Today we're taking a look at Incredbrawl, the slick-looking family/casual/gamer card game from Vision 3 Games. In Incredibrawl each player (2-4) is given an identical deck of cards featuring characters from three different types: Natural, Physical, and Energy. They then duke it out in a battle for ultimate glory (or at least 10 glory, the game's VP system) to see who comes out on top of this Incredibrawl!
Let's take a look at the nuts and bolts.
Well, we received prototype copies of the game, but this is the list given in the manual:
- 120 Character Cards (30 per player, matching sets)
- 40 Power-Up Cards (10 per player, matching sets)
- 10 Location Cards
- 4 Rules Reference Cards
- 1 Sheet of Glory Tokens
- 1 Coin
- 1 First Player Token
The game is played in one of three different Modes: Family, Casual, or Gamer. As you probably guessed, they each vary in difficulty and have different things added or subtracted, depending on what version you're playing.
The game setup (for Casual Mode) looks like this: Each player gets a set of cards (leave the Power-Up cards out), then you place the Grassy Meadow location card in the center of the table (leaving the rest of the locations out), and then give each player one Glory token to begin the game with. Players shuffle their cards, and draw a hand of 5 cards. Then, it's go time!
So here's a quick rundown of the Casual mode, and then we'll touch on the other modes as well. The basic brawl/battle engine is pretty much a Rock, Paper, Scissors type of mechanic: Physical (Purple Sword icon) beats Natural (Green Grass icon), Natural beats Energy (Blue Lightning Blot icon), and Energy beats Physical. Each character also has a power level, which is used for breaking ties; if there is still a tie, then players play an actual game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine who wins the brawl.
A turn looks like this: Players select their characters, place them by the current location (which is always the Grassy Meadow in this mode) and then they have it out. In a 2-player game players reveal at the same time, activate any "P" (Play) abilities, determine a winner, trigger any "W" or "L" (Win or Lose) abilities on the involved characters, and then the winner collects 1 glory token from the pool.
In a 4-player game the brawl goes in two rounds, with the winners of each across-the-table brawl facing each other to determine the winner of the overall brawl. And in a 3-player game there is an odd person out who goes up against the winner of the first two.
The Abilities—This is where a good portion of the strategy lies for the game. Some cards actually give you some decent bonuses for losing the brawl you play them in, so you may intentionally be throwing them into the fray in hopes that they get taken down (of course, it is quite possible that they can win due to their power type and what your opponents have played!). While others trigger an ability when they are played (whether you win or not!). For instance, the Roboshark causes each other player to randomly discard one card. The Low Blow card triggers if you lose, and if you discard your hand, the winner of the brawl loses two Glory.
The End Game—The game ends when a player reaches 10 Glory—even if it's mid-brawl; if they have 10 Glory tokens, it's game over, man! The game also ends if a player runs out of draw cards and can't draw another card at the end of his or her turn—again, the player with the most Glory is declared the winner!
The game comes with three different Modes. The one we've described so far is the Casual Mode.
Family Mode—Family Mode is the same as Casual mode, except you use no card abilities, and players start the game with zero Glory (instead of 1 as in Casual mode). This is a stripped-down version, perfect for playing with kiddos, until they get up to speed.
Gamer Mode—Gamer mode has several variants, including using all of the location cards (which give certain power types extra abilities/bonuses, as in the game Smash Up) and shuffling in your Power-Up cards, which again give you further ways to defeat your foes; these can be played at a time during a brawl, as specified on each card.
Jeremiah—I think the first thing that stood out to me was the artwork—oh my! It has awesome, well-done, stylized graphics that are just super easy on the eyes! The aesthetics of the game (even with the prototypes we received) are very clean, and very slick!
Firestone—Yeah, the artwork is great. Colorful, fun, and creative. My kids saw it and immediately wanted to play. My gamer friends liked the artwork, too.
Jeremiah—I've mostly played the Casual mode, and the Family mode with my boys, but have had a hard time getting this one on the table with my gamer friends. I think once they realized that at its core it's a Rock, Paper, Scissors type of game they're just not excited. Even though the abilities, power-ups, and locations add some needed depth, up to this point it's been a hard sell for them.
Firestone—Well I did play the Gamer Mode with gamers, and...we didn't like it at all. I seriously applaud the guys from Vision 3 for trying to create a game that can appeal to the spectrum of gamers, but it just doesn't work here, IMO. You can add all the bells and whistles and variants you want, but at the end of the day it's still a Rock, Paper, Scissors mechanism at heart, and that just doesn't cut it with gamers—at least not the gamers in my group.
Jeremiah—My boys, on the other hand, HAVE NOT STOPPED ASKING TO PLAY THIS GAME! They think it's the bees-knees (actually they've never used or heard that term); we started playing it in Family Mode and moved up to Casual Mode. They handle it well in Casual Mode, although the youngest doesn't really read (he's only 4) so he plays a W, L, or P and then hopes it does something cool for him.
Firestone—Same here: The boys (8 and 5) love this game. Like you, my youngest doesn't know exactly what he's playing—he just wants to play a pirate or a yeti or an alien or whatever! Of course, because the game is so chaotic and luck-based, it really doesn't matter if that's how he plays—he's able to hold his own when his blindly chosen card beats his older brother's carefully chosen card. So what the gamers hated is a boon for the family!
Jeremiah Final Thoughts—I have to say my initial reaction to the game was a bit along the side of my gamer friends. "Oh... Rock, Paper, Scissors..." But my boys have changed my mind on it; I might not get to play it in Gamer Mode often, but we have a good time playing it in Family and Casual Mode, and it brings them to the game table with excitement, and that's always a good thing!
Firestone Final Thoughts—For me, this is a family game from start to finish. I've got plenty of gamer's games, so I'm totally fine that this is one I'll only bring out with the family.
Put It On the Table—For family game night, or a lighter party/game night. It also could make for a light tournament-style game with a larger group or youth group. There are zombie and a wizard characters in the decks, but they're very cartoonish, and not unsettling in the least.
Put It On the Shelf—When your hardcore gamer friends are coming over. If your group is really okay with chaos and luck—and thinks a game night filled with Munchkin and Fluxx is the height of fun—they may like it. Otherwise, keep it on the shelf.
OVERALL: Put it on the Table!
The game has a little less than a month to go on Kickstarter, and it's 2/3 of the way to its goal. Check it out, and join in to unlock those rewards!
We'd like to thank Vision 3 Games for supplying us with prototype copies of Incredibrawl which in no way influenced our review.
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