set contains four monsters (Rathalos, Great Jagras, Anjanath, and Tobi-Kadachi), four hunters, and around 600 cards (including weapon and armor upgrades). With multiple variations of each monster, that seems like a lot of gameplay for the money.
The next most expensive version of the game is $ 140. This version of Monster hunter comes with five more monsters and four more hunters to play around with. Add another 600 cards and Steamforged says the bundle makes for a 60 hour campaign.
After all, the highest pledge costs $ 279 and includes even more cards for a total of 1,800. It also adds a Kushala Daora monster for fighting. This miniature will stand more than 12 inches.
Pre-orders for Monster Hunter: World – The board game Come to Kickstarter on April 20th. The last game has space for one to four players. You can find out more at the official website.