Unmatched Battle of Legends Vol 1 is the first in the Unmatched system that was released. Containing Alice (of Wonderland fame), Medusa, King Arthur and Sinbad, this set is diverse in the way in which the characters each play as much as where in history or literature these characters come from.
This second opinion piece will focus more on areas that haven’t been discussed as much, but suffice it to say that I think that unmatched is brilliant and this box is a really great place to start. It has a set of four characters that are varying levels of complexity to play.
In Unmatched King Arthur has a lot of health and can hit very hard but you do really want to keep Merlin alive as long as you can. His special ability is a touch dangerous in that you can boost all attacks but this will mean you run out of cards quickly so you need to manage your deck well.
Medusa you can easily lose harpies, and they are well served as meat shields keeping your main character safe so she can attack with range and deal damage with her special ability of dealing damage to a fighter in her zone.
Sinbad is a slow starter but then as he has completed more and more voyages he is an utterly formidable foe. Dealing up to 7 damage from a single card providing there is no “feint-ing”. He can also move super fast around the board too with his boosted movement based on voyages. Towards the end there is no hiding from Sinbad, and you will need to dispatch him quickly to stay alive.
Finally, Alice (of Wonderland fame) who is in my opinion hard to play but I have seen lots of people instantly click and say it is easy. I guess it is the type of brain you have! Alice can be more defensive when she is small and more aggressive when she is big, but you must use the cards to change size. I think that is where my tiny brain gets befuddled, but I see the masterclass of a good commander behind the deck and she is a wondrous character.
Artwork And Components
I want to focus on one of the most notable things about Unmatched, which is the artwork. There is a load of effort putting into making the artwork on these cards pop. To the point where a few times I haven’t been ready to take my turn because I have been far too busy studying and enjoying the card art instead of strategizing my next move. Each character has beautifully thematic art taking over the top half of the card.
Across all the Unmatched sets the components are the same, mostly because I believe they got it right from the off. There is a double sided map offering you the choice between the garden from Alice in Wonderland or playing upon Sinbad’s ship. Despite now owning a huge array of
different sets with different maps, I always come back to these ones. They offer you places to hide from ranged characters, but they each have limited movement routes that allow you to trap characters too. They are four player maps, but I love playing with these at two as well. More space which makes it harder to get your hits but also means that you do run the risk of running out of cards and dying by your own hand if you play too defensively.
Aside from the map you have four characters each with their own mini, these I have seen look utterly amazing painted although I actually have enjoyed keeping mine grey so far. Alice has a beautifully illustrated big and small lock token that will help you keep track of which special ability you have. The other three; Sinbad,King Arthur and Medusa all have sidekicks. These are small plastic coin tokens that also have beautiful artwork on them.
If you are looking for a large spread of fun characters and diverse maps to play with the Unmatched system, then I honestly think that Restoration Games actually got it right from the off! Start with the OG Battle of Legends Vol 1 and you cannot go wrong. I love these characters and they suit the different playstyles.
Although the first, this set has been followed by both IP bangers and public domain characters over the past few years. Notable IP releases that you should check out are Marvel (King & Country, Brains and Brawn, Redemption Row, and Hell’s Kitchen) and Jurassic Park (T-Rex and Sattler, Raptors and Ingen)