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My Singing Monsters

The Monster World is filled with singing monsters and diverse islands, each unique. Help the monsters raise their voice in song and breed new and wonderful creatures.

Currently on Kickstarter, My Singing Monsters: The Board Game is a bright and colorful tabletop version the popular video game, with five levels of complexity to choose from.

Gameplay

There are five island boards, leveled one through five. The game can be played with only the level one island, but you can add each subsequent island board to increase the game’s complexity. At the start of the game, you choose how many of the islands you will be playing with and lay them on the table. Each player also takes a monster strip. The basic side of this shows three lines. You draw a music card and place it so that its lines match up with the lines on your strip. Each line is associated with one or two of the five elements in the game. Each player also starts the game with a hand of three one-element monster cards.

Each island board has two spaces for monster cards. You start your turn by choosing an island and then playing a monster card onto one of its two spaces. You then take one element token for each element icon shown on the card you played and attempt to add them to your music card. Each music card shows a series of black and gray spaces on the lines. In order to play an element token on one of these spaces, the element connected to that line must match the token you are trying to play. If you cannot place one or more tokens, you place them on the level one island board, in the nursery.

Next, on your turn, you draw a monster card. You add the elements from the monster card you played to the monster card currently on top of the other card space on that island. As long as no element appears twice, you breed a new monster and draw the monster card that is created by those elements. So, for example, if you play a monster that shows wind and add it to an ice monster, then you draw a wind and ice monster whose card will show both of those elements.

Then you activate the ability of the island on which you played your card. The level one island allows you to take any element tokens that are currently in the nursery and add them to your music card. The level two island allows you to spend points in order to gain decoration cards. The cost is based on how many decoration cards you already have. Decoration cards earn you element tokens when certain players perform certain actions. You place these elements on the decoration cards and can choose to use them on your turn or hold onto them.

The level three island’s action allows you to take a treat token. You may spend a treat token when collecting an element token to gain two of it instead. Additionally, if you are playing with the level three island, you use the advanced side of your monster strip which shows five lines, each line associated with only one of the five elements. This means when placing your music card you must choose which three lines to connect it to.

The action on the fourth island has you take two rest/clef tokens. If you use one of these as a rest, you can cover up a black space on a music card. For scoring purposes, this means the black space no longer exists. When using one of these tokens as a clef, you may shift your music card up or down on your music strip, changing which lines are connected to the card.

The final island’s action has you take a diamond token. When playing with the fifth island, each player also has a mini-mine board. When you take a diamond, you must place it in one of the six locations on the board and use the ability. The various abilities include, for example, moving up on the scoreboard or earning extra elements.

After you activate the island’s ability, you move onto the optional phase of your turn. Some monsters in the game are marked as rare. You can discard these to earn extra points. If all the black spaces on your music card are covered with tokens, you can also score your music card. You move forward one space on the scoring track for each space (black and grey) that has an element token. You then discard the card and draw a new one. However, if you filled all the spaces on the music card, you set the card aside face-down and may spend it now or later, to move forward one space on the scoring track. Players cannot occupy the same space of the scoring track until they reach thirty points. If you would land on a space with another player, you jump over them.

Finally, if you have less than three cards, you draw one-element monster cards until you have a hand of three, and then your turn ends.

Once a player reaches thirty or more points, everyone else gets a final turn and then the game ends. The player with the most points wins.

My Singing Monsters

Review

My Singing Monsters strikes an excellent balance between worker placement and set collection, with rules that are simple to learn, and a great mechanism for slowly increasing the complexity of the game.

The flexibility in the game’s complexity is quite clever. Each new level integrates into the game neatly, with each one feeling like a complete game. This makes My Singing Monsters a great fit for all sorts of game groups. You can play with families, new gamers, more experienced gamers, people who are looking for something short and sweet, and those looking for something with a bit more strategy. It can also be a great way to learn the game, adding only a few new island boards at a time.  

Even in the simplest version of the game, you are considering which monsters you’re combining, which monster that will result in, and in turn what elements that new monster will get you in the future. Each new island adds another clever element that subtly shifts the choices and strategy.

We also enjoyed the scoring system and choosing when to score your music cards. Do you want to hold onto them, to completely fill them up, earn more points, and also spend the coin on the card later? Or do you want to score them as quickly as possible so that you can move on to the next?

There’s a lot of adorable monster artwork in the game. The components and art, in general, are bright and colorful and just a ton of fun to play with. We did play a prototype of the game, but even so we were impressed by the overall quality of the components.

On the downside, the game does take a bit of time to set up, with sorting all the tokens and monster cards, and it is a big game that takes up a lot of space on the table. It’s not a game that you can get going quickly.

We thoroughly enjoyed My Singing Monsters. In its simplest form it’s already interesting, and we liked each additional level of choice and strategy that the subsequent levels added. Check it out on Kickstarter and enjoy the adorable monsters for yourself!

Pros: Ability to adjust difficulty and complexity, great player choices each round, artwork

Cons: Slightly longer set up time, takes up a lot of table space

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.