ToysBulletin.com looks at an exciting sports game from Gale Force Nine.
There are very few wrestling board games out in the marketplace, and none quite like “WWE Superstar Showdown.” This game truly presents players with a chance to feel the body slams and experience all the action as it takes place inside the ring. The game includes 6 actual wrestlers, Big E, Big Show, John Cena, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns. Each of the wrestlers comes with their own miniature, displaying a menacing pose, a superstar stat card and a 30 card superstar deck. There are also some bonus cards, match cards, stipulation cards and some team color rings. Lastly, there is a large folding game board, with a wrestling ring in the center, that measures approximately 20″ x 20″ and a 15 page full color set of rules.
“WWE Superstar Showdown” can be played by 2-6 players, each player taking on the role of one of the wrestlers. There is a choice of one-on-one matches or team competitions, including tag-team matches. We elected to play a one-on-one match between two of our staff members, and then have a second one-on-one match between two other staffers. The winners of each match would then meet to decide the Toys Bulletin “WWE Superstar Showdown” champion. Each participant was given ample time to read the rules and we clarified any points of confusion by discussing things among ourselves before the first match. I participated in the first of the two matches, and chose John Cena as my wrestler, while my opponent chose Big Show.
To set things up, each player shuffles the 30 card superstar deck for his wrestler and places the cards face down on his side of the game board. Their wrestler miniatures are placed in the designated starting places in the ring on the game board. Next, each player draws 6 cards from his superstar deck, and chooses 3 of those cards to begin the match, placing them face down in the marked 1, 2 and 3 positions on his side of the game board.
These cards are then revealed one at a time starting with the cards in the number 1 position. When the cards are turned over, they will reveal one of the following types of wrestling moves, grapple, maneuver, strike, slam or block. The cards in the number 1-3 positions are each compared, and a winning card is declared in each instance. The general rules provide for a grapple beating a strike, a strike beating a maneuver, a maneuver beating a grapple, a slam always winning and a block always losing, but the block card does have some other advantages. When a player has the winning card, he is then able to perform some additional actions as shown on the bottom of his winning card. For example, he can move, attack or even throw his opponent around the ring.
Once the 3 cards have been compared, the wrestler who has the most winning cards (2 of 3 or 3 of 3), will also get an opportunity to pin his opponent, as long as his wrestler’s miniature is on an adjacent square to his opponent. A winning pin would immediately end the match. The opponent has a chance to “kick out” of the possible pin by playing a card with a “kick out” action on the bottom of one of his cards.
There are lots of sensational actions that can be performed by the wrestlers if they have that winning card. One of our favorites was the ability to bounce off the ropes and bounce as many squares in the ring as desired, maybe landing right next to your opponent, or another fun action was to simply throw an opponent across the ring into the turnbuckle. The game includes the ability to simply hit an opponent as well, but a block card will stop the blow. The wrestlers might even find themselves outside of the ring ropes depending on the situation. After the 3 cards are fully resolved, the game continues with each player again beginning with 6 cards in their hand and choosing 3 of them to place face down in the 3 card positions on the game board. The game ends when one of the wrestlers is either pinned or knocked out. Knock outs can occur during power attacks, as a wrestler can only take so much punishment.
We have barely scratched the surface of the various combinations that might occur during a typical game of “WWE Superstar Showdown.” But, we think you get the idea. In the most basic terms, you are in the ring and you cannot run. Well, by now, you are wondering how our small 4 player Toys Bulletin staff tournament turned out. I have to tell the truth, I (John Cena) was pinned in the first 15 minutes of my match with Big Show. In fact, Big Show went on to win the championship match against Randy Orton, who had won a hard fought match against Daniel Bryan. The final contest lasted about 45 minutes with Randy Orton finally getting knocked out.
“WWE Superstar Showdown” was a much better game experience than we had ever expected. A lot of thought and planning went into the design of this game, and it shows. There are also quality game components and the colorful superstar cards are filled with actual action scenes. This is simply a superior sports game, and is suggested for players ages 8 years old and up. It can be purchased directly from the Gale Force Nine website, and retails for $50.00.