Board Game/Card Game Review: Super Fantasy Rumble

Super Fantasy Rumble is a tactical card game inspired by 1980’s Saturday morning cartoons and features a unique and dynamic movement system that pushes and pulls heroes around a gridded board to battle other groups of random heroes.

Components

The box for Super Fantasy Rumble is a nice, simple, sturdy box, which will fit right in your board game library. The graphic design is crisp, unadorned and looks very classic. The backs of the cards are all uniform and display different colored stripes to make it easier to separate them, and the board is a nice, durable material. The graphics are all vibrant and crisp, with no pixelation (something I’ve seen in a few small-press games that I can’t stand). The manual is only a few pages, in large font, and the dice are all nice, durable plastic. All in all, the components are really fantastic for a small-press company. Are they Fantasy Flight Games quality? Absolutely not, but you can’t go in expecting that.

The Rules
While the rules are fairly straightforward, it took a bit of flipping around between the pages to finally figure out how everything went, particularly because there’s no turn breakdown. I would have appreciated seeing that.
The rules are laid out according to sections, but not in a very intuitive way. It took some digging in places to find where the rules were that we needed. I flipped back and forth a few times looking for the rules for critical hits, for example. Also, there were quite a few times where we had to interpret how we thought the rules worked due to lack of clarity.
Once we figured out how the game worked, things went pretty smoothly.
Gameplay
This game is a ton of fun. As I said, we had to dig around to find what we needed, but once we did, Bridget and I had a blast.
When playing, you draw 2 Leaders and 4 Warriors at random, placing them in front of you. You then take turns placing them around the 4×4 board. Each card can only attack in specific directions, so placing at the beginning of the game is very important. Fighters are able to shift whole rows and columns, move single spaces or “castle”, swapping one card for another one adjacent. Once you have used one of these movements, you can’t use it anymore for the rest of the turn. This leads to you planning and setting up a series of moves before executing a string of attacks from your various fighters.
Attacking consists of rolling two dice and and trying to roll over the target number on your own card, plus whatever your opponent’s armor is. Critical hits are triggered by rolling a 12, which allows for an extra attack. Critical failures are triggered by rolling a 2, which allows the hero you’re fighting to attack back. We were unclear as to whether you could trigger critical misses or failures off of critical hits and failures, and the rules didn’t clarify that.
Once the game has been reduced to six fighters, all cards are removed from the board, and are redeployed, as in the beginning of the game, but on the blue-shaded squares, leading to a board that is only 3×3, rather than 4×4. There’s less room to maneuver, and the game gets a bit more brutal.

One player wins once the other person’s team has been eliminated.

Impressions
Super Fantasy Rumble is a blast to play. While the dice rolling can lead to a lot of randomness (whole turns went by with neither of us scoring any hits), there’s a really strong tactical game within, where you move this guy here, swap these two here, then shift an entire row down three spaces. It’s really entertaining. As I said above, I really wish they had given us a more concise and well-laid out book, particularly in regards to a turn break-down. Once we figured out the rules, we had a good time, but getting to the point we understood everything was less fun. A simple turn order sheet posted up on BoardGameGeek would do the game wonders.
The art in the book is really fantastic, with a ton of diversity! Lots of female and male characters of all different body types, of all different nationalities. I really enjoyed the really wide variety of characters.

I look forward to playing this more. A lot more. It’s a quick and easy game that Bridget easily grokked, so it’ll be hitting the table a lot more in my house.

Rating: 

Disclosure: Super Fantasy Rumble sent a copy of this game to Dice Monkey for review.

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