Finding board games that all my kids will like can be a bit hard. Recently, after attending the Retroworld Expo in Hartford, CT, game maker 2 Ton Porcupine may have offered up a valid family throwdown contender!
So, the main reason why I have a hard time getting my fam together to play board games is that they all have vastly different interests. As a blended family, my two son’s interests are close to my own peppered with a strong tendency towards anime themes. My wife’s son will probably play anything, but isn’t particularly passionate about much outside of, well, being outside and not having to read a lot. With his dyslexia, he tends to shy away from strategy heavy/text heavy card games (Magic, Yu Gi Oh) while my sons are deep into them. Each of them are pre-teens/teens and having a game night with them is pretty easy. Toss in our daughter (5 years old) and the picky tastes of my wife and you have a congressional bill on your hands! My daughter is a bit young for most games my sons would like, and my wife–well… let’s just say she’s not a geek!
So, when I saw 2 Ton Porcupine’s KAPOW laying out on their table, I quickly saw the appeal of how their system could be a fun solution. With the simplistic theme of two superheroes duking it out, getting the ‘concept’ of the game is easy. Dig if you will a table full of 6 sided dice. As a ‘dice building game’ you essentially roll your hoard of dice, strategize what you rolled between your ATTACK, DEFENSE, or POWER UP, and then reveal your results to your opponent and determine health loss (if any) and upgrades.
To ease this process, each player is given a card that has the symbols featured on the dice. You simply match up the move you want to perform to the die rolls and KAPOW, you’ve played a round! In the POWER UP category, the game’s appeal comes to life. As you play, you roll a sizeable handful of dice. Some of them are brightly colored ‘TRAIT dice’. The others are the iconic faceless or ACTION dice. These black dice are essentially custom dice that, as you power up, allow you to assign whatever face or icon you want as you earn them. Thankfully, moves can be achieved even when you roll a ‘blank’ face so they aren’t completely useless in the beginning.
Once my son and I finished our demo playthrough (in which he defeated me) I quickly saw how the cards with all of the die icons appealed to his dyslexia by bypassing the need to read through a bunch of rules and cards and so forth. He could simply jump right in, roll a ton of dice, and see if what he rolled would do what he wanted. Even my five-year-old daughter could play with help from mom or a brother.
The game developers also showed us the plan to introduce ‘superhero’ characters with additional moves and powers to spice up the generic ‘attacks and moves’ on the standard play card. My creative mind went wild with other themes and worlds that could benefit from this system. Most of your fighting games have had a hard time with their living or collectible card systems and this system makes the idea of a board/dice game much more accessible than the complex and/or expensive systems they (Street Fighter, DC Comics, Marvel, etc.) developed.
With their Kickstarter recently launched and ending by November 30th, all heroes interested in the justice of simplicity should certainly support and back KAPOW- The Superhero Dice Building Game!