Disclaimer: This preview is from a copy of the soon to be published game that was provided by North Star Games to Open Seat Gaming, but opinions are our own based on several plays of the game.
Designers: Ken Gruhl & Quentin Weir
Artist: Linda DeSantis
Publisher: North Star Games, Happy Planet line
Main Game Mechanisms: Pattern Recognition, Dice Rolling
Number of Players: 2 to 6
Game Time: 10 – 15 minutes
Description: Sprinkleton, the donut capital of the world, is under attack! Many different monsters have come to town to steal donuts and it’s up to you to catch them.
Monster Match is a delightful pattern recognition game for two to six players. You catch the monsters by rolling 2 dice & picking a monster whose features match the results of your dice roll. One die has legs, arms, and eyes (two sides for each). The other is numbered zero through five. There may be multiple matches, or there may be no matches. If you correctly match a monster, you place the monster in your score pile. Each monster has one to three donuts on a bottom corner of their card, that is their point value. If there are no matches, you must touch the zilch token, which indicates that there are no matches. If you touch the zilch token first, you receive a card off of the top of the deck, then add ten new cards from the deck. The game continues in this way until the deck runs out. The player that has apprehended the monsters with the most donuts is the winner.
Review: This game reminds me a lot of Ghost Blitz, except that in Monster Match, multiple players can score points in a given round. When we played this at a recent game night, the player that thought he was doing the worst (due to the number of cards he collected) ended up winning our game. I appreciate when a game has a surprise ending like that. The fact that each monster card has a variable point value on them means that, even though someone may have collected more cards, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have dominated or won the game.
The presentation of this game is wonderful. The pouch that contains the game is shaped like one of the monsters from the game. I greatly appreciate the compactness of the packaging for Monster Match. The plastic cards and cardboard zilch token are of the highest quality, and similar to what you find in Happy Salmon. The cutesy and goofy art for the monsters is endearing. You are clearly able to identify and differentiate between the arms and legs of the monsters. Color blind players shouldn’t have trouble with the gameplay of Monster Match, since you are looking for the number of features, and not their colors.
Try, Buy, or Deny: Overall this game is a bundle of fun packed into a lovely, goofy package. It fits perfectly into North Stars’ Happy Planet line of games. You can’t help but feel happier after playing this game.For me, I see this as a wonderful game to buy as a gift for many people and to potentially use with my students at work. If you play games with children, this is a must buy. If heavier strategy is more your style, I would still say to at least try it, because Monster Match may enchant you with its whimsy. Everyone can find something to make them smile with Monster Match.
Sarah – The Confuzzld Meeple