Developer Diary: Empire of the Apes

Monsterpocalypse is growing again, and it is about to get a lot wilder!

June is here, and with it comes the new Empire of the Apes faction, a pile of gorillas ready to defend the Earth from anyone bent on destroying it. This first month of apes is full of great new additions to the game, and more are on the horizon.

The faction launches, most appropriately, with the undisputed leader of the apes, King Kondo. Having suffered at the hands of misguided humans—and still bearing the chains to prove it—this great ape is no fan of humanity. That doesn’t mean that he’ll just stand by and watch the entire planet be consumed, though. Kondo leads the apes by example, pushing all of your Empire of the Ape units to fight harder in close combat with his Blood Rage ability.

King Kondo has a lot of other interesting abilities on his card, the most important being a combo that has never appeared before. Many monsters have High Mobility, allowing them to bypass other models and hazards on the table. A few other monsters have the Grappler ability, making it impossible for enemy monsters to use their High Mobility on adjacent models and hazards. Kondo is the first model in the game to have both of these abilities, making him a powerful piece for controlling your opponent’s movement around the city.

Along with the king, two packs of Empire of the Ape units come out this month. Both of these sets offer Protectors players interesting new units. The Assault Apes are the faction’s mainline brawling unit. They look fairly routine at first, with High Mobility and Fling with a good brawl stat line, but they do something no other unit has ever done: Assault Apes can roll Power Dice. This pushes their accuracy fairly high, but you have to be careful with them. The Power Hitter rule that gives them access to Power Dice also states their attacks that use those dice can’t generate more. So, you can use the Power Dice to make sure they hit an important target and fling it into a second important target, but you will burn through your red dice very quickly if you make a lot of attacks that way.

The Rocket Ape that comes in the same pack as the Assault Apes is a blaster that can take out swathes of enemy units. Its Multi-Fire ability is capable of shooting three times in one activation, and the ability to Aim those rocket shots makes this model fairly scary. Don’t worry, though, he isn’t a threat to monsters due to the Lone Wolf rule, so he won’t be combining with other units to rapid-fire a monster to death.

The other unit pack has the mainline blaster for the faction. The Ape Gunner is a straightforward unit with a decent ranged attack and All Terrain, allowing it to get around the board better (though not as well as its siblings, as those siblings aren’t lugging around a big cannon!). Where the gunner breaks the mold, however, is with its Brawl attack, meaning it can combine with other units in the faction to help put the hurt on larger targets.

The last new unit, who sneaks into the same pack, is the Ape Infiltrator. This ape can punch a target if needed, but where it really shines is in helping out the ranged units in the Agenda. The Infiltrator has Forward Observer to shut down Cloak on enemies around it and Spotter to make it easier for his friends to shoot those enemies. With his own Cloak and High Mobility, this unit will be handy for any Protectors player.

The final release for this month is a new building associated with the Empire of the Apes. The Jungle Fortress can be used by any player, just as with all of the other buildings. It has the standard Faction Base rule for discount spawning of ape units, but it also has a great rule for everyone. The Patrol Base Action lets you pay one Action Die to grab a unit from your reserves and place it into play adjacent to the Jungle Fortress. Terrasaur players have been enjoying a very similar ability on the Brontox since the end of 2018, and now everyone can add that amount of flexible spawning to their battleplan.

This month kicks off an exciting summer for Monsterpocalypse with a new faction for Protectors, but Destroyer players shouldn’t worry—their new faction is right around the corner in August. And as if that weren’t enough excitement, the releases in June include some updated language to a few abilities that will be appearing in the first official Monsterpocalypse Errata and FAQ that will also be released soon. Keep your eyes on this space for that and other Monsterpocalypse news in the future!