Monsterpocalypse : Downtown teardown! Yes, please.

In this Monsterpocalypse Board Game article, we’ll dig deeper into the game system itself. We’ll introduce you to the special game mechanics that use the following three dice types: Action Dice (white), Boost Dice (blue), and Power Dice (red). A strong understanding of these three dice colors and their different success probabilities and prudent use of your various dice pools is the first step towards victory.

But before diving into those rules, let’s give it up for the stars of Monsterpocalypse, the Massive Monsters, and their sides and factions!

Agendas and Factions

In any confrontational game, you gotta have an antagonist and a protagonist. In Monsterpocalypse, monsters from Outer Space and other planes of existence have decided to conquer, destroy, and plunder the Earth. 

The Lords of Cthul (cyclopean cultists guests),  Martian Menace (if you won’t go to Mars, Mars comes to you! These aliens have started… the War of the Worlds), Masters of the 8th Dimension, Planet Eaters, and others are all threats to the integrity of our blue planet. Although they belong to different factions, each with their own monsters and units, these beings have all banded together as the Destroyers Agenda.

Faced with these numerous threats, the various factions that want to protect the Earth are united under the banner of the Protectors Agenda. Included are the Elemental Champions, the Empire of the  Apes (Massive apes led by King Kondo and General Hondo, King Kong’s friends), the Shadow Sun Syndicate (a well-funded Japanese organization whose Zor warriors represent the latest in biotechnology and nanotechnology. They can morph at will from human size to 60-meter super-fighters employing a destructive combination of martial arts and energy weapons), the G.U.A.R.D. (Earth’s giant robots) and the Terrasaurs (Mesozoic Mayhem!). These dinosaurs, under the direction of the great Terra Khan, are going to mess up your city and many others…

Before starting the game, each player chooses which Agenda they want to represent: Protectors or Destroyers. And that’s where the fun begins. Because in Monsterpocalypse, you can mix the monsters and or units of any of the different factions that match your agenda to create your force and maximize the best in-game synergies.

Models from the same faction share common characteristics and naturally work well together. Using the prebuilt faction force is probably the best way to start in terms of force selection. Still, you can also have fun combining different abilities by mixing your factions up, so you can unleash different combos and play styles.

In Monsterpocalypse, you don’t have a points budget to manage like most miniature games. In this game, you simply determine the number of monsters and units in each player’s force. If you and your opponent agree to play with one monster each, you can recruit up to 15 units to support them. If you play with two monsters on each side, you can recruit up to 20 units max. If you play with three monsters each, you push the recruitment max to 25 units.

Another special feature of the game is that when you build your force, you also get to select buildings, which have their own abilities and play an active role in your game strategy. And you’ll have a lot of choices since there is quite a range of building types. Each player contributes between six and a max of 12 buildings to cover different locations on the battle map, creating the battle zone. 

You can only select 4 copies of a single building type, except for Apartment buildings, you can select as many as you’d like within that maximum of 12 buildings. This is important because some buildings, once secured (i.e., under your control), offer certain advantages. They are an integral part of your strategy, especially if you do not intend to systematically destroy them.

Dice and dice pools

The core of the game system works using the white Action Dice and their movement back and forth between two separate dice pools: the Unit Pool and the Monster Pool. Each player uses their own dice and dice pool board.

Game turns come thick and fast in Monsterpocalypse, with each player taking a turn and then alternating with the other player. But before the start of their turn, each player must choose whether to activate their Monster OR activate their unit(s).

At the beginning of the game, your ten white Action Dice start in your Unit pool. So, your first game turn will always be a Unit activation. Each type of activation is divided into phases that follow a specific order.  While each unit can move freely during the Advancement Phase, spawning new units onto the battle map or making attacks will cost Action Dice. Each unit has an Action Dice spawn cost that must be paid in order to place them on the battle maps during the Spawn Phase. Elite units cost more than grunt units.

When attacking, units also spend Action Dice. Each type of attack requires at least one Action Die, and as the name implies, some actions become available (building rules, special unit rules) provided you spend an Action Die.

Each attack has a maximum number of white dice indicated in the unit’s profile. In addition to the white Action Dice, each unit or monster can use a certain number of Boost Dice (the blue dice) depending on its stats. This means that, unlike other games in this genre, you have the choice of how many dice to roll! It’s up to you to make the right choice: make the move but lose dice for future actions, or try not to use too many dice and face the consequences.

An attack means at least one white die plus all the boost dice associated with the attack, use of blue Boost dice is automatic and not limited (you roll all the blue dice tied to your attack, and they automatically return to your Dice Well).

All the white dice spent during your Unit Activation are switched to the other Dice Pool, the Monster Pool. You do not have to spend all the dice in the Monster Pool during your turn. At the end of your turn, there is a transfer phase that allows you to send the unused dice to your Unit Pool. But this is not mandatory. As the game progresses, it may be wise to keep dice in both pools to have more flexibility in your next turn and have the choice of taking a monster or unit activation turn or not giving your opponent any hints about your next turn and leaving them wondering. You lose in opportunity what your opponent loses in uncertainty and fog of war.

A Monster turn works following the same principle. Move freely, then spend Action Dice to attack. A monster can use a white die to move one square for each die spent in addition to its standard movement. It’s called Stepping. Tactically, the judicious spending of dice to step opens up targets for a surprise attack.

The choice of attacks for a monster is more extensive than for units. In addition to the specific attacks listed on their stat card, monsters can perform Power Attacks that provide the game’s true excitement. There are six of them: body slam, ram, rampage, stomp, swat, and throw, but we’ll dig deep into Power Attacks in a future article. Right now, just remember that to trigger Power Attacks, you need Power Dice (red dice) in the appropriate dice pool.

And that’s another great feature of the game, earning red Power Dice to increase the brutality of your monsters’ attacks. There are several ways to earn Power Dice: destroying an opponent’s unit gives you 1 red die, destroying a building gives you 2 red dice, controlling power zones (specific terrain on the battle map) with your units gives you 1 die for each zone, securing a building (having 3 adjacent units) gives you an extra Power Die. And, of course, some monsters have special abilities that provide more red dice to unload on downtown. The range of possible attacks the monsters can access is exciting, especially when you start throwing opponents onto buildings to destroy everything around you. Don’t forget the nuisance power of your units, which can combine their attacks to increase their potential chances of damaging monsters.

Hurting the enemy

Each Model has a Defense score. This is the score to hit on the Attack Dice rolls to cause a point of damage. The Action Dice have two “single hit” sides and one “double hit” side (for those of you with a calculator in your head, yes, that’s four hits out of six throws, or an average of 0.66 per action dice). Bonus Dice have three “single hit” sides, and one “double hit” side (five hits out of six, averaging 0.83 per bonus die), and finally Power Dice have four “single hit” sides and one “double hit” side (for an average of 1 per power die). Having these probabilities in mind will help you better evaluate the risk.

Units only have one health point. A single successful attack is enough to destroy them. But don’t worry, they can return to play in the next Spawn Phase if you pay the cost.

Monsters have more than 10 health points, which are kept track of on their health track on their stat card. On the front, the monster is in Alpha form. After suffering a certain amount of damage (about half), the monster goes postal and switches to Hyper form. You flip the stat card to discover its new, even more, badass stats. The health track continues on the reverse face until it hits that fateful 0 health points, sounding your monster’s death knell and maybe the game because you lose the game if you don’t have a monster in play.

Note that a standard attack will only do one point of damage per successful attack, no matter how many hits you score with your dice. Without an idea of your success margin, it’s best to roll as few dice as possible and succeed by the smallest margin. Sometimes, of course, you’ll want to make sure you succeed and should roll your wheelbarrow of dice, just to be certain!

To inflict multiple points of damage in a single attack, you need to use specific attacks that inflict Super Damage. Sending an opposing monster crashing into a building is one way to increase damage.

As you can see, in this game, destroying an opponent’s monster won’t be a matter of a random roll of the dice that inflicts lots of damage, it will always be the result of a lot of hard work, concerted and thoughtful attacks, and certainly some decisive hand-to-hand combat.

Now that you have a good idea of how to use the different dice and how to recruit a force, we’ll go into more detail in the next article about the game turn, the model stats, and especially the Power Attacks.

Downtown isn’t destroyed in a day!

Monsterpocalypse Board Game

Coming to Kickstarter!


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