Isle of Monsters: Review

Switching things up today, Fairway’s son (age 9) laments that his dad hasn’t reviewed Mayday Games’ Isle of Monsters. So, he takes things into his own hands and writes the following review of this Kickstarter delivery. Presented with very limited editing [ed. how is that different than any other post?].

Ever wish you could have a pet earth monster? No? Water monster? Earth? Okay, I give up. In Isle of Monsters you get to capture them anyway.

The Basics

Isle of Monsters is a 2-5 player game, that takes 20-45 minutes.

The goal of the game is to score the most scare points, by competing in contests.

Try to capture and mature to strongest monsters and play them in the right order to achieve victory!

How to play

Each round consists of 4 phases, Nurture, Mature, Scare and Clean Up. I’ll run you through a round.

  1. Nurture: In the nurture phase you can catch and feed monsters, in turns. On your turn you can do one of 3 things, capture a monster, feed one of your captured monsters, or pass. If you capture a monster you can take the monster from the top of the decks on the 2 outer islands that are adjacent to you to add to one your empty cages. If you feed a captured monster, then take 1 food token from one of the outer islands or the main island and add it to a monster you captured. The token must match the color though. If you pass, do nothing if all players pass in a row, then proceed to phase 2.
  2. Mature: The mature phase is probably the simplest phase. All you do is check if a monster has all the food symbols of it covered by tokens, add the tokens to the bag and add the card to your hand.
  3. Scare: the scare phase is where you score all the points. during the scare phase, pick up your hand/matured monsters and select 1 or more of the same type of monster and play them face down. when everyone who can has played, reveal your card(s) and total the points on the cards you played then, scare the crowd. Whoever has the highest total points takes a 3 scare point token.Then scare other monsters. check if you scare any adjacent monsters, in a rock, paper, scissors mechanic.  
  4. Clean up: in the clean up phase you get ready for the next round. First, add new food tokens. 2 to each outer island and 1 token for every player on the main island. Then, place 1 monster card from the deck face up on each outer island. Begin a new round. If the monster deck is empty, that triggers the final round.

The plus side

I like a lot of things about this game. The token collection and the scare phase are very interesting. The monster art is cute unlike other games. It doesn’t take very long which makes it good to play if you have a little time to spare. It includes a lot of mechanics that are placed together very well. It makes a very good game!

The dark side

Although this is a very good game, there are some things about it that just don’t work.

One thing I really don’t like is the 2-player variant. The fact that you only have 6 food tokens a round and the weird interactions with 2 cage boards is very well designed. I’d just keep it 3-player.

The final score

With how well it plays out, and the uniqueness, I give Isle of Monsters an:

 A

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