There are certain games that develop a reputation for greatness and if those games are rare or difficult to obtain, that reputation can develop into legend.
Take for example, Moongha Invaders by Martin Wallace. Back in 2010 he was commissioned to design a game for an Italian game convention called Play using the monster figures they were using to promote the show. One would expect that such a rushed, design on demand, product would be only so-so at best and with only 650 copies in existence, that it would be quickly forgotten. This was not to be. The game was good. Very good. People began to talk about it. Others began to talk about what the others had said. Soon the game had gone from good to great. People without copies felt left out. All this fun was being had with a great game that they could not acquire. Demand soared but the supply remained finite. And so Moongha Invaders become a member of that exulted class of games called “Grail Games”.
Moongha is not the Wallace of Age of Steam but rather the Wallace of Struggle of Empires and thankfully so. There isn’t a lot of heavy math in Moongha, though there is some, and one early mistake will not leave you languishing for hours. There isn’t a lot of subtle smirk-inducing move optimization but there is a lot of direct and up-front screwage.
In the game, you are a mad scientist intent upon razing the great cities of Earth. To do this, you are creating horrible monsters in your lab and then unleashing them upon the world. The monsters move from city to city fighting the armies of men, other monsters and raining destruction down upon the cities as well.
There is a pool of action tokens of different colors that varies in number each game round. You take your turn by taking an token and performing the action associated with it (moving, attacking, placing an army, growing a monster) or in most cases you can save them up so when you have multiple tokens your action becomes more powerful (more dice in combat, creating a stronger monster). When you attack a city you put down some damage cubes to show how much of that city was destroyed by your creatures.
The end game is scored by who has the most cubes in any given city, so in a sense it is an area control game but with lots of conflict and dice. You also can get points by killing other monsters or seeding cities with vampires. You are also assigned two cities at the beginning of the game which are kept secret from the other players. If you manage to protect them so that they suffer minimal damage you get bonus points.
The game IS good. It’s fun, quick, and easy to learn. It has sufficient depth and several viable strategies for victory. The production quality is fine for what it is…a quick game made as a prize for a convention…but is nothing to wet your pants over.
(From a therewillbe.games review.)
This is the 2013 re-print of Moongha, and as such – not as valuable. But it captures the magic of an enigma which is well-worth playing. Unfortunately, the promotional poster which came with it has been lost but if it’s found, it’ll be included.