A new Disney board game is on its way to fish the dollars out of your pockets with a gacha-like collectible hook.
For the unaware, gacha games are named after the hugely popular gashapon Japanese toy vending machines, which provide capsules containing random figures and other toys in exchange for coins. The capsules are opaque and randomly drop out of the machine, resulting in a random prize for the buyer.
The randomised format has since been digitised by video games in the form of loot boxes and other ways to obtain costumes, characters and content, often bought or accelerated using real-world money - leading to no shortage of controversy and concern. Popular examples include massive free-to-play game Genshin Impact, which provides random items and characters to players, and the loot boxes of colourful shooter Overwatch.
On the tabletop, there’s the booster packs of trading card games such as Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon, which contain a randomised selection of cards across a spectrum of rarities, as well as the randomised painted miniatures of games such as HeroClix.
Upcoming board game Disney Kingdomania is yet another attempt to bring the concept to the world of board games, offering 40 different Disney and Pixar characters - from Mickey Mouse to Buzz Lightyear, Cruella de Vil to Zootopia’s Judy Hopps - in the form of small figurines that can be randomly obtained by buying a ‘blind bag’ toy.
The figures can then be used to play the co-op board game itself, which requires players to patch glitches in a virtual world inspired by retro video games. Each character has an associated special ability and unique set of stats, which can help players as they roll to progress towards victory.
In keeping with the 8-bit setting of the board game, the cube-headed models also have a pixel art style. Kingdomania comes from Funko Games, the board game outlet owned by the maker of the love-'em-or-hate-'em Pop! Vinyl figures.
As well as characters from Disney and Pixar movies, the toys will include notable items such as Aladdin’s lamp, Pluto’s dog house and Maleficent’s spinning wheel, that can apparently affect actions and events in the board game’s story.
As you’d likely expect from a game built around a large roster of collectible characters for players to seek after, there’ll also be rarer finds in the form of ‘glitched’ figures that appear with a unique blue and orange hue.
A game ball - containing two characters and 12 of the map tiles used to create Kingdomania’s board - will cost $9.99. A single game ball can be played as a standalone game by a solo player.
Super game packs, meanwhile, will be the only way to get two of the item figures alongside four characters and 20 tiles, and will cost $22.99. Like the game ball, each will also serve as a standalone way to play the game with up to two people.
Disney Kingdomania will release its first wave of figures this autumn.