Deck builders are the sort of game you need patience and a plan for. Games like Legendary or DC Deck Builder allow you to utilise heroes, gain abilities and take on villainous foes in a card oriented setting. As far as these go, they're often hard as nails and a great amount of fun. There is a mastery to mastering them and feeling like a Kung-Fu master against the might of a big bad. But when its mastered the challenge dwindles.
White Wizard Games have clearly been fans of these genres with their recent Essen announcement, a Kapow! reprint! If you're not familiar with the original Kickstarter then hold on to your seat. This is not just another deck builder, oh no! Hold on to your seats, because this is a dice builder where you can literally build the dice!
What Is It?
Kapow! is a superhero duelling game for two players primarily, with scope for three or four players. The two-player mode has the players fighting as a hero against a villainous nasty, whereas the alternate modes focus on more 2v2 competition. The game's main mechanic is dice pooling and drafting, but has much more to it. Kapow! is a dice builder. The more we say it the more we are in awe of the concept! You can construct dice to your liking, focusing on specific traits to best out smart and defeat your opposition. This allows you to play to your own comforts and also focus on your superheroes', or villain's, strengths.
Each player chooses a hero or villain to start with. The aim of the game is to defeat your adversary using your dice. Driving their health to zero guarantees a win! The game is run behind a screen with each player rolling and playing in secret. There are three phases to a round; roll/initiate, reveal/attack/defend, power up. They assign powers on their character sheet secretly and are revealed later in the round. This allows for deep tactics and and bigger plays, and also means you'll need to prepare for the unknown of your opponent's dice placement.
Players can acquire dice throughout the game to use and, as Kapow! progresses, can customise some as they need based on the situation. This removes the arduous strain many deck builders have of pulling weaker cards, as the choice is in the player's hands on the fly. Players receive default starting dice to prevent a constant barrage of power and balance out the characters, but earn these powerful dice as time goes on. Being able to best utilise your abilities, die drawn, and the probability of getting what you want is important, however no one can be overpowered.
Should You Be Excited about Kapow!?
Definitely. Some games that are Kickstarted get over that first hurdle of funding and then disappear. Not always a big issue, but people hate missing a gem! When a game like Kapow! disappears it means those who missed the Kickstarter have no opportunity to own the game.
I overlooked Kapow! initially and immediately regretted it - I was young and foolish! Knowing that Kapow! is a game I may now be able to purchase is a big thing, as missing the crowdfunding was a gem missed!