Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Songs Of Kong And Kaiju

As many of you will know one of my guilty pleasures is watching Godzilla movies, so it will come as no surprise to find that I therefore play giant monster games from time to time. I have had good times with both 'Monster Island' and 'Giant Monster Rampage' in the past, but was intrigued by Ganesha Games' 'Mighty Monsters' because of the creative way it used the 'Songs Of Blades And Heroes' (SoBH) system to run giant monsters. Each monster is, in effect, treated as a warband, with its body parts being the individual elements. You activate the parts like you would individual figures in SoBH - activate the Legs to move, the head to launch your fire-breath and the Arms to throw a building. It seemed such an odd, and unique, approach that I decided to buy and download a copy, and I gave it a quick run-through this evening.

I couldn't be bothered going down into the basement to find my official Bandai giant monsters, so I used what was to hand - Lego minifigs. However some of these are more than suitable, as anyone familiar with the recent Collectible Minifigs will know. Which is why I was able to go for the classic matchup ...

From the depths of the sea, via a hefty dose of radiation: GODZILLA:

Click On Any Picture To Make It Bigger

And against him, the King of Skull Island - KONG:

Their stats were taken from the book, but in order to even up the points I dropped a lot of Godzilla's special abilities - the Toughness and Regeneration went altogether, and I downgraded the Radioactive Blast.

Godzilla's main weapon is his Radioactive Blast (even downgraded) and he's tougher than Kong. Kong is more of a close combat specialist, being a Massive monster with the Grapple ability and Intimidation.

I set a very basic terrain, with a mixture of rubble and standing buildings, and started the monsters on opposite sides of the table.

Godzilla went first, and activated his legs to move into range with his Radioactive Breath. He got 3 actions from 3 dice and moved rapidly to the centre of the table. Activating his head for 3 dice only gave him 1 action, but he took a long range shot anyway, which missed - this was something of a risk, since a ranged combat roll of '1' means that the attack has run out of energy and cannot be used for the rest of the game.

With two activation failures for Godzilla it was now Kong's go. He needed to close up fast, but even a maximum move this turn wouldn't get him into close combat. So he opted to close up to the nearest building - 2 actions from 3 dice on the legs allowed that, the first action being used to move to the building, and the second to kick it, collapsing it into a pile of rubble. The plan was then to throw the rubble at Godzilla, which involved activating his arms. However he only go 1 action from 3 dice - enough to pick up some rubble, but not enough to throw it. And the 2 failures meant it was now Godzilla's turn again.

Godzilla decided to close the range for his Radioactive Breath first, rolling 3 dice against his legs. He got 3 failures, and it was Kong's go again.

Now was Kong's moment. A bold 3 dice were used to activate his legs, and 3 Actions got him into close combat with Godzilla:

His plant was to grapple Godzilla, hold him in place and bite with his Fangs to inflict some serious damage. So first he activated his arms, rolling 3 dice and getting 2 actions. This was enough for a grapple attack, but the dice were against him and he missed. The bite was still worth doing, though, so he activated his head for 3 dice, getting 3 actions and allowing a very powerful bite attack. This hit, inflicting 1 wound on Godzilla.

In 'Mighty Monsters' wounds are tracked by substituting wound dice for your activation dice - each wound substitutes one die, the normal white ones becoming yellow, then yellow ones becoming red. Certain failures on yellow dice, and all failures on red dice, cause lasting and cumulative damage effects on the monster. It makes doing anything risky.

It was now Godzilla's turn again. He was still aiming to go for the ranged attack option, so opted to activate his tail first; 2 dice gave 1 Action and allowed a tail sweep, which could potentially knock Kong off his feet. He missed so badly that Kong got a free attempt to grab the tail and throw him instead, but Kong missed as well. Godzilla then activated his arms to attempt a Grapple (which allows a throw). again, he missed. There was now no other option; it was time for the Radioactive Breath at point-blank range; 3 dice netted 2 actions, allowing a powerful attack. This doubled King's defence score and scored 2 wounds.

It was Kong's turn again. He activated his arms, got two actions and punched Godzilla, inflicting 1 wound. He went for a kick, activating his legs for 3 Actions - the kick was even better than the punch, inflicting 2 more wounds on Godzilla - his activation dice were now 2 pinks (I don't have any yellow) and one red. Things were looking bad for the big lizard. Finally Kong activated his head and performed an Intimidation attack; a mighty roar which caused Godzilla to lose one action of his first activation next turn.

Godzilla resorted to desperation and took the once per game option of going Berserk. This heals one wound, and gives three automatic actions with your chosen body part - in this case Godzilla's head. Once more he poured forth his Radioactive Breath, and another good combat roll inflicted 2 wounds on Kong - Kong was now on 1 red and 2 pink dice. Godzilla then took a gamble, activating his tail for 3 dice and getting a lucky 3 Actions. A mighty Tail Sweep knocked Kong off his feet:

Kong started his turn on the ground, but got 2 actions for his Legs, allowing him to stand up and kick; he missed. He then went for a 3 dice activation of the arms - the pink ones both rolled ones, and the red one also failed; this meant three rolls on the wound table, and saw Kong knocked out.

Godzilla was the victor.


So how does it work as a game? Well, it seems quite fiddly but I was playing it solo, for the first time and at the end of a long, tiring day, so my concentration wasn't at its best. With familiarity I can see it rattling along nicely. The game did seem a little static, but I suspect that more monsters, or scenarios and objectives would change this. The mechanisms are interesting, and whilst odd they actually seem to work. There's a lot of combat options, but again familiarity with the game should make them easier to remember. It's certainly one I will try again, possibly with my 'real' monsters.

Finally, since we know that Godzilla and Kong were really actors in suits, let's meet the cast:

Update: Rereading this report, and the rules I can see that I made at least a couple of mistakes. Firstly I finished Godzilla's last turn early; he could have activated his Arms as well. Mind you, with wound dice stocked up maybe not doing so was a good idea. In addition I allowed him to shoot when he was in close combat, which isn't allowed. This would have actually made for a less static game as well.


  1. Cool report. Yes MM has a bit of a learning curve because there are many options available. I wanted it to be as "tactical" as possible, not just a die roll slug-fest.

    However, it was really designed as a multiplayer (2 to 4 people) game so if you are playing solo the first games will require some extra attention (it is playable solo as you don't have to write down anything, but admittedly the amount of options, special powers etc may be too much for a soloist).

  2. Great report! I have been dying to get this off the shelf and your BR has got me motivated.

    I love the various combat options and the brilliant method of tracking wounds.

    I only play solo. Though the numerous combat options make it difficult to make it a true solo game, I don't mind ghost playing the "enemy".

    Thanks for writing this up!



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