Godzilla: Kaiju World Wars Interview
Toy Vault is preparing an upcoming board game
based on the King of the Monsters called Godzilla: Kaiju
World Wars, which will be sold in America. What follows
interview conducted with Paul Blake, head of game
Toy Vault, concerning the game.
head of game development, what was your role in the creation
of the Godzilla: Kaiju World Wars game?
Paul Blake: When I was first exposed
to Richard H. Berg's design for the game, it was a folder full
of print-outs. My task was to turn that folder into a published
What this actually meant was that I had to maintain
a 3-way balance between Berg's design, Toho's requirements,
and feedback from playtesting sessions. Early on, I was also
responsible for allocating artwork and graphic design tasks
- describing what illustrations and sculpts were necessary,
and what the exact physical requirements were for each art
element. Later, we brought in designer Zac Pensol as Project
Director to handle that kind of thing directly.
Romero: How long
has the game been in production?
Blake: At least during my entire
tenure at Toy Vault - the project had been in development for
some time before I joined the company, although I couldn't
say how long with any degree of certainty.
Romero: What's the game's
Blake: There's two different stories here: One is the story
of how Toy Vault came to make Godzilla games, and the other
is the story presented by the game of the Godzilla universe.
Within the Godzilla universe, the game has the Xiliens once
again manipulating the minds of some of Earth's mightiest monsters,
pitting them in battle against each other across the globe.
The Xiliens are not concerned with who wins or loses: Their
only wish is to neutralize any Kaiju who could oppose them,
and cripple the humans' infrastructure. With weakened Kaiju,
and a devastated human population, the conquest of Earth will
Because of the scenario-based gameplay, players will
have some control over the direction of their personal storylines.
Players will be able to design their own scenarios, and give
them unique victory conditions.
Meanwhile, back in our world:
Toy Vault has been making Godzilla toys for several years now,
and they're one of our more popular plush lines. Jon Huston,
the owner of the company has been an active gamer for most
of his life, and often wanted to steer Toy Vault in a more
game-oriented direction. After a few experimental forays into
the realm of game publishing, Toy Vault became confident in
its ability to have tabletop games made at a quality and pricepoint
comfortable to customers.
Once we got to that stage, it was only natural
that Godzilla be given some degree of gaming treatment. A request
was sent out to several game designers, and Richard H. Berg's
response was deemed to be the best.
Romero: Before going any further,
we should probably ask how do you play Godzilla: Kaiju World
The game is scenario-based, so the layout of the city will
vary from game to game. Players select a scenario (or design
one of their own), setting up the cityscape and placing their
Kaiju miniatures according to the scenario's guidelines. Then
players start taking their turns.
turn, you spend your Kaiju's Energy to perform actions, like
moving around the city, flying, fighting, and destroying things.
Of course, the real meat of the game is in the combat.
World Wars has two combat systems, allowing players to play
according to their own preferences: Basic combat is quicker,
while Advanced combat is more strategic and allows for a wider
variety of outcomes.
Romero: Do you feel there is a big learning
curve to the game, or can new players pick it up and start
playing pretty quickly?
Blake: Much of my work was adapting Richard's
rule system in a way which made it quick and simple to learn,
while maintaining the logical structure of the rules - In practice,
this boils down to how information is presented to the players,
and how much they have to remember at once.
Romero: What is envisioned
as the age range for the title?
Blake: Our recommended age range is
14 and up, although younger players probably wouldn't have
any trouble understanding the rules, especially with an adult
present to help them through it.
Romero: The board game features
four main characters in the form of Godzilla, King Ghidorah,
Rodan and Gigan. What is the background on choosing a total
of four monsters, and why these particular characters?
is obvious enough - you can't really have a Godzilla game without
Godzilla actually in it. Rodan was chosen as one of the more
iconic flight-type Kaiju. I believe King Ghidorah was chosen
as a big "threat" character. I honestly don't know
why Gigan was chosen, although I'm glad he's present in the
game: His in-game figure looks awesome.
Romero: Can we expect any
other Toho monsters to show up during the game?
Blake: No other monsters
will make an appearance in this game, although the Xiliens
do get mentioned. Of course, there's always the possibility
of expansions... More than that I can't really say right now.
Romero: The story features the Xilien as the driving force
behind all the mayhem. Will there be any other Toho characters
or "mechs" in
the game, such as the Gotengo or another Toho created military
vehicle such as the maser tanks?
Blake: Not in this game, although
again, expansions may occur at some point in the future.
Who designed the various artwork for Godzilla: Kaiju World
Blake: For several years, Ron Spencer has been Toy Vault's
go-to guy for a lot of our artwork, and he specifically came
up with the box cover design and map artwork. Gaming regular
Chris Quilliams provided some fantastic illustrations of the
four Kaiju, which we used in multiple places on the final product,
as well as illustrating the military units and some terrain
features. David Wilson provided the sculpts of the Kaiju figures,
while Raven Hood provided additional sculpting assistance,
including sculpting the stackable building tiles.
- longtime friend to Toy Vault, and brilliant product development
artist in his own right - created the original paint design
for the miniatures. Tragically, Ed passed away shortly after
finishing his portion of the project, and there is a dedication
in the game rulebook to his memory.
All other graphic elements
were created and designed by Toy Vault's own Zac Pensol, who
has done a great job of turning my vaguely phrased, badly scribbled
notes and half-formed ideas into beautiful and highly thematic
Romero: Do you know what Toho's initial reaction was when
Toy Vault presented the idea of making a Godzilla board game?
Blake: Licensors are often very guarded during the proposal
and approval stages of product development, although Toho expressed
a lot of enthusiasm over individual elements of the game's
artistic design early on. However, it wasn't until they received
the final product taken directly from the factory line that
they started using words like "excellent."
was it like working with Toho in getting the game made?
is one of the most professional licensors Toy Vault has ever
dealt with, bar none. They do a fantastic job of communicating
their wishes and requirements to exact specifications.
you describe yourself as a Godzilla fan before working on the
Blake: Godzilla is such a vast franchise, I have trouble
imagining anyone who *isn't* a fan to some degree. Personally,
I get more into the technical aspects of the series, as the
early Toho films pioneered a lot of methods and effects which
have since become industry staples. Godzilla basically created
the genre of modern Tokusatsu, and laid the groundwork for
things like the Super Sentai shows.
Beyond that, though, I've
always seen the Godzilla films as an exploration of classical
monster mythology in a contemporary setting. Traditionally,
stories of dragons, sea serpents, or other mythical creatures
are actually stories about human heroes, while the monsters
are just elements in the tale: Usually, either an adversary
or a means of transportation. Godzilla went a step further,
making the monsters the primary characters of the story, and
giving them distinct personalities.
Romero: Do you have a favorite
Godzilla character and movie?
Blake: My favorite story is probably
of Mechagodzilla (1975), just because I'm nuts for
giant robots, and I enjoyed its story more than Godzilla
vs. Mechagodzilla (1974). I think you can guess my favorite Kaiju.
Romero: In closing, where
will the game be sold and when is the release date?
Kaiju World Wars will be hitting store shelves early this summer,
and will be available wherever the best board and card games
are sold - so if a store doesn't have it in stock, be sure
to inform them of the inferiority of their inventory.