Let’s Play Thursday: Monsterhearts by Joe Mcdaldno

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Thursday is tabletop night. It is sacred. Every week we do the exact same thing: tacos and banter followed by hours of plot breaking, character building fun. Now I am going to share that tradition with you.

Welcome to Let’s PlayThursday! Come geek out with me each week as I share some of my favorite games.

monsterTitle: Monsterhearts
Author: Joe Mcdaldno
Genre: Roleplaying Games / Urban Fantasy / Paranormal
Publisher: Buried Without Ceremony
Publication Date: 2012

From Goodreads:
A roleplaying game about the messy lives of teenage monsters.

Monsterhearts lets you and your friends create stories about sexy monsters, teenage angst, personal horror, and secret love triangles. When you play, you explore the terror and confusion that comes both with growing up and feeling like a monster.

Based on the Apocalypse World engine, this is a game with emergent story, messy relationships, a structured MC role, and a focus on hard choices.

It’s designed to evoke stories like True Blood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ginger Snaps or The Twilight Saga. If you like supernatural romances, or stories of monstrosity and personal horror, or if you just like watching sexy people ruin their lives, then you’ll love this game

“You play because you have a guilty attraction to supernatural beasts and harlequin love stories, but you harbour the secret presumption that you could write them way better yourself. Good. This is your opportunity to prove it.” ― Joe Mcdaldno, Monsterhearts

Guess what? You can write it better! Play your favorite fantasy character and watch the future you wanted for them unfold before your eyes. Or, write your own characters and create an even more fascinating world with your best friends.

I have played this game a couple of times, and it is amazing! I was the MC (or Game Master) both times and the fact that there was really no prep work on my part made the game feel lightweight and easy. Monsterhearts puts an emphasis on character development and player involvement that makes the MC’s job effortless and enjoyable. Add in the lightweight system and you are basically sitting around the table writing stories with your friends. What could possibly be better than that?

Character creation is also a breeze. Each player chooses a skin from the many available options and then customizes it according to the simple rules. After the players have completed their alter egos party ties are created so your new baby vamp can begin high school with friends (and enemies). Are you the queen bee? The outsider? Who do you sit next to in homeroom? Monsterhearts leaves nothing unexplored.

My only issue was my own fault. Our group was bigger than the game suggests. While you can absolutely accommodate more than four players (not including the MC) it can get a little hectic. The game moves at the pace of the players and mine talk a mile a minute. If I wasn’t accustomed to listening to six people at once I would have been lost. In the future, I would restrict my table to four. Lesson learned.

A succubus, witch, and a vampire are late for class. This sounds like the beginning of a horrible joke, and it could be. Monsterhearts has the potential to be the funniest game you have ever played or the most dramatic. Build your characters and watch them get into trouble with the principle, the police, or demonic forces they can’t comprehend. It can be Trueblood or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You choose. But don’t forget the most important question. Who will be the Homecoming Queen?