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Subject: A lot of fun in a small package: A review of “Wrestangel” rss

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Richard Partin
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Angelo Porazzi’s games are all about having fun. With games such as “Warangel,” “Peacebowl” and “TaTaTa!” to his credit, Porazzi’s “Wrestangel” is no exception.

This card game comes in a small box that just fits the cards, which measure 1 11/16” by 2 5/8”. The cards feature Mr. Porazzi’s characteristically whimsical artwork. In all there are 84 cards: 20 Warrior Cards, 20 Ring Cards, 42 Deck Cards, 2 cards advertising other Porazzi games—plus one rules sheet that folds into roughly one 8” x 11” piece of paper. The Warrior Cards, printed in Italian on one side and English on the other, feature such names as “Jess the Snake,” “Hooker Nile,” “Baptizer Animal,” and “Lion Vanham,” among others.

The game can be played from anywhere from 2 to 10 players. From 2-5 players, each player gets two warriors; from 6-10 each player gets one.

The rules sheet shows how to set out Ring Cards to form a ring. The ring consists of two cards, laid out one above the other, with a Ring Card closer to the center and a Rope Card laid above the Ring Card. Warriors start the game situated on the Rope Card.

The goal of the game, naturally, is to pin your opponent or opponents. (Depending on how many people play, players have one or two warriors that they handle.) In a two-player game, the winner is the first person that eliminates both of his opponents’ warriors. In a multi-player game, the game ends when the first player loses one or both of his Warriors to a pin. The other players then add up the value of their own remaining wrestlers plus any wrestlers they may have pinned. The player with the highest point total wins. Ties are possible.

Warriors are rated for various abilities, including Power (the ability to throw down an opponent for an attempted pin), Vitality (the ability to resist being thrown down), Movement (the ability to move in the ring or away from someone trying to thrown down a warrior, or, a rating used to “Charge”—pushing off the ropes and charge into an opponent in the center of the ring), Special Actions (an attack which employs a special hold or ability listed on a warrior’s card), and Value (the ability to “fly” from the ropes down onto an opposing Warrior situated on a Ring Card, and, the value of the warrior itself for the final score in the game).

All of these abilities are color coded: Red for Power, Pink for Vitality, Green for Movement and Charge, Gray for Special Actions, and Yellow for Fly From the Ropes and the value of the warrior. Each warrior is rated for Power, Vitality, Movement and Fly From the Ropes. With one exception, each warrior also has 0 to 3 Special Actions (gray) ratings on the center part of its card. These ratings are listed as numbers within colored circles on each Deck Card. In actual play, the Deck Card ratings are combined with corresponding color ratings on the Warrior Cards to give an overall point total. Additionally, there are Orange Deck Cards that are wild cards and can be played as any type of card the owner chooses.

Each player starts the game with four Deck Cards. On one’s turn, one can play none or all of one’s cards. At the beginning of one’s turn, one has to draw back up to 4 cards, but can choose to discard all remaining cards if one wishes.

The basic idea of the game is to throw down an opposing warrior and pin him or her. To do that, on one’s turn a player must either attack an adjacent opposing warrior or move one’s own warrior to become adjacent to another warrior before attacking. When attacking, to get the full effect, the owning player should scream the special “war cry” listed on the warrior card and then play one Deck Card—a Power Card, a Special Action Card, or, depending on the situation, a Charge or Fly From the Ropes Card—to try and throw down an opponent. On defense, a player can play a Vitality Card to resist, a Movement Card to evade, or, depending on the situation, a Power Card to try to throw down the attacker instead.

For example, Hooker Niles has a power rating of 4. Let’s say one of the 4 Deck Cards the owner is playing has a red 4 on it (Deck Cards can have point values from 1-7). The owner declares he’s going to attack Ray Hissterio and yells Hooker Niles’ scream, “SOOOBEK!” placing the Deck Card face down. Ray Hissterio’s owner plays a Deck Card face down—a Vitality 3 card, which, combined with Hissterio’s Vitality rating of 4 makes a total of 7. Both players reveal their face-down Deck Cards, and we see that Niles’ power total of 8 (4 + 4) beats Hissterio’s total of 7 (3 + 4), so Hissterio is thrown down. Now we go into what’s known as the Pin Phase.

Each owning player is dealt an additional 3 cards from the draw pile (you’ll probably find that you have to reshuffle the draw pile during a game, particularly with more players). From all the cards they now hold, each player selects 3 cards, which they place face down. They then agree in which order they’ll reveal their cards because each card represents one count in a 3-count pinning process. Each time the attacker plays a card equal to or greater than the defender’s card, that’s one count in the pin. If the attacker can play 3 consecutive cards equal to or greater than that of his opponent, he completes a pin and is awarded the point value of the defeated wrestler (the yellow number in the lower right-hand portion of the warrior’s card).

To continue this example, let’s say that on the first card revealed the attacker and defender both play a 5: a tie goes to the attacker so that’s one count. The second card revealed shows another 5 for the attacker and a 4 for the defender, so that’s two counts. Finally, the attacker plays a 7 card, knowing that no matter what the defender does now, the best he can do is play a 7, which is a tie and therefore doesn’t stop the pin. Sure enough, that’s exactly what the defending player was thinking as he turns up a 7, but it’s not enough to avoid the pin.

After a pin, or if the defender avoids a pin, players discard if necessary back to 4 Deck Cards in their hands.

Incidentally, it is not easy to pin an opponent for 3 consecutive card plays. One needs a number of high cards and also needs to outguess which cards the defending player might play in the 3-card pin sequence.

Charge and Fly From the Ropes can also be devastating attacks that usually will result in a defender being thrown down, but can only be played in certain circumstances when one warrior is on the ropes and an opposing warrior is either moving across the center of the ring or is situated on a Ring Card. And, Joker Cards can be both versatile and valuable to play on either attack or defense.

As for the screaming, players don’t necessarily have to do so when they attack, but to get the most out of this game you might as well get all the way into it and scream away. I’ve played it with adults and kids, and the kids in particular get a kick out of it when I scream upon attacking. I even insisted that my screams helped complete a pin.

Once players catch on to the various rules, the game plays fast and furious. Given its nature, trash-talking also follows. The game is rated for ages 6 and up. Younger players, of course, need to be taught and guided through game play, but by explaining some basic rules and simply playing through the game, even the youngest players can follow the game.

On the BoardGameGeek rating system, I give this game an 8: It’s a game I’d heartily recommend to others (regardless of their interest in pro wrestling), and I can’t imagine turning down a game. As with Porazzi’s other games, it’s obvious that a lot of thought and play-testing went into this game. The result for gamers is simply a good time.



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Daniel Val
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Nice review!

I hope this game covers the neglected gap between Wrasslin' and Secret Tijuana Deathmatch!
 
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Craig Duncan
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Great review. Thanks!

One quick question (I don't yet own the game): From some of the pics on BGG, I notice that a single card may have differently valued special actions -- say, a 1 and a 5. Why would a player ever use the lesser valued special action?
 
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Richard Partin
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Ha! Gosh, Daniel, I don't know how any game could possibly hope to somehow fill the gap between those respective classics!
 
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Angelo Porazzi
Italy
Milano
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>Craig Duncan:
Great review. Thanks!
One quick question (I don't yet own the game): From some of the pics on BGG, I notice that a single card may have differently valued special actions -- say, a 1 and a 5.

Ciao Craig
Yes, I confirm: several warriors have two Special Actions (one has three of them).

>Why would a player ever use the lesser valued special action?

The more Special Actions you have, the more Special Actions you can play in a single turn with the same warrior
Also on different targets.
For example you can attack an adjacent warrior with a Special Action and a second adjacent warrior in the ring with your other Special Action.
For any info feel free to contact me
anporaz@libero.it
Angelo Porazzi
(Designer and Illustrator of WrestAngel)
Ciao and thanks!
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Richard Partin
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Craig:

I asked Angelo Porazzi to answer your question, as he can do so far better than I can (and I see that he has).

And Angelo, as always, thanks for responding.

Best,

-Rick
 
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Craig Duncan
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Thank you, Angelo and Rick, for the helpful answer.

Craig
 
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