The centerpiece of Monsters Menace America is the monsters. Each giant monster is unique. They're rated for their starting health, move, defense, number of attacks, damage per attack, and special ability. Each monster's record tile also indicates its origin and its war cry (and if you think those won't come up in play, then you're doing something wrong). Health is tracked on the record tiles with plastic clips that slide up and down along the cards' edges.
There are six to choose from:
- Konk, the giant, prehistoric ape, gets a bonus when swatting fighters out of the sky.
- Gargantis, the praying mantis that survived the first atomic test blast, is slightly slower than the others, but because it flies, it ignores the presence of blocking terrain, military units, and other giant monsters during movement.
- Tomanagi, the last surviving tomanagisaurus, starts with an extra point of Health and gets a bonus attack when it occupies a sea or coastal space.
- Megaclaw, who crawled from an irradiated Louisiana swamp, starts with two bonus Health points and gains an extra Infamy token when it stomps an Infamy site.
- Toxicor, the blob from the Hudson River, is a mass of mutations; when it mutates, it gets to choose between two mutation cards.
- Zorb, from the planet Opticus Omega, is limited to moving only on land but has the option of taking Infamy tokens instead of Health when stomping cities.
Monsters Menace America isn't only about monsters, though. Besides your monster, each player also controls one branch of the military: Army, Air Force, Navy, or Marines. A fifth branch, the National Guard, is also present but not controlled by any single player.
These military forces have tanks, missile launchers, rocket launchers, fighters, nuclear submarines, and cruise missiles to throw against the giant monsters that are stomping everything in sight. Of course, because they're small and have no mutant powers, they're at a huge disadvantage. Expect military units to be destroyed in droves -- when they're your opponent's units, smashing them by the claw, paw, or pincerful is great fun. The good news is, there's always more where those twisted wrecks came from. In sufficient numbers, military units can hurt a giant monster or even force one to retreat from a well-protected city. In small numbers, they can slow down monsters by sitting on likely paths. (It's a lousy job, but in this game, someone's got to do it.)
Three military units deserve special mention, because they're special units: the X-fighters, Captain Colossal, and Mecha-Monster. No one starts with these units. They come into play through military research, and it's quite possible that they won't show up in every game. The X-fighters are super stealth fighters with better defense and more potent weapons. Captain Colossal and Mecha-Monster are like smaller monsters -- each has a record tile to track its Health, Move, Defense, Attacks, and Damage. One of these giant military units is worth an army of tanks and fighters.
Research can produce other benefits for your military units, too: 2nd Generation Tanks, Antimatter Ammo, Anti-Mutagen Rays, Defense Satellites, Fusion Power Cells, and the Laser Fence are some of the possible developments. Of course, inter-service rivalry doesn't go away just because giant monsters are ravaging the country. The research cards that you draw help only your military units, and many of them work only once (such breakthrough technology is fragile, after all).
If you missed the first Monsters Menace America preview, go read it now! You should never watch the sequel before the original.