Design & Artwork: Prospero Hall
Publisher: Funko Games
Pop! figure mania has finally reached the world of gaming, with Funko's new Funkoverse strategy games. While the games use custom Pop! figures (you can't just grab a couple out of your collection), besides their new sizes and corresponding game information, the figures still resemble their larger standard figure counterparts to the letter. Which is the first obvious draw card for collectors of the standard Pop! figures, as well as for those not as familiar with the board game scene. There are already a few franchises being represented by the new Funkoverse Strategy Game, like Harry Potter & Rick and Morty, but I got the chance to play test the DC Comics Base Set of the game.
The games are very eye catching, and the production of the game is actually top notch, from the great packaging which allows the mini Pop! figures to be seen clearly, to the excellent layout and storage within the box, and even to the quality of the game's boards and other components. Making the games so visually appealing was a smart move, as not only does it make the games look interesting and exciting on a shelf or website, so that people are eager to learn more about them, but it also just makes the game play itself a lot more of a fun and entertaining experience. With the cute little figures, the franchises that we know and love, and the characters each with their own signature skills gimmick-laden abilities, it's really hard not to be drawn in.
So I found myself, like I'm sure most other people do as well, very curios to check out these games and see if they're actually as cool as they look. I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive about this, often finding games that revolve around a big gimmick, in this case the Pop! figures themselves, are often lacking in actual substance, and that great production doesn't always mean a great game. So I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that the Funkoverse Strategy Game design is actually quite thorough, well thought out, balanced, and very easy to play through. It's an incredibly simple game, with solid rules, and together with the unique and delightful appearance, I think it will become a new favourite amongst the many other fantastic "bridge" games out there (games that are great at drawing new players to the hobby, being accessible to people who may be unfamiliar with board games, while encompassing many of the fun, strategic, or social aspects of modern board games).
How the game works is, again, really simple. It's truly one of those games where you can open it up, set up in a minute or two, and with a quick run through the rules you can start playing. There are few games that you can literally buy, open up, and start playing within 10 minutes including learning how to play. The game runs with two teams trying to accomplish an objective. There are a few scenarios provided in the games, and I'm sure future releases will provide further objectives, but already you could have an objective as straight forward as trying to knock out the other team's leader, or something a little more tactical like trying to earn a certain number of victory points by controlling key points on the map.
Once an objective is decided on, and teams made (players choosing a side, and if more figures than the base set are owned, then picking which characters will be on each side), the game is ready to start. Teams then take turns activating one of their figures and allowing it to take two actions. Once a figure has had its turn, it becomes exhausted and can't be used again this round, and then the opposing team get to activate one of their figures, and so on, until all the figures have taken their actions. Besides a set of standard actions, each character also has some unique special abilities, which require varying amounts of energy to do. The more energy your team uses, the less becomes available, but each ability has a cool down period according to how powerful it is, so by using abilities at important moments and managing your pool of energy, characters will often use their abilities throughout the game, giving it some extra dimension of strategy. Once all teams have activated all their characters, everything is refreshed, cool downs are reduced, characters exhaustion counters are removed and a new round starts.
For me, what is most appealing about the game, besides the awesome figures and impressive over all aesthetic of the game, is that the comical figures tie nicely into the character skills and abilities, giving the game a very light and humorous tone, which also makes it great for new players and younger players as well. For example, the Joker character has a special attack where he can use his "Joy Buzzer", with old classic handshake and electrocute your unsuspecting victim. And one of Harley Quinn's special actions is "Whirly-Wind" which allows her to attack all adjacent rivals as a single action. And then Batman has the good old "Pow!" ability as an extra strong attack, straight from the pages of those old comics, sound effects and all! I've always maintained that any game is more fun when you can really get into the setting and theme, and with the cute figures, and cartoonish style skills and descriptions that the DC Funkoverse game brings to the table, I think it's really easy to get into the action in an amusing way.
The bad points on this game I do feel is a little bit like nitpicking, pointing them out just to have negative points to mention, however some of them may be more of a factor to different players. The first is that the game is definitely focused on being fun, maybe even a little silly. While it is still a strategy game, it's certainly more of a beginner strategy, the focus isn't really on the strategy aspect (although there is undeniably a strategic element to the game). The second point is that in some skirmishes the game could become repetitive, with characters being knocked down, then standing up, then knocked down again and so on. With a limited amount of things you can do, or ways to get an advantage, some situations could fall into that whole "Groundhog Day" repetitiveness, but that certainly doesn't always happen, it is just something that can happen. The biggest of the negative points on this game I feel is actually just that it's more fun to play with the maximum 4 players, instead of the minimum 2. With 4 players, teams can discuss strategy, or each control a different character, in either case making the game more interesting, not to mention more social. 1 on 1, while still fun, feels like it may become stale fast.
But those small concerns aside, I found the DC Funkoverse Strategy Game to be an enjoyable experience, that really lived up to the excitement in first seeing it, as well as the hype around it. It might not be the most competitive or gruelling game ever made, but it is still without a doubt a most entertaining game.
Boardgame and graphic novel enthusiast. Marvel or DC? Image. Old-school gamer. Avid role-player. Kermit for president. I believe that werewolves will rule the world one day.
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