23 February 2017
Movie creative studio teams up with tabletop publisher Cryptozoic and designer Matt Hyra
Weta Workshop, the New Zealand-based movie effects studio best known for its award-winning contributions to Peter Jackson’s cinematic Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, is breaking into the tabletop world with its first board game.
GKR: Heavy Hitters (the GKR stands for ‘Giant Killer Robots’) is described as being a mash-up between Roman gladiatorial combat, Japanese anime such as Gundam and Akira, the visual style of cel-shaded video games like Borderlands, and the televised dystopian sports seen in films like The Hunger Games.
Two to four players pilot the titular machines, aiming to either smash their opponents or send four skyscrapers (represented by ten 3D models on the board) crumbling to the ground.
Sponsorship also plays a part in the game – each of the robots features the name and branding of a futuristic corporation, and tagging buildings around the board with advertising will earn sponsor cards with a variety of extra abilities, from hacking enemy mechs to landing an extra rocket strike.
Players can deploy support units, manoeuvre their machines and roll dice to initiate combat, drawing new cards each round to mix up their available actions.
Weta – which also has credits on major movies including Avatar, District 9 and Mad Max: Fury Road - has worked on the look and design of the game, helped by Matt Hyra of tabletop publisher Cryptozoic, which will be bringing the title out towards the end of this year.
As you might have guessed, Weta has taken GKR: Heavy Hitters to Kickstarter to get the game made – at the time of writing, it has already more than doubled its $100,000 with close to a month left to run, unlocking a number of additional stretch goals.
The core box is $99 plus shipping – which will be calculated after the campaign ends – with more expensive editions adding pilot miniatures and extra unpainted robot models for those wishing to apply their own colour schemes.