" It's definitely worth playing now, but my hope is that they add a bit more vigor with the next expansion. "
Title: Those Pesky Humans by Minion Games
Format: Tabletop Fantasy Board Game
Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo
Pretty much every fantasy game ever made has called for you to pick a hero and quest into a dungeon, looting tons of treasure and killing hordes of monsters along the way. Those Pesky Humans asks you to take the opposite role. Now you're the ogres and goblins repelling the evil human invaders, desperately trying to preserve your hard-earned goodies and stash.
What This Monkey Thought...
Or, at least, one of you is. The game's tag line is
slightly misleading, as only one player takes the side of the monsters and the
other (or others, if up to four people are playing) assumes the more traditional
Which means that, at its heart, the game is a pretty straight-forward adversarial dungeon crawl. As the humans, your goal is to march your three heroes through the map in search of three giant gems, and ultimately to escape with them if you can. As the monsters, you design the best anti-human lair you can out of ten random board pieces, populate it with a pleasant mix of goodies and hazards, and then spawn an infinite horde of minions to try and stop them.
Turns are a simple, and familiar, three step process: first you draw a card, which usually includes some form of bonus (or minion, if you're the monster), then you move your pieces, and finally you attack. Combat is resolved with a straight forward dice-plus-attack vs. dice-plus-defense mechanic, though there are frequently special cards that keep it from getting stale.
All of which, I'm sure, sounds pretty familiar. Truthfully, the game's not very deep and is very similar to any number of other fantasy titles. Which is, perhaps, a disservice to the potential of the premise.
Still, Those Pesky Humans makes up for it by being fun. A lot of fun.
It is a game that clearly asks you to pour an adult beverage, grab a couple of buddies, and have a good laugh while tearing up a dungeon. It is mechanically sound while not being overly crunchy, includes a lot of well-meaning cheesecake, and is chock full of genre-referencing humor.
Really, at the end of the day, it's all about a well-balanced combination of light-hearted fantasy and endless combat. And when I say endless, I mean ENDLESS. Though there aren't a huge number of minion types for the monster to spawn, there is a perpetual supply of them, and once the game gets going it's not unusual for a half-dozen combats to get resolved each round. Which means a lot of dice rolling, a lot of special ability cards getting played and, if you're doing it right, a lot of trash talking.
To facilitate all of this slaughter, Those Pesky Humans includes two-dozen monster pieces, four humans, and around fifty object tokens (which include chests, loot, and doors)--all made of die-cut cardboard and with stands when appropriate. The artwork is cute, and the hundred-card draw deck is frequently funny, though unfortunately the overall component quality is only so-so.
Truthfully, it's the component quality that ends up being a pretty good analogy for the game. Those Pesky Humans is not only a fun concept--it's also fun to play. If it only had a little bit more polish, and a bit more depth, it would really be something special. It's definitely worth playing now, but my hope is that they add a bit more vigor with the next expansion.