Phil Walker Harding is known for its easy-to-learn games that still offer some scope for tactics. As a result, his games usually offer a good mix for casual and frequent gamers. Monolyth also goes this route and comes with a simple set of rules that should provide enough room for decisions. Like us Asmodee You can find out if you like the titles that appear in this review.
For many years, scholars and prophets have been researching the meaning of these gigantic constructs. But one thing is certain... the gods must have been involved, because who else would be able to place blocks with such precision? Only they know the answer they are looking for...
In Monolyth we build our own mystical monolith. All players receive a game board on which we build our monolith. Different types of blocks are randomly placed on each field around the game board. There is a crystal display on the top field. When it is our turn, we can choose between two actions. Either we move the crystal 1 – 4 spaces further or we make a prophecy.
Let's decide on this with this Crystal to move on, we then take the block belonging to the field and place it on our game board. When placing the stones, we have to make sure that no stone has a free gap underneath. Alternatively, we can also remove the stone from the game and take a single block that can help us out in individual situations.
If we manage to fulfill the draft card valid for the game in the middle of the game board, we receive the most valuable draft tile (square tile) on the game board. As soon as a level has been completely completed, we receive the most valuable level tile (hexagons) that is still on the game board.
Let's not move the crystal any further, but make a prophecy, we can take one of the tiles on the outside and stick it to one side on the edge of our game board. Prophecies give us victory points at the end of the game if we have at least the number of blocks of the color shown on the edge. This means that if we put a prophecy with a value of 10 on an orange border, we need at least 10 orange blocks directly on the side of the orange border. If we manage to place 10 or more orange blocks on the orange edge, we will receive victory points equal to the prophecy at the end of the game.
The game ends as soon as a player has completed 4 levels (1 - 2 person game) or 3 levels (3 + 4 person game). The monoliths are not allowed to be built any higher. Then all the tiles collected and the prophecies are added together and the person with the most points wins.
... and lots of space to think
Monolyth is explained so quickly and easily. Nevertheless, the game has Phil Walker Harding typical, a certain depth that makes you think. So we have to decide cleverly when we want to take a prophecy, for example: Do we prefer to take an important stone or do we secure the prophecy before one of our opponents takes it? Do we start building levels straight away or do we take a detour and try to complete the draft card first so we can secure the most valuable tile? How far do we go with the crystal so that we can best hinder the other player from achieving their goals. A lot of thought can be put into Monolyth.
Monolyth also offers a solo mode, which is just a point hunt, but is still nicely designed. So every time we move the crystal we have to discard one of the prophecies on display. So the solo mode forces us to really quickly estimate the number of blocks per side and creates a nice puzzle out of which prophecies we could possibly fulfill and which we can safely throw away. Once all prophecies are gone, the game ends and you evaluate your monolith.
Information about Monolyth
|Number of players: 1 – 4|
Age: from 8 years
Playing time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Family game
Long-term motivation: medium
Classification: placement game, skill game
Author: Phil Walker-Harding
Illustrations: Davide Tosello
Publisher: Asmodee, CMON Global Limited
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: Q4 2023
Language: German, English, French, Spanish
Cost: 39,99 Euro
We had a lot of fun with Monolyth in the test games. The simple rules, the feel of building the monoliths and the small decisions you make during a game make the game an all-round successful package. Unlike many other games by author Phil Walker-Harding, Monolyth brings enough of a breath of fresh air that we felt entertained even after playing it several times. However, you usually just do the same thing over and over again. You draft stones, build them and make sure you score as many points as possible. We can well imagine that this loop can become boring over time. Especially once you've seen all the draft cards.
Nevertheless: Since Monolyth is a simple, quick game and can bring casual and frequent players to the same level of play, we can well imagine that it will end up on the table often. Children in particular will certainly have a lot of fun with the three-dimensional structure of the monoliths. This also trains their spatial thinking. Thanks to its compact size, you can take Monolyth with you anywhere and unpack it at family evenings, as the start or end of a game evening or simply as a small solo puzzle in between. In our opinion, Monolyth simply does everything right and would therefore confidently recommend it to others.
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