Review – WWE Superstar Showdown
A Hand Management, ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ style game.
Title: WWE Superstar Showdown
Year Published: 2015
Designer: Aaron Dill, John Kovaleski, Sean Sweigart
Publisher: Gale Force Nine
Game Time: ~10-120 mins (Depending on Game Mode)
Set-up Time: ~1 min
Mechanic: Hand Management, Rock Paper Scissors
How to win: Beat your Opponent(s)
WWE Superstar Showdown features six of WWE’s greatest superstars — Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, John Cena, Big Show, Randy Orton, and Big E — in a game of miniature combat driven by specialized card decks that highlight the unique style and signature moves for each WWE superstar.
How you win is dependent on the match type but you generally win by pinfall or KO. As there are so many game types I’ll just describe a regular 1 on 1 match here .
For setup, get a mini and deck of cards for your Superstar (Remove the gold rimmed cards for a basic game), you can pick from…
Yes! Yes! Yes! it’s Daniel Bryan
Booooooooo! Roman Reigns
John Cena, he’s there, you just can’t see him (Wrestling humour!)
Weeeeeelllllllllllllllll it’s the Big Show
The voices in my head tell me this is Randy Orton
Don’t you dare be sour, It’s Big E
Put a ring of your colour on the mini, put them on the relevant space on the board, shuffle your deck and put it on its space, draw 6 cards and you’re good to go…
Game Play, as I mentioned, is basically Rock, Paper, Scissors with Strike, Grapple and Manoeuvre beating each other and Slam beating all 3.
Each round of the game consists of 4 phases and these repeat until the game ends…
Phase 1 is to Draw Cards. Draw up to 6 and shuffle your discard pile if your deck is empty and continue to draw.
Phase 2 is to Play Cards. Play 3 cards face down into the 3 spaces on your board.
Phase 3 is to Compare Cards. Players compare each card in slot 1 and based on the graphic that shows which card beats which with Slam always winning and Block always losing.
The losing card is discarded, if the wrestler is outside the ropes the card is ‘given up’ instead. To ‘give up’ a card you hand it to your opponent so it’s basically removed from the game. This is important as you’ll see…
The winner resolves each icon on the winning card in any order… (More on those later)
If it’s a tie, players put cards from the top of your deck onto the tied card until there is a winner, the loser discards all the cards and the winner resolves the card on top of the pile.
If 2 blocks are played, both are discarded, no one wins or loses. (and it doesn’t count as a tie)
So what are these icons, what do they do, why are you winning this card battle? Well, they do everything…
Move: Move any direction, in/out the ring and even though opponents but if you end your movement in the same square as someone, you shove them 1 space in any direction (You cannot shove them in/out the ring). You can move onto the ropes and then move any number of squares away in a straight line effectively ‘bouncing off the ropes’.
Power: If you’re orthogonally adjacent to an opponent you can use Power to attack them and they can ‘give up’ a block card from their hand to block it. If not, they give up a number of cards from their hand and/or the the top of their deck equal to the attack power.
Momentum attacks hits for the number of spaces moved before the attack and this includes each square moved off the last rope they bounced off
Attacks against a player on a turnbuckle square deal 1 extra damage.
Corner: Made from turnbuckle space and lets you move move 3 squares and deal a power 3 attack. You can’t bounce off the ropes with this movement.
Setup: Gives +1 Power or Movement to next winning card you have this round. It also counts as 1 power if the next card does neither.
Throw: If adjacent, move the opponent 3 squares using normal movement rules. May throw in/out the ring. If you throw them onto someone else, you shove that guy.
Reversal: If you lose and you play a reversal, you can play a card that will win this battle out of your hand. If you can’t play a winning card, you can’t reverse. If both players play a card with reversal on it, the loser plays a reversal card first, then the winner.
Kick Out: Give up to escape being pinned, more on that later.
Stun: If your opponent gives up cards and you had a Stun action, play and resolve another card from your hand. Stun cards can chain so if you play another stun card from your hand you can play a 3rd card etc A block card will block the initial stun, but you cannot block a second card played via a stun.
The extra card played counts as an additional ‘winning’ card for this round which is important when we look at phase 4 which is the Pin phase. After the 3 cards have been compared and resolved you move on to this phase.
Outside the Ropes
If you’re outside the ring of course you’re being counted out. So Losing cards, included tied cards, are always ‘given up’ when outside the Ring instead of being discarded. If outside the ring at the start of a round, shuffle your discard pile into your deck before drawing.
The player with the most winning cards from the round may Pin if orthogonally adjacent in the Ring. The pinned player can give up a Kick out card from their hand to Kick Out. If not, you reveal and Give Up one card at a time from the top of your deck, counting 1, 2, 3 out loud… because you have to!
If you draw a kick Out card, give it up and the match continues, if not you are pinned and you lose.
If you are unable to play 3 cards from your deck, or Give Up as many cards as required you are knocked out and lose.
So this is a very short game, made super complicated by overly difficult rules. The rules are very thematic, but if you don’t know Pro Wrestling they won’t always make sense.
The rules are quite niggly too… So if you’re teaching a non-wrestling fan you quite literally ‘Can’t… Teach… That…’. (More wrestling humour)
I think that sums it up really, if you’re a fan – Yes. If not – No because they won’t understand it.
It would benefit from expansions but poor sales probably put an end to that…
2+ people that like Wrestling will LOVE this, I do!
I give it 7/10