Kawaii – Review

A copy of Kawaii was provided by Coiledspring Games for review. I am aware of the situation with Coiledspring and Mumsnet earlier in the year and we at the Giant Brain utterly condemn their behaviour. That said we did not want to punish the publishers and designers whose games we have received through that distributor. To that end we will be reviewing some games we received at the start of 2020 from Coiledspring and Kawaii is one of them.

Regular readers of this will know that I love a small box game. It was with great delight that I received Kawaii to review last year, a game that definitely falls into that category. I’ve only recently had the chance to get some groups back together to get through some games and this game of push your luck ice creams was one of the first to hit the table.

Kawaii is from publisher Helvetiq, designer Marc-Atonie Hoffman, Ismael Perrin and artist Felix Kindelan. The box is of the sort that has made Oink Games famous with just a few cards and tokens to make up the game.

Simple components, but with a certain amount of charm

At the start of a game you are dealt out your favourite shape and flavour (coloured pattern) of ice cream. These are kept secret as you don’t want just anyone having that sort of sensitive information. With an equal share of the the deck each, the players start turning cards over to form a pile of ice cream, such that each cards’ shape and colour can still be seen.

As these piles grow a player can use some of their heart shaped capture tokens to grab a pile and add it to their score, declaring “Kawaii(cute)” in the process. Once all cards are grabbed you total up your points scoring points for ice creams that match flavour, shape or both, extras for cherries and negatives for coming up against a closed shop.

You end up with a very straight forward push your luck, with a little resource management and a whole bunch of luck. It’s light for sure, but has a certain amount of charm that is one of those factors I really like in game.

There is little in the way of strategy here, but sometimes that is OK. At just around £10-12 I don’t think it competes with the superb Dobble in terms of value for money, but it also presents a different type of game than you will find in that tin. Kawaii presents itself as a light, family friendly game you can carry around and it definitely achieves that. It won’t blow any minds but it is a gentle way to introduce push your luck mechanics to your family.


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Iain McAllister

Tabletop games reviewer and podcaster based in Dalkeith, Scotland.

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