Archive for June 2013

Review by Phil: Monolith

Cray Cray Games was a Kickstarter backer of Monolith, by Goblin Army Games.  It’s a shockingly themeless (I don’t think this game necessarily needs a theme.) strategy game of chance. The oxymoronic description is intended as dice-rolling is the primary mechanic.

The game can definitely be played in the 30 minutes it states on the box, but everything’s dependent upon the kinds of people with whom you’re playing.  Hemming and hawing on die placement and/or Skill Card use is still not instantaneous.  🙂



The Game’s Objective
The objective is to get to the Victory space on the score track.  Failing that, being furthest on it achieves victory.  Roll your dice and try to place them in the areas that will earn the greatest amount of Victory Points or that set you up to gain resources like Gems, Skill or Power Cards.

Setup Comments
This is pretty quick, especially if you keep your cards in their categories (Skill, Rune, Fate, Power, etc.).

Get out the dice and tokens that correspond to a player’s chosen color and 5 gems per player to make available for the game.  Set the playing field (11 Rune and 1 Fate Card) for the game.  Determine who gets the Primus Token (aka: first turn token) and you’re ready to begin.

FYI: There is a 5-card hand limit (mentioned inconspicuously on p8) for Skill (plus Power, if in play) Cards .

Game Play
Roll dice, take turns placing the dice in squares and play Skill Cards and/or Power Cards as applicable/desired.


There’s a lot of potential for re-playability given the numerous Fate and Rune Cards.


  • There’s a lot of potential for re-playability given the numerous Fate and Rune Cards.
  • The mechanics are sound and easy-to-understand.  There’s also a good variety of content in the different types of cards.  I haven’t done any spreadsheeting to plot/track that variability and what it means so I’ll make no comments on balance in that regard.
  • I like that the resources are limited.  The gems are bound to 5/person. The Skill and Power Cards are limited to one use of the deck (no shuffling).  It forces you to choose and also helps move the game along.


  • The rule book would benefit from a bit of repetition or reorganization so that you can find things more easily.
    E.g.: I’d imagine things like hand-limit should be in setup vs. where it is.
  • I do think that the unlimited use of Skill Cards in a given turn seems overpowered.  If you luck out and get the Skill Card that makes opponents discard a Skill Card — and this card isn’t a one-time use Skill Card, that gets annoying pretty quickly.

Ultimately, my rating for this game is: Playable (As Is)

My Rating Scale

  • Awesome: It’s fun, playable, has great art and few, if any, minor issues
  • Very Good: Just like awesome, only it either lacks something or there’s some issue that makes the game just a little less than awesome.
  • Playable (As Is): Fun, playable with decent art/mechanics with minor issues and at most 1 easily remedied major issues.
  • Playable (with Fixes): Potential for fun, but flawed; the game requires fixing before playing again.
  • OK: Not great fun, but it kills time. It might even be playable but most would ask why.
  • Seriously Flawed: The game is so flawed I am beside myself with how it got published at all. It is also nigh impossible to fix (or just requires way too much to fix, including the creation and printing of new cards/mechanics).