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Tokyo Clash Designer Explains Why His Game Is ‘The Best Kaiju Fighting Game’ For Godzilla Fans


Ask a dozen different board game designers what comes first, mechanics or theme, and their responses might vary depending on the day or the project. For game designer Aaron Donogh, though, the answer is more straightforward. “Theme comes first,” he explains, noting that his “inside-out” approach to game design starts with identifying core thematic moments to build around. To find those moments for “Godzilla: Tokyo Clash,” Donogh spent a week watching nothing but “Godzilla” movies — 32 in total.

As he made his way through the series, Donogh quickly decided that humans should play a secondary role in the battle between characters. “Humans are a nuisance, generally,” he explains. “So I thought, well, I’ll make them a nuisance and help them keep resources feeding onto the board in the later rounds, but it’s got to be about beating up the other monsters.” This narrative decision drove the balance between humans and kaiju, making “Godzilla: Tokyo Clash” more of an environment-rich brawler than a true player-versus-environment title.

The movies also helped Donogh identify the different playstyles for each monster. One example he gives is Mothra, whose unique relationship with humans in the movies required the design team to tweak her abilities to reach a more symbiotic relationship with the environment. “In all the Godzilla films, Mothra is a good guy and a protector,” he explains. “So maybe they shouldn’t be destroying buildings in the same way.”

Of course, one of the biggest perks of developing a “Godzilla” game is choosing which kaiju Godzilla should face. It was here that Donogh put his thumb on the scale. “Megalon is in this game just because I think he looks cool,” he says with a smile. While Donogh admits that there are probably other kaiju whom fans would’ve preferred, the designer loves that Megalon “looks different from all the other monsters, and he has a lot of weirdness to the way he attacks with his drill hands.”

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