Unmatched: Cobble & Fog by Mondo Games and Restoration Games
Players: 2 to 4
Playtime: 20-40 minutes
Perfect for: Players who enjoy asymmetrical balanced dueling games, incredible art, and the allure of classic literary heroes and monsters.
Unmatched: Cobble & Fog is a game of strategic combat! In this standalone expansion within the Unmatched series, players compete against one another (or on teams of 2) as Sherlock Holmes with Dr. Watson, the Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or Dracula. Relying on their unique set of skills, this assortment of characters must square off using strategy and wit to vanquish their enemies.
To begin Unmatched: Cobble & Fog, two to four players choose who they will be playing as and receive that person/creature’s deck (drawing a starting hand of five cards), health tracker, miniature, and associated allies. In this version, Holmes finds Watson ever at his side (the only ranged attacker in this edition), and Dracula has three Sisters (who are similar to Medusa’s Harpies, for those familiar with the base game, Battle of Legends Vol. 1). A new mechanic introduced in this version is “teleporting”—Invisible Man has three fog tokens which move about the map that he can travel between as if they were adjacent spaces. Similarly, the Bakersville Manor outlay on the double-sided map has secret passages for quick movement over longer distances.
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 (however, in a 2 v 2 team game, if only hero is vanquished, a player may still control their sidekick(s) if that is still an option).
RELATED: Tabletop Game Review – Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume One
What works in Unmatched: Cobble & Fog is the marvelous creativity the development team imbued into the inclusion of these great characters by stretching and bending the core mechanics in both thematic and exceedingly clever ways. Perhaps the greatest difficulty is ascertaining which of the new “heroes” is the most intriguing—Invisible Man has the ability to literally vanish off the board and reappear anywhere of their choosing; Sherlock Holmes incorporates elements of guesswork and deduction to score extra hits; while Jekyll and Hyde is a big ole beast, but with the propensity to heal and gain other advantages when attacked. This is not to say that Dracula isn’t also great to fun to play with, but his abilities are bit more closely aligned with previous characters. All in all, this new foursome of friends and foes is absolutely delightful and proves that the Unmatched remains fresh and full of ideas.
This bears (exact) repeating from previous reviews: the components of Unmatched are unparalleled, and this new entry is gorgeous (to expect otherwise at this point would be folly). Artist Andrew Thompson does an excellent job of fitting into the Mondo/Restoration established design, but also incorporates the perfect amount of whimsy by applying a glaze of ambiance. Particularly fun is the miniature for Invisible Man which is a hollowed-out trench coat with a hat on top.
Players who prefer cooperation over competition, or games that are a bit lighter on strategy, may not enjoy Unmatched: Cobble & Fog 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. Finally, players may want to play through Cobble & Fog a few times to become familiar with all the characters, as knowing opponents’ strengths and weaknesses definitely enhances the experience (i.e. get ready for “oh wow, I didn’t know you could do that on your turn” a few times during the first play).
Cobble & Fog is another solid entry in the Unmatched franchise (and note, you do not need any previous editions to play this version as a standalone game). This particular entry folds in the literary characters masterfully into the ever-growing universe. Cobble & Fog is an absolutely excellent addition to one’s Unmatched library, or a great competitive two-or-four-person game.
Recommended if you like: Unmatched (previous entries), Heroscape, Star Wars: Epic Duels
Final Grade: A+
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