Monster’s Ball is a game idea I threw together a while ago (almost two years to the day, judging by the modified date on the files), but decided I didn’t really like after a bit of testing. The name is fairly literal: Each player is a Monster at a grand ball. The monsters are dancing together, but with different and contradictory goals.

Each round is a song. At the start of the round, players draw two cards – a position card, which tells them where they should be at the end of the song, and a dance partner card, which tells them who they are dancing with. If the player draws their own card as a partner, they are dancing alone. These cards are the player’s secret goals for the duration of the song.

dancecards

Players then play a certain number of turns, as set by the current song. Each turn, players secretly choose a dance step card from their hand and reveal simultaneously. Chaos ensures. At the end of the song, players reveal their position and partner dance cards, and gain points as so:

mockup

Position

  • 1 point for correct row
  • 1 point for correct column
  • 1 point for adjacent to position
  • 2 points for being in exact position

Dance Partner

If you have a partner:
2 points for being adjacent to partner

If your partner is yourself
2 points for being adjacent to no-one.

The game finishes after four or so songs.

I liked the idea for Monster’s Ball initially, but then as soon as I started playing it I realized: This is really similar to Roborally. And unlike many people I don’t really care for Roborally. I get what it’s going for, and see why other people would enjoy it, but find the chaos frustrating more than fun. And Monster’s Ball has got chaos in droves. Maybe Monster’s Ball could be developed more by someone else, but it just doesn’t match up with what I try to get out of a game. Sometimes, games just don’t click, and sometimes designing backwards from the name isn’t the best approach.