Attack of the Kaiju Review

ATTACK OF THE KAIJU (Wildfire)

Sirens scream out across Tokyo and jets thunder in the sky above. The ground shakes. It shakes again. This is no earthquake. A terror has stirred from the depths of the sea, another has descended from outer space, and more still have come from other forgotten corners of the Earth and shadows of reality. The era of the Kaiju has arrived.

In Attack of the Kaiju players pick from six classic black and white movie kaiju with the goal of causing as much destruction as possible before the Japanese military fires their prototype hypertech sonic cannon, driving you away (at a pre-established number of turns).

Each turn starts with player order being established in reverse Victory points order, last turn’s Reserves being converted to Energy, and an Objective Card being drawn to set bonus goals for destruction. The player with the lowest Victory points then has the advantage of moving army units on the board, before players add two new army units each. After all units have been added, the army then attacks any adjacent kaiju.

With the upkeep and pesky army phases out of the way, players now get to rampage through the city, demolishing buildings, crushing tanks, and facing off against one another. Actions cost Energy, but some actions embolden your kaiju and yield Reserves for further Energy next round. The most fun actions to take are the Special Attacks which let you charge, grapple, knock back, and throw tanks at each other.  These actions, along with each kaiju’s Doubles ability (accessed by rolling doubles in an attack) are the cinematic moments that make the game.

Packaged with a double-sided board, Attack of the Kaiju can be played in games of around an hour on the smaller grid or a longer rampage of closer to two hours with the larger grid. In addition to catering to game length, the smaller grid also works great for introductory games while players learn the rules.  There’s also an option to play semi-cooperatively with teams of kaiju tallying their total destruction.

The art for Attack of the Kaiju is great, taking inspiration from the classic black & white movies that birthed the genre but updating them to be more modern and less “there’s a person inside this slightly awkward costume.” The design and art layout is less flashy, but still function well enough with the game’s flow. The main problem with the game are the Kaiju Control Board tracker tokens that easily slide or get bumped off the too tight number grids that keep track of your kaiju’s Reserves, Hits, Victory and Power. No doubt a concession to keep the price tag low, you just have to be careful of rampaging monsters knocking your trackers askew.