Little Monster Detectives
This is no ordinary book. There are monsters inside! Yes, you got that right. Monsters exist and live with us. But don't be afraid, they aren't bad... at least not entirely
Have you ever noticed that you might be missing socks or that you hear strange noises in the dead of night? You aren't absent-minded nor do the pipelines make noises. They're the Monsters of Darkness! But don't panic because there are brave detectives whose job is to catch them so they will stop bothering you. They are none other than the Monster Detectives.
A Game About Overcoming Fear of Monsters [ edit ]
Originally From Spain
Little Monster Detectives is a game originally created by a couple of Spanish psychologists, as a tool to help children overcome their fear of the boogeyman. The game was hugely successful in its native country (even being adopted by many school teachers for play in their class), and so its publisher soon released a French version also.
Then, in 2020, Little Monster Detectives finally came to America, in the form of a successful Kickstarter campaign (which was then followed by a more traditional release). The game can be purchased in two forms, either a physical copy known as the "Core Book" (which comes with stickers) or a digital copy known as the "Basic Book".
What is Little Monster Detectives?
LMD is a game about joining your children as the senior detective in a group of monster investigators. Over the course of the game the players will scour the house, looking for clues to figure out which monster they are up against. And to be clear, LMD encourages "LARPing", so while the game can be played around a kitchen table, players are encouraged to instead explore their own home, garden, etc.
When they finally capture it, the monster will be sent back to the agency to be turned into a "good monster", and this is part of the game's efforts to help children process their fears of monsters. However, LMD is certainly not just a psychological tool; it's absolutely a fun game that even children as young as four or five can enjoy.
Little Monster Detectives, First Edition - Rules SummaryCollapse
Character Creation [ edit ]
Contracts, Not Character Sheets
Little Monster Hunters doesn't have "characters" per say, although it does have a sort of "character sheet" known as a detective contract. Unlike most RPGs, a new contract is created before every game.
Different Contracts for Different Player Types
There are three versions of the contract total: two for "beginner detectives", ie. players, and one for "senior detectives", ie. game masters (there are two player contracts because one is simplified for younger children.)
The simplified version has a place to store the player's "stuff" (items) and stars, while the full version also has a place to store clues found. Both also let the player specify a new (made-up) name for their character, which is really the only "character creation" involved.
The senior detective contract doesn't have stars, but does have a "stuff" section, and also has an expanded clues section (since they created the adventure/clues), plus a short rules summary to help run the game.
Little monster detectives don't advance in any traditional way (ie. with levels). However, players are rewarded with badges (stickers) for bravery, teamwork, etc., and can also acquire tools from the detective agency.
Core Mechanics [ edit ]
To accomplish tasks in Little Monster Detectives, the players roll three dice and picks one based on the circumstances. If the task is easy they need only roll a 2, but if it's normal they need a 4, and for a difficult task they need a 6. A roll of a 1 is considered an "epic failure", while a roll of a 6 is considered an automatic success.
Which of the three dice is kept uses a system similar to advantage/disadvantage in other RPGs (like Dungeons and Dragons). If the player has recently been bitten by or is currently scared of a monster, they pick the lowest die rolled. If they have an appropriate tool for the job, they instead get to pick the highest die rolled. Finally, if neither applies, they take the middle die.
There are no further mechanics, but the senior detective is encouraged to adjust difficulties as needed. For instance, there are no explicit team work rules, but the book suggests that having two players team up might lower a difficulty from six to four.
Combat [ edit ]
Little Monster Detectives is purely an investigative game, and as such has no real combat rules. However, players can get "bitten" or "scared" by monsters. Players become scared when the team fails to find enough clues: this causes the fear rate to increase, which then makes the players roll dice to avoid becoming scared.
Even when the players finally find the monster at the end of the adventure, there still is no combat: they simply collect it and add its token to a glass jar, which they can later turn in to the monster detective agency (so the monsters can be rehabilitated).
But is it Any Good? [ edit ]
Unfortunately, while Little Monster Detectives is very popular in Europe, because it's so new to the US it hasn't yet managed to accrue very many reviews on online sites. In fact, RPG Geek has only a single rating for the RPG (an 8.5), and only 10 ratings for the basic rulebook (which averaged 8.05 / 10) ... and none provided any reason as to why.
Similarly on Drive Thru RPG the game got a very high 4.7 / 5 ... but from only 3 reviews, which is a pretty limited sample size. Meanwhile Goodreads.com lists the book, but doesn't yet have any reviews, and Amazon doesn't even offer it.
Still, there's no doubt that the game has passionate fans, as you can see from this one fan on Youtube (who insists that it's likely the best option for introducing children to role-playing games). So, while LMD may still be a relatively new game, with only a few reviews (here in America at least), if you like the idea of exploring your home looking for clues left by "monsters" with your children, and helping them get over their fears in the process, you should definitely check out Little Monster Detectives.