Category Archives: Review

Review: Kaiju Incorporated

For clarity’s sake, in most instances the word ’employee’ is used below to denote players.

In case my introduction isn’t clear, I was given a review copy of the above RPG by Evil Hat Productions. Other than this, I am unaffiliated with Evil Hat Productions.

– Bubbles / Ryan


This analyst was recently given a copy of the document ‘Kaiju Incorporated’ by Evil Hat Productions to review. ‘Kaiju Incorporated’ is presented as a modification of the existing set of rules known as Fate Core and is intended as a training document for potential employees considering a role within one of the many corporations dedicated to cleaning up after kaiju attacks in order to harvest their materials and make a profit from the ensuing products and technologies.

These employees are not presented as the Aces in charge of the battlerobos that defend the helpless from the many kaiju in the world, but as the members of the corporation that are necessary to its survival; the cogs in the machine. Labourers, researchers and other positions related to fieldwork are presented within as possible training schemes and employee archetypes.

Presentation

The presentation throughout is slick and of the quality we have come to expect from Evil Hat Productions. Text and titles are of a sufficiently different font to allow for easy reading.

The dossier is filled with colourful, evocative artwork of high enough quality that this analyst found himself desiring more, possibly in the form of a limited run comic series. Whilst certainly not necessary to convey its report, Evil Hat have chosen their art well and it provides some useful visual reference for the themes of the document.

Setting

The high quality art is paired well with the text. Constant references to the vital corporate structures that keep this world running, as well as important protocols and processes, thoroughly ground the entire document and matches the mechanics presented within.

As ever, one’s first engagement with the information contained within the training material (after necessary paperwork) is the vitally important job interview. This helps to ground the experience and the provided testimonials (example) help to convey the atmosphere the document aims to create.

No report on kaiju attacks, and the corporations involved with the clean-up of such, would be complete without a timeline of the catastrophes plaguing our world, as well as detailed files on the kaiju and those corporate heroes profiting from them. Whilst little information is given on the so called ‘Aces’ whose job it is to stop the kaiju, employees will begin their career well versed in the dangers they may face and the potential employers that the industry has built up around them.

Mechanics

The material, based as it is upon an existing framework of established practices, is up front about the ways in which it differs from the norm. This is particularly useful for analysts and employees who have a large amount of experience with the framework known as ‘Fate Core’.

Employees are given 4 modes to receive possible training in. These modes encompass every facet of an employee’s life and provide further possible training in the form of ‘Skills’. Each mode has 3 Skills in which an employee can be trained, with all employees receiving different amounts of training depending upon their experiences, personality and role. With 12 Skills available, employees receive focused training in 3 and choose one of those 3 to become specialised in.  In this manner, an employee can be chosen who has the right skill-set for the team they are to work with whilst remaining flexible enough to deal with any situation.

Of a more worrying nature, some employees are able to undergo a hybridisation process that links them inextricably with the kaiju and their employer. This genetic alteration brings to mind the B-movies of yesteryear, perfectly in line with the rest of the document.

The training material places a large amount of emphasis on team-work and planning. When a report comes through of a kaiju attack, the employees and their handler are encouraged to work together to discover the specifics of the attack and to plan accordingly. Each phase of the plan is then undertaken and detailed later in an after-action report. This bureaucratic necessity allows the employees to determine whether they were successful in cleaning up after the kaiju attack, or whether the problem(s) remain(s). It is then up to them to decide whether or not the problem is for someone else to sort out.

This process allows for some repetition of scenarios, especially in a training context, in order to experiment and develop the team-work skills required to deal with a high level alert.

Conclusions

Overall, the document meets my expectations from a company such as Evil Hat Productions. High-quality production and research skills have been paired with a razor sharp understanding of modern kaiju harvesting methods and corporations to produce a design and training document sufficient to teach new employees all the skills and knowledge they will need to successfully deal with the aftermath of a kaiju attack.

It is this analyst’s view that ‘Kaiju Incorporated’ be treated as an essential document for all members of the Fate, and kaiju, communities, effective immediately.

The accompanying training exercises, presented as a card game, are also to be considered highly informative and a worthwhile investment.