One of the great thing about having children is that you can mold them into being little versions of yourself. Being a horror fan is a difficult thing though, because you don’t want to say to your six year old ‘ok, sit down. It’s time you watched Human Centipede.’ The best way to develop your child into a monster kid is through stuff like Scooby Doo, and getting them to play games that have monster themes, like this one, Kraken Attack.
Kraken Attack is a co-operative game, which means the players work with each other against the game, and everyone plays a different pirate on a pirate ship getting attacked by a kraken. The pirates win if they injure the kraken three times, and the players are beaten if the kraken hits the ship four times.
The set up for the game is fairly simple. Each player (from one to four) picks a pirate and takes their accompanying deck of cards. The board is then set up with eight ship pieces put on the ‘ship’ part of the board, eight tentacle pieces put on eight side of the board in their starting rows, labeled with canons, guns or cutlasses and the kraken itself put into the it’s own board, separate to the main board, with some extra dice that will eventually pop up as the kraken wanders down the track that’s printed there…
… but more on that later.
Each player starts each turn with two cards from their deck face up in front of them. They roll the dice, one red and one blue, which have images of various sea creatures that represent rows that the Kraken’s tentacles are on, and move the respective tentacle along the row closer to the ship.
Each column that the tentacles movie along are labelled with a canon, a gun and a sword, which are the weapons required to send it back to the beginning of the row. On each turn they can play the actions on their card which can be a combination of:
Hammer – repair the ship (after a tentacle attacks)
Boot – move in the deck
A cutlass, gun or canon – stop the tentacle on that row
The player can choose to do any or all of these actions, and depending on their character, can sometimes perform one of the actions more than once. If they are able to hit a tentacle on the row they are on, the tentacle goes back to the beginning of the row, ready to strike again at any chance.
Also on each card is a porthole, and if that porthole has a funny face in it, the kraken gets angry, it moves along its personal board. Every time it hits a space with an extra dice in it, that dice is added to the dice pool so on every turn, more dice are rolled, activating more tentacles and making keeping the ship afloat more difficult.
This continues with each player taking their turns and trying to keep the tentacles away because if the ship gets hit four times and it isn’t repaired, the ship sinks and the kraken wins! Once the kraken gets to the end of its board it replaces one of the tentacles and starts attacking the ship personally, but if you wound it three times, the players win!
You may have noticed that I said the game plays from a minimum of one, which means it has a solo mode! You want your kid off the TV/ computer/ iPad but don’t have time to play a game with them yourself? Well this game has a solo mode that makes for a fun distraction for one bored child!
We love co-operative games in my house. I think it’s because we are all pretty good team players and are willing to take advice from others before playing our turn. This can occasionally cause something called ‘quarterbacking’, where one player tries to control the other’s actions, and because children are adorable little egotists, an older player might need to make an dictatorship game more of a democracy by making sure all the players get a chance to speak.
It’s great to play with children because it’s an all-win or all-lose situation, so none of them will feel singled out. The pieces are all wonderful looking toys that are inviting to play with. It’s simple to learn and really fun to play.
I honestly can’t talk this game up enough. I think Loki really outdid themselves with both the game and the components. It is a kids game, but my gaming group have found it’s just as good a game for adults who would like to play something co-operative, but don’t have the time for a game of something like Pandemic.