We’re Tickled With ‘Tentacle Town’

For as long as there have been oceans, there have been tales of sea monsters. Here on Tentacle Island, you’ve just arrived, and are vying to become the most famous resident. How do you do it? By populating the island and fighting off the tentacles, of course! Tentacle Town by Monster Fight Club is a cute little worker placement game that offers players the opportunity to fend off squishy tentacles and do many other tasks in an attempt to gain more fame than anyone else.
We were lucky enough to play it at Gen Con, and came home with a copy of our own to enjoy.

Box contents. Image courtesy Monster Fight Club.

What’s In Tentacle Town?

Tentacle Town comes with a board showing the island and its surrounding water and cardboard covers to hide board spaces if you’re playing with only a few people. You also punch out tokens for fame, harpoons, iron, sushi, and gold. If you purchase the optional deluxe token pack as we did, the only cardboard punching to do is the board covers and a couple of harpoons if you choose. The deluxe tokens are definitely a bonus to game play, with real metal iron chunks and coins, real wooden harpoons, and fun to squish rubber calamari sushi. The sushi are a particular sensory delight for me.

Rubbery tentacles and pink fame stars. Photo by Angela Leach.

Also in the box are wooden meeples, houses in four colors, a deck of cards showing optional additional tasks, a set of “Danger Dice”, a spinner, and as the name would suggest, ten rubbery tentacles. Be careful during setup that the players don’t all steal the tentacles to stick on their fingertips like olives at Thanksgiving Dinner.

Playing Tentacle Town

From the start, Tentacle Town is funny and charming. Strategizing is not particularly difficult, and I like how most of the game is geared toward gaining fame rather than tearing down your competitors. Undermining your fellow fame seekers can be accomplished, however. When the tentacles attack, if you roll the destruction of a house, as long as other players have a house closer to or equidistant from the ocean, you can choose to remove their house instead of your own.
Each turn is fairly simple: first, you place a meeple in one of the three regions of the board. Your options are the docks, the forge, and the market. This determines what actions are available to you for the rest of your turn.

Choosing regions for playing meeples. Photo by Angela Leach.

Your next step is to either build a house in the region you’ve selected, or perform one of the actions available to you as shown on the board. There are a variety of options, but arguably one of the more fun ones is to go tentacle hunting. If you have the harpoons to do it, you can hunt all the tentacles you want! Tentacle Town makes it extra easy by providing multiple ways to randomize the hunt. Each hunter can choose their method of hunting: rolling a die, flicking a spinner, or flipping a harpoon token. If you have more than one harpoon, you can even change which method you use. This has proven to be a surprise draw for the game, because in our family alone there is at least one person who will prefer each different method. I personally prefer to spin.

Your tentacle hunting options. Photo by Angela Leach.

Once you’ve performed your actions (and, in some cases, spent a coin to take an extra action), it’s time for the tentacles to attack! A tentacle spawns in the water that corresponds to the region you took your turn in (up to four), and you get to roll DANGER DICE for each tentacle in the area.

Danger dice are scary. Photo by Angela Leach.

Ending the Game

Tentacle Town doesn’t end until a turn ends with the meeple pool completely empty, so that the next person cannot place a meeple. It’s an important distinction to note that the game isn’t over when the last meeple is placed, but when no meeples CAN be placed. Because tentacle attacks can replenish the meeple pool by killing meeples, the game can end up lasting many, MANY turns past the first time the pool is emptied. One game actually went an entire hour past when we thought it would end because tentacles kept taking out meeples. The quote of that night was, “Stop killing meeples, I want to go to bed!”

Those meeples just keep dying. Photo by Angela Leach.

Final Impressions

Tentacle Town is a fun, easy to learn game that has a lot of opportunity to ramp the difficulty up or down depending on personal preference. I love that it feels both cooperative and competitive, while also being just plain funny. Having several options for randomizing your tentacle hunting is awesome and doesn’t add any complexity to the game. This is a game that multiple people consistently request we bring to board game events, and we have never yet been bored by it.

Where To Buy

Amazon carries Tentacle Town, which currently retails there at $34.95. You can also purchase the deluxe add-on directly from Monster Fight Club.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received portions of this product for review purposes.

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