Please Take Note: This is a review of the final game, but it might change slightly based on the success of the Kickstarter campaign. The game is being reviewed on the components and the rules provided with the understanding that “what you see is not what you might get” when the game is published. If you like what you read and want to learn more, we encourage you to visit the kickstarter campaign. Now that we have all that disclaimer junk out of the way, on with the review.
- For ages 6 and up
- For 2 to 4 players
- Approximately 30 minutes to complete
- Active Listening & Communication
- Counting & Math
- Logical & Critical Decision Making
- Strategy & Tactics
- Hand/Resource Management
- Child – Easy
- Adult – Easy
Theme & Narrative:
- The Best Fight the Best to Be the Best!
- Gamer Geek rejected!
- Parent Geek approved!
- Child Geek approved!
There is no such thing as “natural evolution” in the future. Science can now grow entirely new species, augment bodies with powerful new abilities, and have found a way to make robots sentient. War and destruction is everywhere, but a few fight a battle on a different level, championing their various factions in duels. The loser is put in the ground. The winner is that much closer to controlling the universe.
Superbeings Jumbo Card Game, designed by Rick Medina and to be published by Alienplay Games, will reportedly be comprised of 60 double-sided Superbeing jumbo cards, 60 Battle jumbo cards, 28 dice (ranging from jumbo sized standard twelve-sided dice to customized six-sided die), 24 tokens (that keep track of conditions and other various values), and one dice bag. As this is a review of a prepublished game, I cannot comment on the game component quality. The cards are big, though. As the game suggests, they are “jumbo”, easily being twice the size of a regular card. Art by Justin Hillgrove makes each jumbo card colorful and come to life with captured combat action.
Setting the Stage of War
Note: The game setup and play summarized here is the standard two-player game. A faster, lighter version is also available, as is a three and four-player game. See “Game Variants” for more information. In addition, games can be customized and the decks built specific ways. The game setup will reflect a generic approach to how the game is prepared and will not discuss specifics on the deck-building aspect of play.
To set up the game, first have both players sit opposite of each other and set all the dice and tokens to one side of the game playing area and within easy reach of all the players. The area between the players is referred to as the “Battlefield”.
Second, have each player take their preconstructed Superbeing jumbo cards and Battle jumbo cards and shuffle them, ensuring that all the Superbeing jumbo cards are facing the right direction (“Pro” side is all facing the same way in the card deck) and the Battle jumbo cards are showing the card back. Once completed, place each deck to the side of the player who owns them.
Second, each player cuts half their opponent’s Superbeing jumbo card deck and reveals the card’s rank value. Depending on the rank value, the card will be placed in the “frontlines” of the Battlefield or the placed back at the bottom of the deck. This continues until each player has three Superbeing jumbo cards in their frontline, facing each other, creating a three-on-three fight. Remember that all Superbeing jumbo cards enter the game in Pro mode.
That’s it for game setup. Determine who will go first and begin.
A Quick Look at the Cards
There are only two types of cards in the game. These are the double-sided Superbeing jumbo cards and the Battle cards. Each are summarized here.
Superbeing Jumbo Cards
Superbeing jumbo cards (also referred to as just “Super cards”) represent the super powerful warriors that engage each other in combat. One side represents the fighters defensive side (referred to as “Pro” – short for “protection”), while the other represents their most powerful and deadly attacks (referred to as “Pow” – short for “power”). Each side displays different information and is meant to help the players focus in on what each Superbeing can and cannot do depending on which side of the card is flipped. All Superbeings enter the game in Pro mode, and as they advance through the game, can be flipped over to initiate deadly attacks. Damage and status effects are placed directly on the cards.
Battle Jumbo Cards
Battle jumbo cards represent the different tactical and strategic defensive and offensive moves the Superbeings can take, in addition to their already listed special abilities. Battle cards can provide a continues bonus or a limited effect. Regardless, players are limited to the number of Battle jumbo cards that can be in play at any time.
Eat My Fists of Fury!
Superbeings Jumbo Card Game is played rounds, turns, and phases. When a player takes their turn, they are considered going on the offensive. A player’s turn is summarized here.
Phase 1: Start!
The player draws 1 Battle jumbo card and adds it to their hand. There is no limit to the number of Battle jumbo cards a player can have in their hand during the game. If any Superbeing jumbo cards are considered “invisible”, a die is rolled to determine if they remain invisible during this round. Visibility is tracked by using a token. Another roll is performed to determined if any Superbeing jumbo cards currently “shielded” remain so.
Phase 2: Take Action (which is optional)
Each player is given 3 Action Credits per turn to spend if they so like, with a possible more being provided based on the cards currently in play. Spending them or not and on what will depend on the player’s tactics and strategy. Actions include drawing a Superbeing jumbo card and adding it to the players “backline” (right behind the frontline, which are reinforcements). Players can also spend Action Credits on moving card positions (back to the deck, moving forward, or shifting backward), healing damage, flipping cards, and countering certain conditions in play. If the player needs more Action Credits, they can discard cards in play or from their hand. Again, this phase is optional, as are any of the actions the player may decide to take.
Phase 3: Early Attack! (which is also optional)
If the player has any Superbeing jumbo cards in play that are currently in the frontline and have the ability to attack early, they may activate it now. The effect is read out loud and resolved.
Phase 4: Attack! (again, optional)
The player can only take action during this phase (if they want) if at least one of their Superbeing jumbo cards in their frontline is currently flipped to the Pow mode side. If an attack is made, the twelve-sided die is rolled to determine how many Attack Credits the player has to spend. Attack Credits are spent like currency and can be saved for the next round if the player doesn’t want to use them all.
Spending the Attack Credits, the player can attack as many times as they can afford using their frontline Pow mode Superbeings. A single Superbeing can attack multiple times or the player may split up their attacks among their other frontline cards. Cards in the backline can never attack.
If any Superbeing card (be it in the frontline or backline) takes +1 more damage than their health indicates, it’s considered “KO’ed” and discarded. KO Credits are collected and placed on the Superbeing card that took out their opponent.
Attacks can only be targeted towards another card directly in front of the card taking the attack action. The only exception to this rule is if the player has a Leader in play. The Leader card can attack the backline even if a frontline card is in play in front of it. When determining if the attack is successful or not, the defending player uses their card’s “On Defense” information. Conditions and Battle cards in play will alter the game’s outcome and impact effect results.
Phase 5: Wrapping It Up
The player now ends their turn, spending any additional Action Credits they might have. Any end of phase effects that are noted also take effect and are resolved. The player’s turn is now over.
Victory Over All
The game continues until one of three possible victory conditions are met. The first player to collect five KO Credits wins, if a player can reduce their opponent’s frontline to zero cards they can win, or if a player collects 15 or more Super Ranks they win. In cases where there are more than two players, the victory condition requires that the player be the last one with a standing army of warriors at the table.
The game play summarized here is the standard game. A “fast play” option is also available that was designed to get the game to the table quickly and is more appropriate for families and younger Child Geeks. The fast play version is essentially a watered down version of the standard game, where strategy and tactics take a back seat to make room for quicker game play, removing the Battle cards from use.
We were provided the two player standard game, but Superbings Jumbo Card Game can comfortably sit up to four players by adding in a few extra components (sold separately).
Decking the Combat Halls
Superbeings Jumbo Card Game can be further customized by building specific decks. Each deck build provides a slightly different game experience. For example, there is an “Alliance Wars” for two-players with a preconstructed storyline based game and the “Archetype” for two to four players with enhanced rules, making use of the special Archetype cards.
To learn more about Superbeings Jumbo Card Game, visit the kickstarter campaign.
The Child Geeks really enjoyed themselves, finding the game to be fast and competitive with just the right amount of hand-holding from the cards and freedom in the rules to do what they wanted. According to one Child Geek, “The game reminds me of big version of Pokemon. I like how the different warriors can take their own actions and you get to control an army of awesome fighters!” Another Child Geek reported, “I like how the game gives you options, but not so many as to confuse you.” The Child Geeks learned the game fast, with those familiar with deck-building battle games picking up the game rules the quickest. None of the Child Geeks seemed to mind losing either, finding the game to be fairly well balance, with victory going to the player who had a better battle plan versus better cards. The Child Geeks all voted to approve the game.
The Parent Geeks were less impressed, but enjoyed the game with their children. According to one Parent Geek,”I remember liking games like this when I was younger, collecting cards, making decks, and the like, but this game isn’t all that bad. I think I like it more when playing with my kids then when I play it with other adults.” Another Parent Geek said, “I like it with the family for sure. My kids really enjoy battling it out with me! With the rest of the parents, though, I think the game fell flat.” None of the Parent Geeks found the game to be a bad one, but there was most certainly a noticeable different level of interest when they played the game with their family and children or with their peers. Regardless, the Parent Geeks all agreed that Superbeings Jumbo Card Game was a hit at their family table and voted to approve it.
The Gamer Geeks appreciated the game for what it was, but didn’t think that much of it. One Gamer Geek said, “A tight enough game, but I feel it is unoriginal and nothing more than a bigger version of the games that are already out there. That makes me feel pretty uninterested.” Another Gamer Geek said, “I hate the big card format. Big, clumsy, and takes up way more space than such a simple game requires. Going big doesn’t make the game feel bigger or more interesting.” The Gamer Geeks did recognize and commented that the game felt tactical and strategic, allowing players to go about attempting their own victory using different paths. They also all agreed that the game was not for them, finding it to be void of anything that was a hook for a gaming elitist. They did mention, however, that they believed the game would do well with the deck-building battle crowd.
Superbeings Jumbo Card Game is tactical and strategic, but not to a point where it’s overwhelming. Child Geeks as young a six-years-old were able to play the lighter version and players with no deck-building or battle card game experience were able to quickly pick up the game’s core concepts and run with it. The game’s design and rules are easy to follow, but do still require each player to do a bit of accounting. The math aspect is not so heavy as to reduce the game’s speed, but does impact the game play time per turn. The more credits you have to spend, the more optional actions you can take. Players with lots of credits can take a while to complete their turn. This makes the game feel jittery at times, with some turns taking seconds and others several minutes long.
Overall, I found the game to be fairly middle of the road. Nothing really new was introduced that I haven’t seen before, but that isn’t a bad thing. When you’ve been playing and reviewing games for as long as I have, you tend not to be surprised very often. This game didn’t surprise or wow me, but nor was I disappointed with its format and game play. While I did find it to be fairly straightforward, I found the current rule set to be easy to follow and the collection of cards to contain a wide variety of interesting choices to make. While I would never suggest the game will challenge a player to a point where they will be indecisive, there are decisions to be made that require the player to think. There is a good balance here between the “obvious action to take” and the need to think things through. Strategy and tactics are in play and should be used.
The game is most certainly targeted towards those players who currently play or have enjoyed in the past deck-building battle games. The feel of the game is very specific and will be instantly recognizable to those types of players. Those not familiar with such games will have little issue learning how to play and getting into the action. The bigger card format, while not a hit with everyone, does allow for each card to contain information that is easy to read at a glance and gives the game a more epic look and feel. Do try this game if you are a fan of deck-building battle card games or are looking to get into them. It’s a nice entry into the genre and a fun game for those already familiar with it.
This is a paid for review of the game’s final prototype. Although our time and focus was financially compensated, our words are our own. We’d need at least 10 million dollars before we started saying what other people wanted. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek which cannot be bought except by those who own their own private islands and small countries.