Another for the "For each game, a discussion thread!" movement.
Initial Impressions: OUCH! ASCII HURTS BRAIN! Getting past that, though, MT is a rather involved game of resource (dice) management and conflict. The monsters have more abilities and stats to track than the trainer PCs. Therefore the "PC" in this game is the Whole of the Trainer, His Initial Monster, and other monsters he collects.
Very detailed game, the mechanics look like they were really well thought out.
Index cards for landscape, including countryside and urban areas: Fucking genious! This is a great idea, and turns this strategy RPG into a tactical, visual and inherently diverse experience, like a Settlers of Catan on crack. Since the players can design their own landscapes, this offers some creativity, I wager. I'd love to see more development here, where players can write, say, "Video Arade" or "Baseball Stadium" instead of "City", just to get people into the scene of the thing.
Very clear descriptions of abilities, monster and character generation, etc.
Points to Work on:
Needs example trainers and monsters
Needs examples of what Monster Abilities represent (I can't visualize what "Skinning", "Glory", "Catching", etc actually are)
The game's gone far, but I still, when reading the game, disctinctly feel it lacking because it doesn't include Character sheets, Monster sheets, etc. Even in ASCII format, they could have really helped set up the game.
More Roleplaying aspects. Currently, the game as-is feels like a Dice-based Pokemon meets Settlers of Catan. The concept is there, but to really make it a Role Playing Game and not just a board game, I'd have loved to see even a paragraph of story ideas, play ideas, campaign ideas, etc.
With the above, I'd have even loved to see something built into the mechanics of the character (advancement perhaps) that is triggered and brought out by actual roleplaying. Again, as it is the game is very interesting, but it needs just a little more "story" or backdrop or plot points or even rules geared to the above to be a "real RPG". If JL goes on to exapand this game and add the above, and do some layout/graphics and hammer out some nice character/monster sheets, I have absolutely no doubt that this can turn into a sellable product.
Not that that's the highest goal for an RPG or anything, but here I mean that it could be more than an ::Open PDF file, say "Hmm interesting", then close it and move on:: type of game, and more of a ::Average Gamer opens the PDF/book, flips through it, says "Shit! I wanna play this!", and runs it with their gaming group:: type of game.
Overall: Interesting! While not my cup 'o tea (Pokemon, etc), with some tiding up, additions, and a clean, organized layout with adventure ideas and sample obstacles, I would honestly run this with one of my gaming groups. It's the only monster hunter RPG sofar that really gets in there and emulates the Collectimon experience. Hell, change "Monster" to "Card" and you have Yugioh!
I encourage others to share their reactions to this game.