In Monster Allegiance, players control a hand of mystical beasts and creatures with different strengths and weaknesses. Looking at the pixel art, it calls to my mind the early days of Pokemon, with scrawny lizards evolving into fire-breathing dragons to destroy other monsters. Each fighter has an element type (Water, Fire, Air, Earth, and Lightning), Rarity, and strength values on each side of their card. Every element type of monster distributes their strengths differently around their sides so that some positions are vulnerable while others are much more secure.
The game takes place on a 7×7 grid in the center of the board and will fill up with monsters as the game progresses. Your goal is to own the most points in monsters at the end of the game. You need to pit monsters against each other and position them so that they stay firmly on your side. Lose too many soldiers and you will lose the game.
Game play is very simple and easy to teach. On a player’s turn, they draw cards so that they have 5 cards in hand. These cards can be monsters to fight, elements to boost monsters, or special items to change the battle in your favor. After drawing cards, you must place a monster on the battlefield adjacent to a card already in play. Players field monsters facing themselves, indicating they have gained that monster’s loyalty. A Skybeak’s respect is a powerful weapon, but be careful because friendly monsters can be turned against their leaders through battle. Now that Skybeak doesn’t look so friendly…
After placing a monster, each enemy beast touching the new card can battle, comparing their strengths with each other. The stronger monster turns the weak beasts to their side, causing creatures to fight their former masters. Each attack can be boosted, defended, and counterattacked using items and elements from fighting players, but all monsters have natural advantages and disadvantages. Every monster’s element type has one element it is boosted against and one element that it is handicapped against, so a large puzzle can form on the playing field with orientation and element type playing crucial parts. How can you lock down that valuable Brimsoul without losing your Cycloon? There are tough decisions to make every turn.
The rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock nature of the elements adds a twist on a straightforward game. Water being strong against Fire but weak to Lightning makes you think twice about placing down that Merman in the middle of the board. These beasts are not mindless and will serve whomever plays the smartest.
There are different ways to approach Monster Allegiance when placing monsters and fighting for control. You can hold onto a perfect combo to wait for the right time to strike, but you also won’t be drawing as many cards, possibly stalling your momentum in the match. You can go all out and fight for larger numbers of weak creatures, or set your sights only on bigger monsters for end game points. There are also simple variants for shorter games that are fought on smaller battlefields.
If you like puzzles, monsters, powers, and strategy, then you have to take a look at Monster Allegiance on Kickstarter. It can fit in your pocket, but can take over your table with lava orcs, sentient tornadoes, and lighting cats. What could go wrong?
You can check out Monster Allegiance on Kickstarter here. The project ends on September 6th, 2015.