Moonstone (www.moonstonethegame.com) is a self-styled Wonderful Whimsical fantasy game from Goblin King Games. If the company name reminds you of the babe (what babe? The babe with the power!) that’s because the game is firmly entrenched in that Henson aesthetic of armoured goblins, lumbering trolls, vicious faeries and curious gnomes with a fondness for beer and teacakes.
It’s a very accessible, self contained and portable game, with some surprisingly deep strategy. And although it’s a miniature game, every single bit of the game can be printed for FREE! That’s free rules, cards decks, paper versions of the models – all absolutely free (CLICK HERE)!
That said, we absolutely recommend you get some of these gorgeous miniatures and use our cracking 20% off discount code to do so!
Honestly, we spoil you sometimes.
The game takes place in the (mostly) peaceful fantasy world of Tauber, with players taking troupes (groups) of up to 6 characters. There’s never more than 12 models on the table, so in multiplayer that can be as few as 3 each.
Players compete to dig up Moonstones, precious magical gems that vanish by daylight, and inevitably squabbling with weapons, magic, bribery and outright theft. The Moonstones themselves are represented by dropping a handful of d4s onto a 3×3 surface, and opponents have 4 quick turns to get the most!
A big selling point of this game is how quick and portable it is: it’s a fully playable (and satisfying) wargame that can be set up, played and packed away in under an hour. It’s also very family friendly: with all information you need on each individual character’s card, it’s very accessible – my 13 year old is currently obsessed.
The game is driven by a mix of regular d6 dice with cards for combat and magic. There’s some fantastic mechanics at the core, alongside a simple resource management element of Energy for actions and abilities. Generally, the more combat oriented a character is, the less energy they have: so giants and trolls typically only have 2, humans and goblins are in the middle around 3, whilst faeries can have as much as 6.
Cards are used for combat, where a mix of different moves are possible and you have to try to outmaneuver your opponent – do you try to block that incoming strike, or risk a parry? It’s a very enjoyable mechanic, reminiscent of some of the old combat card games (or the Highlander TCG, if you ever played that).
Each character also has a signature move, which triggers with specified combat cards, and can be anything from extra damage, to turning the opponent’s attack back on them, to slipping away, and everything in between.
The magic system is likewise card based, but is also dependent on a bluff mechanic: call your opponent’s bluff, and it can be a literal Catastrophe, but if you’re wrong they get to use their ability twice over. It’s a very strong system, as with a very limited deck of cards you aren’t trying to count or second guess more than a dozen cards, making accessible for all ages and abilities.
The models themselves are exquisitely detailed resin, quirky and full of character. Mostly, they’re a breeze to assemble, with minimal cleanup and gapping – again, very accessible. The exception is the the faeries though, they are not for the faint-hearted, extremely delicate and definitely for the more experienced modeler (which to be fair, is not unlike how they are to play).
MOONSTONE – THE ARISING
We were also lucky enough to catch a bit of a sneak peek from Tom, the Goblin King himself.
Coming on June 5th is the Kickstarter for The Arising, along with a stunning promo version of the Queen Of the Fae, Diana Enraged.
As well as mountains of backstory, in the book we’ll be getting full details of the Leshavault, and the as-yet unseen humans of the Dominion – unseen by all, as their masks hide all the wages of centuries of sin – along with ten new scenarios, a full campaign system, clarifications and rules variants and more, along with a full deck of new cards to upgrade characters and support the campaign system!
Now of course no battlefield is complete with a bit of terrain. You really don’t need much for Moonstone (compared to some, anyway), and you just can’t beat a bit of MDF.
Our fabulous chums at ttcombat.com (whose excellent modern urban scatter we’ve previously reviewed) make both brilliant, generic buildings such as the excellent Rusty Blade Tavern above (£10, CLICK HERE) and also the official Moonstone Terrain as part of their Fantasy Realms range (CLICK HERE).
We’re especially partial to the very quirky Briar Rose Cottages (£12, CLICK HERE):
It’s a cracking wee kit, mostly holds together with pressure – a breeze to assemble. Total bargain at £12 for the pair.
And if you want a set of your very own, well, you can WIN a set of your very own (check the end of the article to find out how)!
Here, we’re playing the scenario, “Go Home Fritz, You’re Drunk” from the main rulebook using the Rusty Blade and one of the cottages.
Also pictured are Agatha and Fritz from the Tumbledown Street Commonwealth Box, Dim& Dimmer the mercenary giant, and Doug the Flatulent and the Vicious Midget from the 2-player starter.
So what more can we say? Moonstone is a great game, and you’re supporting small businesses in these trying times – as well as treating yourself to a quirky slice of fantasy fun.
If this article has caught your attention, you’d be well advised to pick up the two-player starter kit from Goblin King and get a whopping 20% off with our exclusive discount code – BIGCOMIC20 – netting you 2 troupes EACH with an exclusive figure, rules, cards, tokens and dice for a measly £52! Absolute bargain.
Please note that this code will only work between April 17th and May 2nd 2021.
And if you’re in the market for some high quality mats at a discount price, our gamemat.eu discount code is BIGCOMIC10 .
Go get ’em!
To be in with a chance of winning the fab ‘Briar Rose Cottages’ Moonstone scenery (UK entrants only, alas), just do the social tango (like, comment and share) and tell us your favourite Moonstone mini in the comments here, on Facebook, on Twitter and/or Instagram!
Remember, every comment gets you an entry!
And finally, the winner of our Hasbro Pulse UK Giveaway is @talonsword_foundry on Instagram!
Get in touch with your details to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you your prize!
Check back in a couple of weeks as we look at the new Hellboy KS to find out the winner of the TT Combat prize!