PuzzleNation Product Review: 13 Monsters

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It’s nearly Halloween, and monsters are a seminal part of the season’s festivities.

Maybe you’re hunting them alongside Buffy, the Winchester brothers, or agents Mulder and Scully. Maybe you’re trying to survive them, like any number of nubile teens at parties, secluded cabins, lakeside retreats, or after hours at the school.

Or maybe, you’re making them.

There’s a grand tradition in pop culture of monster-making, from Dr. Frankenstein and Dr. Moreau to Rita Repulsa and Mr. Sinister.

And who hasn’t wanted to make their own monster at one time or another?

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Well, you get your chance in 13 Monsters, a cutesy-spooky build-’em-and-fight-’em game with a load of skill and a little luck required.

13 Monsters combines the attentiveness of Memory, the dice-rolling skills of Yahtzee or Tenzi, and the tactical timing of Bears Vs. Babies or Fluxx to create an enjoyable gameplay experience that’s more fraught with tension than you might expect from a game featuring such heartwarming big-eyed monsters.

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And while we’re on the subject, the art for these thirteen monsters is out of this world. The creatures are visually striking, gorgeously rendered onto the tile pieces, and so vivid that they practically pop out into 3-D.

Each has a distinct flavor, adding horns, fangs, wings, and all sorts of tiny details to hint at the deeper, darker worlds they might inhabit. I cannot say enough good things about the art direction behind this game.

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The game starts with a 9×9 grid of tiles, all face down. The pieces of thirteen different monsters are scattered across this grid, and you must find matching pairs of monster pieces to build your gruesomely adorable fighters. If you flip two tiles and they don’t match, your turn is over.

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Once you locate a pair — the two tiles making up the top of the head, the two tiles making up the eyes, or the two tiles making up the body — you place it in the play area in front of you, and you may draw again. You can keep drawing until you fail to make a match.

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If you have all three sets — no matter if they’re from the same monster or their element symbols match — you combine them to form a full monster.

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Once you have a full monster, you can attack your opponents with the goal of taking one of their matched pairs for yourself. (This is one way to assemble a complete, matching monster.)

Different monster combinations have different powers as well, depending on how many of your sets match. This can grant you the power to swap parts between your monsters, freeze tiles on the memory board to prevent other players from taking them, or look at additional tiles on the memory board.

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As you can see, there’s a lot going on at once, and the more monsters you assemble, the more options you have available. You need to keep track of what tiles have been revealed, what pairs your opponents have, what pairs you need, how dangerous their monsters are, and how dangerous your monster is. (There’s also the threat of the thirteenth monster out there, which is the most powerful.)

Testing your memory, your ability to assemble the best monster from the pieces you have available, and gauging when to strike for maximum effect, this game will keep board gamers and puzzle fans alike on their toes.

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We were impressed by how much gameplay was packed into what seemed like a simple memory/combat mashup game. The wealth of options available, the stunning artwork, and the addictive gameplay quickly made it a hit at the gaming table.

Plus the relative family friendliness of the monsters ensured that younger players could get into the game as well, exposing themselves to several different gameplay styles all at once.

While it may remind you of Dr. Frankenstein’s famous creation, 13 Monsters is no cobbled-together stroke of luck. It’s a well-assembled machine.

[13 Monsters is available from 13-monsters.com and select European outlets.]


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View a Clue: Crossword Characters Answers!

A few weeks ago, we brought back one of our trickiest recurring features: the View a Clue game!

If you recall, I selected ten fictional characters that commonly show up in crossword grids — some have become crosswordese at this point — to see if the PuzzleNation audience could identify them from pictures.

Without further ado, let’s give it a shot!


#1 (4 letters)

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[Image courtesy of Heroes and Villains Fandom.]

Answer: ODIE, loyal and drooly companion of Garfield and his owner Jon Arbuckle


#2 (4 letters)

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[Image courtesy of Pinterest.]

Answer: ASTA, beloved dog of film detectives Nick and Nora Charles in the Thin Man series


#3 (3 letters)

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[Image courtesy of Redbubble.]

Answer: REN, from Nickelodeon’s Ren & Stimpy


#4 (4 letters)

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[Image courtesy of Disney Fandom.]

Answer: SMEE, Captain Hook’s right-hand man from the Peter Pan stories


#5 (4 letters) [I’ve included two possible characters for this one.]

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[Images courtesy of E! Online and Wikipedia.]

Answer: ELSA


#6 (4 letters)

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[Image courtesy of Hulu.]

Answer: EYRE, more specifically Jane Eyre


#7 (4 letters)

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[Image courtesy of Amazon.]

Answer: IGOR, the assistant of Dr. Frankenstein


#8 (5 letters)

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[Image courtesy of Soap Central.]

Answer: ERICA, more specifically Erica Kane of All My Children


#9 (4 letters)

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[Image courtesy of Getty Images.]

Answer: AHAB, Captain of the Pequod from Moby-Dick


#10 (3 letters)

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[Image courtesy of Warner Bros.]

Answer: RIN, as in Rin Tin Tin, the famous Hollywood dog


How many did you get? Let me know in the comments below! And if you have ideas for another View a Clue game, tell us below!

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything PuzzleNation!

You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore the always-expanding library of PuzzleNation apps and games on our website!

It’s Follow-Up Friday: Spooky Puzzling edition!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

By this time, you know the drill. Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and bring the PuzzleNation audience up to speed on all things puzzly.

And today, I’m posting the results of our #PennyDellSpookyPuzzles hashtag game!

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You may be familiar with the board game Schmovie, hashtag games on Twitter, or @midnight’s Hashtag Wars segment on Comedy Central.

For over a year now, we’ve been collaborating on puzzle-themed hashtag games with our pals at Penny Dell Puzzles, and this month’s hook was #PennyDellSpookyPuzzles, mashing up Penny Dell puzzles and anything and everything having to do with Halloween, horror movies and TV, costumes, Octobers, anything spooky!

Examples include Trick by Brick, Halloweaver Words, & Stepping Tombstones.

So, without further ado, check out what the puzzlers at PuzzleNation and Penny Dell Puzzles came up with!


Spooky Puzzles!

Boodoku

Zombie ZigZags

Anagram Magic Scare

Creepy Crawler Crosswords

Wicked Witch Word Seeks

Fang-Tastic Fill-Ins

Scaremaster

Sprite of Way

Four-Ghost

Crypto-Zoo-mbies

Exchange Ouija Boards

Skull-a-crostics

Tombworms

Pumpkins, Please

Guess Boo!

Witch Way Words

Missing Howls

Jigsaw Scares

Word Shriek

Heads & Tails & Arms & Teeth & Feet & Brains & Ears & . . .

Four Coroners

Gore-Master / Grand Gore / Lucky Gore

Jeepers Creepers Word Seekers

Who’s Lurking in the Shadows

Skull and Crossbone Word Game Puzzles

Frameworked for Murder

Missing Body Vowels

Tortured Soulocrostics

Sunday Bloody Sunday Crosswords

Wherewolf Are They Now?

Mummystery Word

Crazy for Ghosts

Double Trouble, toil and trouble

Crackerjack-o’-lantern

Black Cat-egories


Spooky Movie and TV Puzzles!

Tales from the Cryptograms / Tales from the Crypto-Zoo

The Nightmare Before-’n’-Aft Christmas

Frankenstein’s Mon-Star Words

Frankenine of Diamonds

Frame-kenstein

Cujo-ku / SudoCujo

Salem’s Lottery / Salem’s Lotto

Carrie-Overs

Pet Sum-etary

Dash-IT / Zip IT

Criss-Crosstine

The Texas Changaword Massacre / The Texas Chain Words Massacre

An Anagram Werewolf in London / An Anagram Here & There-wolf in London

The Rocky Horror Picture This Show / The Rocky Horror Picture Sleuth

“Let’s do the Timed Framework again.”

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Alfred Hitchcock’s…..The Bird Words

“Mirror Mirror on the wall, who’s the best Extreme Sudoku player of them all?”

Scream Talk

Eight Heads and Tails in a Duffle Bag

Heads and Tails-Less Horseman

Polterguess Who?

“They’re Here and There.”

Countdown Dracula

Hotel Transyllacrostic

The Addams Family Ties

Elvira: Missing List of the Dark

Crackerjacks Skellington

Zombie ApocalBlips

“I saw a werewolf drinking a Pine Cone Colada at Trade-Off Vic’s. His hair was Perfect Fit.”

Chips, the Friendly Ghost

The Legend of Spellbound Hollow

The All Mixed Up Family

“It’s the Guess Who Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”

Halloween III: Season of the Witch Way Words

Anagram-ville Horror / Amityville Scorewords

Rows Garden’s Baby

Pumpkinheads & Tails

“Let’s play a Word Game!”

It’s just a framework…framework night…it’ll get you so Tangled…you won’t know What’s Left when the Shadows come to fright…

“Ooooo who knows other than Vincent Price will turn back the clock… “Tick Tock” “Tick Tock” time to Wordseek, before the wicked Queen Ellery strikes…


Have you come up with any Penny Dell Spooky Puzzles entries of your own? Let us know! We’d love to see them!

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything PuzzleNation!

You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore the always-expanding library of PuzzleNation apps and games on our website!