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Kaiju Crush Review

Quick Look:

Designers: Tim Armstrong (II), Justin De Witt
Artist: John Ariosa, Roland Macdonald
Publisher: Fireside Games
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 45 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com


As a giant monster, destroying buildings is only half the fun. The other half? Battling your kaiju counterparts! Kaiju Crush is a city-smashing, monster-battling good time, all while tickling your brain as you weigh your options, plan your moves, and try and out-think your opponent.

Rules and Setup:

Game setup for a 2-player game.

Set up is pretty simple. Each player chooses a Kaiju Monster along with its corresponding tile and Territory Markers. Shuffle your kaiju tile in with the appropriate number of city tiles, and set up the playing area according to the number of players:

2-players: 6x5 grid
3-players: 6x6 grid
4-players: 7x6 grid

Note: Use all tiles in a 4-player game. In a 3-player game, leave out the tiles designated for 3+ players. In a 2-player game, only include the city tiles that don’t have a player count requirement on it (see image below).

City tiles for 2, 3, and 4-players, respectively (note the player icons on the bottom right corner of the 3 and 4-player tiles).

Replace each kaiju tile with that player’s Territory Marker and place the corresponding kaiju standee on its Territory Marker. This will dictate each player’s starting position.

Shuffle movement cards and deal one to each player. Place the remaining movement tile in an area where all players can access—this is the Shared Movement Card.

Movement cards.

Note: Use all movement cards in a 4-player game. Remove the Charge movement card for a 3-player game. In a 2-player game, remove the Charge and Stomp movement cards.

Place objective cards A and B near the playing area, and randomly choose which C and D objective cards to use. Randomly decide which side of each card to use as well.

Shuffle the player ability cards and deal two to each player. Each player chooses one and keeps it face up next to them on the table. Return the unused cards to the special ability card deck. These cards have a one-time use, and  may end up being what saves your hide in this game.

Mix the combat victory tokens and place them facedown on the table.

Combat victory tokens.

Each turn, players will move and collect a city tile and/or battle. When moving, you may use the movement card in front of you, or the shared movement card. The shared movement card is available for everyone to use, whereas your movement card is only for you.

If you decide to use your movement card, swap it out with the shared movement card. In this manner, the shared movement card will change up every so often, giving other players more movement options. Do not swap movement cards if the shared movement card was used to move.

As a general rule (unless otherwise stated on a card ability), you may never end your turn on a territory marker, yours or an opponent’s.

If you end your turn on a city tile, take that city tile and keep it in front of you, and replace it with one of your territory markers to show you’ve claimed that space.

When you destroy a city tile, you collect it and keep it in front of you in sets (sets are used in end-game scoring).

If you land adjacent to another monster, you may choose to do battle (if your heart desires). The winner of this battle gets a combat victory token.

If, however, you end your turn on a space (territory marker) where another kaiju already resides, you must battle. Note that this is the only time you may land on a territory marker (unless otherwise stated on a card).

To battle, the two players duking it out draw the top 5 territory markers from their stack. On the back of the crater side are images: Firebreath, Claw, Tail, Kick, and Spikes. Battling works much like rock-paper-scissors, in that Claw beats Tail, Tail beats Kick, and Kick beats Claw. Firebreath, on the other hand, defeats Claw, Tail, and Kick. Claw, Tail, and Kick all beat Spikes, and Spikes is the only thing that beats Firebreath.

Each player's kaiju tile has the claw-tail-kick diagram on it for easy reference.

Each battle is played as a best of 5, and every round of battle, each player selects one of their cards to play. If it beats the opponent’s card (in the manner described above), that player wins the round. In the event of a die, both players lose. If the battle ends in a draw, the defending player wins.

The winner of a battle in which two kaiju are adjacent to each other receives one combat victory token. The winner of a battle in which both kaiju share the same space receives one combat victory token, and they also replace the current territory marker with one of their own (unless it is already owned by the winning player).

Players must move. If a player can’t move, he or she must pass. If all players pass (due to no movement options), then the game ends. Tally the scores from each city tile, combat victory tokens, as well as the various objective cards.

Theme and Mechanics:

It’s the classic theme of giant monsters terrorizing the city. Instead of just destroying the city or only attacking the monsters, it’s a combination of the two with a fairly simple rule set that provides a decent amount of strategy.

The movement mechanic is interesting, as each player only has two movement options the entire game. Of course, those options change every time the shared movement card is switched out, which also adds a bit more thought in how a player moves. Using your movement card will then give the next player the chance to use it as well (as it becomes the shared movement card), but by so doing, it might give that player an advantage. So do you use your movement card, or use the shared movement card to keep your opponent from having a move that could potentially benefit them immensely?

The rock-paper-scissors combat style isn’t new, and for this game, it certainly works. The strategy in battling is more outguessing your opponent (and luck of the draw) than actual strategy, but it’s surprisingly effective.

Artwork and Components:

The art is what you’d typically expect from a game of this theme, with cartoon-style pictures (that aren’t silly). The monsters look pretty cool, ranging from a two-headed dragon-like creature to a mechanical lizard. The city tiles are pretty basic, and yet have some nice detail as well. as far as what’s on them. The art style is perfect for the game.

The tiles, tokens, and cards are good, thick quality. The only thing lacking for me was the thinness of the territory markers. They were card-thin, whereas the tiles they replaced and were placed next to were much thicker. Still, it doesn’t hurt the game any.

The Good:
There is more thinking in this game than I initially expected, which makes me like it even more.

It’s the kaiju theme in an easily accessible format.

Tiles are randomly placed each game, so each game will be different.

The objective cards are double sided for added variety, and there are two each of the C and D objective cards, also double sided.

The Bad:
Replacing a city tile that’s in the middle of the city was a tad difficult for me. I don’t have the longest of fingernails (or any to speak of, for that matter), so I’d always jostle the city around a bit trying to replace a city tile with my territory marker.

The territory markers are a bit more flimsy than I expected, however this doesn’t affect the fun factor of the game.

Final Thoughts:
Kaiju Crush is a compelling game with solid mechanics. It’s relatively simple for kids to understand, and deep enough that it’s a fun game for those parents who shudder at the thought of playing kid games. Other kaiju-themed games may have better monster-battle mechanics, but when it comes to grid movement and monster battles, this is a solid choice.

Players Who Like:

If you like kaiju monsters, destroying cities, and battling other players, this one might need a place on your game shelf. It’s on the lighter side of games but still has strategy, which makes it an enjoyable family game for both young and old.

I am giving Kaiju Crush 7 out of 10 super meeples.

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About the Author:

Benjamin Kocher hails from Canada but now lives in Utah with his wife and kids. He's a freelance blogger and budding game designer. As an avid writer of science fiction and fantasy, it comes as no surprise that his favorite board games are those with a rich, engaging theme. When he’s not writing or playing games, Benjamin loves to play ultimate Frisbee, watch and play rugby, and read the most epic fantasy books available. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminKocher and read his board game-inspired fiction at BenjaminKocher.com.

Kaiju Crush Review Kaiju Crush Review Reviewed by Benjamin Kocher on February 01, 2018 Rating: 5

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