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WWE Superstar Showdown» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Why This Game Works (Even If You're Not a Wrestling Fan) rss

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Alex Martinez
United States
Irving
Texas
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A friend of mine recently showed this game to me. Neither of us is really into wrestling, but he said it reminded him a bit of Battlecon from Level 99 Games. The Battlecon system is card based combat with a maneuvering aspect and a ton of deep strategy. Superstar Showdown is not nearly as complex, but still, I can see certain comparisons.

My taste in games tends toward "simulations". Not necessarily realistic simulations of things, but thematic gameplay that makes sense within the game created. One of the reasons I love Battlecon, for example, is that it genuinely feels like a classic 2D fighter game in board game format. This is also why I enjoy something like Rum & Bones (fantasy pirates boarding each other's ships) and even something more "Euro" like The New Science (scientists seeking prestige through scientific research). So the real test of this game for me are A) Does it feel like "wrestling"? and B) Is it a decent enough game to hold my attention?

The surprising answer to both is yes.

The basic gameplay is so simple, it barely takes a minute to explain. Every round, each player chooses three cards, places them facedown in order. Then, each card is revealed, one at a time. Whoever has the winning card gets to execute the actions on their card. Often its moving around the ring, doing damage, throwing opponents. Everything you might expect. After the third card is revealed and executed, if both wrestlers are beside each other, the player who won more cards that round might pin his opponent and win the match. It is as simple as that.

A wrestler's "health" is represented by his deck. As he takes damage and avoids pins, he slowly removes this cards from his deck. This cards are public knowledge, so as the match progresses players can make more informed decisions as to what cards have a better chance of winning.

The game is helped by having very useful and readable icons. In fact, the board has these icons listed on it to help even more. There was very little need to flip through the rulebook once we got going.

I played two matches. One was a 1v1 match, and it was a tense, surprisingly strategic battle. My second was a 2v2 tag team match, and that was just as interesting. My team won that match by throwing an opponent in the corner turnbuckle while I "helped" from outside the ring and my partner pummeled our opponent to a KO.

To be clear, this is not a complicated game, and while there is strategy here, there's also a lot of luck. That said, the more I played, the more I found myself planning and plotting. And when those plans worked, they worked beautiful. There was something immensely satisfying about setting up your opponent for a perfectly executed clothesline or getting in a few cheap shots from the sideline.

Above all, the game is exciting. If you don't have a Kick Out card in hand to counter a pin, your only hope is to draw cards of the top of the deck in a three count and hope one pops up. This happened several times, and each time, as the wrestler's deck had been whittled down, it was a tense moment.

Ultimately, this is a simple, fun game with more depth than one might expect. It isn't heavy, and if you want a game that is purely strategic, it's not for you. But if you want to enjoy a great game that captures the highs and lows of wrestling at its best, it just might be. And if you're not a wrestling fan (I'm not), you still might find something worthwhile here.
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B.C. Wendel
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Alexandria
Virginia
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I like this game and I love pro wrestling, but you are right when talking about luck. I feel like the best laid plans always go awry, so the 3 cards you put out almost never work like you planned.

I think it's pretty fun and easy to play, but I wish that luck just played a little smaller role in who wins the game. Maybe just because I lose more than I win at this and I don't know how to change that.
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David M. Cabal Inés
Spain
Oviedo
Principado de Asturias
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How much health (many cards) do a wrestler have?

Do it depends of the wrestler or everybody have the same initial amount?
 
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