Monsters and Maidens: Epic Dice Game Expansion Review

monstermaidenepic_top

The Basics:

  • For ages 5 and up (publisher suggests 8+)
  • For 2 to 6 players
  • Variable game play length

Geek Skills:

  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Pattern/Color Matching
  • Risk vs. Reward

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • Rescuing Maidens just got more difficult…

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek rejected!
  • Parent Geek mixed!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

Rescuing maidens has never been an easy job, but it does have its advantages. For one thing, a hero who rescues maidens has guaranteed job security. For some reason, maidens are always being captured and in need of rescue. To the untrained eye, it all seems rather straightforward, but there is so much more to it. For example, what tools should you bring? What is the weather going to be like? Are there any dragons or kings nearby? All important questions that need answers, because the answer could mean the difference between success or epic failure.

Monsters and Maidens: Epic Dice, designed by Fred MacKenzie and published by Game Salute, is comprised of 4 custom six-sided dice and 4 Rule cards. The dice are black (a different color than the base game’s dice) and solid. The accompanying Rule cards are as durable as your standard playing card and describe how each die is used, as well as what the die symbols mean. The entire expansion can easily fit in the base game box with room to spare.

Note: Monsters and Maidens: Epic Dice game expansion requires the base game, Monsters and Maidens. If you’d like to learn more about the base game, including game set up and rules of play, read the Monsters and Maidens game review.

A Die For All Occasions

Monsters and Maidens: Epic Dice introduces 4 new dice to be used in the game. Players can use 1, 2, 3, or all 4 of the dice if they really want to. Each of the 4 dice and their uses are summarized here.

Tool Die

This die is added to the player’s first roll and in every re-roll. As the name of the die suggests, equipment is now added to the game. Not all tools are useful.

Four of the six sides of the dice have a unique symbol. They are as follows:

monstermaiden_tool

  • Dagger: One of the Maidens is packing a weapon! This results in 1 less Maiden being captured when Monsters outnumber Heroes. Presumably, the Monster approaches the Maiden, sees that she is holding a dagger, and slowly backs off.
  • Horse: One of the Heroes brought a horse, which would imply that all the other Heroes walked. Which is silly. Regardless, the result is 1 additional Maiden being rescued when Heroes outnumber the Monsters.
  • Cart: Not to be outdone by the Heroes and their horses, the Monsters bring a cart! The Monsters capture 1 additional Maiden when Monsters outnumber the Heroes.
  • Love Potion: Now things are getting silly. The Monsters somehow trick the Maidens into drinking a love potion which, in game terms, means the Monsters capture 1 additional Maiden when Monsters outnumber the Heroes.

These are some seriously dumb Maidens….

Season Die

Turns out that capturing Maidens and fighting Monsters is a year-round activity the entire family can enjoy. The Season die is rolled at the start of each round and influences every players’ turn during the round.

Four of the six sides of the dice have a unique symbol. They are as follows:

monstermaidenepic_season

  • Spring: All Monsters are suffering from hay fever (I’m not making this up), which is drastically reducing their performance. Some are even sick. One Monster die (the green ones) is removed from the pool of dice the player rolls on their turn.
  • Summer: The majority of Heroes are away at a jousting tournament, reducing the number of available Heroes to rescue the Maidens. One Hero die (the brown ones) is removed from the pool of dice the player rolls on their turn.
  • Autumn: The Maidens are harvesting the crops. Apparently, Maidens are the only people in the kingdom who get anything done. Good for them. One Maiden die (the pink ones) is removed from the pool of dice the player rolls on their turn.
  • Winter: All the Dragons are hibernating and the King is away on holiday. I’m guessing someplace warm with less Maidens. Dragon and King symbols on the Adventure die are ignored for the round.

Adventure Die

Rescuing Maidens and fighting Monsters is not the only extracurricular activity to be had in the kingdom. There are adventures to be had! All of which involve Maidens, which should come as no surprise. Players roll the Adventure die during their first roll on every turn, re-rolling if blank. The result of the roll only influences the player’s first turn. Not any of the re-rolls thereafter, unless the result is a Minotaur or a Knight. In which case, the Adventure die is re-rolled with the other dice, too.

Four of the six sides of the dice have a unique symbol. They are as follows:

monstermaidenepic_adventure

  • King: From out of nowhere, this bloody huge king rides into the fray and captures every Maiden! Every die with a Maiden symbol is out for the duration of the player’s turn and is considered rescued! Here’s hoping the Maidens can escape the king.
  • Dragon: From out of nowhere, this bloody huge dragon flies down and captures every Maiden! Every die with a Maiden symbol is out for the duration of the player’s turn and cannot be rescued. Here’s hoping the Maidens aren’t eaten.
  • Knight: A few of the Heroes decided to improve their skills and have become knights. The Knight will take down 2 Monsters and can rescue 2 Maidens.
  • Minotaur: The Monsters have hired some extra muscles. It takes 2 Heroes to take down 1 Minotaur. If the Minotaur isn’t stopped, it snatches 2 Maidens.

Fate Die

The Fate die represents the ever-blowing winds of change and destiny. Sometimes that wind is a gentle breeze and other times it is as destructive as a tornado. Caution should be used before using the Fate die, as it will shift the balance and increase the already high level of randomness in the game.

Four of the six sides of the dice have a unique symbol. They are as follows:

monstermaidenepic_fate

  • Bravery: One of the Heroes has arrived with an over inflated sense of self-confidence, which causes one of the Monsters to soil himself and waddle off into the woods. One die with a Monster symbol is removed from the pool for the duration of the player’s turn.
  • Frenzy: One of the Monsters has gone bat poop crazy, which causes one of the Heroes to seriously question his choice in careers. One die with a Hero symbol is removed from the pool for the duration of the player’s turn.
  • Confusion: The battlefield is filled with chaos! Flip every die to its opposite face and then resolve as normal.
  • Duty: One of the Maidens suddenly grows up and decides to be responsible. Remove 1 die with a Maiden symbol for the duration of the player’s turn.

Epic Epic Epic Epic Dice

Each of the dice can be used individually or in any combination. If using more than 1 die at a time during the game, there are additional rules that must be followed when resolving rolled results.

  1. Roll and resolve the Season die first before the round starts.
  2. Roll the Monster, Maiden, and Hero dice along with the Fate, Tool, and Adventure dice, all at the same time.
  3. Resolve the Fate die and apply its effects to the roll, then pass it to the next player.
  4. Resolve the Monster, Maiden, and Hero dice are normal.
  5. Resolve the Tool die and apply its effects. The player can then hold it for a re-roll or pass it to the next player.
  6. Resolve the Adventure die and apply its effects. The player can then hold it for a re-roll or pass it to the next player.

Or, if you like: Season > Fate > [Monster, Maiden, Hero] > Tool > Adventure

Really, it’s easy to memorize. Just remember the word SFMMHTA and you’re all set (the “M’s” are silent).

To learn more about Monsters and Maidens: Epic Dice, visit the game’s web page.

Final Word

This game expansion is the perfect example of making a really simple game into something that is now needlessly complicated. Monsters and Maidens was already random enough before the Epic Die  expansion added even more randomness. For some of our groups, that wasn’t a big issue. For others, it totally killed the game or was just one more nail in the coffin.

I do not recommend using all the Epic dice when playing. It adds more downtime for the players and can create confusion when attempting to resolve the dice. It can also make a player’s turn into a meaningless attempt to gain points, as dice are canceled, shifted, and removed from play. You should also expect your games to be much longer when using all the dice, making Monsters and Maidens into an epic time suck.

Individually, the Epic dice work very well. They add just enough variety to make re-rolls into a real gamble, making the players think of the different ways thing could or could not go their way. I really liked this and so did all our players. One Child Geek said, “The Season die is the best. It changes how each round is played and makes the game feel different.” A Parent Geek said, “By far, the best die is the Adventure die. I hate the Dragon, love the King, and enjoy watching the battle with Knights and Minotaurs.” A Gamer Geek said, “With the expansion, this totally forgettable game has provided some very memorable moments.”

The least favorite of all the Epic dice and the one that is hardly ever used is the Fate die. All our players felt it unnecessarily messed with the game, inserting random events that neither improved the game or helped make for a better game playing experience.

The final verdict? The Monsters and Maidens: Epic Dice game expansion was an absolute winner with the Child Geeks, a welcomed addition with the Parent Geeks, and seen as too little too late by the Gamer Geeks. According to one Gamer Geek, “This should have been included with the game right from the start to set it apart and give players a challenge. Now it feels like a money grab and a desperate attempt to lift the game out of its soporific tediousness.” Possibly, but maybe not. The value of any expansion is in the eye of the beholder.

For those who like the base game, the expansion will be a welcomed addition. For everyone else, the expansion is far from epic.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
Tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply