Review – Kaosball: The Fantasy Sport of Total Domination
A sports themed, hand management and area control game.
Title: Kaosball: The Fantasy Sport of Total Domination
Year Published: 2014
Designer: Eric M. Lang
Publisher: Cool Mini or Not
Game Time: 60+ Mins
Set-up Time: <10 Mins
Theme: Fantasy Sport
Mechanic: Hand Management, Area Control, Auction
How to win: Score the most points
Kaosball is a new kind of fantasy sports game, combining rugby-style passing finesse and first person shooter domination-style scoring. The result is a tense game of skill, bluffing, luck, and lethal brutality like you’ve never played before!
Put the board in the middle of the table and add the ball into the centre.
Each player picks a team (I use randomiser cards for this) and take the figures and dugout for that team. On the player board, set fouls to 0, Cash to 12 and Upgrades to 3.
Put the team coach bust on the 0 mark on the point track.
Use the dice to marker period 1 and the start player.
The game starts with a draft for Ringers and Upgrades.
Shuffle the upgrade tiles and deal out 4 + no. of players as well as 2 Ringers + no. of players.
The start player picks an upgrade and places a bid equal to or greater than the minimum bid amount shown on the tile. Bidding continues around the table to everyone passes, the winner pays the amount bid and the next player starts this again. When everyone has finished bidding on upgrades you do the same for the Ringers.
Remember: You only have 12 cash, (save some for the game, you’ll need it!) you can only have 3 points for upgrades and you can only field one Ringer at a time.
Once everyone has had enough or spent up, players place 5 of their players on the line, deal out 7 cards to each player and play can begin.
The game is played over 4 periods, each period has 5 phases
1 – Player Turns
Score – You start your tun by seeing if you have scored. If a runner has the ball and is standing on a minor scoring mound, you score points equal to the number of the period you are in. If a runner has the ball and is standing on the teams Major scoring mound, you score 5 points.
Play a Tactic Card or Activate a Standing Figure – Play a tactic card and then place it face up in front of you. or activate a figure. Most action cards allow you to activate a figure after you have played one.
When activating a figure you can do one of 3 things…
Sprint – Move 5 spaces. You can’t walk through standing figures or walls but you , can stop on knocked down figures. If you move onto the ball it will stop your movement but you pick the ball up. If you like you can hand off the ball to/from a team mate orthogonally adjacent at any time during movement without ending your movement.
If you move into an enemies killzone, Bruisers & Ringers may attack or tackle you and Runners & Ringers can steal the ball if you have it. This will start a contest which I will talk about in a bit but reactions this way can only happen you he active player once per round.
If you want to start a contest, Runners & ringers can run up and try and steal the ball while you can try and Tackle or Attack with Bruisers & Ringers.
Contests are done via cards with both players involved playing a card face down and simultaneously revealing them and adding any power to a teams skill in the chosen contest.
Of course whoever has the highest wins and ion the case of a tie the the ACTIVE player rolls the tie break die and adds it to their result.
Cards played are placed in front of you face up and are considered burned. If you reveal a number that you haven’t previously revealed, the card is ‘live’ but if you reveal a number you have played already, or play a tactic/cheat card, you automatically lose.
Playing a live card automatically beats a dead card, if both are dead, both are considered to be 0.
How do you resolve these contests? Well…
Steal – Ball carrier wins nothing happens, if the Stealer wins they will get the ball
Defend Tackle – You legally move the attacker 1 square orthogonally
Tackle –Knocks down figure, may move into the square, may pick up the ball (if it’s there)and may hand off if you pick it up
Lose Attack – If you attack and lose you only ever take 1 Damage
Attack – If you attack and win you deal damage equal to the difference in totals from the contest. Dead cards count as 0.
If you a character is killed, you get to keep it for scoring.
Draw back up to 7 cards.
After activating, if you have 9 dead cards everyone else takes a turn and the period ends
Otherwise, play passes to the left
When a round is complete, the following occurs.
2 – End of Period Scoring
Score all Runners/Ringers on scoring mounds, even if they don’t have the ball.
3 – Bribery
Pay 1 money for each face up cheating card you want to discard. This is why you need to hold back cash and don’t blow it all on Upgrades and Ringers, as tempting as it is.
4 – Cheating
Roll the tie dice for each cheating card you have left. +1 = 1 foul, +2 = 2 fouls. 15 fouls max. You don’t want fouls.
5 – Prep for next period
Clear the board of fire, walls, temporary scaring mounds and knocked down figures. Bench all figures that have been knocked down on the same space. If a player is standing on the same space as a knocked down player, bench the knocked down player.
Discard all your burned cards and draw back up to 7. Fill up your line of scrimmage so you have 5 players on the field again. If you can’t you are eliminated…
Pass the first player token to the left
Half time is a little bit different. You score points for most kills depending on the number of players and lose points for the most fouls, again, depending on the number of players/
For ties, both get the maximum reward/penalty.
Bench all players and clear the board and set up again just like the beginning.
The game ends after the fourth period. Complete scoring just like half time and whoever has the most points wins.
In the case of a tie, the tied teams play periods until the tie is broken… or you can just shake hands and accept you can not be separated.
The best thing about this game is the variety. Each team plays very differently, each Ringer is very different and different combination of Upgrades can change your team.
This effects the way you play and although the scoring is the same you have to go about it differently. You can draft a combination that allows you freely roam the board killing every opponent you bump in to. But you also might have a weaker team that needs to be a little more cautious and needs to control the ball.
Card play is fun. It allows for bluffing and the ‘Dead Card’ mechanic helps you to pick your battles.
Movement can be slow and clunky and it’s hard to weave your way through a crowd but good tactical card play can make you create space.
A fun and great looking sport game.
I give it 8/10