Going Analog

Where video game industry veterans introduce great board games to video gamers

Art Board - Weta's GKR: Heavy Hitters

Sweet (and huge!) mech models loom inside this board game from Weta.

We are shallow creatures. We tell ourselves that we buy board games for deep gameplay but c’mon. Just look at those beautiful illustrations. The captivating boards. And, yes, the cards, chits, and 3D-modeled figures. The components in many modern games are straight-up head-turners. In short, Art Board is about all the amazing stuff inside the box.

Giant Killer Robots: Heavy Hitters!

The base box for Giant Killer Robots: Heavy Hitters and the Kickstarter backer box
The base box for Giant Killer Robots: Heavy Hitters! and the Kickstarter backer box. They are not small.

When the folks at Weta (yes, THAT Weta) deliver a board game based around mech sports combat, we are at full attention. The setup for the game: In a futuristic televised duel, corporate-backed robots square off in matches to destroy -- or tag -- busted buildings. It’s Pacific Rim-grade robots with just a hint of Splatoon. On the surface it looks like a plodding tactical experience but nope! You’ve got dice rolls and then you've got deckbuilding out your bots, which simultaneously gives you a deeper (and faster-paced) experience.  The art style behind GKR: Heavy Hitters! is what really sells it, though. These are the guys behind the effects of the film District 9, after all!

One quick note before we go cracking open the box, though. Outside of the giant Heavy Hitter robots and their support units, most of the base game uses cardboard play pieces. The pilots, plastic-molded buildings, and trays you'll see in a minute were Kickstarter upgrade options.

These are your four main mechs, fully painted and ready to rumble.
These are your four main mechs, fully painted outta the box and ready to rumble.

You open the box and the first thing you see: Four unique, detailed, and 139mm-tall painted figures. For reference, these guys are roughly eight standard meeples tall. Even if these weren’t attached to a board game, any self-respecting nerd would be completely OK with buying these figures for their desk.

Weta GKR Heavy Hitter mech measured
This mech from GKR: Heavy Hitters! measures an "8" on our highly scientific Meeple Scale.

The 12 smaller support ‘bot figures that also come with GKR dwarf most miniatures you find in other games. If we’re going by the “Meeple Scale,” these would come in as roughly three meeples high.

Each player can call up three different support bots.
Each player can call up three different shorty support bots.

While you do have these mechs on a playfield, you’re also drawing out your moves from a deck of cards. The pulp-art style on them calls back to modern sci-fi, 3000 AD, and juuuust a taste of anime. 

Each faction has their own deck of cards for battle.
Each faction has its own deck of cards for battle.

In the next few pictures you're gonna notice some fancy plastic-molded tracker boards, buildings, pilots, and custom dice. Those were kickstarter upgrade options beyond the cardboard counterparts in the base game. For example, note the cardboard tracker in the background of this picture. It does everything from show active card-usage to the energy of your Heavy Hitter. It’s nice and all, but if someone gives you the choice between a cardboard sheet (in the background) or a durable stylized plastic tray (from the Kickstarter upgrades) that looks like it came straight from the world of Heavy Hitters, which would you choose?

Here's what a player will have in front of them as they start playing GKR: Heavy Hitters
Here's what a player will have in front of them as they start playing.

The base game comes with cardboard buildings that you tag. Technically, it was with little colored plastic pins that you’d poke into structures you claimed. The upgraded option included full-on plastic modeled 3D structures and bigger plastic squares that you’d use for tagging.

Even the 3D modeled buildings you're about the destroy in GKR Heavy Hitters look sweet.
Even the 3D modeled buildings you're about the destroy in GKR: Heavy Hitters look sweet.

These are the pilots that you select from for your mechs. Each one provides different bonuses. In the base version of the game, those pilot markers were little cardboard punch-outs. With the upgrade, you’ve got a small model standing guard over your deck.

Hey, these Heavy Hitters aren't going to pilot themselves. Might as well do it in style!
Hey, these Heavy Hitters aren't going to pilot themselves.

...and why settle for one set of generic dice when you can use a custom set for each faction? Yep, we went upgrade crazy on this one.

Pick a faction in GKR Heavy Hitters, then grab your custom dice.
Pick a faction in GKR: Heavy Hitters, then grab your custom dice.

That was just a quick look inside the GKR: Heavy Hitters! box. We’re going to continue cracking open games that offer up some amazing art and models, so if there’s a particular title that you’re dying to see in more detail, let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.