It’s quite the challenge finding a game that fits the Munchkin space. You know what I mean – the kind of game that pretty much anyone who’s into the hobby has played at least once. Some people love it and get it into their rotation on a regular basis, while others look for something new to scratch that itch: easy to understand, quick playing, humourous and fun. A new release from the up and coming company V3G called Incredibrawl aims to topple Munchkin from the top spot and steal the hearts and minds of the casual gaming public.
Between two and four players battle each other using a range of characters in a race to claim ten Glory points. Though at first glance it may appear that Incredibrawl is a very basic game of slamming cards down onto the table, there’s actually a fair bit more to it – there are elements of bluffing and plenty of chances to screw over opponents – so dismissing it straight off the bat is a grevious error. V3G have done their best to make this as accessible a game as possible, but just because it’s straightforward that doesn’t mean it’s simplistic…
Each character, from Sumo Wrestlers to Cowboys, Robots to Unicorns, has a Power Type: either Physical, Natural or Energy. They’re also all bestowed with a special ability that will trigger at a certain time during the game round, and by combining these two factors you’ll end up with a winner each time. First of all, when all characters are revealed any ‘Play’ abilities are resolved – potentially knocking out some of your enemies. You then move onto checking the Power Type which works in a Rock-Paper-Scissors fashion, with Physical characters beating Natural, Natural taking down Energy and Energy defeating Physical.
These brawls are worked out in a one on one fashion until one player is left standing. Any characters with special powers labelled Win or Lose are sorted out (because even if you think you’re the victor, it’s not over until the fat lady sings!), points are awarded and things start all over again until someone hits that magical ten points. Oh, and we haven’t even mentioned the fact that there are a whole bunch of extra power cards that can be played in reaction to other peoples’ actions that will mess plans up even further, and that location cards also have a major effect on your decisions too…
See? Simple! Well… reasonably simple.
Incredibrawl is billed as a Casual, Chaotic card game and… yeah, it hits both of those bases pretty well. The rules are very straightforward enough for even non-gamers to get their head around, though the working out of who beats who can take a bit of effort, especially for younger players – you’ll get used to it soon enough though. Using that Rock-Paper-Scissors system means that everyone immediately has an access point into the game, so only a little extra explanation is required to get started.
It certainly manages to succeed on the Chaotic front too. Sure, you may think you have a round in the bag by pulling out one of your biggest characters, but with so many different ways in which the cards can interact with each other there’s no such thing as a certainty. Watching an uber-strong dinosaur getting taken down by a kitten, then realising that due to the current location they’ve scored double and have won the game is pretty funny. Those previously mentioned power cards also mix things up wildly, and rounds never feel the same. Sure, you’re always going to be heading towards the same goal, but the randomness keeps the game fresh and fun.
Of course, that’s a scary word for many experienced gamers. Randomness ruins games, doesn’t it? If you have no control over what you’re playing, what’s the point in even opening the box? In all honesty, if you’re That Kind Of Gamer, I’d avoid Incredibrawl like a particularly virulent plague – it’s totally not for you. However, if you’re in the market for something light, fun and silly (in a good way, of course) it certainly deserves your attention. Add in the fact that it’s a very pretty game – the cartoonish art is really quite lovely throughout with the Unicorn being a particular favourite – and Incredibrawl quickly becomes a wonderful way to pass half an hour in a seriously un-serious fashion.
Incredibrawl is currently on Kickstarter where you can pledge for a copy for US$25. The campaign runs to August 11th and – as of right now – they’re three-quarters of the way towards their $15,000 target. Designed by Jacob Leeman and released through V3G, between two and four players can battle with games taking around thirty minutes. Check them out now!