Title: Kabuto Sumo
Designed By: Tony Miller
Art By: Kwanchai Moriya
Published By: All Play (Formally Board Game Tables)
Player Count: 2-4
Time to Play: 15 Minutes
If while growing up your favorite arcade game was one of those coin pushers, this game is going to be a smashing hit for you. Kabuto Sumo has to be one of my favorite light games. You play as sumo wrestling bugs, yes...you read that correctly. Players take turns pushing pieces from their personal supply onto the board with the the goal of knocking your opponents bug out of the ring so you can be the champion. If you knock off other pieces, you get to add them to your supply to use on future turns. Try to push your pieces just right to get better options for the future! We had the chance to check out the base game, the Total Mayhem expansion, and the Insect All-Stars expansion and can confirm you definitely need to play this game.
What's purr-ty cool:
What's great: If I could pick only a few words to describe Kabuto Sumo it would be whimsical, aesthetically-pleasing, and fun. Most importantly fun. The theme really makes me chuckle, as a fellow game designer, I really want to know how the idea of a game about sumo wrestling bugs came to be. As far as unique themes go, I really love this one. The artwork on the cards and all the custom shaped bug pieces are great. The game is nice and colorful and I like that the wrestling ring is elevated off the table. Each bug has it's own piece or pieces in a wild variety of shapes and sizes. My favorite is the dung beetles ball of dung. The coin pusher mechanic works well and it is very satisfying when you get a well pushed piece that topples a bunch of other pieces off. It really is a cute idea for a game, and it is one that has made every person I have introduced it to smile.
The rules are fairly simple, which makes teaching it easy. I love how the bug wrestlers vary in complexity. Each bug has it's own special abilities and piece(s), so depending on who you are playing with you can make the game more simple or a little more challenging. I enjoy the asymmetry because it makes match ups a bit different each time, kind of like in real wrestling. There is even the option to play with junior wrestler which takes away the special abilities and just keeps the different piece(s). This is great if you are playing with kids. They also gave every bug a wrestler name and this small detail is something I like a lot. A lot of them are great puns or fun play on words.
Expansions: As far as expansions go, I enjoyed both of them. I like how the Insect All-Stars added a whole new cast of wrestlers. They add additional unpredictability to your games and allow for even more variety of match ups. I was a huge fan of Teddy R, the stick bug, and Mother Superior, the praying mantis. But if you had to get just one expansion, you totally should get Total Mayhem. My goodness, it adds chaos to your games in the best way possible. This expansion adds new objects that get tossed on the ring, everything from chairs and a table, to guitars, to a coffin. These cards, not only add new pieces, but add new abilities, and even sometimes new win conditions. The table is one of my favorites, if you make it collapse, you win! My number one new piece though is the coffin! this doesn't get added into the ring, but at the end of each turn you add a object of mayhem or signature piece not in play into the coffin, if at the end of your turn you are touching the edge of the board, you get to divide up all the items in the coffin into piles and each player gets to pick one. It basically adds an "I cut, you choose" mechanic to the game, and it is so good. You wind up with so many absurd pieces in the ring. I think I actually cried laughing the first time we played with it. 12/10 would recommend the coffin.
Rumor has it there may be a new expansion coming soon. I hope there is. I don't even know what I want it to be, but as long as they make more things for Kabuto Sumo, I will 100% be down to try them.
The cat's meow:
One of the first times I tried to play Kabuto Sumo, Pudgy Cat was still around. She wanted to knock off the pieces the moment I had them set up and ready to go. I think she liked the actual game even more than she liked the box! This game is definitely cat approved.
If you want to watch my bug wrestler lose, check out the video below!
Disclosure: Pudgy Cat Games was provided a copy of this game in exchange for a review, however, this review reflects the honest thoughts of the author.