The Colossal Kaiju Combat card game simulates 2-5 players controlling teams of giant monsters (kaiju) battling for glory. This usually involves attacking & knocking out kaiju from the opposing teams, but glory may also be earned by destroying buildings, fighting the military, or other special cards. The first team to accumulate 20 glory is the winner! (Alternatively, if all but one team is eliminated, that team wins regardless of their current glory total.)
Please refer to the card game glossary page for quick reference or definitions of various key terms.
Each player needs to have their own planning deck, combat deck, and kaiju team in order to play. Place your characters and your team card faceup in a row in front of you. Shuffle your planning deck and put it to the left of your characters, then shuffle your combat deck and put it to the right of your characters. Leave space next to each deck for a discard pile. (each deck uses its own discard pile exclusively - combat cards NEVER go into the planning discard pile, and vice versa.)
New players should use one of our preconstructed decks, which are all well-tuned and very playable out of the box. If you are building your own decks, please review Team Building & Deck Building Tips.
To begin the game, all players simultaneously draw cards from the top of their planning deck equal to their team's planning draw. The team with the highest printed team initiative goes first. (If two teams have the same initiative, decide an order for them randomly. Once decided, that initiative order is in effect for the rest of the game.) Each player then takes a pool of initial Energy Tokens equal to 10 + the highest POWER value on their team.
This pool of Energy Tokens is shared by your entire team, and you often won't get more during the game. Use them wisely!
Here's what your play area should look like, more or less:
IMPORTANT! : More tokens will be needed throughout the game for things like recording damage to cards, and gaining Fury. Get a collection of pennies, dice, flat marbles, or whatever works best for you.
Before we get into the specific rules about how to play, let's talk about the flow of the game.
This game is all about combat. Combat between kaiju, as well as combat between kaiju and other things like buildings, allies, and military opponents. Winning the game is all about picking what fights you can win, and surviving the fights you can't win. Knocking out an opponent's kaiju is tempting - but it's often hard to do in a single combat. If you go first, think about how your opponent will respond. You don't want to leave any easy targets on the board for them if you don't have to!
Each player has an “active” kaiju - who is very much in harm's way. Other than that, you can only fight things that you (or an opponent) has put into play. Allies help your side in subtle ways, but the also provide tempting targets for your opponent to KO. Locations & Opponents might be things you intend to fight and KO, or maybe you put them in to disrupt your opponent instead. Some Locations & Opponents give certain kaiju benefits, or hurt certain strategies. Simply playing a bunch of Location & Opponent cards makes the city quite large, which makes MOVE effects more important in battle.
All players will play planning cards - trying to create a favorable situation for themselves. But it's just as important to be careful with your combat cards. When attacking, assume your opponent can block 2 points of each attack, or sometimes more. Unless they counterattack or fail to play a card, that's the least they'll do! Also plan out which cards you can afford to play, and which you cannot. A well-crafted combat deck gives you hands you can play completely - but not all your kaiju can have the same stats. In addition, you'll often be required to fight on behalf of a weaker character like a building - so don't count too much on getting to use any specific card.
One way to help combat go your way is to spend Energy Tokens to pay for cards you couldn't otherwise afford. This can give you a big swing on both offense and defense - but be careful! Energy Tokens are often hard to replenish, and you don't want to be caught without any to help yourself out on defense.
Each Turn is broken into seven phases to clarify what is happening when. In some phases all players act simultaneously, but in most players act sequentially in initiative order. The distinction is noted next to each phase.
There are five types of Planning Cards: Locations, Opponents, Allies, Scars, and Events.
Battles take place in a growing & changing cityscape - composed of whatever bits and pieces players have put into their combat decks. Mostly a city is made up of locations (like buildings) and opponents (like military vehicles).
At any given moment, battles are being fought next to just one of these pieces - whichever card is at the end of the line of cards making up the city. During the game players might Move (usually because of a combat card, but other cards or abilities can cause a move as well) - each time you move 1 space, simply take the currently adjacent city card, and put it at the end of the row. If you “move 2”, just move the first card, then move the second card. If you move far enough, you'll come right back to where you started!
The card next to the current battle will sometimes affect how that battle plays out. Any card in the city can affect the overall game - opponents often attack or otherwise try to damage kaiju, for example. Office Complexes make the whole city tougher. Nuclear Power Plants generate kaiju energy. And so forth.
Cards in the city can also be attacked and damaged for GLORY. The glory earned from defeating a location or opponent is the black number in a yellow box in the top-right corner of the card.
Kaiju cards do not have a GLORY number - they are always worth 5 GLORY (unless otherwise specified by rules text.)
Many event cards are worth GLORY - the rules on the card specify their value.
If you are asked to put random planning cards into your GLORY pile, put them face-down to prevent confusion. face-down cards are always worth 1 GLORY.
If you are told to “gain” GLORY with no specific card to represent it, use tokens.
When any player has 20 or more GLORY, the game ends immediately and that player wins. If multiple players reach 20+ GLORY at the same moment, the highest total wins. If there is a tie - the player with the most characters still conscious wins. If that number is the same - the game is a tie!
If at any time only one player has characters left on their team, that player immediately wins the game, regardless of how much GLORY they have.
In general your active character is “at risk” - because that character will almost certainly fight one or more opponents. After spending a turn active, your character is almost certainly damaged, and will need to heal for several turns. Eventually, A character will be KO'd.
Depending on the characters in your team, and the strategy you plan to use, you will need to make a careful selection of who fights for your team each time.
There are 5 basic actions. Some cards or abilities will grant a “special action” - only the affected character(s) may use that action instead of one of the basic 5.
Although the card game supports more than 2 players, combats always happen between exactly 2 players. If one player ever somehow controls both sides of a combat, that combat immediately ends with no winner or loser. Likewise, a third (or fourth!) player may never join in a combat in progress.
One character begins combat with initiative - generally the one who declared the attack.
Each player selects & plays a combat card face-down. The player with initiative must select an “Attack” or “Technique” card - then player without initiative must select a “Defense” “Technique” or “Counter Attack” card. If the player with initiative cannot or chooses not to play a card, the initiative passes to the other player. If the player without initiative cannot or chooses not to play a card - they simply suffer the full effects of the attack! If both players pass the attack consecutively, combat ends.
Some combat cards require or give the option to discard additional combat cards as part of their cost. These discards happen now, while cards are face-down. If your opponent is discard cards, be prepared for a powerful strike! (Remember, player with initiative plays a card, including discards, before the other player selects a response.)
All face-down combat cards are now revealed, and must be payed for. The cost to play a card is expressed as a certain amount of FEROCITY (red boxes) AGILITY (blue boxes) and/or POWER (yellow boxes) - which corresponds to a character's stats. Keep all combat cards played by a character in a stack until the combat is over, so that both players can easily see how much FEROCITY & AGILITY has been spent thus far in the combat.
Energy Tokens may be used to pay for part of all of a combat card's cost. (Yellow boxes MUST be paid for with Energy Tokens.) Each character's POWER stat indicates the maximum number of energy tokens they may spend in a single combat.
If either player has selected an illegal card type, (playing a counter attack instead of an attack, for example!) discard it without effect.
If a player cannot afford to pay for their legal combat card, it becomes a BLUFF. Bluffed combat cards have no effect… unless your opponent's card is ALSO a bluff (or if they played no card at all… don't do that!)
Look at the attacker's DAMAGE value, plus any bonuses from attribute icons card text or kaiju abilities. Compare that with the defender's TOUGHNESS value, plus any modifiers. Deal damage to the defender equal to the total damage - toughness.
If the defender takes damage, they also put a FURY token on their team card. Hitting kaiju enough will drive them to the point of using their RAGE ATTACK - so be careful!
Initiative no passes to the player who did not have it, and combat continues until both players pass in succession. (That is, until neither player wishes to or cannot play another damage card.)
Cards played are left face-up next to each character, so that it is obvious how much FEROCITY, AGILITY and POWER has already been used in this fight. Remember - if you cannot afford a card it becomes a BLUFF, and does nothing! Use your resources wisely!
When combat ends, both players discard any remaining cards they wish, and then draw back up to a combat hand of 5 cards. If your combat deck has fewer than 5 cards in it, draw all of the remaining cards, then shuffle your combat discard pile to form a new deck, and continue drawing until you have 5 combat cards in hand.
Since drawing new cards happens at the end of each combat, it is possible to begin a combat with more than 5 cards (due to ROAR, for example) or less than 5 (responding to an AMBUSH, for example.)
In some situations, you might have a Team Fight - where multiple characters enter on one or both sides of the combat. These play out just like normal fights, with just a few differences:
Whenever a character is dealt damage, put a number of Damage Tokens onto that character's card to indicate the damage. These tokens may be healed by a variety of effects - usually 1 is healed if a character spends an entire turn without entering the Active area. (where fights occur!)
If a character takes damage equal to or greater than their FORTITUDE (including the team's Fortitude Bonus, which is usually +2) that character is Knocked Out (KO'd.) Remove that character from the game, and give 5 GLORY to the player who dealt the final blow. (In a friendly game, just hand the KO'd character card to your opponent, to record the GLORY.)
Whenever a character is damaged by an attack, that character's team gains 1 Fury Token. Place this on the team card (or to the side, if you are using the imaginary default team card.) and try to accumulate enough to activate a RAGE ATTACK! Note that a high team fury means that your team will need to be hit many times before activating your powerful rage attack, while a low team fury means you'll activate your rage attack more quickly.
When your team has accumulated 10 Fury (or whatever is specified on your Team Card) - you may activate your Rage Attack. This may be done at the start of combat, or between attacks. Rage Attacks do the following:
Rage attacks are great for dealing additional damage, beating up a team of attackers, or just getting yourself out of a bad combat situation. Certain teams rely more or less on Rage Attacks - and in the future there will be Combat Events and Team Cards which give access to new specific Rage Attacks.
IMPORTANT! We've found that “forgetting to gain fury when damaged” is the #1 most overlooked rule in the game. And without Fury (and the rage attacks they trigger) games can sometimes drag on for far too long. So to combat this problem, we've added in the “fury stealing” rule. It reads as follows:
“If a player does not add fury when damaged, then their opponent may gain that fury instead.”
To be fair about this rule, you need to give your opponent ample time to forget - you can't just claim they've forgotten 1 second after cards are revealed! The best time to steal their fury would be when you have both played your next combat cards, but before you reveal them.
Remember that the goal of this rule is to help everyone to remember to gain fury properly! If a player is using this rule outside of this spirit, a judge may deem the steal to be illegal, at the judge's discretion.
Each kaiju has a special ability printed on the back of their card. It is the responsibility of that kaiju's owner to make certain that those abilities are respected during the game. Kaiju abilities are “stronger” than regular card abilities - so if a kaiju's rule text conflicts with another card's rule text - the kaiju ability wins.
The Team Card “from the deep” can make specific characters “immune” to kaiju abilities. This prevents any active use of abilites toward that character, and allows that character to ignore all effects of kaiju abilities - such as +1 damage with “PUNCH” attacks. Abilities which affect one's self, such as EVO Eira's transformation, or Giraffish / Loodicriz's “self revive” are not cancelled, as they do not affect the immune character.
Attribute key words are printed on the front of each character, immediately under their name. These represent the physical characteristics of the character which influence & enhance the combat cards they use in battle.