Weta Workshop’s First Kickstarter Funded in 4.5 Hours
Stretch that monkey brain, chomp hard on that mouth guard and prepare to throw down for the hottest board game brawl this side of the megapocalypse. GKR: Heavy Hitters, Weta Workshop’s first ever tabletop game, has launched on Kickstarter with a bang, meeting its $100,000 funding goal in just 4.5 hours.
The game is set in the satirical, sports-mad world of Giant Killer Robots – GKR for short. Corporate-sponsored factions of GKRs battle in Earth’s abandoned cities for fame, fortune, and salvage rights. It’s the brainchild of senior Weta Workshop concept designers Leri Greer, Christian Pearce and Paul Tobin.
“This is a near-future Earth where the corporations rule. Most of humanity has been wiped out during an apocalyptic contagion event. The question we asked ourselves is: who had the resources and self-interest to survive? The answer was giant corporations. And what better way to keep your new consumers happy? Turn the greatest salvage operation in history into the biggest sport spectacle on the planet. In this world, consumerism is king…it’s not that different from our world today. That’s what we wanted to make fun of.”
-Paul Tobin, Senior Concept Designer, Weta Workshop
In GKR: Heavy Hitters, players step into the shoes of a Pilot and lead their chosen faction of GKRs to victory. Players can win by either destroying their opponents’ Heavy Hitter – the biggest robot on the board – or by demolishing buildings into rubble. Featuring four large pre-painted robot miniatures measuring up to 139mm tall, and 12 smaller ‘support unit’ GKRs, it’s more than a deck-building tabletop strategy game. It’s a collectors’ piece in its own right.
For the core game mechanics, Weta Workshop worked with American game developer Cryptozoic Entertainment. With lead game designer Matt Hyra at the helm, Cryptozoic oversaw the design of the gameplay, working collaboratively with the GKR team.
“Weta Workshop has more than 20 years’ experience making film collectibles, but we’ve never made a board game – so working with Cryptozoic has been amazing. Matt created a game which, at its core, was a lot of fun, and then worked with us to integrate the GKR world. We ended up with the perfect introduction to GKR: the humour, the story…it’s all there in the game, just as we had hoped. You know that you have created something truly special when every time you pass by the latest playtest, people are just cracking up laughing.”
-Nicola Booth, Production Manager, Weta Workshop
Backers can choose how much they want to contribute to the Kickstarter, starting at just $US5. Pledge $US99, and backers will receive the complete game. Pledge more, and they’ll receive pilot minis and even paintable models, allowing them to build and paint their own version of Weta Workshop’s Heavy Hitters. Those higher rewards are exclusive to Kickstarter in extremely limited numbers.
The Kickstarter has already met its funding goal of $100,000 - in just 4 hours.
In June 2016, the Weta Workshop crew were lucky to have the chance to demo the game for tested.com and Adam Savage, co-creator of the legendary Discovery Channel series Mythbusters. The video, posted in January, has garnered over 140,000 views from board game enthusiasts and collectors of cool stuff alike. In the lead-up to the game’s launch, glowing reviews emerged from the likes of Man vs Meeple and The Beasts of War.
The GKR: Heavy Hitters Kickstarter also marks Weta Workshop’s first foray into the world of crowd-funding. Says Paul:
“Kickstarter is home to an incredibly dedicated, enthusiastic community of board gamers, so for us it was a no-brainer. We’re stoked to bring this game to Kickstarter and can’t thank the community enough for all the support we’ve received so far.”
The Kickstarter runs for 30 days. Those keen to throw their hat in the ring of the future’s most epic robot rumble can do so here.
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