We had all the weapons of the world at our disposal to win single fight against the invasion from space. But even all the bullets and rockets together can not stop this creature, because they only fly harmlessly through. Everyone imagined some little green men, who would crumble in fear in front of our barrels and cannons. Instead, there came purple creatures with a jelly-like body.
Mankind nevertheless came up with a solution – drag it back to orbit. But before the purple matter disappears forever into the free universe, its necessary to ensure, that such a situation does not happen again. We need samples of the enemy tissue! And here comes time for all the players, who are interested in a fun party game called Attack of the Jelly Monster. This is a game created by Libellud, specifically designer Antonin Boccara. The game was released in 2018 and at the same time the box was also placed under the wings of the distribution company Esdevium Games.
Box follows in the tracks of its content. It must logically have a purple color and shows part of the force of the invaders lead by a huge gelatinous creature. Or is it a tank? A slightly better overview will provide to us a multi-part gaming board, which the players connect as a part of the setup.
Players choose parts of board according to number of participants (at least three), that will create that many sides and locations. They are joined into one the district boards and each gets equipped with zone marker. Wooden rollers will move in a line, that is adjacent to the described point gains. Between two of the areas, players place direction indicator in the form of a dron tile. All players will then receive their set of seven dice of the chosen color and two jelly points. Everyone then encloses his property with compartment of their screen, so that others cannot see their numbers. Fences also have a different meaning, as we will learn later. Now all that is left in setup is to prepare jelly tokens and stack them together with the hourglass in the center.
There are no turns in this game. Instead, everyone is struggling with their dice at the same time. After each such roll, a player can select one of his results, lift dice from behind his rectangular screen and place it in any location. Or he can also sacrifice time, choose none of the seven (or later less) results and reroll.
Each of the participants is trying to have the highest sum of dots at location, that he prefers. However, players must keep in mind, that two dice of the same value will cancel each other out, when placed in the same space. And there is one more thing, that can influence decision-making – some values also allow players to take actions. In this way, they are able to adjust pointer value of a given location (up or down to another zone) or remove dice from there and move it to the center of the city.
But as everything happens in real-time, there are no turns, players will end their placement at different times. If someone puts the last of his seven dice and is satisfied with everything, he can take his screen and block any area. No one of the participants in the round can from then place any more dice in that location. In addition, he can also choose to rotate the hourglass. They start measuring the time until the end of the round. When sand runs out, everyone must end his endeavor.
Player with the highest sum (or both in the case of draw) will take the corresponding number of tokens out of stock. Rewards come not only in numbers, but also other effects, that are not always positive. Gradually, players will evaluate all the areas, that have been equipped with some dice this turn. Its all followed by the common center of the city scoring, where dice have shifted within actions of players during that turn. Winner of this comparison will get a sack of slime bag (jelly-pod). The game then goes again from the beginning. Together, this is repeated four times. Then the player, who earned the most points, wins.
Attack of the Jelly Monster is a crazy dice party fun. You should not expect much more from it, because it really is just about getting the right results as fast as possible and ability to divide them between the appropriate areas. Here players have to be able to make quick decisions based on the evolving situation, because the others also use their dice and domination in the individual divisions is constantly changing.
Boards are double-sided. The backs offer a bit more complex icons, than just mere points. Even so, families with some eight year old children can handle the game without any issues. However, it is assumed that more parents or siblings are involved, because the game can not be played in fewer than three.
But not all the gold shines. And so here is one major issue, which is at the same time the main star of the whole game – dice. If you like to play with children, there is no reason to complain. Would you like to have more influence, tactical options and controls from the game? You simply will not get it! Most moments are purely coincidental, although players have usually a choice of more dice.
A significant plus in overall impression is, of course, the game time. The individual turns are played concurrently and the only thing, that takes a bit of time is evaluation at the end. Otherwise, players are constantly on the move. And because there’s always something going on, those twenty minutes of total game time will run in a moment. Of course, higher numbers are important (even three are few), because the battle for positions is much more ruthless. In three, the game space is smaller, but there is still a lack of interaction with more opponents there.
Game is really easy rulewise. Players are simply rolling for numbers on dice. And yet, the special effects make a little bit of a headache, but they are only part of advanced gameplay. Moreover, these are moments, that take place outside the stage at the same time, because its about scoring. Those rewards for superiority simply differ, but the variability is improved.
The theme and processing itself is eventually better than the game itself. Graphics and plan shape are really beautifully capturing science-fiction feel. Its color makes it a star of every table. But ideas do not end there. We like use of screens not only as a enclosure for rolling dice and help to hide their effects, but also for blocking areas at the end of the round. This moment gives players a slightly better sense of influence.
Attack of the Jelly Monster will only be successful if you have a positive relationship with dice. If your answer is yes, then it becomes quite clear. This novelty has outstanding processing, making it a true lure. But you do not even have to worry about the course itself, because the players will have fun, if their expectations for tactics are not high. Attack of the Jelly Monster is not a tough nut to crack, but rather the jelly, that will only swallow you for a while.
+ excellent processing
+ all play at the same time
+ clever screen usage
+ game time
+ at least some control by choosing dice
- great impact of coincidence
- absence of bigger control