Q&A: Kaiju Inc. RPG from Evil Hat Productions
We recently spoke with Fred Hicks, the president and co-owner of Evil Hat Productions, about their tabletop RPG 'Kaiju Inc.' -- appropriate considering the recent theatrical release of 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters.' He described how the game functions and the appeal of giant monsters.
What is the premise to Kaiju Inc.?
The RPG is Ghostbusters meets kaiju hunting. The world is run by mega-corporations that profit off of harvesting parts from fallen kaiju. You play members of the support and clean-up crew trying to make the most of things without getting crushed under a giant lizard's foot or, worse, written up by Human Resources.
In the Card Game, the setting is the same, but you're playing the CEOs of those mega-corporations, looking to make a bigger profit — and debut more kaiju-derived products — than the competition.
Could you describe the mechanics?
The RPG is pure Fate. If you know Fate Core or Fate Accelerated, it's a lot like that — with the action taking place from a ground's-eye view of a giant robot vs kaiju fight and the cleanup afterwards.
The card game shares some similarities with machi koro and the like; you build up a tableau of buildings and company holdings which drive both income and pollution, the latter of which pisses off the kaiju and occasionally causes them to stomp through your tableau, leveling some of the buildings. Good thing there's money in reconstruction.
What made your company decide on a Kaiju-themed game?
Nothing more than we like 'em.
Are there supplements for the game?
No supplements for either; they're a kind of complete, complementary set.
What in your estimation is the appeal of the Kaiju genre?
Well, it first came about in the wake of atomic war, right? The world is full of big, scary things that you've got absolutely no control over, and which could one day just up and kill you because you're simply too small-scale to matter against events of that scope. Kaiju, as a concept, give that a kind of personification and fun. You can't punch a nuclear explosion or climate change and hope to win — but you can suit up in a giant robot and punch the hell out of a kaiju. That's not to say you'll win, but at least there you've got a chance.
Hm. That got a bit dark!
Who was the development team and when did Evil Hat release the game
The RPG was developed and written by Rob Wieland (who's written for a bunch of games as well as Geek & Sundry). The card game was designed by Eric Vogel (who also designed the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game and Don't Turn Your Back). Artwork for both was done by Brian Patterson (of d20monkey.com).