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Kettou

Play as a mighty samurai warrior, in a duel to the death that will pit two to eight players against one another in this fast paced card game.

Reflexes and speed are important in this game of samurai duels. But you also need to play the odds, as you strategically assign combat cards to dice results.

Gameplay

Each player takes a samurai card (or for a two player game, one starting samurai card and one to be held in reserve). Each samurai card has a number of hit points and an attack number representing the amount of damage it deals. Some also have special abilities, which either activate when the samurai comes into play or when a particular number or doubles are rolled.

There are eight hit cards. In a two player game, you lay four face up on the table. In a team game, you place two hit cards each between opposing members.

Both players/teams also take seven bushido cards. Each card has two numbers on it. The cards will activate when those numbers are rolled. Finally, each team takes a combat card and places it on a bushido card of their choice. This combat card is what will occur if that bushido card is activated. It might deal damage to an opponent samurai, defend against an attack, or allow you to move combat cards to different bushido cards.

Each round has three phases. During the first phase, a player may draw from a second deck of hit cards, reading out the name of the card, or you can use an audio track from the publisher’s website which will announce the hit cards for you. When a hit card is announced that is face up on the table, players race to slap it. If you are playing a team game, you are only allowed to slap the two cards that are directly in front of you. The player that slaps the correct hit card first deals damage to her opponent’s samurai.

Next, each team rolls two dice, seeing if one of their bushido cards with a combat card attached activates. Finally, you draw new combat cards equal to the number of teams in the game, and teams draft them, with the team that lost the first phase of the round choosing first.

A new round begins and the game continues until only one side has any samurai left and wins the game.

Kettou Components

Review

The speed element of Kettou fits thematically with the idea of dueling samurai and it’s thoroughly enjoyable to race each other to be the first to slap a card in question. For team play, the head-to-head approach adds another level of tension as you and your opponent face down over two specific cards.

Applying the combat cards to your bushido cards allows you to personalize your team and gives you some interesting decisions to make, which spices up the luck of the roll and speed elements to the game, and also introduces variety to the gameplay.

The introduction of the audio recording from the website is a great addition, with suspenseful background music that nicely adds to the atmosphere, and there are two reader voices to choose from.

In general, the components are solid but since you use dice both for rolling and to track your Samurai’s health, the game does not come with a sufficient number of dice for any more than a two player game.

Fast paced, with some clever design choices, Kettou is a neat card game with an interesting blend of mechanics and theme.

Pros: Nice blend of mechanics, audio recording for hit tracks is well produced

Cons: Does not include enough dice for more than two players

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.