Godzilla: Kaiju World Wars Game Review04 Nov 2013 0
Toy Vault has released the officially licensed game Godzilla Kaiju World Wars to the market. Featuring rules by prolific game designer Richard H. Berg, this game monstrously delivers.
First off, for those who don?t know, ?kaiju? is the Japanese word for giant beast aka giant monsters. This word has come to define the fantastic films of directors such as Ishiro Honda who helmed many of the original Toho Productions Godzilla films starting with the haunting, classic 1954 film ?Godzilla? which was known in Japan as ?Gojiro?. Other films in this genre include ?Mothra?, ?Rodan?, ?Atragon? and the many sequels in the Godzilla series. While derided by those ignorant of the quality of the original, uncut Japanese films, these movies have produced a huge ripple in world film making and their off spring include everything from the Scandinavian film ?Reptilicus? to modern Hollywood monster films such as ?Cloverfield?.
Godzilla Kaiju World Wars features stunning artwork on the cover of its large box and the components maintain this level of quality. The box contains four beautifully sculpted kaiju which are fully painted based upon designs by the late Ed Wires. The four creatures include the giant pterodactyl-like Rodan, the cyborg Gigan, the three headed alien baddie King Ghidorah and, the King of the Monsters himself, Godzilla.
Also included is a mounted game board, 4 double sided full color kaiju stats cards, 90 plastic building tiles, 33 event cards, 22 combat cards, 25 action cards, 11 info cards, 19 kaiju condition cards, 2 6 sided die, many cardboard tokens including tanks and armored personal carriers (APCs), and 1 rule book with 4 scenarios.
The 8 page rule book is efficiently written and rules accommodate anything a monster fighting fan could hope for. A basic game and advanced game are included. While the basic game is perfect for the casual fan or younger player, the advanced game features a combat system which perfectly captures the fights seen in those wonderful Japanese films. Combat includes both melee attacks and ranged attacks with everything from radioactive breath weapons to picking up and throwing a tank at your giant foe. Rules are also included for destroying buildings and kaiju pyro fans will be happy that Berg has included rules for setting buildings on fire!
The full color mounted game board is made even more dynamic by the setting up of those previously mentioned 90 plastic building tiles which create buildings of from 1 to 4 levels in height. Players get points for not only fighting each other but for malicious acts of monstrous destruction as buildings crumble and burn under the kaiju?s onslaught. The 3 dimensional game provides for a fully immersive kaiju experience.
On one side of the game board are six places to seed those event cards face down. Each turn, a 6 sided die is rolled and the designated card is flipped over. Events can include everything from things helpful to the kaiju player such as lightning which heals the player?s monster, to events to make even the most powerful kaiju cringe. Event such as infantry with bazookas, air force attacks with Cadmium missiles and even nuclear strikes on the kaiju can dramatically shorten your monsters life span. Some events are used one time and then discarded while others affect the rest of the game.
The game starts with picking a scenario from the 4 included or others which Toy Vault says will be posted on their website. The scenarios dictate the set up of the 3 D city on the board and what the goals of the monsters are as well as the number of human army forces which start on the board. Additionally, special events are dictated by the scenario as well as any special buildings used on the board.
Each player then picks their kaiju from the 4 provided and starts to move and fight. Some monsters, such as Rodan and Ghidorah have the ability to fly. Moving, flying and fighting uses up energy of which the kaiju have a limited amount to pull from each turn. The more dramatic your monster?s actions, the more energy you use. If you fly and then engage in a huge battle match with either another monster or with the military, you may have no energy left for that turn in order to defend yourself from a surprise attack.
As your kaiju destroy more things and other kaiju on the board, they gain ?Destruction Points? and gain access to more powerful abilities. Of course, the more buildings you destroy, the greater the human military wants to take you down.
Your kaiju has a health meter. The more damage it takes, the closer your kaiju gets to being defeated. At certain times, the kaiju can attempt to heal itself but this action is no guarantee that some other monster or human won?t knock you back down leading to your defeat.
As stated before, in the basic game you pick your attack and then roll a die to see if you hit and how much damage you do. In the advanced game, Berg has perfected a unique system whereby each fighting kaiju picks an attack card and then puts the cards side by side. There are six possible results which align between the two cards. A die is rolled by the attacker and then the results are revealed. From the defender taking no damage to the defender taking a critical hit and being knocked down may result. The system sounds a little wonky when described but is simple and elegant in affect. The advanced combat truly feels like you are living a kaiju film.
Each kaiju provides its own challenges to perfect its combat ability. Rodan is fast and can fly across the board but its attacks don?t do as much damage as the monsters with more bulk such as Godzilla and Gigan. Godzilla is a true powerhouse and, when operating at full ability, is extremely tough to take down but he?s somewhat slow. I?ll leave the bad boy team of Ghidorah and Gigan up to the players to figure out because half the fun in this game is learning your favorite kaiju?s abilities.
While Godzilla Kaiju World Wars is great fun, there are a few missing scales which mare its formidable hide.
While the components are extremely high quality, the price point is somewhat high and may dissuade the young or casual kaiju loving fan from giving the game a try.
Many kaiju fans have heard that Toho?s licensing fees tend to be extremely high and are based upon a fee for each of their kaiju used. Therefore, while the game is great, it is limited to only 4 kaiju. It would have been nice to have access to other iconic kaiju such as Mothra, Angillas, the Smog Monster and Mecha Godzilla. My fingers are crossed for a ?Monster Island? expansion with more monsters. I would also love to see a ?Gamera? expansion ?cause this reviewer loves that giant monster turtle.
Some of the rules are not exactly clear but make sense after a few play throughs. A few more examples in the rules would have helped.
None-the-less, Godzilla Kaiju World Wars is a fantastic game and all monster fans should check it out! Go Go Godzilla!!!!
Publisher: Toy Vault
About the Author
Richard Martin has written film and game reviews for over 20 years and has been playing war games and RPGs since the days of Ogre and Basic Dungeons and Dragons. Additionally, he writes screenplays, games and works in the legal profession. (Don?t tell anyone but Richard prefers writing games and movies to law work any day.)