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Monster Hunter World

How Monsters Work | Journal #7 | Monster Hunter World: The Board Game

Published on March 17th 2021

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Members of the Fifth Fleet! You’re ready. Today, we get our first real taste of the hunt. 

It’s time to talk about what you can expect from the tabletop monsters of the New World. 

How they move. How they attack. And how to face them.

If you haven’t yet joined the Gathering Hub, now’s the time. You’ll want allies after reading this.

Go to the Gathering Hub

Monster Mechanics in Monster Hunter World: The Board Game

From the journal of Jamie Perkins, Lead Developer

It's good you’ve learned a thing or two about being a hunter, because the monsters of the New World are no joke. 

They’re wild, they’re deadly, and they like to throw their (significant) weight around. So much so that it’s actually the monster who controls the flow of battle, while you react to their behaviours and pick up small clues on what they might do next. 

Lucky for you, I’ve kept track of every beast I’ve encountered right here in this journal. In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned with you, to help you figure out how to fight these foes. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself. 

Before we can get up close with the creatures of the New World, you’ll need a basic idea of how they work. And there’s only one way to give you that—by heading straight into the hunting phase.

Monsters in the Hunting Phase

As mentioned above, it’s the monster who sets the pace of combat. 

How? 

By taking their turns first. And because the way they behave during that turn determines how many hunters get to act before they strike again.

You see, because these beasts are so massive—and their behaviours varied in agility, damage, and range—your best chance is to react to what they do and attack when the opportunity arises. 

That might be multiple hits in a row, or a quick dash in and out to avoid a crushing blow.

Speaking of blows...

Monster Behaviour Cards

Each monster has a unique set of behaviour cards drawn from a shuffled deck. So, not only will behaviours appear in a random order, but you might also draw different behaviours for the same monster each time you hunt them. 

(Monsters can be hunted more than once, at different difficulty levels and for extra loot!)

Still, although behaviours might vary from quest to quest, you’ll still recognise signature attacks and patterns from the video game. 

For example, the Diablos has a tendency to charge straight at you, while the Tobi-Kadachi specialises in thunder elemental damage and paralysis, and so on.

When a monster takes its turn, you’ll draw a behaviour card to determine what it does. Usually the card will include a movement and an attack—but not always both, and not always in that order.

Because monsters are controlled by their behaviour cards, these cards include a bit more information than the hunter attack cards. 

Let’s take a look at a Great Jagras behaviour, Belly Charge, as an example:

MHWtBG-Great-Jagras-Belly-Charge

Behaviour cards are read from left to right, just like hunter attack cards.

The first symbol—that one that looks like an eye—is a targeting symbol. This tells us the monster will go after the hunter that’s furthest away. Standing on the edge of battle doesn’t mean you’ll be safe!

Next up, we have a movement symbol that looks an awful lot like the directional pad of a video game console controller. What a coincidence, right?

At the top of that movement symbol is the number ‘3’. Together with the targeting symbol, this means the Great Jagras will move 3 nodes towards its target, i.e. the furthest hunter.

MHWtBG-Rulebook-Excerpt

If there are hunters in its way, the Great Jagras will barge straight through like they aren’t even there, forcing those hunters to move to nearby nodes to avoid being crushed.

(They are massive monsters, after all.)

Once the Great Jagras finishes its movement, it's time to check the attack symbol. The large number ‘6’ in the centre is how much damage a hunter will take if they’re hit.

Considering a hunter only has 8 health, it doesn’t take many monster attacks to knock them out!

But have you been hit? That depends on where you’re standing. The grid in the top right shows where the attack will reach, measured by monster arcs. 

The markings on a monster’s base show the arcs—front, left, right, and rear: 

MHWtBG-Great-Jagras

Belly Charge has the top of the grid highlighted red, which means the attack will hit every hunter in the monster’s front arc—whether they’re the target or not. So, you might want to rethink sticking close together!

But wait. Maybe you’re still safe. How far does the attack reach? 

You’d better check the number on the yellow circle in the top left. That number is the attack’s range counted in nodes. In our case, ‘1’.

Combined with the arc symbol in the top right, this means Belly Charge will hit every hunter within the Jagras’ front arc that’s standing within range 1 (or, within 1 node).

Let’s say you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. Game over, then? Not quite. You can still avoid the attack. To do that, you’ll need to dodge.

The number ‘3’ in the bottom left tells you how difficult an attack is to dodge. The higher the number, the harder it is to avoid!

Still standing? Great, because the last two symbols on the behaviour card are your chance to react.

The number ‘2’ in the blue circle is how many hunter turns can take place. Some monster behaviours are super fast, meaning only one hunter can take a turn before the monster acts again. 

Others are much slower, giving time for three, or even four, hunter turns.

This number doesn’t change no matter how many hunters are in your party. If there are four hunters, Belly Charge will still only let two take a turn. 

On the other hand, if there are just two hunters and the behaviour allows four turns, you’ll get all four turns to take between you.

But what can you do during those turns? That depends on the number in the grey symbol, which shows you how many attack cards each hunter can play during their turn. 

In this case, it’s ‘2’. Again, this number can be higher or lower depending on the monster behaviour.

You’d better make the most of every chance to take the monster down. That means thinking carefully, as a party, about which hunter should go next—especially because every hunter has to take one turn before any hunter can go again, and so on.

Let’s say Belly Charge is played during a game with three hunters (A, B, and C). Belly Charge allows two hunter turns, which the party decides should be taken by Hunters A and B.

No matter how many turns the next monster behaviour allows, Hunter C will have to take the first one as the only hunter who hasn’t yet activated.

After that, all hunters are able to activate again, so any of the three hunters can go next.

Whew! We’ve covered a lot there. If you managed to keep up, there’s a little more info you can use if you know where to look.

Let’s flip over to the back of Belly Charge to check out three tell-tale icons:

MHWtBG-Great-Jagras-Belly-Charge-Back

Reading from left to right—notice a pattern yet?—we see a new symbol. This is the torso symbol, meaning the attack will originate from the monster's torso. 

Next is the Great Jagras symbol, confirming the behaviour card belongs in the Great Jagras behaviour deck. 

Finally, we have a familiar symbol: the targeting symbol.

Now, this information is on the back of the card, which means it will be visible when the card is face down on top of the behaviour deck. 

And if the card is face down on top of the behaviour deck, that means it’s coming next.  

Which means that as you learn the symbols, and face the same monster, you might be able to take an experienced look at the behaviour deck—reading the monster’s ‘tell’—and predict what they’re about to do...

There are other symbols on monster behaviour cards, but that’s all you need to know right now. 

And just in time, too. It looks like the Scoutflies are trying to get our attention!

~ Journal Ends ~

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