GKR: Heavy Hitters (2018) Review
In the near future, the world has suffered a catastrophe. Whole areas of the Earth have been abandoned. One of the most popular sports watched on TV is the GIANT KILLER ROBOTS: HEAVY HITTERS! Otherwise called the GKR Heavy Hitters. Sponsored by the largest corporations in the country, Mecca giants compete in an arena. The winner will allow enormously publicity and to acquire all right on the abandoned cities.
GKR: Heavy Hitters is the kind of games that came about thanks to Kickstarter. Dispensing with some fairly impressive material, it is difficult to see a game come out another way. This is a game created by Matt Hyra. It was published by Cryptozoic Entertainment and Weta Workshop
Components level, this is heavy. A big box, well filled and nicely decorated. Inside, you will find a lot of things. Already, each faction has its own deck of 38 cards but also its own plastic pawns Holo-Board. There is also an individual board per player in hard plastic and a central board in traditional cardboard. Do you want more? Each player has a choice of drivers that come with their own map and board to track unlocked improvements. Finally, you'll have dice, sponsor cards, and cardboard buildings to mount. All is of good quality. It's colorful, with humor, and everything is pretty good.
Not bad eh? Sorry ? Do you want more. Just for you greedy gourmands, there are also robot figurines. And as much as you say right now, it's worth it. Not only is the size of these figurines quite important, but the robots also have special care in the details and design. Icing on the cake, all have benefited with a very beautiful pre-painted. Nothing but that. A faction is composed of a Heavy Hitter (in the color of your team) and some small support unit groups (three figures). Not to mention also the mercenaries who come from a small expansion and the pilot figures. Yes, the box is big, heavy and full. Honestly, it's a real visual delight once the game is set up. The robots have a pretty post-indu visual which gives them a certain charm.
Once you have recovered from the quality of the set, you are committed to the rules of the game. You are therefore committed to being at the head of a Heavy Hitters. You will direct the corresponding team to the chosen faction. So you will choose a pilot from those available and a faction. These pilots have their own improvements to unlock.
Each team is composed, in addition to the pilot, with three support devices: combat, repair and reconnaissance. During the game, they will each have their tactical utility. The player will then have to choose 25 cards from among their 38 cards. These cards will be the only ones used during the game. Your deck represents the possible actions that the robot will be able to perform but especially your life points. Each time you take damage, you must discard as many cards in the Damage area of your individual board. When your robot no longer has cards, it will be destroyed or turned on. The cards are used both for monitoring your health points but also your possible actions. In either case, you will be eliminated. The cards are naturally discarded, once played, into the Discard area.
You also have a small slider and an Energy gauge. This measure represents the energy of your Mecha. In other words, for each action you will perform, you will need a certain amount of energy. Each time you use a card, you will lower this amount by as much. As normal, you have five energy per turn. But you can deliberately choose to push your robot to the limit. Thus, you can gain up to five other energy. However, it's not free. Forcing on your robot will cause them to take damage. The calculation is simple, for each negative point of energy gained, your robot takes that much damage. It can hurt very quickly ... but sometimes it can either bring you business or make you win a lot of fans. Once your deck is chosen, you mix everything and go.
A turn takes place in five phases.
First, you can choose to deploy one of your support robots on the board. For this you will have to play a specific card or lose four energies. You can only bring one support per turn into play. The chosen figure will be placed within two squares of your Mecha, the leader of your team. Supports are quickly essential for victory. They can help you fight, distract, repair, protect or attack buildings. It can be interesting to bring them quickly into play.
The second phase is the displacement of your leader. The Heavy Hitters can move as many squares as they want, but each box traveled costs energy. Most often, you'll try to put your Mecha in position without necessarily running it all over the map. It cost is expensive. Note that your robot can finish moving on enemy support. This will force them to shift out of the way to avoid taking damage. Once your Heavy Hitters has moved, you will be able to move your supports a number of spaces equal to their character card, in any order you choose.
Now that you are in a position to fight! Your leader is equipped for war. In the combat phase, you can play up to one main fire card and two secondary weapon cards. The chosen cards are mixed with the support. They are then placed face up according to their speed of execution. All players do the same without forgetting to pay the energy costs. You’ll resolve the attacks according to the fastest weapon activated. The positioning of your Mecha is important, you'll need to think about it when moving, at the risk of missing when you attack. If the target is at the right distance, visible and in the correct angle, the attack is launched. To succeed, you have to roll two dice. On the result of a 5 or +, an opponent Mecha is hit. On a 7 or more, your shot can hit a Support. Rolling a double 6, the defender will not be able to react. While with a double 1, not only your attack fails but in addition you take a point of damage following a wrong maneuver.
The defender then takes as many dice as the number of potential damage. If the target is a Support, the number to reach for the defense is indicated on its card. If it is a Mecha, every 5 or more avoids damage. For each unarmed attack, the defender puts cards into their Damage area. That can hurt a lot. If a Support bot hits zero health, it is simply destroyed and removed from the board. But the sponsors being generous, have backup models. They can then come back into play later.
Of course, as often in this type of game, you may benefit from a positive or negative modifier to improve the attack or defense. You'll find it in the form of a reaction card for example or through one of the Supports. Taking into account the terrain, cover behind buildings can also play in your favor. Not to mention the positioning before the attack. Taking an enemy from the rear reduces the difficulty of hitting.
Remember that GKR is above all a televised sport, an entertainment. The more fans there are, the more support you will receive from your sponsors. These can play a role to boost you a little. But for that, we'll have to please them. And what does a sponsor like more than money? Earn even more money (yes it was easy) and ... have more fame. For this, you will not hesitate to display their colors using your Holo-board. For each Mecha and Support near a building, the player can put a small smiley of its color on it. Tagging a building allows you to draw a sponsor card for each tag placed. If an opponent has already tagged, you can choose to replace it with yours. But beware, if the fourth tag of the same faction is added at the top of a building, that building is destroyed. Removing it from the game, leaving a devastated area instead. The player who destroyed it leaves one of their markers on the ruins.
Finally, we go to the reset phase once everyone has played. Recovery of six cards into your hand and a possible change of first player, ...
To win this competition, it's very simple. You must either be the last standing in the arena, or have managed to destroy four buildings. As much to say to you that the confrontation is inevitable. Be careful not to focus too much on the destruction of the other, because the buildings can be destroyed quickly.
Last thing, I told you about the pilots. These pilots are the stars behind the Heavy Hitters. They have a progress chart. On this board, there are goals to achieve to satisfy the fans. Once an objective is validated, the pilot advances his pawn as many boxes as indicated. This will allow you to unlock skills to help you in the game. This adds a little more depth and theme to a game that already has a lot.
As you can see right now, this is love at first sight for me. The material is exceptional, the figurines beautiful. The game system is simple and pretty nervous. The theme is very well rendered. The offbeat and colorful side adds a big plus in this universe with the postulate quite dark and squeaky. The illustrations are really beautiful and fit perfectly into the universe. You must really pay attention to every moment because reversals of situations can occur without expectations. A lack of inattention, and "boom", a rocket from behind. Rockets don't forgive.
Contrary to what it can show, the game is ultimately quite tactical. Positioning is important whether it is for attacking or tagging buildings. But the management of you deck is the most important. Moreover, the idea of using cards as points of life (which can be found for example in the excellent Gears of War) is really good. This brings a constant tension in addition. Know when it's better to sacrifice yourself by taking damage but benefit with more energy. Know how to move and play with the scenery, use the right weapon at the right time. And know how to handle your Supports ... GKR: Heavy Hitters hides well it's game.
We can still regret that it is necessary to assemble and dismantle the buildings. Of course, to avoid this, you can invest in the Urban Wasteland. But right now, it's not the same cost. Not to mention the expansion with new Sweet & Salty Factions that are worth almost the price of the basic game. Being a fan of this game is quickly becoming very expensive.
The game is of course not perfect. In addition to the high price of the game, even if the quality clearly corresponds, you can sometimes blame it on the victory condition. To tag four buildings is hard to obtain, and the fact that buildings are not in plastic (yes I repeat myself), a small side note for players inherent in this type of games ... Yes, final little bit that is not a defects that hinders the interest of the game ,except perhaps the difficulty of finding it in Europe which can pose a certain problem. Some would call it out for the presence of luck, while it is part of the salt of the game.
GKR: Heavy Hitters is a very good game with a lot of replayability. Simple in the rules while being tactical enough in the operation, you will need all your senses awake to hope to win. But above all, the game allows you to spend a moment of fun without complexity. Beautiful, immersive, thematic, the game works well in all configurations. It’s straightforward for amateur games and for solo fans there is a pretty nice solo mode. Weta Workshop has succeeded at winning my hand. An excellent game that I can only advise you especially if you like the fighting of Mecha.
Technical Score 9.9 / 10
The material is really high quality. The figurines are superb, the pre-paints work. The cards are good quality, a little glossy. The pawns are quite thick. The buildings seem to hold up. The rules are simple and well written. The only downside comes from storage that is not necessarily very suitable for all.
My BGG Score 9/10
(Excellent game. I always want to play it)
I love this game. Simple, immersive, captivating, tense, replayable, fun, thematic, GKR offers a good challenge and renewed pleasure to each game. Finally quite tactical, there are a lot of choices to make and ways to explode, uh explore.
Combined Score 9.45 / 10
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