Category: Special Topic

The Giant Hula Monster #5 – Return of the Astro-Games

In the last installment, I began looking at some movies to turn into a game. I’ve been sidetracked somewhat. Invasion: Hollow Earth has developed into a pretty tight little two player game. And it has birthed a much larger and more complex game keeps the core tile movement / path-building mechanic and added some scoring elements. And the theme has changed to a sapper idea. A sapper is a combat engineer. They clean mines, build bridges and trenches, and things like that. It is also the name given to the Urak-hai / goblins in The Two Towers who blow up the wall of Helm’s Deep. And that’s the aspect that this game borrows. The players are now opposing forces trying to breach / destroy the other’s wall defenses by getting men across the grid to the other side. Same mechanic as before but bigger and the player’s men have a point value / strength that is matched to the wall segment they encounter. If their strength is higher they blow up the wall section. If not they have to wait for re-enforcements. So the theme has changed on the larger game. The smaller one is still science fiction. I could count this as a win for this challenge and probably will. Additionally I have built an Invasion of The Body Snatchers / The Faculty scenario for Dread. It’s good but hasn’t been played yet. I’ll count that too. But I want to keep going. So I need a movie. The ones above are good but there are a few more I should consider. Here’s a list:

Attack of the Moon Zombies by Christopher R. Mihm

The Killer Shrews

Attack of the Giant Leeches

Attack of The Moon Zombies

Detached head movies – The Head, Man Without A Body, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die – have to keep your brain alive – resource management, pick up and deliver, worker placement – brain controls minions that bring needed things – brain goal vs. dying

Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake – set collection of shrunken heads

I kind of like the detached head movie idea. I can see cobbling together those mechanics to build a decent game. Brain goal could be the perfect body or similar. Interesting. I’ll chase this idea and see where it goes. Steampunk robot body theme (Hellboy’s nemesis) or actual Frankenstein theme…

So which detached head movie to do.  First, let’s change that to disembodied head or brain. Next, how could this work. Disembodied head / brain controls several minions (players have 2-3 of their own meeples.). There is also the local village / town that will be a pool of workers that can be temporarily controlled (player meeple has to be used to recruit). The common meeples are used only one turn at a time. There could be special meeples that are required to do certain tasks and these have to be shared between players.

The Thing That Couldn’t Die – ancient sorceror’s head is dug up and takes control of local populace until a psychic teenager stops it. Could be cool and this is a very obscure movie.

Donovan’s Brain – this film doesn’t really lend itself to a game I don’t think.

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die – similar to Thing but the head is the scientist’s girlfriend and there’s a ‘monster’, a failed experiment, who is under the brain’s control. This one seems to fit my ideas best.


So one of these will be the basis for the game. And I finally have a game for the title I saved a couple of years ago – Not Enough Igors. A slight change here in that now each player has one Igor of their own and have to share the others. There are either a pool of villagers to compete for each turn OR it is semi-coop and the players use each other’s Igors. Don’t know yet.

The Giant Hula Monster #4- Son of The Astro-Games

Let’s look at a few movies that popped into my mind. First was The Blob. Ryan and I have been talking a lot lately about cooperative games. It’s the town versus The Blob. The Blob is set up perfectly for a co-op. Ryan had the same thought. It would seemingly be a excellent example for a game. But the rights are not in public domain so a direct use of The Blob is probably not going to happen. It’s easy to change the specifics and still keep the spirit. This is a valid idea and I may go that route. Other movies in the goo category are The Quatermass Experiment, X-The Unknown, Caltiki – the Immortal Monster, The Monolith Monsters, The Green Slime (which would be a good one),  and The Creeping Terror (a very good candidate).

All of these movies feature the unstoppable mass creature overtaking a town or city. This is prime territory of a co-op game where the players are the various townspeople working together to stop the threat. Characters could include your typical police officer(s), teenagers no one believes, the school teacher, the doctor, a visiting scientist of some sort, and some creature fodder.

We need to look at the psychology of these movies. The terror of facing something that you have little chance of stopping is paramount. That tension or threat has to be felt. How to do that? Chris Kirkman and I talked a bit about this on The Go Forth And Game Podcast a while back. You can listen to that here. Fighting a nigh unstoppable creature screams kaiju also but there are quite a few kaiju fighting games out there so I’ll not go in that direction.

Designing a cooperative game is a daunting adventure. I would like to make one at some point and will but I think, for now, I’ll hold off.

So that gets back to finding a movie to turn into a game. Hmmmmm.

The Vampire Bat – One of my new top 25 monster movies. I discovered this through Monster Kid Radio.

Cave of The Living Dead – Another MKR discovery.

Dead Men Walk – A Bela Lugosi film that could be interesting as a game.

The Trollenberg Terror – Giant eye creatures attacking a science station in the Alps. That screams castle defense game. Maybe.

Mystery of the Wax Museum/House of Wax – I love House of Wax. Vincent Price gives a amazing performance. I had not seen Mystery (the older film) but once again thanks to MKR I checked it out. It is very, very good and the color work is pretty cool. Lionel Atwill again.

The Land Unknown – lost world + dinosaurs. One of my favorite themes. Could be a race to escape game.

Robot Monster (!) – The Classic. I would love to build something with this theme. But nothing comes to mind at the moment.

It Came From Outer Space – One player is the creatures and one player is the townspeople; possible and it has a twist ending that would be neat to convey.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers – All start out as human but as draw cards (or something) players are changed. At some point the game ends and the side with the most players wins? is This a really interesting idea but could be very hobbled by randomness of the draws. A draft may work where you pass your cards to a neighbor. So the ‘infected’ would be trying to ‘infect’ their neighbors. Everyone would know eventually who is who. The game would have to be timed. And there would need to be some way for the uninfected to fight against infection. A discard of some sort. I should follow up on this.

There are a few of the movies that I thought of off the top of my head. We will delve deeper in the next installment of The Giant Hula Monster.