A legendary cooperative brawl experience
Hello Gaming Library Family!
I've been eagerly anticipating Unmatched Adventures: Tales to Amaze since it was announced last year. Fortunately, we had the chance to try it out during the All Aboard EXPO last October. Now that it's finally here, let me provide you with a quick review of this truly unmatched cooperative game
In this exciting twist, iconic figures like Nikola Tesla, Annie Christmas, the Golden Bat, and Dr. Jill Trent the Science Sleuth unite to face a common enemy and their minions, all under the control of the game itself.
Whether you're racing against time to thwart the mysterious Alien Invader's plans for technological dominance or preventing the dreaded Mothman from wreaking havoc on the town's bridges, the stakes are high. Watch out for the formidable minions, including the Jersey Devil, Ant Queen, the Blob, Skunk Ape, the Loveland Frog, and Tarantula.
But here's the beauty of it – you're not limited to the cooperative mode. Dive into a regular game of Unmatched using the heroes from this set, and, as always, feel free to mix-and-match with characters from other sets. The possibilities are as varied as the adventures that await you in the ever-expanding Unmatched universe!
Unmatched stands out as a series that truly lives up to its name. While the concept of dueling fictional characters spanning fantasy, sci-fi, myth, and movies might seem precarious, the actual gameplay tells a different story. Its straightforward yet thrilling tactical systems consistently deliver outstanding releases. (Okay, I am not an expert here, but I do boast a high win rate against a bigger Unmatched and my good friend, Willo). Now, with the newest addition, Unmatched Adventures: Tales to Amaze, there's a significant mechanical shift. This box doesn't just cater to head-to-head play; it introduces a cooperative board game experience. I've eagerly anticipated this addition for its cooperative and solo modes, transforming Unmatched from a strictly head-to-head skirmish game for two (or up to 4).
"Its one of the best (if not the best) transitions from a competitive to a cooperative game. Seamless implementations of old characters and opens a lot more abilities for future sets."
-Willo, Unmatched Fan
What's in the box?
Unmatched Adventures: Tales to Amaze breaks from the series' usual understated boxes with a larger, more vibrant white box. (I kinda want it to be still black so that it would match the other Unmatched boxes, HAHAHA!) Inside, while the rulebook maintains the colorful theme, the traditional cartoon-style art continues on the various card decks. The four heroes retain the high-quality miniature representation seen in previous releases, complemented by two impressive new adversaries – Mothman and the Martian Invader. These larger figures boast intricate details, from Mothman's feathery wings to the Martian's neon green cockpit.
How do you play Unmatched?
Unmatched's success lies in its simple rules: two actions per turn with three choices. You can draw a hero-specific card and move, play an attack card for a face-down duel, or play a scheme card. Ranged attacks and legal moves add depth, but the real fun comes from the strategic balance between card use and movement. The unique decks provide each hero with a distinct play style, infusing the game with individual character within an accessible rules framework.
Here is a video on how to play from Watch It Played.
The lineup offers diverse effects, and the best part is, none of them closely resemble existing characters. Owners of other Unmatched sets can seamlessly integrate them into battles, whether for standard head-to-head fights on the provided boards or facing the Mothman and Martian Invader in cooperative play. Each boss has its own side of the board reflecting its unique strategy—Mothman aims to destroy bridges, while the Invader sows fields with alien progeny. Their distinct playstyles make the Invader the tougher adversary.
In the cooperative game, initiative is determined by drawing from an initiative deck, adding uncertainty to whether heroes or villains will act next. Enemies operate on a simple AI script—moving towards a hero and attacking based on a card draw from their deck. Hero actions mirror the competitive game, involving strategic choices to attack enemies and deplete their health. Similar to the competitive version, the cooperative play maintains a constant tension as decks, health counters, and evil plots approach their conclusions.
The balance of the game is great! We have lost a couple times with only 1 or 2 health left with the bad guy.
If I have one gripe is that the core rules' constraints somewhat limit the cooperative aspects, making it less standout in that genre. The game leans heavily toward head-to-head dynamics. While enemies are engaging, the rules feel the need for more cooperation seen in dedicated cooperative titles. (like the combos you can do with Marvel United). Heroes' decks are crafted for individual combat rather than collaborative play.
However, as a standard Unmatched game, it excels with diverse character options and an appealing board. It's an excellent choice for head-to-head battles, and exploring cooperative play provides a refreshing change of pace after intense duels. Cooperative games are also easier to teach, because you are all helping each other towards a goal.
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