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Gale Force Nine.

 

In WWE Superstar Showdown, players control between one and three wrestlers, on either the red or blue team. Each match will consist of a number of quick playing rounds where cards are played, programming your moves for the turn. As the cards are revealed, a rock-paper-scissors (using Grapple, Manouver and Strike) mechanic decides who gets to activate for that reveal.
Activating your wrestler, you move around the ring to attack your opponent and perform other wrestling type moves, including slamming them into the corner posts, high flying from the top rope, and, in a future expansion, hitting them with chairs! The outcome of the attack lets you deal 'damage' to your opponents deck, depletion of your deck is instant KO, unless they can play a block card from their hand (there are only 6 block cards per deck).
 
Superstar Showdown comes with 6 wrestlers (Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, John Cena, Big Show, Randy Orton and Big E) for the players to control, all of which are current heroes (or villains) of the square circle, and as far as i am aware there are plans to  create expansion packs with additional wrestlers, from Divas, Legends and other current, in the pipeline. Each wrestler has a mini (which are detailed, and can be painted), a deck of tactics cards, showing some great action shots of that wrestler and a set of upgrade cards. Although the wrestler decks are similar, they are just different enough to show that particular fighters style. 
 
All the action takes place, in the ring, which is shown on a heavy card board, depicting the ring, the action card area, a place for your deck, and a handy reference area showing what the symbols/cards do.
WWE Superstar Showdown is really easy to start playing. Each player chooses a wrestler and takes his corresponding deck. The match rules are then decided: Head-to-Head, Tag Team, Gauntlet, or Last Man Standing. If players want to get ever crazier, there are stipulation cards to further vary things up (endurance matches, falls count anywhere, hardcore match, etc.).
 
The game  is played over a series of rounds, each of which is divided into 4 parts.
 
1. Draw Cards: Each player draws up to a hand size of 6 cards.
 
2. Play Cards to the Board: There are 3 spaces for cards on your side of the board. You place one card facedown onto each of those spaces.
 
3. Compare Cards: Both players reveal the card they have in position 1 and compare their type. There are 5 types of cards: Slam, Grapple, Strike, Maneuver, and Block.
 

Grapple beats Strike.
 
Strike beats Maneuver.
 
Maneuver beats Grapple.
 
Slams always win.
 
Blocks always lose (but prevent all damage).
 
 
If there is a tie, players draw off the top of their deck until the tie is broken. The player who played the winning card now gets to resolve the icons on their card. The different types of actions are:
Move: Move around the ring, this includes bouncing off the ropes or exiting the ring
Attack: Every point of your attack value forces your opponent to give you cards to place in your performance pile.
Corner Attack: Move from a corner space and attack.
Setup: Buffs for future moves or attacks
Throw: Throw your opponent.
Stun: Play an extra card from your hand and resolve its icons
Reversal: Possibly turn a losing card into a winning one
Kickout: Only used in pins.
 
4. Pinning your Opponent: Which ever player wins two out of the three actions during the round can attempt to pin their opponent, if they end the round adjacent to them.
To get out of a pin, your opponent must give you a card from their hand with the kickout icon. If they don’t have one, they draw cards from the top of their deck hoping to find one. They draw and give up cards one at a time, up to 3 cards, essentially a 1-2-3 count. If they find a kickout, the match continues. If they fail, the match is over and they lose.
 
The game plays quickly, around 10 minutes for a single match 1v1, tag team matches last a little longer, but when you tag your friend in you get a breather, and really simulate the action and excitement of WWE as best as you could with a board/card game.
 
Gf9 killed it with Sons of Anarchy (to be reviewed, watch this space), Firefly is a regular on the table at the local games club (Essex Legion) and Homeland had me and friends up til the early hours second guessing ourselves as to who the traitor was!
I know Gf9 has alot more they are working on, and i cannot wait to get to play the new games.
-Grant
© Chris Baylis 2011-2015