Swedish Rapid Leaf Prodctions rushes to Kickstarter with their first game, which is the result of 12 years of tight development. Magmeda Monsters is a card game inspired by Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon. Your mission is to crush your opponent’s monsters and take control of the world. Magmeda Monsters doesn’t settle for the lightness of it’s role models and aims to offer something deeper and heavier.
This review is based on a review copy received from the publisher. The components don’t represent final components from the retail version.
No card collecting or deckbuilding – just play it!
Despite it’s roots, Magmeda Monsters isn’t a deck building or a collectible card game. Both sides are given a play-ready deck of 39 unique cards. There are two kinds of cards, monster cards, that deliver the POWWWWs to the enemy monsters and skill cards that have many different effects. The player who first destroys his opponents six monsters wins the round. To win the game players needs to win two rounds.
There are two kinds of turns. On a normal turn player can play skill cards and attack with his monsters. On backup turns player can play an additional monster or draw new skill cards. When a monster attacks you first subtract opposing monsters defense from your attacking monsters attack value. After this you’ll see how much damage you deliver.
Magmeda Monsters gets better more you play
Who’s fighting who? Well, naturally, the brute force Oppression army and the world-saving good-doers, combo-heavy troops of Liberation. During the first games Magmeda Monsters feels pretty straightforward – play the toughest monster, shower him with your best skill cards and rush forward! After you get more plays under your belt, you’ll notice this ain’t the way the game rolls.
When you’ve got your own deck and your opponent’s deck fully memorized the real games begin. When both players know the decks, the tension and the counter-attacks get real! Bluffing, fear and surprising moves get way more appreciation when the moves aren’t just random card plays.
As with card games like this, luck is often a big factor. Drawing the wrong cards at the wrong time often leads to a loss. Magmeda Monsters offers cards that are able to manipulate the draw and discard piles in a manner, that make the luck less of a factor when used correctly. Less of a factor is the keyword, luck is still there and might hammer you hard.
Tight mental calculation and wet mathematics
All the book keeping in the game is done with pen and paper. For example when a monster gets attacked, defense is boosted with magic or attack gets a upgrade by a skill card, you’ll have to write the changed stats on a piece of paper. Both players need to keep an eye on these notes as they are very important. This felt a bit awkward, but I couldn’t come up with a better solution. The changes in stats are big and they happen often, so this can’t be solved elegantly with a score tracker or something similiar.
Magmeda Monsters is very number and math heavy game. Attacking needs a lot of thinking. If you attack with a monster X, that has attack value of 85 against a monster with defense of 15 and 105 hitpoints, how much buff for your attack do you need to kill the monster. What if you were to use your other monster with attack value of 80, but which has magic of 20 that can buff the attack to 100! But oh, it doesn’t work against monsters with rock element.
The game is constant calculations and failures – “Oh, this wasn’t enough after all, what if I did this instead…” The players prone to analysis-paralysis will have their brains burning and their opponents crying. The game can last more than two hours, especially if there are two first-timers playing and the game goes to the third round. This feels quite long, but gets better as the players gain more experience. A perfectly timed turn timer could maximize the enjoyment: Players would need to prioritize what outcomes they want to count and might end up with less than optimal outcome.
The games left me with conflicting feelings. On the other hand, all the counting feels very bothersome and going through all the outcomes of different combos is very tiresome. On the other hands gives me horrendously good vibes… There are countless amount of options and pondering, all the calculus is very satisfactory in some weird sick way.
Magmeda Monsters – Delicacy for a restricted audience
Magmeda Monsters is by no means for everyone. If maths or mental calculus makes you want to throw up, keep very far away from the Kickstarter. Math is the very core of this game. On the other hand, if at the darkest hours of the night your dreams are filled with wet dreams of numbers doing things with each other…you really should give Magmeda Monsters a try.
The second breaking point might be the theme. It’s quite cliché, but at the same time very weird. Living samurai armors, halves of Bulbasaur and evil human snakes that either want to oppress or liberate the world. At first, the cards, the art and the theme of the game felt very childish. Now, for some reason this has changed. There are still cards in the lot that aren’t that pretty, but mostly I’ve grown to like this group of creatures. The background story ain’t really there to bother you because themes aren’t really the thing in card games like this.
The third important point that you need to consider if you are thinking of getting on board with the Kickstarter is the way you enjoy your games. Even if both sides have 39 unique cards, you’ll get familiar with the pretty quickly. If you like expanding your games after few playthroughs with an expansion or two, you won’t probably enjoy Magmeda Monsters for that long. On the other hand if you enjoy learning everything in a game or even solve it, Magmeda Monsters might be a good bet.
Magmeda Monsters is hard thinking. It ain’t a game you get out to have crazy fun time before bed. Magmeda Monsters works best with two experiences players. It doesn’t have real value as a game that you play with everyone you are able to force to visit your house. Learning curve is pretty high and skill levels matter. Magmeda Monsters is a hard one to review. As a game it works and it’s interesting. It just needs to land on a fertile land. Many people will feel that playing the game is just a chore that they hope never to meet again. For me, Magmeda Monsters was able to leave a permanent spark of interest, that will probably never fully ignite because I will not find an opponent to enjoy the fire with me.
Note: Price-quality ratio hasn't been reviewed because final components weren't available in the review copy.
-Mental calculus is always fun!
-Both decks are well balanced
-Pen-paper feels a bit troublesome
-There isn't that much variability between playthroughs