Originally released back in 1971 the monster cereals from General Mills have been a staple at the breakfast table for the fall season ever since. Pretty much everyone has heard of Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry as all three cereals are still produced to this day. Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy were also once a part of the line, but were discontinued quite a few years back. While I am quite familiar with these brands, I have to admit that I can’t remember actually eating any of these cereals before. I mostly mention this because I don’t really have any nostalgia for the theme of today’s game Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game. I was still intrigued by the game though because it seemed like an interesting twist on your typical card game. Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game may not revolutionize the card game genre in any meaningful ways, but it succeeds at creating a fun and easy card game that everyone can enjoy.
How to Play Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game
- Each player chooses a Monster/Cereal Brand. They will take the corresponding Cereal Cards, Cereal Bowl, and Monster Power tokens.
- Each player will shuffle their Cereal Cards and place them face down in front of themselves. The players will draw the top twelve cards in order to form their hand for the first hand.
- All of the players will take one Milk Token. The rest of the Milk Tokens will be placed in the center of the table.
- The player who most recently ate a bowl of cereal will start the game.
Playing the Game
Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game is played over three hands with each hand consisting of multiple rounds.
Each round begins with the first player playing a card from their hand to their Bowl. The player can choose any card they want.
The next player clockwise will then be able to play a card from their hand to their Bowl. This card must either equal or be higher than the number played by the previous player.
Throughout the game players will acquire Milk Tokens. These Milk Tokens allow players to play two or more cards together. Once a Milk Token is used it will be returned to the middle of the table. For each Milk Token you use you will get to play one additional card. When you use Milk Tokens you will add the numbers on all of the played cards. This total is the value that future players will have to match or beat. Milk Tokens can be used in one of two ways.
A Milk Token(s) can be used in order to play two or more cards of the same number.
A Milk Token(s) can also be used in order to play two or more cards in numerical order.
Multiple Milk Tokens can be used in order to play more than one additional card. Each additional Milk token allows a player to play one additional card. All of the cards that are played though have to either be the same number or in numerical order.
At the beginning of the game each of the players will get two Monster Power Tokens. These tokens grant the players special abilities. Once a token is used though it is returned to the box as each can only be used once in a game.
Each Monster Power Token will indicate when it can be used. It can only be used at the time indicated on the card.
End of Round
If a player doesn’t have a card(s) to play or they choose not to play one, they will pass their turn. When a player passes their turn they will not get to play any more cards for the rest of this round. By passing they will take a Milk Token from the middle of the table. They will also take the cards from their Bowl and add them to their scoring pile. The cards that they still have in their hand will remain as they will be used in the next round.
When there is only one player remaining in the round, the current round will end. The last remaining player will take the cards from their Bowl and add them to their scoring pile. This player will not get to take a Milk Token though. This player will get to start the next round by playing any card(s) they want from their hand.
End of Hand
When a player plays the last card from their hand, the hand will end immediately even if the current round hasn’t been completed.
All of the players will move the cards from their Bowl to their scoring pile.
Players who still have cards left in their hand will discard those cards to the box as they won’t be used for the rest of the game.
Each of the players will then draw twelve new cards in order to form their next hand. If the Boo Berry player used their “Ghostly” power, they will only draw ten cards for their third hand.
The player who played all of their cards in the previous hand will start the next hand.
End of Game
The game ends after the third hand is completed.
Each of the players will then count up how many cards are in their scoring pile. The player who has the most cards in their scoring pile will win the game. If there is a tie, the tied player with the most Milk Tokens will win. If there is still a tie the tied players will share the victory.
My Thoughts on Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game
On the surface Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game might seem like your typical card game. This is true to some degree. Basically the premise behind the game is to try and get rid of your cards as quickly as possible. Players take turns playing cards from their hand that are either equal to or higher than the previously played card. The last player to play a card gets to start the next set of cards. This continues until one player plays the last card from their hand. The basic objective of the game is to try and play as many cards from your hand during the game as possible.
In many ways Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game plays like your typical shedding/trick taking game. The game doesn’t really revolutionize the genre in any significant way, but it doesn’t really have to either. The game is fun because it focuses on what most people enjoy about this genre. While not a great comparison I actually think the game is similar to UNO in this way. In many ways I thought it felt like a more complicated UNO. Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game doesn’t feature the special ability cards or the number/color matching, but the overall gameplay still feels very similar. The objective of both games is to get rid of all of your cards even if it is done in different ways.
The first thing that I think Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game gets right is the simplicity. I am a strong believer in not making a game any more difficult than it needs to be. The game does a good job following that guidance. The game has a recommended age of 9+, but I honestly don’t see why it couldn’t be even a little lower as outside of some basic math skills there is nothing too complicated about the game. I honestly think you could teach the game to new players within just a couple minutes. This is one of the main reasons why I thought it compared favorably to UNO. Like UNO it is one of those types of games that are easy to play and you don’t have to spend a bunch of time thinking about your next move. You can quickly analyze your options and choose what you want to do instead of thinking over every possible option. This simplicity also leads to the game playing pretty quickly as I would guess that most games could be finished within around 20 minutes.
Like most card games there is a decent amount of luck in the game. There really wasn’t any way to avoid it as the cards you end up drawing are going to have an impact on what ultimately happens in the game. If you draw a bad hand of cards you are going to have a hard time doing well in the game. There will be times in the game where it feels like your options are limited due to the cards that you draw. A really bad draw of cards could lead to you being able to play less cards on your turn. For example you could be dealt a bunch of low value cards in one round which will be hard to get rid of.
I think Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game does a much better job in this area than most similar card games though. I think a lot of this has to deal with the fact that each player has their own dedicated deck. Each of the decks feature the exact same cards. Therefore one player won’t get more high value cards (easier to play) and another players will get more low value cards (harder to play). All of the players will get the same cards in the game, the only thing that differentiates the players is when they get these cards.
This adds more strategy to the game than you would expect. Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game was never going to be considered a highly strategic game, but there is more to the game than first impressions might seem. There is skill to doing well in the game as when you choose to play cards will make a difference in what ultimately ends up happening. Generally you want to play low value cards when you can as they are much harder to get rid of. Because of this it is important to win some of the rounds so you can start the next round with a low value card. It is usually pretty obvious what card you should play on a given turn, but there are times in the game where you have to make a key decision which will have an impact on what ultimately happens. For example you may voluntarily pass on a round when you otherwise could have played, in order to keep cards that will help you win a future round as well as receive a Milk Token that you could need for a future round.
The area of the game that probably adds the most strategy to the game though is probably the Milk Tokens. The Milk Tokens basically offset being quickly eliminated from a round. The Milk Tokens can actually play a big role in the game if played at the right time. Basically the Milk Tokens allow players to play two or more cards at the same time. You could choose to use a Milk Token to get rid of two low value cards that would otherwise be hard to get rid of, or you could create a large number that will be hard for the other players to beat. How you choose to combine cards together allows you to keep playing in a round when you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. These tokens add a really interesting element to the game and are responsible for many of the decisions in the game. How you choose to use your Milk Tokens could play a big role in how well you do in the game.
One thing that I noticed while playing Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game is the fact that games tend to be really close. In one game we played, first and last place were decided by I believe three cards. Some people might not see this as a positive as it means that you can’t really distance yourself from the other players by making great decisions. At the same time though it keeps players engaged until the very end of the game unless a player has a horrible hand. I think this is a good thing for the game as you never want to be stuck in a game that you have pretty much no chance of winning.
I would say that one of the biggest issues that I had with Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game has to deal with the various monster powers. On the surface I really like the addition of special powers. They add some variety to the game and give players their own unique way of tweaking the gameplay to help themselves out. The problem with the monster powers is that they just don’t feel equal. Many of the powers are pretty similar and don’t have a drastic impact on the game. Then there are a few that can have a huge impact on the game. Because of these powers I think some of the characters are quite a bit more powerful than others. Due to the disparity between the different powers I would honestly consider ignoring the powers entirely. The main reason that I might not do this is that removing the powers would take quite a bit of the character out of the game as each character would play exactly the same.
As for Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game’s theme I think it does a decent job. In some ways the theme does feel a little pasted on as you could have basically applied any theme and the gameplay wouldn’t have changed in any meaningful way. That said I commend the game for putting in a genuine effort to merge the cereal theme with the gameplay. On top of this I thought the game’s components were really good. I personally don’t really have nostalgia for the monster cereals as I never really ate them as a kid. Those with nostalgia for the cereals will likely love what the game did with them. The game’s artwork is great as it really feeds off the nostalgia for the brands. The component quality is also quite good as the cards are well made and the cardboard pieces are much thicker than I would have expected. There really isn’t anything to complain about with regards to the components.
Should You Buy Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game?
At first glance Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game might seem like a card game that was made to capitalize on people’s nostalgia for the classic monster cereal brands. While I thought the game did a solid job utilizing the theme with the components, there is actually more to the game than that. The game shares a lot in common with your typical shedding/trick taking game. This is not a bad thing as it mostly focuses on the best elements of the genre. The game is easy and quick to play and in many ways reminds me of a game like UNO. It does rely on some luck based on when you draw specific cards, but it actually has less luck than you would typically expect. There is actually a decent amount of strategy as well. In particular I thought the addition of the Milk Tokens was really interesting as choosing when to use them adds many of the important decisions to the game. While in theory I liked the addition of the special powers, they seem kind of unbalanced which adds some luck to the game.
My recommendation for Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game comes down to your thoughts on the theme and easy to play shedding/trick taking games. If you have no interest in the theme or think the gameplay doesn’t sound all that interesting, it is unlikely to be for you. Those that are either really interested in the theme or like simpler card games though should get enough out of the game to make it worth checking out.