Tuesday, May 23, 2017

MK Review: Uh-Oh, Monsters!

Uh-Oh, Monsters!


Every once in a while you stumble across a game that completely surprises and delights you. Sometimes you don't really expect to even like the game. Other times you knew it would be cool, but it demolishes your expectations and delivers an experience like no other. This was how I felt when I found No Thank You, Evil! Now imagine that same game released new content that stands up to and intensifies they awesomeness of the original work. I am privileged and excited to review this addition to the No Thank You, Evil! universe. Shanna Germain and Monte Cook Games have done it again in Uh-Oh, Monsters!

Just in case you need to catch up on the topic:
No Thank You, Evil! 
Story Please!, An Adventure Building Deck 
You can check out my review by clicking on the titles. All caught up? Let's dig in!

As if having a fantastical world of pure imagination with no limits wasn't an amazing enough feat on its own, the additional content provided within the Uh-Oh Monsters!: Adventures and Creatures for No Thank You Evil! is like having the perfect side dish to accompany your perfectly cooked steak. It is suddenly realizing just how well chocolate and peanut butter go together. It is finding your favorite flavor of hummus to dip your fresh veggies in.
 Yes. I am using a lot of food references. Why? Because this expansion is satisfying my hunger for more No Thank You, Evil! in the same way having my food in front of me when my stomach starts to grumble gives me joy. Allow me to give you a small taste of the buffet they are offering.

Claws and Paws; The Monsters You'll Meet

We must start here as it is the most obvious content to expect given the name, Uh-Oh, Monsters! With a name like that, if you didn't deliver more monsters, you would have a lot of angry customers on your hands. Not only dose this supplement contain more monsters, it gives you entirely new ways to look at, think about, interact and even document them. Fair warning, for those of you with younger children, not all of the monsters in this book are light and fluffy (so to speak). There are a few monsters in here that you can gauge for yourself as to when to add them into your game.
Monster creation is totally a thing. A good thing. After you read all about 'how to', once again you are only limited by the imagination of you and your players. You can go as light and fluffy, or as dark and creepy as you deem appropriate for your group. 
The Monster Museum is another great way to introduce quests, monsters and equipment. There is even a section adding nouns and their build within the world. Here there will be ways to document new creature findings. Perhaps the curator will hire the players to help capture a monster that got loose, or ask for photographic evidence that can verify rumors of the return of the Do-Do Bird. What this gives you is a second hub for the players to base their next adventure from. How often are they going to want to always see the Mayor, or the Sheriff for something to do?
As one of my favorite parts, you need to check out the section on Quirks! New ways to interact with the monsters you'll meet that add yet another layer of depth to the game. Maybe you have the group that doesn't really want to fight everything they meet. Or maybe they are told they can't fight it in order to be successful in their mission. For whatever purpose, Quirks give even the fiercest of beasts a way to be defused. Why fight the lion when you can feed it a hot dog and make it your friend?

Lairs and Scares; Let's Go On Wild Adventures!

Next we have an adventure guide! You do need the No Thank You, Evil! core set in order to play through these stories, but hey if you don't have it by now, I am sure that will be quickly rectified. If nothing else the anticipation of using this guide should drive you to purchase it as soon as you finish reading. Four new adventures await you and your party of characters. 

1) Save the Holi(day)!
2) Ice Breakers
3) Trouble in Space
4) Enter the Fear Factory
Each is its own unique and well shaped tale that is sure to keep your players on the edge of their seats and ready for more. It has plenty of flavor and player variety with a Holiday themed adventure that can help introduce newer players, all the way through some scarier adventures for the brave among us. I will not go into details as I wish to give no spoilers, but just know it is more than worth it for these two booklets alone!

The Extras; Oh, the Extras!

Now that you have a book all about Monsters, and an Adventure Guide to give you all new quest material, how could they possibly add anything else? Well, as we all know having visual aides can greatly improve any Role Playing Experience. Shanna and the Cook gang continue to over deliver! The fun and imaginative art of the original game is very present in the extras. Hand outs for your players? Check. A deck of cards that correspond to the new monsters? Check. Monster Stand-ups for them as well? Check. This set is absolutely complete.

The Wrap-up

I normally do not rate expansions nearly as high as I do their core content. This is one of those rare moments where all they did was add more depth and flavor to an already amazing game. They didn't break the game with overpowered additions. They didn't anger anyone by nerf-ing their favorite classes or items. For once there is an expansion to a game that knew not to mess with perfection, nor to attempt to do anything less than fulfill the quality and imagination standards that they themselves have set.
Bravo, Shanna. Bravo, Monte Cook Games. I am impressed. I am awarding Five very well earned stars. I look forward to many hours spent around the table with my family joyfully romping through all of the brilliance you have created.

Until next time ...Game On!