Modiphius line manager James talks about Kung Fu Panda and the experience of playing it with family for the first time…

Traditionally I should be talking about the merits of Kung Fu Panda: The Board Game, and why it’s fun. Alternatively, I could also talk about the trials and tribulations of Kickstarters, late starts and production. But instead I want to talk about the most enjoyable part of developing and producing such a joyous game: opening it and playing it.

Over Christmas I received my copy of the game. Originally, I’d backed the kickstarter to track the experience for other backers, hopefully making things better in the process. At work I’d opened multiple variations of the game, from a series of proofs and pre-production copies, to some of the first off the line.

But it was still with growing excitement that I opened my backer copy of the game. There’s something wonderful about opening a new game, taking out all the components, and punching out the punch board. It was made even better by the able assistance of my niece watched over by the rest of my family. While bouncing about like Tigger looking at the playing pieces, each new one was greeted with a yell of happy recognition. ‘Po! Monkey! Tai Lung! TIGRESS!’ – I’ll let you imagine which she wanted to play as.

She sat and helped picked out the tiles as I called them from the list, then got ready all the dice and dials of destiny. Where her mum and dad had questions, she was the first to answer ‘No you only take damage if there’s a bad guy’ or ‘It’s two chi mum!’, picking up the rules faster than the adults! And she was always the loudest to shout ‘One, Two, KUNG FU!’.

We played the tutorial missions with the adults understanding how it all worked. We attacked Across the Rooftops with my brother beginning to strategize, all the time with my niece urging us to faster dice rolling to save the bunnies. We pushed carts up to the Great Wall while my sister-in-law urged a direct assault. And we fell about laughing as wolf boss kept moving further away during the Rickshaw Chase.

After playing almost all the missions, bedtime was met with more grumpiness than usual, and a chance to catch our breath from the frenetic fun. In the space of an evening it’s become a firm family favourite, which not only gives me a huge sense of pride in the development team and everyone who put time into the game, but also that it turned out it brings a huge smile to the face of those it’s made for.

The next day the first words from my niece at breakfast were ‘Morning Uncle Jimbob! Can we play Kung Fu Panda again pleaseeee?!’

By James Barry

You can buy Kung Fu Panda The Board here now.