As everybody is required to state at the initial review of a Cheapass Game, "I love Cheapass games."
There now you know what you are dealing with and can prepare to scoff or nod admiringly at my comments well in advance.
First of all, this is one of the more complex games I've played by Cheapass, not due to any inherent difficulties in the game, but as usual, through poor instruction writing. The main rules are usually buried in the mass of small text, so refering back is difficult. I have taken to using my "active reading skills" that I taught freshmen--highlighting and making notes--when pouring through the rules.
For instance it is difficult to discern on a first read through that when the rules state "If a player is winning in at least two columns, he wins, regardless of the difference." They are refering to who is ahead at the start of the fight (which determins who plays first) and not someone who simply wins the fight, which would, admittedly be dumb.
Anyway, we played wrong, and in other posts, there are ample examples of people playing wrong. CAG's Fights City was pronounced DOA largely because of unclear rules...so you think these guys would learn.
In this game you gather a cadre of 5 wrestlers of differing levels to fight for money. After the first person "loses" all their wrestlers, the person with the most money...after paying off the wrestlers they still "own" is the winner.
Each wrestler has a ranking and 3 stats: Hit, Bloc, and Trix (CAG's missed a prime opportunity, in my opinion, to designate some silly signature move to each guy...this is where their humor usually shines), which determine is they win a match with another player. The cards in a match line up head to head so that one's hit opposes the others bloc, and the Trix line up against each other. The ranking is important because a higher ranking wrestler must take a challenge from a lower or equal wrestler.
At the end of the fight, the one who is winning the most columns of stats, is the winner and collects money from the loser. In addition, this game is kept interesting for all, as each other player "bets" on who they think will win the match, winning $5K if they guess right, and losing nothing if they are wrong.
The players then have opportunities for to place tiles to increase their stats, decrease their opponents'; block their opponents from doing the same; or end the match early.
The importance of the tiles becomes quickly evident in game play, and the usefulness of the weaker characters in the deck slowly becomes more apparent as well...and a nice bit of strategy and planning goes into the mix.
Because of the density of the rules, it's a little more ocmplex to pick up on the fly than most light games, but the whimsical nature of deathmatches, the side betting, and the "strategic" options afforded the players make this game a fun play, once you are up and running.