Wrapped in a cute monster format (think Monsters Inc without the IP), Monster Mayhem could be the ultimate Prisoner's Dilemma party game!
In this simple but engaging game from Jarom Higley with art by Ethan Brown, players are confronted with a series of location/scenarios. You'll play with eight of these, but the game comes with 20, so there's ample scope for variety and replayability. Players each have a satisfyingly weighty poker-chip coin that can be used to indicate various binary choices: yes/no, left/right, stay/go. For each scenario, your monsters will be asked to vote one or more of the binary choices and the positive or negative points depend not just on your choice but on the decisions made by the other players. The 'party' element is in your discussion of the scenario and negotiation on how you should all vote. In most of the locations/scenarios, you can score relatively well if you're the only player who is out of step with the others but if a lot of the monsters take the selfish option, they'll all do badly...
There's good variety in the scenarios - it's certainly not just more of the same - so there's little danger of players losing interest before the end, and the locations have been designed to scale up as the game progresses so that it builds to a climactic finish. At some locations, players are randomly divided into two competing teams - albeit just for that scenario.
From our Board's Eye View plays, we certainly found this game was at its best at higher player counts. For sure, you can play it with just four or five, but you'll have a lot more fun when you play it with a group of 8 or 9 or more. In fact, the game accommodates up to 12 players, and upping the player count doesn't appreciably extend the playing time: you can comfortably play Monster Mayhem in 30 minutes.
Shown here on Board's Eye View is a preview prototype of Monster Mayhem produced ahead of the game's upcoming Kickstarter launch. You can expect some changes in the finished version - for example, to the monsters' score trackers - so it's definitely one to check out. We'll add a link to the KS when it goes live.