In Monster Lands, you are a Viking clan trying to earn the Queen’s favor by defeating fantastic monsters, settling wild lands and completing missions to become the champion mercenary clan.
The object of the game is to have the most victory points at the end of 6 turns.
Players earn victory points through:
Glory – Blue Star
— you gain this primarily through defeating monsters and completing missions
Reputation – Red Star
— you gain this from hiring new mercenaries
Trophies – from slain monsters
Matching Affinities of lands and mercenaries
— an increasing scale
At the start of the game, the greediest person is given the first player token. After the first round, the player with the lowest reputation (Red Star) is given the token. If there is a tie, it goes to the tied player to the right of the current 1st player.
There are 4 Phases to the Game:
1. Dice Pool Preparation Phase – players receive dice according to their mercenaries and where their Glory tracker is located on the Clan Board.
2. Deployment Phase – players take turns, applying dice to either Inside the Citadel or Outside the Citadel.
3. Adventure Phase – Missions are processed, then Monsters then Lands.
4. Cleanup Phase – Explained at the end.
There are essentially 2 areas of the board:
Inside the Citadel, where your clan makes purchases to become stronger and prepare to tackle monsters and missions.
Outside the Citadel, where the clan fights monsters, settles lands and completes missions.
Let’s quickly review what you can do Inside the Citadel:
A – Buy Traps, which are used to combat monsters and settle lands
B – Buy Potions and Venoms, to heal your mercenaries and attack monsters/lands
C – Hire new mercenaries
D – Purchase defense tokens which are used to defend against monster attacks
E – Spend any extra dice to gain that many coins
F – Purchase Equipment, one of each kind (weapon, armor, potions) for each mercenary
G – Gain extra coins at the mines
Players are limited to a certain amount of potions, venoms, traps and defense tokens, which are indicated by the clan tracker board. Wherever your Glory token (blue star) is, dictates how many additional dice you have (per the left side of the board):
A player can only hire a mercenary if they have enough space between their current reputation and their current glory. The reputation cannot exceed the glory when hiring a new mercenary.
You’ll notice each area at the Citadel accepts certain dice, one special thing is that using areas with a yellow dice conveys a discount depending on your yellow dice roll which is done at the beginning of every round. If your yellow dice is preceded by a yellow dice of a higher value, you add the two values together for an even higher discount. This will trigger even if there is a red dice in between. A discount can never reduce the amount below 1. A player always needs at least 1 coin to access places with where you purchase items with gold.
Outside the Citadel, are 4 paths with 2 missions each.
One is a dice rolling mission where you compete for the prize, and the other is considered a contract missionwhere any mercenary that meets the requirement, earns the rewards. Note, in the dice-rolling mission, if both rollers succeed, the higher roller wins the reward, while the other roller only earns 2 gold.
Outside the Citadel are also Monsters and Lands.
To assign a mercenary to a path, they must put at least the minimum amount of dice according to the path header. They may put additional dice according to the path header, along with any traps, or defense token in the below 4 areas. Note that path headers have certain bonuses including giving a potion/venom/gold or rerolls.
Looking at the anatomy of the monster card:
A – This shows the amount of dice that are rolled to show how many hits the monster deals. If a mercenary takes two undefended hits, they perish. The player loses the card and gains glory according to the spot they perished and reduces the amount of reputation on their clan tracker which enables the player to purchase a new mercenary.
B – This area will show the special ability of the monster, the host will tell you what they do.
C– This shows the affinity of the monster. If the affinity of the monster, matches the affinity of the land, the monster adds one additional attack dice.
D – This is the number the player needs to roll to capture the monster and what rewards they’ll get.
E – This is the number the player needs to slay the monster with the appropriate rewards.
Slaying a monster is always more difficult than capturing and will net the player a trophy of value 1-3 which are worth points at the end of the game, or can be cashed at any time for 5 gold per trophy value. Capturing monsters requires the player to use at least 1 trap, the secondary reward is typically gold. In most cases, the player earns more Glory through slaying monsters, rather than capturing them.
During the Adventure phase, the leftmost player on the Outside of the Citadel fights the monster first. The player to their right rolls black dice according to the monster card. Any rolls of 3-6 are hits, while 1&2’s are misses. The attacking player may use defense tokens or talents to mitigate damage. If the mercenary survives the attack from the monster, they conduct their attack using their dice and any traps. If they defeat the monster, they get the stated reward, if they fail, it is the next leftmost mercenaries turn. The monster attacks first, then the mercenary gets to use their attack dice and traps. It will be significantly easier for this second mercenary because all attacks of the first mercenary will apply as well.
Lands in Monster Lands are wild, full of dangerous animals. To settle a land, a different mercenary would have needed to have defeated the monster in the same round.
Looking at the anatomy of the land:
A – this is the number the player needs to roll to settle the land and the Glory reward
B– this is the affinity of the land.
C – this is a special ability of the land.
When you settle a land, if you have a non-leader mercenary of the same affinity, you can have that mercenary manage it which gives the added bonus of not having to pay them wages (more on that later).
Any player that fails at defeating a monster or settling a land and survives, gets their choice of loot, found in this area of the board:
If a monster is attacked and not defeated, it will get angry and attack the Citadel, moving from the outside location to the Citadel location. The same rules apply but when they move to this area, they cause panic and a panic token is flipped to indicate which location inside the Citadel that is unavailable until the monster is defeated:
Once all dice are assigned and missions, monsters, and lands are handled, the Cleanup Phase occurs.
The main thing to know from the Cleanup Phase is:
– any unused potions and venoms go back to the clan tracker board
– any used/unused traps and defense tokens are discarded
– any non-leader mercenaries that aren’t managing a land, are paid wages. Wages are determined by which row their glory token occupies on the clan tracker.
If you can’t pay all your wages, pay for everything you can, and discard your non-leader, non-land managing mercenary with the highest reputation.
Play continues until the 6th round. At the end of the 6th round, players calculate the number of Victory points they have, the highest wins.
Ties are broken by the player (in the following order) with the most reputation, then the most trophies, then the most coins.