What's not to love about huge naked giants attacking a walled city? Not much. Despite this, I haven't actually seen or played the previous Attack on Titan products. However throw a 15inch naked giant standee at me and I'm all in.
Attack on Titan is a one vs many game set in the last human city. Up to four players take on the role of human heroes, while one is the monstrous naked but genderless titan. Did I mention that the titan is sans clothes?
Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan revolves around card and dice play that has some clever interaction. The titan player chooses one of four titans and takes the seven action cards that match the chosen titan. The titans all have a pleasingly different feel some that are harder to play than others.
It's not just the titan that get all the choices though, there is also eight heroes to choose from, all of which have their own special abilities. Each Hero grabs a standee and some dice, and they share a deck of tactic cards.
The board is a very three dimensional with the titan and a constructible tower with plastic canons. There are platforms that slide into various parts of the titan standee which, with the tower, creates eight levels that the heroes can occupy. Heroes can only attack the titan directly from levels on the titan model, but they can shoot canons from the tower.
The Last Standee
A round plays out in a clever back and forth way. First the titan player will choose two of their action cards, playing one face-up and one face-down. This gives the heroes a clue as to what the titans actions might be.
The action cards not only show what action the titan intends to take but also what dice face the heroes need to roll to avoid the titans attack. Of course one of these action cards is hidden so there will be some guess work involved.
Next the heroes roll all their dice, re-rolling as many times as they like, but any titan symbols rolled are claimed by the titan and used to power their titan's unique card in the next step. Each of the four different titans has it's own titan card, with three abilities on. You spend the claimed dice to activate these abilities as many times as you want or can. These can heal, attack, and eat civilians!
After they have used the dice they are returned to the heroes who can roll these one more time, this time discarding any titan symbols. Then back to the titan who gets to activate their action cards, unless the heroes choose to negate the effect with the relevant dice, the same with the hidden action card. The heroes then use any remaining dice to move attack and perhaps activate tactic cards.
Tactic cards are the only way to eventually kill the titan. However the titan can win by killing any one hero, destroying all six cannons or eating all the citizen tokens.
Despite having most victory conditions the Titan player definitely has the hardest job here. The heroes also have a set of tactic cards with various powers. To activate these the heroes must use certain dice and be positioned on certain levels. The most important of these tactic cards are the cards that let you kill the titan once it's health is low enough.
However at least one of these cards is hugely unbalanced. One forces the titan player to play both of their action cards face up for the rest of the game! This gives the titan player no element of surprise and let's the heroes plan perfectly!
The titan player also has a little less to do than the players in terms of options. If the players don't roll enough titan faces then all the titan's hopes rely on the action cards which can be easily negated. Especially with the help of the tactic cards.
The Last Stand
Attack on Titan is ultimately an enjoyable but flawed one vs many game. On the one hand this is quite a unique experience. The three dimensional aspects being important to gameplay as well as looking great. On the other hand a lack of balance and questionable component choices stop this game from being truly great.
You can and should house rule to negate the balance issues, but these are the kind of things that should be picked up in development. The components certainly look the piece, but none of them go back in the box assembled. This is fine for the tower, which is assembled cleverly and without joins that damage the card stock, but the titan is constantly having to be set up and torn down. Add to that that my copy came with damaged punchboard and it's a bit disappointing.
That not to say there isn't fun here. The titans are varied in terms of powers and there are plenty of heroes to choose from. Both sides feel like they should and the feeling of outsmarting the heroes, or dodging the titans attacks and delivering a massive amount of damage is great. The game plays quickly and players turns don't drag.