SMASH AND BURN WITH FIRESIDE GAMES
WRITTEN BY ROB DUKE ON AUGUST 27, 2017
Have you ever wanted to be a giant monster destroying large cities or being a fireman staving off large forest fires? Never fear as Fireside Games has you covered! From the company who brought us Castle Panic and Dastardly Dirigibles, game designer Justin De Witt introduces two new games just in time for the holidays: Kaiju Crush and Hotshots! We had the pleasure of playing both games today. Here’s our preview!
Kaiju Crush is the stuff to make your dreams of being a giant monster terrorizing a city come true in this solid little strategy game. Players take on the metropolis as one of four giant monsters who fight for supremacy. On each turn, a player will either use their Movement Card or the Shared Movement Card to land on a new city tile to crush it. The tile is rewarded to the monster’s player and is replaced with one of their territory markers. Both will help you gain points at the end of the game.
Monsters can fight one another if they are adjacent or on the same tile. Combat is handled by laying down attack cards simultaneously with each card showing a specific attack. Certain attacks beat others much like playing Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock. The winner will receive a Combat Victory Token worth one to three points. If a battle is on the same tile, the winner takes over that territory, replacing the current territory marker with their own. This is important if certain Objective cards demand for a certain territory requirement, like a line of four territories.
Each player also receives a one-time use Special Ability, like teleporting from Park to Park or Pac-Man jumping from one side of the board to the other. These abilities prove very useful if you need to continue your movement to more unclaimed tiles, because when no monster can move, the game is over. The Monster with the most victory points wins!
Kaiju Crush packs a lot into such a simple game. With only two movements option available to you on your turn, your choice becomes more difficult to make as the objective cards weigh heavily on your mind. Losing a territory on a fight can easily obscure that choice even more. Do I fight and hope I get lucky taking back my territory ? Or do I take advantage of the Shared Movement Card I’ve been waiting on? The game is a smash to play, even if it’s two players or the maximum of four. Fireside Games has really knocked it out of the park with Kaiju Crush!
Hotshots is a cooperative firefighting game where players take on a specific role of a wildfire fighter crew: Sawyer, Spotter, Swamper, and Crew Boss, all with special abilities. On each turn, the players can move two spaces across tiles and then roll a set of dice to extinguish flames or build firebreaks to prevent fires from spreading. Players press their luck locking in die faces to match what tile symbols are needed to extinguish fires, build the firebreaks, and even earn reward tokens. However, if a player fails to match at least three of the six symbols, the fire grows. One can take control of one of the three vehicles (air tanker, helicopter and brush rig) to help save the forest. Stakes continue to rise as each player ends their turn drawing from the fire deck, which can change wind speeds and direction, increase the strength of certain flames, and even start fires. Once a tile hit its maximum amount of flames, the tile is scorched and lost. If eight tiles or the Fire Camp scorches, the game is over and the forest is lost. However, if the crew of players can extinguish the fire, the team wins!
This game can be very unrelenting, but in a fun and very thematic way. Real wildfires spread at a dangerous and rapid way, and there is no way to predict which direction the flames will spread next. The game does a remarkable job at portraying this. The players must work together as a team or the forest will almost certainly burn to the ground. The other obstacle is the roll of the dice. The dice, while fair, will not always roll the way you want them to, and pressing your luck will often cause even higher dire situations if one is not careful. Hotshots puts you into the heat of the action and provides high tension while the players race across the tiles trying to save individual buildings while focusing your efforts on flames before they spread.
We really enjoyed this game, although we lost, and will be adding Hotshots to our home collection very soon!
If you would like to play either of these titles, Fireside Games is touring the Midwest, demoing both Kaiju Crush and Hotshots at local game stores. If you have time and you are in the area, we recommend you swing by and check out the demos. You can find a complete list of stores and dates here.
Hotshots will be available on September 6th, 2017, and Kaiju Crush will release on November 1, 2017. Check with your Friendly Local Game Store for preorder info and availability! For more information on Fireside Games, you can visit their website by clicking their logo to the right!
IMAGE AND ARTWORK CREDIT: FIRESIDE GAMES