Update: Monster Hunter World: The Board Game has launched on Kickstarter and the campaign will run for 9 days only. You may back one core set (Ancient Forest), both core sets (Ancient Forest and Wildspire Waste), or go all-in and get both sets and their expansions.
Our preview post below was published on April 14.
Monster Hunter World: The Board Game is a 1-4 player cooperative card-driven fighting game with choose-your-own-adventure elements. It is based off of the popular video game by the same name, and it will launch on Kickstarter on April 20.
In Monster Hunter World, you will be playing as a hunter on a quest to find giant monsters, slay them and use their parts to upgrade your weapons. The game comes in two core sets: Ancient Forests and Wildspire Waste. Each contains four hunters and four monsters, and they can be combined. It is a campaign game but it can also be played as a one-off monster battle by using the rules for Arena Quests: these let you hunt any monster at any difficulty level, with any hunters.
Gameplay consists of 3 phases: the Gathering phase, the Hunting phase, and the HQ phase. In the Gathering phase, you will be using the game's Quest books. For example, all the adventures for the Ancient Forest monsters are in the Ancient Forest Quest book. Each monster has its own section in the book, and you will be presented with potential starting points for your quest. The choices you make will lead you to discover monster tracks, and help you find the monster you want to hunt.
In the Hunting phase, the fight between monster and hunters takes place. The monster acts first. Each monster has a deck of behaviour cards from which you will draw one on its turn to determine what it does. It will usually be a movement and an attack.
Behaviour cards are read from left to right. The example above shows a card from the Great Jargas monster deck. The eye symbol is a targeting symbol and it means the monster will go after the hunter that’s furthest away. Next to it is the movement symbol. The number 3 indicates that the Great Jagras will move 3 nodes towards its target, that is the furthest hunter. Once it gets there, you then check the attack symbol. The number 6 in the centre is how much damage the hunter will take if they are hit. The grid in the top right shows where the attack will reach, measured by monster arcs.
The markings on a monster’s base show the arcs—front, left, right, and rear:
This Belly Charge attack has the top of the grid highlighted red, which means the attack will hit every hunter in the monster’s front arc—whether they’re the target or not. The number on the yellow circle in the top left is the attack’s range counted in nodes. In this case, 1. Combined with the arc symbol in the top right, this means Belly Charge will hit every hunter within the Jagras’ front arc that’s standing within range 1.
The number 3 in the bottom left tells you how difficult an attack is to dodge. The higher the number, the harder it is to avoid. The number 2 in the blue circle is how many hunter turns can take place, and the number in the grey symbol shows how many attack cards each hunter can play during their turn (in this case, 2).
Let us now see how the hunters react: each hunter has a different fighting style, different weapons, and different upgrades. Your hunter has a stamina board on which you will be placing their attack cards. On your turn, you will play attack cards from your hand onto the stamina bar on the board, to show that the hunter is spending stamina as they attack. Once the board is full, the stamina is depleted and the hunter can't attack any more until they recover.
When you make an attack, you’ll often draw one or more damage cards to determine how much damage you have inflicted on the monster. When your damage deck runs out, your weapon is blunt, and won’t cause any more damage until you sharpen it (which resets and shuffles your damage deck).
Attack cards are also read from left to right. The first symbol (number 1 in the picture above) is the movement symbol. This means the hunter can move up to 1 node on the game board when making this attack. The next symbol is a damage symbol (also a 1). So, when you play this card, you’ll draw one damage card to find out how much damage the attack does to the monster. The last symbol is the stun symbol, hitting the monster with a stun token. The symbol in the top left corner shows which weapon the attack card belongs to (in this case, the great sword). The symbol in the bottom left shows the range of the attack. Finally, the symbol in the top right corner is the agility symbol which allows you to spend an attack card to move.
As you craft new weapons, you will replace these cards with more powerful ones. Which brings us to the third gameplay phase, that is the HQ phase. This is the weapon crafting phase when every hunter can improve their weapons by using ore, bone and monster parts.
When playing solo, you have to control a pair of hunters.