There’s not a lot of room for over-analyzing or time-taking, because when everyone around you is Kung Fu Fighting, you’ve gotta make decisions. . . fast as lightning.
Jeremiah & Kara
Publisher: Mōdiphiüs Entertainment
Designer: Nick Fallon
Designer: Rob Harris
Designer: Kristian Osterby
Designer: James Sheahan
Artist: JJ Ariosa
Artist: Michal Cross
Game Type: Cooperative
Game Type: Real-Time
Initial Year of Release: 2019
Age Range: 10+
Expected Playtime: 10 – 30 min
Number of Players: 2 – 4
Theme and What is it?
With Monkey on your left, and Mantis on your right, you race across the rooftops, chasing the snowy-spotted figure of Tai Lung. Suddenly, he leaps from the roof, plunging into the busy marketplace below. You have no choice but to follow. Your feet smash into the dusty cobblestones, sending a thin cloud of dirt into the air. You whip around, searching left, right, and front, but somehow, Tai Lung has disappeared. As you continue searching, however, you discover something else. Wolves. Wolf warriors, armed with sharp spears and sabres, work their way through the crowd, eyes fixed on you. Tai Lung will have to wait. With a smirk, and a slight shift in your stance, you gesture the wolves to ‘bring it on’.
In Kung Fu Panda: The Board Game, players cooperatively lead the Dragon Warrior and the Furious Five in epic real-time battles against the enemies of China. By thinking fast and acting quickly, they will punch, fight, and kick their way to an awesome victory.
In Kung Fu Panda: The Board Game, players work together in real-time, rolling dice to fight off the enemies of Po and the Furious Five. The game comes with 3 missions, each broken into 3 segments. In a session, players can choose to either play a single segment, an entire mission, or all three missions in a row for a truly epic adventure.
After choosing a mission, players choose their characters and set up the main board. They read through the mission introduction and explain any mission specific rules. Then the sand timer is flipped, and the game begins. Players roll dice — throwing punches and twirling kicks as they take down enemies left and right in their attempts to protect the animal citizens of China.
The mechanics are simple and streamlined, but the game itself is challenging and immersive enough to keep players interested and engaged the entire time.
Who wouldn’t be excited by a Kung Fu Panda themed board game?
I love real-time cooperative games, so I was immediately intrigued. The miniatures looked awesome; the mechanics seemed super fun — I was so excited to try it out.
The rulebook was really thorough, and it was obvious that the designers had put real care into explaining the rules in a way that would make the game accessible to even the newest gamers. I thought that was really cool, and I commend Modiphious Entertainment for making that extra effort.
The game wasn’t difficult to set up, but it did take a surprisingly long time. In fact, some missions took longer to set up than they did to play! Each of the tiles in the game has a unique identification letter on it to help with setup, but the problem is that in the rulebook the letter is tiny, and often obscured by pictures of tokens or miniatures. This means that players often end up having to find each tile based on its artwork alone.
Once we got everything set up, things went really smoothly – the game was incredibly easy to teach, and we were able to start playing within minutes.
Game Build Quality
The component quality for Kung Fu Panda is amazing! The characters, bosses, and even the general bad guys, all have unique high-quality sculpts. The double-sided tiles are made of quality cardboard, and the etched dice have rounded corners, which helps them roll nicely.
The player boards are made of two parts — a ‘destiny dial’ which generates in-game effects, and the actual character tile. The two parts slide together to form a whole player board, which is really satisfying.
The only downside to the game build quality is the insert. It’s just a piece of cardboard that divides the box into two halves. One half is a bit larger than the other, and the game came with enough bags that everything actually stores pretty well. The real problem is that the ‘destiny dials’ don’t fit in either half and have to be set on top of the insert which is just strange.
Besides the insert, everything else in the game is top-notch quality!
The artwork in Kung Fu Panda is bright, vibrant, and beautiful. Everything fits with the style of the animated movie, and it looks great on the table.
During the game, players have roll their dice to perform actions. Certain dice combinations unlock and enable different actions like moving, fighting, and interacting with tokens. One thing the designers did that’s just fantastic is they printed the action cost for moving and interacting with tokens directly onto the tiles/tokens. This makes it super easy for players to know exactly which combinations they need to roll in order to move from one tile to the next, destroy a wall, pick up a frightened citizen, or even eat a bowl of dumplings.
All in all, the artwork is pretty and practical. Everything is easy to understand and the artistic style pops you straight into the animated world of Kung Fu Panda.
Kung Fu Panda is fast, fun, and full of energy.
As soon as the sand timer flips, players start frantically rolling their dice, calling out things like, “I’ve got a punch!”, “kick! kick!”, and “Got ’em!”. If you were listening from another room, you might think the players were engaged in some sort of intense, imaginary fist-fight!
Players can combine their dice to take down enemies together; for example, Monkey can kick an unsuspecting Slasher into Tigris who finishes it off with a flick of her fearsome claws. This mechanic of teaming characters up against bosses and baddies really enhances the theme and helps players feel like they really are caught in the middle of an epic Kung Fu fight!
We’ve played this game with experienced gamers, new gamers, and gamers somewhere in the middle. Each time we’ve played, everyone has had a fun time, regardless of their age or experience. It’s a game where, as soon as one mission ends, players immediately want to play the next, and the next, because it’s just such good fun!
Age Range & Weight
The manufacturer recommended age for Kung Fu Panda: The Board Game is 8+ which is perfect. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that the game comes with 3 difficulty levels: a standard mode, an ‘awesome’ mode (which is more challenging), and a ‘young masters’ mode, designed specifically with kids in mind — how cool is that? In the young masters mode, there’s no round limit, so players just play until either they win, or everyone gets KOed. This takes off a lot of the stress or anxiety that kids might feel when playing this fast-paced quick thinking game.
Kung Fu Panda is definitely a light game. The rules and mechanics are simple enough to keep gameplay moving forward at a good pace. There’s not a lot of room for over-analyzing or time-taking, because when everyone around you is Kung Fu Fighting, you’ve gotta make decisions. . . fast as lightning.
Kung Fu Panda: The Board Game is a wonderfully immersive tabletop adventure through the animated world of Kung Fu Panda. Fans of the show will especially love having the chance to lead Po and the Furious Five to victory against Tai Lung and his droves of merciless minions. It’s a thrilling race against the (sand timer) clock that’s suitable for families, as well as gaming groups. We have thoroughly enjoyed this one, and it has earned a permanent place in our personal collection.
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