Unmatched. "In Battle, there are no equals".
Unmatched is a two to four player miniatures, skirmish game where each player plays as one of four asymmetrical heroes. Unmatched is designed by Rob Daviau, JR Honeycutt and Justin D. Jacobson and published Restoration games. Each hero has its own unique deck of cards, custom miniature, sidekick and different playstyle thematically tied to the character. Unmatched features tactical movement and no luck based combat.
On a player's turn they perform two out of three actions; move, scheme and attack. Heroes/sidekicks will be able to attack with either melee or ranged. Melee can only attack adjacent characters, whereas ranged attacks can target any character in the same "zone". The spaces on the board are broken in to coloured circles and each colour represents the same zone. If a Hero is the same coloured zone as an opposing Hero they can attack if they have ranged capability.
Combat is resolved by playing and comparing attack and defence cards of both Heroes and if the attack does more damage than the defence value the defending Hero reduces their life dial by the difference in the values. The cards may have immediate, before combat, during combat or after combat abilities which are triggered accordingly. The first player to reduce their opponents Hero's life to zero is the winner.
In Unmatched: Battle of Legends, volume one players can chose either King Arthur (& Merlin), Alice (& the Jabberwock), Medusa (& her Harpies) or Sinbad (& The Porter). The board is double sided and there are other sets which can be integrated to give more variety such as Robin Hood vs. Bigfoot, Bruce Lee, Jurassic Park and many more to come.
Asymmetrical, tactical miniature skirmish games are not typically in my wheel house. Especially if they are long, rules heavy and have the feeling of just keep getting beaten down. But I am always up for giving any game a go and as I have heard a lot of buzz about Unmatched I thought should at least try it. So, for a game that I am pre-disposed not to enjoy what did I think? Well, read on to find out.
Unmatched is sleek, it is elegant, it is streamlined and it is lightning fast. It feels like an epic skirmish game but boiled down and distilled in to its purest, rawest form. And I love it.
There are only three actions you can take. These actions are fairly straightforward and easy to understand. Yet, the choices that present themselves from these actions are engaging and tough. Even a simple action like moving has to be carefully planned and thought out. You don't want to put yourself in a zone where the ranged enemy can take shots at you. But you might need to get close enough to perform a melee attack.
When attacking, do you just play your highest card, potentially sacrificing a powerful ability/defence card. Or play a lower card hoping that your opponent can't/wont defend. I like the fact that combat is not luck based. It is deterministic, you choose the card you want to attack/defend with. Compare the two values on the cards and deal the difference in damage. The abilities also come in to play and when to play certain cards at certain points can turn the tide of the battle.
All the Heroes play very differently and thematically appropriate to their character. Alice, true to her form, can become "big" or "small" giving her a boost to her attack or defence values. Medusa attacks from range but has three harpies nibbling at your ankles. Sinbad gets more powerful the more voyage cards he has played. King Arthur sacrifices cards to make his attacks more powerful and is supported by Merlin's magic.
The game is also very quick and a typical game lasts around 30 minutes. For me, this is an ideal length. If I get beat down (which happens more than I would like) I don't feel like I have spent ages building up my army or character just to get killed in a matter of minutes. It is quick, it is a skirmish, in and out, play some cards, one person wins, pick another character and go again.
With the additional sets available and plans for more in the future Unmatched offers a ton of replay-ability, variability and exciting gameplay that I am looking forward to delving in to.