Unmatched: Robin Hood vs. Bigfoot is the first, fully playable, standalone expansion for the unmatched Battle of legends asymmetric miniature card-based fighting game. For the uninitiated, Unmatched is an arena combat game played out with classics from the world of literature.
This expansion comes with a double-sided board to play on. One side depicting a classic green Sherwood forest and the other a more autumnal American national park. Two pre-shaded minis are included and the sculpts and detailing are excellent. Robin is poised about to draw his bow and Bigfoot carrying a log over his shoulder. Both heroes have their own health dial and a pack of cards to manage their movement and attacks. The stylised, muted tone artwork on the cards is gorgeous.
Alongside the deck of 30 action cards, comes a player aid. This sets out your health, movement, fighting style and special moves. On the reverse of the player aid is a helpful reminder of the actions available on your turn.
In the game, Robin is a ranged character and Bigfoot, the Jackalope and the merry men are all melee combatants. Robin comes with four plastic merry men tokens that act as is sidekicks in battle, Bigfoot’s sidekick is the Jackalope who acts as single sidekick and has his own, smaller health dial. All the components fit into a well designed and labelled insert that makes set up and pack down easy.
Iconography and typeset on the action cards is understand makes Unmatched a quick game to learn. This means you can spend your time focussing on your tactics and battle strategies.
Decide on your player order, which character you will be playing as, collect your character and the relevant pieces, and then lay out the board on your chosen side.
The first player places their hero miniature on the space on the board labelled with a number 1 and can then place their sidekick tokens on spaces in the same zone.
In Unmatched, spaces on the board have different colours, illustrating different zones. Some spaces are divided into two or three and are considered to be in multiple zones, by colour. Adjacent spaces are those spaces connected directly to another by a line. P
layer two now does the same for their team. Both players set their start health, for their hero, and sidekick if required, as per the instructions on their player aid. players shuffle their action decks, drawing a hand of five cards and the battle is now ready to commence.
On their turn players complete two actions from a choice of three. They can repeat an action and complete any combination of the actions in any order.
Players can manoeuvre, drawing a card and then moving their hero and sidekicks up to their maximum move allowance. If players need to move further than their allowance, to get closer or further away form an opponent, or get into range, they can discard a card and use the boost allowance on that card.
Players can play one of their scheme cards, with a lightning bolt icon, to gain an immediate bonus effect, this could include drawing more cards, forcing opponents to discard cards or take additional movement.
The third available option is to attack and at its core this is what this game is about!
Attack follows some key basic rules depending on the fighting style of the hero or sidekick. For Melee characters, you have to be adjacent to the character you are declaring an attack on, for ranged characters you must be in the same coloured zone, but do not need to be adjacent.
Once you have declared the character you are attacking you both can choose to play a combat card face down. These have either a red attack, blue defence or purple wild icon and a corresponding combat value. You play an attack or wild card while your opponent can play a defensive or wild card. Players flip both their cards and resolve the combat. The first stage is to check the cards for immediate effects, these additional bonuses happen before combat. Next, resolve the combat including during in combat bonus effects. If the attacker’s value is greater than the defender, they win the combat and deal the difference in damage to the defender.
Damage for heroes and the jackalope is tracked on the health tracker and the Merry men have 1 health. Finally, any after combat card effects are resolved. If the attacker scores the same or less than the defence value, the defender wins the combat. This can change the outcome of the after combat effects and provide bonuses to the defender, who may get to move or draw additional cards.
Play continues until one of the heroes is defeated by losing all their health.
Balancing actions is vital to ensure you are able to have enough cards in your hand to attack and defend successfully. Cards are divided between the hero, sidekick and any character so getting through the deck is important, as you can only attack as Robin with one of his or a card allowing anyone to use it.
Discard piles are open so opponents can check how many of a specific card have been used. This can help plan strategy and keep an eye on what your opponent may have in their deck or hand.
Both Robin and Bigfoot play very differently. Learning the best way to approach your character, their strengths and working with their weaknesses, is the key to victory. Bigfoot has some clear power and some very strong cards. Whereas Robin is able to attack and move to a safe distance, hiding in the trees.
Final Thoughts on Unmatched:
Unmatched is a brilliant skirmish game and is easy to pick up with plenty of strategy and tactical decisions to make. You will need to plan how to use your sidekicks to protect your hero, and cause some damage where possible, whilst working through the deck to get to some of your powerful cards. Balancing the small hand size and when to use cards in attack and defence are all important decisions you will have to make. The characters despite their asymmetry are very well balanced and games are tight with the difference between victory and defeat being a matter of a turn or two. The game is a hell of a lot of fun and the fact that you can add this to the four characters in the base game provides a wide variety and additional replayability.