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Subject: Lucha Jefe provides fun, deduction and luck at a bargain price rss

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Edward B.
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I saw Lucha Jefe sitting at a table at my local game shop. I knew nothing about the game and had never heard of it. However, it was about luchadors, came in a small package, and was only $10. At that price point, it was an easy decision to pick up.

For $10, you get some pretty nice components. The game comes in a small canvas bag and consists of five small cardboard victory tokens in the for of championship belts, a small sheet of rules (that answered any questions I had during play), two reference cards and 9 wrestler cards. (This included one “promo” card, the mystery wrestler Lucha Cabra, but I don't know if this is standard with all games or not.)



what you get: nine playing cards, five belts, bag, two reference cards


The card stock is a bit thin, but for $10 you can't complain, especially considering the great artwork. The wrestlers on the card are all very colorful and excellently designed. I think my favorite is the paper-pushing “El Burocrata,” who manages to somehow combine a suit and tie with luchador mask and cape and make it work. But all of them are pretty cool.



the glory of El Burocrata!


The game is for two players and super easy to learn. The first player shuffles the deck of nine cards, sets one aside to serve as the unmasked Lucha Cabra (more on that in a bit), then sets aside two more for a reserve. The remaining six cards they look at, choose one for their wrestling stable and one to retire (out of the game). Both are selected face down.

The two cards that were earlier set aside for the reserve and shuffled back in (without looking at them), then handed to the second player. The second player looks at the cards, chooses one for their stable and one to retire. The cards then pass back to player one and back to player two a final time.

So, at the end each player will have two face down wrestlers and hopefully have some idea of what their opponent may have selected.

Now the players each select one wrestler to be in the match and one to stay on the sidelines. It matters which wrestler you select for what because each has a unique ability and some effects are dependent on whether they are in the ring or outside. El Burocrata, for example, if the active wrestler wins if the combined value of his opponent's wrestlers equal 10 or more. La Alfa is a value 7 luchador but can not be the active fighter if her partner is valued 5 or higher.

Cards are then flipped over and the fight resolved. With nothing else considered, you simply compare point values (1-8) on the cards of those wrestling and higher value wins. However, all cards have an ability, as mentioned above. The muscle-bound El Alarde, for example, is a value 6, but if you reveal him prior to selecting which fighter to sideline, then he becomes a 8 if he wrestles.

So why not always reveal him? Well, because you've let your opponent know one of your two cards, and another wrestler, the mystic La Adivina, can win a match before it begins by revealing herself and guessing which fighter the opponent has selected to wrestle. If she guesses correctly, the match is over before it begins! (In her favor of course.)

Whoever wins the match, takes a belt. The whole process is then started over. First player to three belts becomes the grand champion and wins the game.

You may noticed I said cards are valued 1-8, but there are nine cards in the game. That's because one card is valued 0, Lucha Cabra. Once the match begins (all four cards are revealed), Lucha Cabra removes his/her mask and is revealed/replaced with the mystery fighter card that was set aside at the beginning of the round.

It doesn't take long to learn everyone's special ability, but there are two very useful reference cards included that list all 8 of the primary cards and their abilities.



three of the fighters you have to choose from


I've played this game only one time, but I had enough fun that I already consider it worth the money. I had a few surprise moments, some tough decisions, and a few laughs.

Normally, I wouldn't think of doing a review after only one play, but I feel this game deserves a little attention. It's also simple enough, that I feel one play provides a good idea of what you're getting.

El Bueno

Value: For $10, you are getting a bargain.

Presentation: Great artwork, comes in a handy bag, cool little championship belt tokens to keep track of wins. The theme is a fun one, especially if you are into lucha libre, and who isn't?

Gameplay: Good mix of luck and strategy. You have some knowledge of what your opponent may choose but you never know for sure. You want to retire fighters who can counter your own while also trying to guess the fighter you need to counter your opponent.

Ease of play: The rulebook is clearly written, easy to learn and doesn't outstay it's welcome. My first game went five matches and took about 15-20 minutes with rules explanation. I'd guess future plays to take between 10-15 minutes.

El Malo


Nothing bad, really. My only nitpicks would be that the card stock is a bit thin and the bag could have been a bit bigger, as sometimes it takes a little maneuvering to get the cards in. But, again, that's nitpicking, especially at the pricepoint.

El Asombroso

The moment you reveal wrestlers, which include such awesome moments as reversing the outcome of a match with El Imprevisto and correctly guessing your opponent's wrestler with La Adivina.

And, of course... El Burocrata!
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Aaron Waters
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Aha, and thanks for the review.

As to this part of your review:

Quote:
(This included one “promo” card, the mystery wrestler Lucha Cabra, but I don't know if this is standard with all games or not.)


The answer is no the "promo" card Lucha Cabra does not come with all games. Mine has only the eight non-zero luchadores. The rules about Lucha Cabra have also been excised, or at least mostly excised.

Left in, however, is the part about not looking at the two latecomers when you shuffle them back into the deck. That confused me a tiny bit, since without also having set aside another card to replace Lucha Cabra, you should know exactly which two cards you are not looking at. Now I understand why it was worded that way, though it no longer really applies.

Now I just wonder whether Lucha Cabra is a "must have" or merely a "nice add-on, if available". At least now I know what it is I'm missing.
 
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Eric Petersen
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I believe that lucha cabra was only included in the international tabletop day 2017 promo set.
 
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Mike Arlington

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warmonger wrote:
Aha, and thanks for the review.

As to this part of your review:

Quote:
(This included one “promo” card, the mystery wrestler Lucha Cabra, but I don't know if this is standard with all games or not.)


The answer is no the "promo" card Lucha Cabra does not come with all games. Mine has only the eight non-zero luchadores. The rules about Lucha Cabra have also been excised, or at least mostly excised.

Left in, however, is the part about not looking at the two latecomers when you shuffle them back into the deck. That confused me a tiny bit, since without also having set aside another card to replace Lucha Cabra, you should know exactly which two cards you are not looking at. Now I understand why it was worded that way, though it no longer really applies.

Now I just wonder whether Lucha Cabra is a "must have" or merely a "nice add-on, if available". At least now I know what it is I'm missing.


As Eric mentioned, the Lucha Cabra is just a promo, so it's not a necessary addition. In general, I think it makes the game a little more guess-y and a little less deduce-y when you use him.

As for the rule you mentioned, that was originally in there before the Lucha Cabra was designed actually. The reason you shuffle the two sidelined fighters in when you send the cards to the second player is so that the second player doesn't know which cards the first player had to choose from. "Did they not take El Alarde because he wasn't available or because he didn't want him?"
It's real minor, but intentional.
 
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