|Play Time:||20-45 minutes|
|Our Recommended Age:||6+ with help and patience|
|Contents:||45 Food Tokens, 1 Center Island Board, 5 Outer Islands, 5 Cage Boards, 540 Creature Cards, 1 Draw Bag and 150 Scare Tokens|
Isle of Monsters is a fun new game from MayDay Games where you have to win scare competitions and earn the job of Island Protector. To do that you have to capture monsters and feed them the correct food so they can mature and scare other monsters and the villagers! Don’t worry they are harmless…but scary!
Isle of Monsters is a Family Game Night favorite since all of us can play and we all really like playing. It is recommended for ages 10+ but the Diva, at age 6.5 can play just fine. There is a strategy to the game but she is actually picking up on that pretty quickly. We still offer her various suggestions but she chooses and does just fine…in fact she has won a couple times.
If you do play with younger kids they can learn the basics but you will want to suggest monsters or food for them and not grab the food that they will need all the time. Depending on their age though you shouldn’t do it too much…they should learn to lose every once in awhile right?
The box is a typical lift top lid made out of the sturdy well put together cardboard that I like. I feel like the box or container a game comes in is important…I mean you don’t want the box to fall apart or tear so a good box is important…and Mayday is good about that…I’ll move on now.
Inside is an insert but it isn’t one that has a specific spot for everything. It is just one big spot in the middle that holds all the pieces except the cage boards which rest on top. All but the cards and food tokens are made out of chipboard and the cards are standard size but seem to be a better quality.
The food tokens are made out of wood and you have to apply the stickers to them yourself but they help you with how to do that. Also, there is a cloth drawstring bag which is…well a cloth drawstring bag to hold the food in.
The artwork for the whole game is adorable…or is it supposed to be scary…it’s scary…yeah…adorably scary? Ok really it is sort of a cross between the two. All the artwork is perfect for the theme of the game and is worth a good look. Personally my favorite are the Blue monsters…but enough of that, let’s learn how to play!
Have the most points at the end of the game.
There are different board layouts depending on if you have 3, 4 or 5 players so make sure you check the instructions to see how to set it up. I will only explain the way to set it up with 4 players because that is how many we usually play with.
First thing to do is put the Center Island Board (the circle one) in the middle of the playing area. Put a Cage Board in front of each player and the Outer Island Boards in between each Player Board. The Outer Island Boards are not just for any one player so they should go between the Player Boards where both players on that part of the play area could reach.
The middle area looks like a big X. Shuffle all the Creature Cards. There is a chart in the instructions but for a 4 player game you don’t remove any cards but there are only 4 cards to start on each Outer Island. These are dealt face down but once you have the 4 flip the whole pile face up.
Put all the Food Tokens in the Bag and give them a shake. Take Food Tokens equal to the number of players and put them on the Center Island and then put 2 on each of the Outer Islands. Then put all the Scare Tokens in a pile nearby. The most fearless player goes first and they get the Bag.
The game is played in 4 phases. The Nurture Phase, Mature Phase, Scare Phase, and the Clean Up Phase. I’ll explain each in a second but first let’s go over all those icons on the cards. Those are important. There are 3 types of Monsters and each has its own element. Blue are water monsters, Brown are earth monsters and Yellow are fire monsters.
In the top left of the card there is an icon that represents the element and it has a number on it. This is its scare value To the right of that in the opposite corner is the element of the type of creature this element can scare. Earth scares Water, Water scares Fire and Fire scares Earth…kind of like paper, rock, scissors.
The icons below those on both sides (or just one side) in Yellow, Blue, and Pink are the types of food you need to feed that monster. Food can be in any number of combinations and the higher the scare value the more food you will need. Now, the phases.
Play starts with the person who has the Draw Bag and goes clockwise and continues until all players have passed. You have 3 options on your turn, Capture, Feed or Pass. If you Capture it just means you are taking the top Creature Card on one of the two islands on either side of you Cage Board. You can’t Capture if you have no open cages though.
Choosing to Feed one of your monsters just means taking ONE Food Token from either the Center Island or from one of the two Outer Islands again on either side of your Cage Board. You have to put that Food Token on one of your Creature Cards in an empty space though so if you have no empty spaces OR if there are no Food Tokens in a color one of your Creatures need then you cannot choose to Feed.
There will eventually be a point where you cannot Capture or Feed and will have to Pass. The first player to Pass gets the Draw Bag and gets to go first. They are also responsible for refilling Creature Cards and Food Tokens later. Once you Pass though you cannot take any more actions so remind younger kids not to just Pass so they can go first…we had that problem at first hehe. It was hard to convince the Diva this was not the most important part of the game.
Once everyone Passes you move to the Mature Phase. If you have any monsters that are completely fed they are ready to Mature. Take all the Food Tokens and put them back in the Draw Bag and then put the Monster face down in a pile on the table next to your Cage Board.
Once everyone does this it is time for the Scare Phase.
You keep repeating 3 steps until everyone is out or only one player has Creature Cards left. The first step is to look at your Creature Cards that are in your Mature pile. If you have a Creature Card you have to play them. You do get to choose which set of color you want to play and you can always ask any player how many Creature Cards they have.
Personally I don’t like that rule since the Comedian can basically count cards and remembers things like who has how many of what type…so I am teaching the kids to let him pick first before they pick…to give us all a chance hehe. Once you have chosen, if you are able to, put them face down on the table in front of you and cover them with your hand. This shows everyone else you are ready.
Once everyone is ready flip over the Creature Cards at the same time. First let’s see who scares the Villagers! If you have more than one add up the total Scare Points. If you have the most points you get a 3 point Scare Token! Sometimes there will be a tie which means those are tied get a 1 point Scare Token each.
Keep these face down in front of you…you can leave them face up if you want. We have before thanks to the Diva wanting to know how many points she was winning by…which is actually ok and didn’t take anything from the game.
Next, see who scares who among the Monsters! Since each type of Creature scares another automatically figure this all out now. You get a 1 point Scare Token for each player’s monster you scare, but they have to be next to you. In a 4 player game you cannot scare the player you are directly sitting across from, just those two on either side of you.
If a player to the right or left of you cannot play during the Scare Phase then skip them and the person next to them is now next to you….does that make sense?
Yes, in a 2 player game you still can only get 1 point for scaring that player’s monsters. It does not matter how many cards there are though, you only get 1 point per scared player. Also, you can only play Creature Cards one type per Scare Phase.
You repeat the Scare Phase until either all players are out of Creature Cards or only one player has Creature Cards. If the latter is the case that player gets a 1 point Scare Token for each Creature Card they have in their hand.
All Creature Cards are played some how during the Scare Phase but again only once, then they are all put back into the Mature Pile next to your Cage Board to be used again during the next Scare Phase.
Now the player who has the Draw Bag has to put more Food Tokens on the various Islands. Put the number equal to the number players on the Center Island and add 2 to each Out Island regardless of how many are already there. They also add one new Creature Card face up to the top of each pile regardless of how many are there. Now a new Nurture Phase can begin!
When the last Creature Card is added to a pile (from the deck) then that is the Final Round. Play this round just like you would all other rounds except of course you won’t play a final Clean-Up Phase…unless you count picking up the game. My kids don’t think that counts…but they do pick up when it’s time.
After the final round is over everyone adds up all their Scare Points and the player with the most wins! If you have a tie then you sort of do a Rock, Paper, Scissors but with Earth, Fire and Water just like the Monsters! Or you could of course just do Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine a winner. We actually have not had a tie yet, just a few really, really close games.
In fact the game we played for these pictures had the Comedian win with 23 points, the Gentleman had 22, the Diva had 21 and I had 19…yeah..I lost to all three of them that time. It happens…apparently to me more often but I still enjoy playing.
Isle of Monsters is a great game for any game night and perfect for families who are looking for a game everyone will like and want to play. In fact one of us will always choose this as a game to play during our Family Game Night.
Show us your scariest Monster Face! Or your silliest one! @MyGeeklings #IsleOfMonsters @MayDayGames