You don’t always come across a board game that’s difficult to compare to any other game you’ve played. Kabuto Sumo is one of those games. In the simplest terms, this beetle sumo wrestling game is all about pushing pieces out of the arena, but those looks can be deceiving. The game is fun and unpredictable just the way you want a wrestling match to go, and we had a great time playing it with special guest Petrana Radulovic on our latest Overboard episode. we.
In a match of Kabuto Sumo, players attempt to push their opponent’s pieces out of the arena, alone or in teams of two. They do it by pushing pieces (in small, medium or large form) into a board full of discs and beetles. This usually causes one or more pieces to be thrown out of the arena. If it’s the player’s beetle shard, they’ll be knocked down and their opponent wins! But more than likely, they will only push out a few regular pieces, which will be added to that player’s supply for later turns.
The closest we can think of this “push disc” game is not even a board game. Instead, it’s the coin-push games you see at bowling alleys and Chuck E. Cheese locations.
While these “games” are very different from Kabuto Sumothey have one thing in common: They both trick you into thinking that pushing the disc in a straight line will easy.
As it turns out, when you push two to three discs in a row, they have the potential to move in all directions unpredictable. But it pays off only often enough that it might be worth the risk if you can, such as pushing a particularly desired piece (or maybe even your opponent’s) out of the box from the other side of the arena. That means at each turn, you (and your teammates) will have to decide if you want to play it safe or go bust. These kinds of high-risk, high-reward decisions are what make the game feel like a fun wrestling match — even if all you’re doing is pushing small plates.
Adding color and chaos is the wrestlers themselves. When starting a Kabuto Sumo match, each player gets to choose a wrestler with two signature moves. Either of these moves adds a tactical wrinkle to your playing style. Maybe you steal pieces from your opponent who touches your pieces, or you get an extra turn when you’re at the edge of the arena.
The unusual signature move gives you access to your special piece, which you can push into the arena instead of the regular piece. These signature pieces can be extremely useful, but you usually have to pay a few to get them.