KaPow! – Dice Combat

KaPow! game
Kapow! game

Super heroes and super villains have completely overtaken our culture of late, from the endless supply of Marvel and DC movies, to books, TV shows, and more. We’ve seen big name forays into board gaming, too.

But they’re not the only super heroes on the block. It doesn’t take decades-old brand names to imagine yourself locked in existential combat, fighting with your incredible abilities. It just takes a game with great mechanics. These outlandish powers come to bear in KaPow!, a new battle game by the team at Wise Wizard Games. KaPow! is a 1-2 player game for players age 12+. A game takes about 25 minutes.

How to Play

In a standard two-player game of KaPow!, each player will take a player screen, player board, and health tracker set to 20 life. Both players get five Trait dice (one in each color) and an Action die with one white (wild) face on it. That’s really all it takes to get started.

Kapow! setup for a basic game: hero board, five colored dice and one action die.

One of the first things that stands out about KaPow! is the dice blend. Each player will get Trait dice which are normal-looking dice in different colors with custom faces representing might, energy, toughness, agility, “x-factor”, and sometimes blanks. The Action dice are customizable dice that allow players to choose faces to install. At the start of the game, the Action die has one wild face; the rest are blank.

Each round, both players roll all of their Action and Trait dice and allocate them to various attacks, defenses, or special powers by placing the dice on the appropriate action on their player board. The Hero and Villain player boards are identical, so everyone starts with the same abilities.

Once both players have allocated their dice, lift the player screens and figure out what happens!

Two player screens opposite each other in Kapow!
Are you ready?

Immediate Actions

Before players can attack each other, any immediate actions trigger. You can find these on the top right of the player board. These resolve quickly, and then it’s on to the main event.

Attack and Defense

Player boards have four possible base attacks players can put dice on. Players can only use one attack per turn, but they can boost those attacks with kickers, and then multiply that boosted attack with a multiplier.

Defenses are set up exactly the same way, with four base defense moves, four kickers, and five multipliers.

Defenses have some extra abilities, though, which allow players to gain faces for their Action dice in the next round.

Subtract the attack value from the other player’s defense value and deal damage if the value is positive.

If either player’s health drops to zero, they immediately lose, even if a later power-up would restore some health.

Power Ups

On the right side of the board, players can allocate dice to various power ups which allow them to gain more dice or more die faces. There are two phases for power ups (“Power Up” and “After Power Up”) that players will get the chance to execute in turn order.

Clean Up

Players clear dice from their boards and add any new Trait dice or Action dice/die faces (or rearrange faces) to their dice pool to get ready to do it all over again!

The last hero standing wins!


As fun as this is (and it IS fun!) Wise Wizard packed the KaPow! box with a ton of extra options for replayability.


KaPow Volume 1 has six unique characters with extra abilities that amend the common player board. These characters add a definite spin to the action with four new abilities and different starting health levels and dice allocations that are sure to flavor each player’s style.

More Characters!

We’re just reviewing KaPow! Volume 1, but Wise Wizard released Volume 2 at the same time. There are six characters in the Volume 1 box, and six completely different characters in Volume 2. Of course, you can expect there will be more, but if you’re enjoying exploring the unique powers of the heroes and villains in one box, you might want to consider the second.

2 vs 2 Mode

And if you buy a second copy of KaPow!, use the included Team Up cards to allow two players to team up against two other players for a truly outrageous four player battle. Team Up cards allow two players to both allocate dice to special combined abilities to really deal some damage!

Team Up cards in Kapow!

Solo Mode

Speaking of characters (up to twelve now!), players can eschew a normal opponent and flip their character board over for solo mode. Here, you’ll be fighting against a rudimentary AI, selecting their moves for them based on some guidance from the rulebook.

There is even a co-op mode if you’re not feeling the 1v1 battle, where you and a friend can take on a double-headed AI opponent.

Solo board for Elusivity


Anitra says:

KaPow! promises comic-book style battles: a hero and a villain slugging it out until only one remains.

It’s far from the first game to explore this territory, but KaPow! comes at it differently than we’ve seen before, putting your choices in a different part of the game than we expected: where to put your dice and how to expand your dice pool.

There are very limited chances to re-roll dice or change them during dice placement, but there are always plenty of places to allocate your dice. (Do I want to place more dice in Attack or in Defend? Maybe I can afford some Power Ups too!)

My favorite part was customizing the dice pool. There are so many ways to get more faces for your Action die (or dice), and you’re allowed to change the faces after each round. And use the Grow Power up to add more Trait dice to your pool, too!

3 Action dice and 7 Trait dice on a player mat
A huge dice pool is just fun.

But, like other super-powered games, some match-ups of hero vs. villain will be more satisfying than others. Small differences in starting dice and character powers lead you down very different paths. And while you can always make different decisions, I found it hard to break out of a rut once I got started, even if that strategy was not a good fit against my opponent.

Andrew says:

Character selection becomes important as well. You’ll definitely want to pick a hero or villain that complements your usual style of play. But this also means you can choose different characters to challenge yourself to play differently!

Asher playing KaPow!

KaPow! pushes me to make decisions and work with restrictions – that’s what differentiates it for me. My choices are meaningful and change the future of the game through potential die results.

I enjoy Dice Throne, but your dice never change, and most decisions are heavily based on the luck of the roll. It’s certainly true that luck plays a factor in any dice-based game, but with KaPow! you can alter your possibilities on-the-fly, allocating dice to acquire more dice or new Action die faces. It truly is a game that allows you to define your path.

The art style in KaPow! feels more like the comic book styling of the eighties and early nineties, which featured less gargantuan caricatures of human bodies. It makes it feel a little more realistic (if you can ever say that super heroes are realistic) and I love it. The comic inspiration drips from every element of the graphic design.

If you’d like a chance to step away from the endlessly retread themes of the characters featured in the movies, but still love some old-fashioned comic-book brawls, you owe it to yourself to take a look at KaPow!. You can get it directly from Wise Wizard Games, on Amazon (Vol 1, Vol 2), or ask for it at your favorite local game store.

KaPow! game

The Family Gamers received a copy of KaPow! from Wise Wizard Games for this review.

This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.

KaPow! - Dice Combat
  • 10/10
    Art - 10/10
  • 9/10
    Mechanics - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Family Fun - 8/10


Number of Players: 1-2 (up to 4 with a second copy)
Age Range: 12+
Playtime: 20 minutes