The Monsterpocalypse arrives next month! It’ll soon be time to assemble your force, find your opponents, and crush/save your local town. So, what’s the best way to find some like-minded monster maniacs to throw down with? Organized Play events, of course!
Monsterpocalypse launches with two different OP events: the Isle of Annihilation narrative league and the Crush Hour tournament pack. Today, I want to discuss with you the ins and outs of Crush Hour—what to expect, how to prepare, and some strategies to think about during your games.
Crush Hour is structured very similarly to Steamroller in some regards but vastly differently in others. For example, there are no scenarios in Crush Hour—the game is played exactly as you would play a casual game at home. Kill your opponent’s monsters, you win. Simple as that. However, as this is a tournament pack, there are things that must be sorted out, such as round timing and tiebreakers.
Crush Hour uses the Deathclock timing system you might be familiar with from WARMACHINE. A chess clock sits at each table, and every action a player makes is taken on their clock. If a player runs out of time on the clock, that player’s monsters are immediately destroyed, and the player loses the game. For one-monster games, each player receives 30 minutes on their clock. Two-monster games, the standard way to play Monsterpocalypse, allow each player 45 minutes, and for three-monster games, the clocks go up to an hour per player.
Managing the clock is fairly straightforward, and the time limits allow players ample opportunity to think through each turn and then execute a plan. But you can’t dilly-dally all day; the clocks ensure that a player must be decisive and that stalling for time isn’t a viable option.
At Gen Con 2018, we ran our first Crush Hour just days after the Agenda starter boxes were pre-released. Players who had just learned the game were playing on Deathclock across five rounds of the tournament, and I’m happy to say hardly anyone clocked themselves. This is a good example to indicate that, with enough practice and play, the clock should never be an issue for you. It’s just there in the background, something to keep in mind, something to keep you moving forward.
The tiebreaker system for determining who finishes in which place is also unique for Monsterpocalypse. The player who goes undefeated will finish first, of course, and beyond that the remaining placements are determined by the following three variables in this order: Strength of Schedule, Monsters Destroyed, Remaining Monster Health.
Monsters Destroyed is…well, exactly that. It’s how many enemy monsters you killed during your game. In a one-monster event, this variable is less important—it’s basically the same as your win/loss record. However in a standard two-monster event, killing a single monster, even if you lose, might mean the difference between finishing second and finishing third.
Remaining Monster Health is the inverse of the previous variable: it’s the total sum of health of all your surviving monsters at the end of the game. This means not only are you rewarded for causing as much damage to your opponent as possible, but you’re also rewarded for surviving and taking the least amount of damage you can. If you lose a game, this value will always be 0, but for the games you do win, you want to keep this number as high as you can.
Another major difference between Crush Hour and Steamroller is that a player does not bring multiple lists to an event. You bring one list, which is all you play for the entire tournament. Your list specifies which Monsters you are bringing, which units are in your reserves, and how many of each building you are bringing to build your city.
With all the cool buildings being released for Monsterpocalypse, what you bring to comprise your city is just as important as which monster and units you choose. To that end, here’s a simple strategy tip: Always bring a few apartment buildings in your force. Not for your own use, mind you, but to disrupt your opponent instead.
Your entire game plan could revolve around always securing a Communications Array and Industrial Complex to gain additional speed and range each turn. In fact, holding these buildings might be utterly vital to you, so you’re going to want to put several of them as close to your spawn points as possible. That is, of course, if you’ve got spare room to do so.
Meanwhile, putting basic apartment buildings on your opponent’s side of the board during setup is an amazing way to disrupt your opponent’s game plan. Is your opponent building a set of two or even three buildings, all of them right next to each other to establish a strong power base? Drop an apartment building right in the middle of this to lessen the efficiency of the units your opponent decides to leave back to secure those buildings.
This is also a good tactic with Power Plants as well, though it’s a bit riskier. You give your opponent an extra Power Dice for securing the Power Plant, but if you manage to destroy it, you’ll also return all the units around the building to your opponent’s reserve pool. That’ll REALLY ruin their plans.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out what Monsterpocalypse OP events are in store, you can find Crush Hour right here, and the narrative league here. Don’t wait; go check in with your LGS and see when the first Monsterpocalypse events are being held near you, and then get ready to reach out and crush someone!*
*Don’t literally crush them. Just play a game and have fun. Good luck. I hope you win. Don’t forget to shake hands afterward. it’s the sporting thing to do. Crush games, not dreams. Cheers.