Ever fantasised about which of your favourite literary or legendary characters would win a fight to the death? For example, a battle between Sherlock Holmes and King Arthur? Medusa and Alice (from Wonderland)? In any case, Robin Hood would demolish Sinbad, who has fallen a bit into literary oblivion anyway. Possibly you don’t like reading and don’t know who all these characters are. Possibly, though, you are good at looking at pictures and are very familiar with Marvel’s myriad of comics and films. Maybe you have even had discussions with your friends on occasion about which comic book heroes would win from each other. In Unmatched, no match-up is crazy enough.
In the collectible game system Unmatched, you can pit all kinds of different characters against each other. What once started with four characters Unmatched: Legends has now expanded to include several standalone expansion sets, single characters and soon even a cooperative game system that you can combine with all Unmatched sets. There are sets featuring characters from Jurassic Park, public domain literature, legends, mythology, folktales, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bruce Lee and, of course, Marvel. Indeed, Marvel can be found everywhere (think of Dice Throne for instance) and Unmatched couldn’t be left behind either… and who could blame Restoration Games. There are many unique and not so unique heroes and villains available in Marvel’s comic books and films that translate perfectly into a fast-paced showdown.
Setup and goal
The Unmatched game system is a modular game system, collection and hobby. You can mix and match the different sets with characters, components, game boards and special rules. Each box contains a game board, often with unique sets of rules, and different characters with their own deck of cards, figures and tokens. Put the game board ready in the middle of the table. Each player chooses a character (sometimes even several characters), sometimes with accompanying sidekick(s), game pieces, dial (or dials) to keep track of life points and deck of cards. Shuffle the cards well and place the components in the right place on the board.
During Unmatched, players try to reduce the life points of their opponent’s character(s) to zero by attacking or using special abilities.
Each turn, a player performs 2 of 3 possible actions. A player may perform the same action twice. A player can draw a card and move his character(s) and/or, if present, sidekick(s), activate the effect of a scheme card or fight with attack cards.
In a battle, the player under attack can defend himself with a defence card. Almost every combat card has an effect. Some effects are activated immediately, some during the battle and some only after the battle is over. With these special effects, you can influence the course of the battle or improve your position in the bigger picture of the game. Some effects give extra power, let you run or draw extra cards.
A character or sidekick loses his or her life points through combat, but a player also loses life points if this player has to draw cards from his personal deck, but this draw pile is empty. The player whose character survives the longest wins Unmatched.
Marvel: Redemption Row
In this particular set of Unmtached, you get access to the use of three Marvel-figured characters: the schizophrenic Moon Knight, the possessed Ghost Rider and ‘Power Man’ Luke Cage. All these anti-heroes have inner conflicts and are tortured by their powers. How do these characters translate to the game board?
Moon Knight is known for its different personalities and guises. In Unmatched: Redemption Row, Moon Knight takes on a different personality from three possible personalities each round (and at other times through special effects). Each personality has its own strengths and weaknesses, and players should plan well to make the best use of these strengths in combination with their cards.
Ghost Rider is possessed by Spirit and Vengeance and has the demonic Hellfire at his disposal. On the one hand, the presence of this hellfire makes certain actions stronger, but deploying the hellfire makes Ghost Rider more agile, dangerous and powerful. Players thus have the trade-off of when to use their hellfire in which way.
Luke Cage, just like in the comic books, absorbs a lot of damage and therefore makes for a war of attrition in particular. Incidentally, Redemption Row’s game board contains a number of items (tokens) that all players can use.
Unmatched is a delightful duel between two players or a team of players. Each character has a unique play style, yet the game is easy to learn and set up without sacrificing depth. With different characters and differences unmatched sets, the game has a lot of variety to play. Unmatched is a dangerous addiction due to the extra variety and fun characters. Redemption Row features characters with fun tactics and the miniature Ghost Rider is very coolly done. Nice and fast arena brawler where you can show each other all the angles!