Kick-Ass: The Board Game Review (CMON)


A cooperative area management game, Kick-Ass delivers a challenging (and occasionally frustrating) experience for up to four players. In Kick-Ass, each player starts with their own action cards and stats, based on seven of the main characters in the Kick-Ass franchise. From there, they need to work together to clean up the city, while also micro-managing their health, equipment, and social media likes.

Kick-Ass: The Board Game Details

Players: 1 to 4

Game Time: 60 Minutes

Age: 18+

Genre: Area Control / Cooperative

How is Kick-Ass Played?

Kick-Ass is played in multiple rounds. During a round, new enemies will come out -- and boss events that adversely impact you and that you need to resolve to win. On each turn, players select an action card to play. Action cards may give players resources, let players attack, or let players activate an area ability.

Another thing about this game: you need a full table and even that might not be enough.

Area abilities include things like healing hit points or leveling up. At the end of a turn, more minions come out in random locations across the city. Enemies can fill an area and overflow into other areas, and if they overflow and fill city hall, the players lose. 

In the early rounds, players will be trying to build up their strength and their equipment. Damage and defending is done by rolling dice, and upgrading skills and equipment can give you more dice. However, you also need to continuously manage the minions as they come out, and try to work to resolve events. Social media likes can also activate different abilities which will help you control each area. At the end of each round you can select new cards, but that also means you lose older cards; you always have the same hand size. 

Working Together to Suck a Little Less

In this thematically correct game, the villains always win. Well, probably not always, but Kick-Ass is a hard game. Unless you're really working together, you'll get overrun quickly. In the early stages, you don't have enough power to knock out enemies without getting hurt badly first. You have to group up and fight together. Even so, you're always somewhat on the cusp of losing everything. You may destroy one enemy, but you'll get six more at the end of the turn -- as minions spawn, the number that are spawning each time can go up as well.

Villains will spread across the board quickly, locking out abilities and bringing you closer to being overrun.

This inspires a lot of table talk and a lot of arguing; since the situation is tense and you need to rely on each other, there may be disagreements regarding the correct course of action. With the randomized element in place, you can also lose a lot faster than you think. And when you die, it can be bad for everyone. At a certain point in this game, you can see that you're losing; there just isn't anything you can do but ride it out.

Thematic, But Probably Unnecessary -- and Brutally Hard

This game can be an exercise in frustration. You need to manage multiple elements at the same time, and the challenge of the game truly lies in never having enough time to do all the things that you need to do. This is important to recognize: it isn't just about economy of action, it's that often you genuinely cannot do the things you need to do. You need to take risks and hope luck is on your side. You need to hope the right equipment comes out and that the right cards come out, that the right minions don't come out, and that everything doesn't coalesce into a disaster.

Kick-Ass also requires an incredible amount of table space -- like an irrational amount. There's probably no reason the character mats need to be as large as they are, except to make the game feel more epic in scale. The minis are almost completely superfluous. Even the map is probably larger than it has to be: there are only a handful of areas, a few of which you may end up neglecting. There's also a mini for each enemy and they're almost all identical, adding almost nothing of value to the game except for the ability to say "hey, this has minis."

Beyond those issues though, the amount of challenge makes for some genuinely interesting interactions. If you like cooperative play and are up for a challenge -- and you like the world of Kick-Ass -- it isn't a bad comic book game. 

Kick-Ass: The Board Game Review
  • PRO: Want a challenging cooperative experience? As long as your group isn't heavy on quarterbacking, this is a pretty interesting one. 
  • CON: The theme really isn't for everyone; it's heavy on the comic lore, coming up cheesy and juvenile in a way that you either love or hate.