The animals are gathering for the Klash to test their might against each other! This whimsical setting informs the game’s art, which is full of fierce-looking anthropomorphic animals decked out in armor. That is where the theme starts and ends. Make no mistake; this is a purely abstract board game. You won’t feel like you are a group of animals fighting against another group of animals, but you will be hoping to add certain animal tiles to your hand so that you can use their powers to score points.
Kombo Klash plays out on a five-by-five grid printed on top of a bright orange cloth map. There will be a stack of shuffled tiles in the center consisting of multiple copies of eight different animals, each with their own power, and each worth a different number of points. At the start of the game, a random tile is placed face up in each corner. Then each player will take five tiles into their hand. Starting with the first player, each player can play as many of their tiles as they want, with hopes of scoring a Kombo. A Kombo occurs when a player can form a line of three or more of the same animal adjacent to each other. Players can use the special abilities of the animals they play, which can help score bigger and better Kombos. Once a player gets a Kombo, they add up the victory points for each tile in the Kombo and then move their tracker up the victory point track accordingly. Once a Kombo is scored, the tiles involved in the Kombo are flipped over. Depending on the game’s length, players will continue until someone has scored 50, 75, or 100 victory points, then play to the end of the round to see who has won.
This game is light. Very Light. That isn’t a negative, of course. Sometimes a light game is precisely what you need, especially if those heavier games feel daunting after a long, tiring day or if you want to play with people who aren’t used to playing such complex games. Regardless of its complexity, it still feels like there should be more strategy available in the game. Some of the cards will let you flip a tile right side up or upside down, which you think would give this game a pretty strong memory aspect. Indeed, you can do that to try to set up a Kombo. I tried to do this, knowing full well that I am terrible at memory games. Despite not being successful with the strategy, it didn’t seem to matter too much. Sometimes I won by a little or a lot. Sometimes I lost by a little or a lot.
The more I played it, the more I realized the game was purely a tactical experience. You can’t really plan ahead because the state of the board changes too quickly. This is true at two players and becomes even more so as you add additional players. And although I don’t mind a tactical experience, there were other issues that, when compounded with the game’s tactical nature, prevented me from enjoying it as much as I would have expected. For instance, figuring out an optimal move on a given turn is pretty apparent. This is because, despite what I had hoped, you can’t chain Kombos together. On your turn, you can only score a single Kombo. So, all you have to do is figure out which of your tiles will give you the most points with the current board layout and not set your opponent up to do the same easily. I was hoping to create cool chain reactions to score massive points, but that isn’t what the game is about. Since you can’t chain Kombos together, it becomes more-or-less a luck of the draw-type affair. If I draw a hand that has three or more animal tiles that are the same, especially if there’s room to put them on the board next to an already placed tile with that animal, there is no way I’m not just going to play those tiles down. There isn’t a point in trying to block off what I think my opponent will do since their hand could be just as good as mine. Some of the powers seem like they could significantly affect the game, but we found that they usually didn’t.
This game would be great after playing a brain burner game or playing with kids who will like the animal tiles while not worrying about planning elaborate strategies. I like that they suggest three different victory point goals to adjust the game length. I wasn’t too big a fan of the 100 point game, though, as the lead felt like it swung back and forth too frequently and at random. I’d rather play the 50 point game twice. For the people I typically play games with, this game felt a bit too light, even as a filler game. That being said, because of the ease of teaching it and quick playtime, it will undoubtedly be right up some people’s alley. So if a light, fast, tile-laying game sounds good, definitely check it out. If you need just a bit more crunch, you may want to pass on this one.
I’m a lover of all kinds of games, whether they be board, video, miniatures, or card games. I want to share my thoughts on all games new and old.