Jan 1, 2018
Want to delve into Monsters and Other Childish Things? Want to find out what it’s like to be a monster or a childish thing before you try the game out yourself? Check out our potluck episode where we talk in depth about all the mechanics and flavors contained in the game. If you want the notes from the nerd in your class that sits in the front row, here they are.
For the most part we enjoyed the system, and Charlotte says it’s her favorite game, so that should speak volumes. The very concept (children and their monsters dealing with day to day problems) was a huge plus for every player. We liked that character creation is so open-ended in interpretation as opposed to picking and choosing from a set of options, but it’s a double-edged sword because the number of choices can be paralyzing.
While child creation is pretty simplistic, making a monster can be difficult until you start getting in-depth. Those rules just don’t seem intuitive at first glance and may confuse newer players. Creating a monster requires dividing dice amongst a set number of areas which can feel restricting, but then you have the freedom to decide what those areas are and what they do.
Playing both a monster and a child was entertaining, but us players found it difficult to divide our minds between RPing as two separate characters in the same scene. The rules do give you an option to have the GM play every monster if you prefer, but of course there are pros and cons to either approach. Even with the brain-stretching, the chaos of 5 people speaking for 10 characters lent to some great moments. However, since the monsters we were playing were not our own, some of us were self-conscious about living up to each other’s expectations, even if those fears were unfounded.
When it comes to skills, both for social interactions and combat, dice rolls can be frustrating. You may feel giddy with power jangling ten dice and getting a resounding success (or you’re Marquez and you hate it), but the length times width method and the discrepancy between the order you call your shots and the actual turn order means that your move might be wasted entirely. Additionally, we found that time-honored “boss fights” don’t work well with this system; if you sic five players on one enemy and don’t jailbreak that enemy’s stats to be more of a threat than the rules allow, that boss is going to get creamed. Combat didn’t feel threatening enough as a result, but the game is more about character interaction than kaiju fights anyway.
Overall we love the concept of the game; children are agents of chaos, and for better or for worse, your monsters are your best friends and they’re here to back you up. Most of us would play the system again, so if you’re interested in seeing more from our characters, let us know! High on flavor, with a few hiccups in mechanics, Monsters and Other Childish Things is worth checking out. You can purchase a physical copy or a PDF download of the game at https://shop.arcdream.com/.