Game: Invasion of Monster Island
Publisher: Firefly Games
Series: Action! System
Review Dated: 21st, August 2003
Reviewer’s Rating: 8/10 [ Really good ]
Total Score: 8
Average Score: 8.00
Be enraged. Be very engaged.
Invasion of Monster Island is a supplement for the smash hit Monster Island. By “smash hit” I mean Godzilla’s foot through your ceiling smash hit. The series, also supported by Escape from Monster Island, is one that turns your household toys or paper figures into infamous kaiju creations. Giant monsters, giant robots and hopelessly persistent human armies have all previously featured in the series and now we can enjoy messing around with the mind-controlling, teleporting, shape-shifting Delok aliens!
Invasion of Monster Island is refreshing light hearted and yet it’s safely professional. The 30-paged PDF is currently only US$5 and that’s well worth it, especially if you’ve enjoyed messing around on the floor or kitchen table with looks-like-Godzilla-but-due-to-international-copyright-laws-isn’t figures before. It’s a good looking PDF too, the contents page makes good use of internal hyperlinks to let you jump straight to the section you’re interested in, there aren’t any bookmarks but this is the sort of document you’ll print off.
If you succumb to the lure of Invasion of Monster Island then you could well be using your household crockery to simulate flying saucers or perhaps cutting out circles of card if you want to get a better scale to the plastic dinosaur toy you’re using for your kaiju. If you consider the amount of quotes from “Plan 9 from Outer Space” which pepper the PDF the crockery approach shouldn’t be unexpected. The special effects in the giant monster (kaiju) movies are notorious for being, well, dreadful. This just makes game play easier. Invasion of Monster Island introduces Space as an environment to fight in. We don’t need to worry about complex three-dimensional movement, knockback or inertia. Why? The giant monster movies didn’t bother with them either. We don’t have to worry whether monsters that could breathe cones of fire on land can do so in space because, that’s right, the monster movies didn’t stress those details either. It just takes a few observations-cum-rules to get the action going and we’ve a nice new environment to mess about in. Bonus.
The bulk of Invasion of Monster Island provides rules and stats for the Delok fleet. The large mother ships and dangerous attack craft are more than a match for the puny but stalwart Earth forces. The Deloks are just as likely to be eaten (literally) by giant monsters though. Since the Delok army units are more powerful they tend to cost more points and so building a large and impossible invasion fleet would be impossible. There’s a simple solution to this problem. If you’re not just having a straight out Monster Island slugging match then its possible to play the game with objectives in mind. The bigger and more important the objective, the more points you get for it. The game is over when one side has achieved a suitable percentage of their objectives. Give the Delok fleet more objectives, make it harder for them to win, and you can then allow them to spend more points. The rules offer the game balance required.
The brave defenders of Earth aren’t neglected by this supplement. It’s made clear which of the established units can enter space – like the flying tank. There are brand new units – like the assault shuttle and zero-g troopers too.
Right! If you’re anything like me you’ll be pushing the humans and shape-changing aliens to the side and making a beeline (a giant bee from space!) for the monsters. And relax. There’s plenty of monster goodness here. New powers. Expanded powers. Did I mention new powers?
The new power which binds all three sides together; mankind, Delok and Kaiju is “Allied”. An alliance doesn’t increase the number of monsters in play, it simply allows controlling players to consult and plot together. It also reduces the chances of mind controlling aliens getting your own giant monster to attack something you’d rather leave alone. Ah. Strategy!
There’s a lot squeezed into these 30 pages. Invasion of Monster Island includes numerous ready to play scenarios with pre-planned objectives. I’m not a fan of pre-written scenarios in traditional roleplaying games but these ready to rumble scenarios in a game like Monster Island just increase the pick up and play ability of the game.
The supplement comes to a close with a few more sample monsters and an extended filmography. Oh, there are blank record sheets too.
Invasion of Monster Island represents excellent fun and an inexpensive investment. It’s just the sort of thing you can play if friends visit, the Xbox explodes and someone demands you entertain them. Monster Island is also the sort of game you can play more seriously and run an on going campaign; perhaps a battle for the solar system.