Kawaii is an adorable miniature card game from the makers of Bandido where you try to collect as many ice cream cards of your favorite shape and/or flavor as possible.
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- 50 Ice Cream cards
- 3 Closed Shop Cards
- 2 Cherry Cards
- 5 Favorite Flavor Cards
- 5 Favorite Shape Cards
- 10 Heart-Shaped Wooden Capture Tokens
Like Bandido, Kawaii comes in a tiny box measuring just 6.5cm by 11cm. The artwork is just as cute as you would expect from a game called Kawaii (kawaii is the Japanese word for cute or loveable if you were unaware) and the little red heart tokens just add to the overall adorable factor.
I was also pleased to note that there are no plastic components whatsoever. This, in addition to the small size, make Kawaii a highly environmentally friendly game.
How to Play Kawaii
Hand each player two Capture Tokens and place any extras into the box. Shuffle the five Favorite Flavor cards and give one, face-down, to each player. Do the same for the five Favorite Shape cards and discard any extras face-down into the box – they will not be needed during this game. Each player should look at and memorize their Favorite Flavor and Favorite Shape card.
Shuffle the ice cream cards and deal out the entire deck face-down evenly among the players. Depending on how many players you have, some players may have one more card than others but this will not impact the game. The players keep this face-down stack of cards in front of them and do not look at them.
The last player who ate an ice cream begins. This player takes the top card from their stack and places it face-up in front of them. The player to their left then does the same and so-on around the table with each player revealing their top card. When play returns to the first player, they take the second card from their stack and place it beside their first revealed card so that both can be seen. Play continues like this with all players gradually building a collection of revealed cards until a player sees a collection of cards they want to capture.
When a player decides to capture a set of cards (including their own) they take one of their Capture Tokens and place it on top of the set, saying “Kawaii” as they do. The game stops and these cards are collected by the player who placed the token and put into a Score Pile where they are safe until the end of the game. The player whose cards were just collected keeps the capture token unless the player captured their own cards in which case the token is discarded.
Players can capture as many card stacks as they have Capture Tokens, can capture more than one stack at a time (although players can only ever use one hand to place Capture Tokens), and can capture stacks while the game is stopped. Should two-players say Kawaii and place their Capture Tokens on the same stack, the fastest to place their token wins and in the case of a tie – the winner is determined by a round of rock, paper, scissors.
Play continues like this until either all the cards in the players’ reserves have been played and no one wants to capture any more piles, or no players have any capture tokens remaining.
End of Round Scoring
Each player now adds up their score from the cards they captured earning points as follows:
- 1 Point for each ice cream of your favorite flavor
- 1 Point for each ice cream of your favorite shape
- 2 Points for each ice cream of your favorite shape AND flavor
- 1 Point for each Cherry
- Minus one point for each Closed Shop card UNLESS you have all three in which case three points are earned
- 1 Point for each remaining Capture Token
Players note their scores down and the player with the least points begins the next round.
Kawaii takes place over three rounds. The player with the highest score after the three rounds is declared the winner.
While we didn’t enjoy Kawaii quite as much as Bandido, this is still a fun little filler game. The bright colors, cute artwork, and kid-friendly theme will make Kawaii ideal for family games nights and get-togethers while the small box size makes it easy to store and the small cards are well-sized for little hands.
Whenever color is a factor in a game I always consider color-blindness and I was pleased to note that in Kawaii, each different background color also has its own unique pattern, meaning that color-blind gamers will still be able to join in. The small cards might be a problem in some games but because there is almost no text (and the small amount present is both unimportant to the game and printed in a large font), it’s not a problem here.
Kawaii is an enjoyable little game perfect for summer days – the small size makes it great for travel too – although the theme will almost certainly have you craving a frozen treat before the end of the first round!
GeekMom received a copy of this game for review purposes.