Tag: astro-monster

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 #3- Conception of The Astro-Games

So last time I talked about where the idea of making the Astro-Games started. It came from my life long love of monster, science fiction, and horror movies. Not the ‘modern’ ones. Mostly pre-1975. Especially those from the 1950’s. That was the heyday of the B-movie. I love ‘em. No matter how ‘bad’ it might be, I’ll watch it. There’s something good in every movie. Even Manos-Hands of Fate has Torgo, who is fun if only to watch the actor moving around as the character. So I thought this would be a nice well to draw from for game theme. But what movie to do?

I think I’ll continue with The Survivor but as a roll and write. The game calls to me and I want to do something with it. It would be cool to actually do it as Robinson Crusoe On Mars. That would be awesome. I was initially discouraged when Desolate came out but I can set The Survivor apart as I have a bigger scope for it. And I think it will work as a roll and write maybe. So there is one science fiction themed game I’ll work on in 2019.

The second is Invasion: Hollow Earth. I love the Hollow Earth theme. It’s so cool to think about all the different ‘theories’ about a Hollow Earth. The Pellucidar series by Edgar Rice Burroughs is a super fun read. The movies from that property are ok, fun but definitely hurt by budget limitations. But there is Peter Cushing. But the one movie that comes to mind here is The Mole People. Made by Universal in 1956 and starring John Agar and Hugh Beaumont, this movie has been a favorite of mine for a very long time. The game developed out of playtesting Daniel Solis’ Athelion. His game is using the Avignon shifting mechanic and I thought this could be a cool thing to work with also. Initially the game was about escaping a sinking ship. But the Mole People / Invasion theme just occurred to me one day. And it works with the game well. The game is in early design as a tile shifting game. There is a grid of tunnel tiles between the two players and each player has a few of these tiles in their hands. The goal is to slide in tiles from their hand into the grid to make clear paths to the other side, moving your meeples along the paths as you go. The tunnels constantly change as tiles are moved in and out. But it works. I’ve playtested it at a Game Designers of North Carolina meeting and got very positive feedback. It’s coming along nicely. That makes two science fiction games for 2019. Can I do another? We will find out in the next installment of … Invasion of The Astro-Games!