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Wētā Workshop’s First Board Game Now New Zealand’s Most Successful Kickstarter

30 days. 6598 backers. $USD935,010 raised. At 4pm on Saturday, GKR: Heavy Hitters, the first board game by Wētā Workshop, exploded past the finish line to become New Zealand’s most successful Kickstarter. Set in the world of Giant Killer Robots, an original creation by senior concept designers Paul Tobin, Leri Greer, and Christian Pearce (District 9, Ghost in the Shell, Avatar), the project involved talented crew members in multiple departments throughout the Workshop.

In GKR: Heavy Hitters, 2-4 players use strategic deck-building, dice rolling, and high-quality miniature robots to battle for salvage rights to the destroyed cities of the future. A send-up of our consumerist society, it’s a fast and fun board game brawl with a generous helping of satire. American game producers Cryptozoic Entertainment developed the central gameplay, with lead game designer Matt Hyra at the helm.

The project marks a number of firsts for Wētā Workshop.  It’s the company’s first venture into the board game industry. It’s also the first time the company has worked with online crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, engaging with an incredibly diverse and enthusiastic gaming community. Most exciting of all, GKR represents the opportunity for the Workshop to support the original IP created within its own walls. Says General Manager David Wilks:

GKR was a terrific opportunity to unleash our creative capacity on a project of our own. Bringing the game to Kickstarter was a great way to connect with the huge and vibrant community of board game enthusiasts who love sharing the process of bringing a board game to life. We’ve enjoyed the concept design and world building around GKR – that’s all in our DNA – but our community have helped influence the board game itself. The subsequent success has been just incredible to watch and a credit to our creative team. I’m hugely proud of what the team have accomplished and excited for what lies ahead.

David Wilks General Manager, Wētā Workshop.

The Kickstarter is the culmination of two years’ hard work for the GKR team, involving many months of playtesting; even embarking on a road trip across the United States to meet game store owners and board game enthusiasts face to face. Thanks to their valuable support, when the Kickstarter launched on February 23, it met its funding goal in just 4.5 hours.

What a journey! We can’t thank the Kickstarter community enough for believing in us and choosing to invest in the project at this early stage. We never dreamed the game would take off the way it has. We’re totally over the moon and just want to thank everyone involved in creating the game and supporting it along the way. We can’t wait for it to arrive on all your doorsteps!

Paul Tobin GKR Co-Creator, Wētā Workshop.

The 30-day Kickstarter may have come to an end, but the next phase is just beginning. Wētā Workshop’s Consumer Products team will now move ahead into the manufacture stage. Not only will backers receive an enormous game box packed full of extras exclusive to Kickstarter, they have also become a part of history: making Wētā Workshop’s first ever board game a reality. With delivery slated for December 2017, it’s now all systems go to bring it to life.