There are a few videos on how to play from the game creator, and one from the Chief at Dice Tower.
I ordered the game, and got it 9 days later as it was created upon ordering
You get 4 Stances (with their life totals) per set. Currently there are 2 sets
You also get 3 weapons and Sensei (special) cards that are set specific.
Finally, you get 4 Range/Rule cards.
What you get feels a little light since half the box is taken up by a 3 page (front + back) print out.
This is a dice free game; it requires only what you got in the box(es). I definitely will be sleeving this in clear protectors as I do not trust the surface of anything. I very much appreciate the fact that the Chi/HP cards are cards and not anything requiring stones or the like.
The weapon selection is a bit odd since these are weapons strewn around the area you are fighting in. Sai and Nunchuck being Japanese (traditionally) and Kung Fu being Chinese, thematically, is off.
The style choices are somewhat relevant. Cheetah should more likely be Leopard or Panther; it is all the same thing but the name is less than common.
The Styles are however, unique. There are similarities with a basic layout of where they can be spun, but that is where the similarities stop.
Supposedly done by the inventor, is not anything that will convert anyone. It is simple, retro feeling (afro ?), and generally feel like they were inspired by the Jackie Chan cartoon.
The beginning of the game has you shuffle and divide the Trainer deck, then each player lays out the cards, face-down, around the play area; any leftovers are removed from game.
The fighters start at table's edge so as to give them enough room to maneuver and bounce from obstacle to opponent. There is a mechanic called Flow like Water that basically lets you Parkour from an obstacle to another location.
The fighters themselves range in health from Mantis' 4HP to Tiger's 6HP, with everyone else being a 5HP. The Speed (aka actions per turn) is 3 (of the 8) have 3 actions; while the other 5 (of the 8) have 4.
The fighters also have abilities that range from extra damage, to extra actions, to extra movement. Overall, they are individual enough to affect selection and show they are, in fact, different styles.
Weapons are 2 at Short Range (width of a card), 1 at Medium (~4/5th of a length), and 3 at Long (length of a card). They all have different effects to keep things unique, and can only be used when the character is in the Offensive Stance. (Wording/Punctuation on Rope Dart is confusing)
The numbers on the cards feel low, till you realize that getting hit for 2 or 3 is half of your life.
There is another interesting mechanic where the Characters are double-faced. One is Offensive, with more damage; the other is defensive, with inverted Block Zones.
Technically speaking, the game says 2-4, but I have a feeling it can be 2-8 if you have both sets and enough space. There is nothing about team play or having both sets mentioned in the rules, but there is nothing preventing those notions from being adopted; since a character is an individual.
As of this writing, their listed website (pocketkungfu.com) is not up. It suggests there will be other styles/abilities listed there, presumably it will show the game's sets in-depth.
Considering that, after all that, the game is about spacial relations, spinning cards, and ninja-ing off obstacles, it is fun.
The Bottom Line:
The waiting for product sucks. The art is, in my opinion, silly. And, the accuracy of translation of hundred year old Chinese martial arts is questionable.
BUT (capital letters)... it is a fun game. It is a self-contained, portable, space adapting game. It is a mechanically sound game.
Style/Theme - 4/10
Mechanics - 8/10
Extra Factors - 7/10 (wait time, portability, etc.)
Is it worth the money?
$9 per set
$6 Shipping (and a boat-load of waiting)
Yes, it is worth the money if you want a game that plays like a tabletop fight scene. It may have strikes against it, but it is lighthearted, and can be understood rather quickly if you have some easy way of explaining the spacial things.
-Personal, very opinionated, note:
Martial Arts has been in my blood since I was 13. So, when there are inaccuracies, I see them and it irks me.
The cards have some accurate translations:
Tiger - Heavy Hitter
Monkey - Chains Hits
Crane - Has mobility, shown by changing stances for free
Mantis - It can use its stance/pinpoint strikes to deal more damage
Snake - Known for speed, accuracy, and mobility. 'Instill Fear' is meh.
Dragon - More of a Trapping system, that penalizes single techniques. 'Extra Knockback' is not what I think of for Dragon
Cheetah (Panther/Leopard): Rapid, unpredictable, relentless attacks.
The game's 'being damaged for a bonus' feels like it should be the other way around. IE If they are damaged, deal more. Unfortunately your typical approximation of a Monkey practitioner is also a fair-enough estimation of a Panther.
Sai cound have been like one of the many trapping/disarming Chinese weapons. Example: Butterfly Knives.
Nunchucku is a grey zone. Bruce lee had his demonstration with them, but like the Sai, there are more traditional variants, and just hitting 2 targets could have been many other weapons, Kung Fu is renowned for dual-wielding.
- Last edited Mon Aug 5, 2013 6:49 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:32 pm
Thanks for the review, and insightful comments.
Only fair to call me out on the historical/martial arts accuracy. I promise if there is a 2nd edition to clean that up.
Glad to hear you had fun.
Production of Pocket Kung Fu 2nd edition is underway!
Here is the first piece of new art:
Please let me know what you think, suggestions welcome!
Infinitely better art. I like the Virtua Fighter/Comic Book feel.