Tabletop Game Review – Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume One


Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume One by Mondo Games and Restoration Games
Price: ~$40.00
2 to 4
20-40 minutes
Perfect for:
Players who enjoy asymmetrical balanced dueling and games with incredible art

Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume One is a game of strategic combat. In this base game, players assume control of one of four legendary characters: King Arthur, Alice, Medusa, or Sinbad and must tactfully play against their opponent using wit and skill to defeat them. The last person standing on the battlefield will be declared the winner.

To begin Unmatched: Battle of Legends, two to four players choose who they will be playing as and receive that person’s deck (drawing a starting hand of five cards), health tracker, miniature, and ally. Allies are helpers that move around the board just like the heroes but have special abilities to provide an advantage. On a turn, players can perform two actions from the following options: draw a card and move a number of spaces equal to their speed, attack, or play a special effect card. Combat is resolved with the attacker playing a card and defender doing the same, if they so choose. The cards are revealed simultaneously and after resolving all of the effects, damage is recorded if any has been taken. Once a primary hero’s health is reduced to zero, they are eliminated from the game.

What works in Unmatched: Battle of Legends is the incredibly engaging interactions and the outstanding visuals. The battles are ripe with tension, but also balance. Each character has strengths and weaknesses and while learning them may require a few playthroughs, once mastered Unmatched becomes a chess match of colorful characters with well-designed asymmetrical abilities that align perfectly with their fictional counterparts. For example, King Arthur can play a Holy Grail defense card that only provides one immediate defense, but if during the battle his health falls below 4, he automatically rejuvenates back up to 8. Alice’s cards allow her to oscillate between being big which gives an attack boost, or small which provides the Wonderland wanderer an advantage on defense. The combinations of characters and strategies mean that the replay value is incredibly high right out of the box…and it’s worth noting that loads more characters that are interchangeable with the Unmatched system are on their way.

To summarize that point: Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume One is very good, and it’s only going to get better as the universe expands.

RELATED: Tabletop Game Review: Jaws

The components of Unmatched are also worth highlighting. Mondo has consistently been associated with stunning artwork often associated with geeky properties. Here led by Oliver Barrett, the application of their talent to a tabletop game makes for an absolutely gorgeous result. The miniatures are intricately detailed, the cards contain fantastical imagery, and even the double-sided boards mixes color and style to evoke an almost ethereal feel.

Players who prefer cooperation over competition, or games that are a bit lighter on strategy, may not enjoy Unmatched as much as others. Unmatched at its core leverages the mechanic of head-to-head combat and requires players to be cunning and devious against their opponents. And while it could be said there is a dash of luck in the game considering the random card drafting mechanic, the more one plays the more it becomes apparent that it’s less about the cards drawn and more about knowing how to use the hand you’re dealt.

Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume One looks to be the beginning of something special. It’s not overly complex, and the creativity mixed with strategy make the game an absolute blast to play over and over again. This is a title that you can pull off the shelf, play quickly, and then immediately look forward to the next game knowing you can change up the characters to have an entirely new, and still fun, experience. Very highly recommended for all gaming groups.

Recommended if you like: Heroscape, Star Wars: Epic Duels

Final Grade: A+

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