I have read the rules through, and decided to give them a spin this afternoon, pitting two 200pt monsters against each other. Because they were to hand I used Lego minifigs - firstly Kong.
And secondly Godzilla - quite obviously a man in a suit.
I returned to my Lego cityscape, because it better suited the figures in terms of look and scale.
Because of the diminutive size of the figures I used a 16" square board, and converted all distances from inches to centimetres. As you can see above, though, the on-table military units (about which later) were my usual card and hair-roller jobbies.
Godzilla started the ball rolling, using his atomic breath to partially destroy a skyscraper. I'd just set defeating an opposing monster as a victory condition, so building destruction was really just incidental. However I had destroying buildings generate rubble objects, which could be thrown, so added to the ranged attack possibilities.
Kong bounded through the city. He was faster and more agile than Godzilla, but equipped entirely for close combat. To be honest monsters like that have always done well in GMR.
Kong destroyed some buildings.
You can see that the miltary had been moving around as well. Each turn a player can move one of the units a certain distance. When engaging in combat a monster gets a positive modifier for each military unit within a certain distance of the target. There is a negative modifier for each one within a certain distance of you. This nicely reflects the distracting effect such units have, without over-complicating things, and allows for a certain amount of strategy in positioning them to hinder your opponent without hindering you.
Kong threw a chunk of building at Godzilla, and hit him squarely, knocking him back over a military unit, which was destroyed.
Godzilla retaliated with energy blasts, but kept missing.
With a couple of hits scored on the big lizard, Kong moved in with his fists and his demoralising roar.
Over the next couple of turns he kept pounding Godzilla, who was constantly stunned and unable to effectively retaliate.
It was soon all over, with Kong triumphant.
I know Ken is planning some changes to what he's set up already, so I'd be interested in seeing where they go, but on the basis of this one game I didn't feel that the rules had quite the same sparkle as the originals. I think that the aim of streamlining the combat abilities is a good one, and there are some good ideas to be had here, but I wasn't as happy with this version as I thought I'd be. True, I think that the balance of the monsters was off, but that's something I can test by perhaps trying the same setup but using the original rules (and suitable designs based on them). I shall report more as the project progresses, however.