“Physical Zombie loses to Energy Dinosaur.”
Take a moment to fully register that sentence.
Let the gears turn for a minute.
Do you follow yet?
Good. Welcome to Incredibrawl: the fantastical knock-down, drag-out card game where Unicorns fight Gladiators, Faeries fight Samurai, Magicians take on Aliens…
…And the Kitten always loses.
Incredibrawl is an amp-ed up “What-If” cage match of characters from across the many realms of geekdom, and they have all gathered to battle for glory. Yes, just for glory. Simply because they can. It appears the only cast members they’re missing are Batman and a Hobbit. (And that’s probably only because Batman would simply just win.) Really, Incredibrawl is The Ultimate Showdown in game form, minus all those pesky intellectual property issues.
In Incredibrawl, players each receive identical decks of various creatures with abilities. Each creature comes with its own set of basic characteristics. Most notably, creatures denote whether their attack is a Physical one (i.e. a Soldier), a Natural one (a Troll), or an Energy one (a Robot). If two characters share an attack type when facing one another, the higher number wins.
Each round is very short, where players select a character from their hand, and everyone reveals them at once. In two player games, players compare their temporary avatar’s attack type against one another, with each of the attacks beating one another in a Rock-Beats-Scissors-Beats-Paper manner. The winner of this bout receives one glory. (You need ten to win.)
In three and four player games, you’ll do the same each thing, but winning the round requires first defeating the player across from you and then the winner of the other pairing. (Three player games involve having one player each round sit the first battle out.) When the round ends, all of the cards used are discarded, and players draw a replacement card.
“Aw, my Viking beat your Yeti, but then it’s going to lose to the Leprechaun! “
This would be one such character with a Physical attack, the mighty Samurai:
Incredibrawl is particularly useful in its scalability; it has built several levels of complexity into its rules. If you merely want Rock-Paper-Scissors with some great artwork, the basic game is that simple. This is useful when playing with kids, for example.
The next level, Casual Mode, enables creature abilities take effect whenever they are played, when you win, or when you lose, depending on the creature. The Samurai pictured above, for instance, will have his effect go off if he wins the round.
The highest level, Gamer Mode, gives you access to Location cards, which makes slight changes how to the rounds behave, and/or Power-Up cards that are added to the decks, which let you get a little sneaky in combat. You know, like changing your dinosaur from a Natural attack to an Energy attack. Because corporeal dinosaurs aren’t epic enough.
Even at the Gamer Mode level of complexity, however, Incredibrawl is not a game for someone looking for deep, meaningful decisions. Instead, it’s a light game chock full of silly, goofy creature mash-ups. But for what it offers, it does it well. It has some thematic similarities to Smash-Up, though it’s shorter and more chaotic. The Power-Up cards add some mild strategy, but in a game in which the character you select each round is more personal preference than anything else, random is what you’re getting. The entertainment comes from the unexpected duels that result. Though winning is cool too.
Incredibrawl is quick, unpredictable, and good for a simple family game or a decent filler. If that sounds like the kind of fight you want to get into, be sure to check out their Kickstarter.