Are you a fan of Funkoverse? If so, you’ll be excited to know about the new base set called Funkoverse: Universal Monsters. For those who haven’t tried this fantastic board game yet, it combines classic characters from your favorite pop-culture settings like Harry Potter, Rick and Morty, DC & Marvel Comics, and more with innovative gameplay that is easy to learn but requires deep strategy depending on the scenario that you choose. This new standalone base set adds even more excitement to this diverse collection by introducing new characters and settings while supplying cool accessories such as super-powered items and tricky tactics cards.
Funkoverse is played by two to four players, ages ten plus. Matches vary and can go from twenty minutes to an hour, depending on the scenario played and the users’ expertise.
Each game session can have a different squared board map and scenario (rules and objectives). In teams of two, players control one to three characters and select an item. In each round, players alternate, taking two actions with each character. Your actions include:
- Attacking other players’ characters.
- Using abilities, items, and traits.
- Interacting and activating board tokens.
- Assisting your ally characters.
- Rallying and standing up (if knocked down).
Character-specific abilities require tokens. Used tokens are placed on a Cooldown Track based on the strength of the action. A specific color token is required to use an ability. A round ends when all characters have taken turns and exhaust markers are removed. Using a Cooldown mechanism, items and tokens slide down the Cooldown Track; those that move off it become available. Each scenario has different objectives and specific rules that trigger the end of the game and determine the winning team.
You can refer to “Funkoverse Strategy Game Review” for a more comprehensive overview.
Funkoverse Universal Monsters introduces Dracula, The Creature, Invisible Man, and The Bride of Frankenstein. Scenarios include the Flags, Leaders, and Control; which were part of the four original ones; and the Scrimmage scenario that was first introduced into the Marvel 100 set. It comes with two maps: Dracula’s Castle and Frankenstein’s Lab.
In terms of archetypes: Dracula dominates as a cunning character with one extremely powerful strength ability, but be aware that his defense attribute is 1 until he does a challenge and places a blood token on the Cooldown-Track (defense becomes 2); The Invisible man is also primarily a cunning character with a minor (and surprisingly weak) thematic “support ability” called “sneaking”; The Creature is a leader, a team player, who can build tunnels over the map, and has one strong strength ability; The Bride is a disappointment starting with two weak abilities only (one leadership and one strength) and relies on four status cards which get played using “grave robbing”, giving her new traits, abilities and rendering The Bride more potent as the game evolves.
Universal Monsters feels like the least thematic Funkoverse base game I have ever played. There are no new scenarios to match the game theme. Maps and characters come in black and white, adding to the horror-based atmosphere, which is excellent. But still, maps feel generic even though there is a clear intent of fitting the fictional setting. Characters carry a lot of potential for unique mechanics and abilities. Yet, apart from The Creature, who can build tunnels through the map, all others fall flat and fail to stand out as they lack distinctive features. Invisible Man doesn’t exploit its invisibility to a decent extent; Dracula uses a blood token to make it feel like a vampire, but it doesn’t; The Bride of Frankenstein has four status cards that once again seem utterly generic.
Even though the game fails to provide the expected fictional involvement that is a highlight of Funkoverse games, I can’t deny that there are mighty characters in the bunch. You may find some of your “Best Characters” here with unbeatable or significantly potent abilities, even if they seem generic and not thematic. By combining Dracula and the Invisible Man, for example, I’ve built an aggressively cunning team and had an invincible Challenge Five “Exsanguinate” ability up Dracula’s sleeve. Indeed, I gave my opponents an unexpectedly hard time and had loads of fun with it!
Complexity, setup, and downtime are what you expect from any Funkoverse game:
- The game has a lite ruleset that is easy and quick to learn.
- Requires deep tactics.
- There is low downtime once you understand the game.
- It takes a medium time to set up and tear down.
It is a great filler and gateway game for newbies and expert gamers alike. Replay value is endless, as you can mix and match everything in this game with any other Funkoverse game.
Game design uncertainty is determined by dice rolls, which could be better balanced; Funkoverse relies heavily on luck. However, players’ tactical choices directly influence the outcome of the game, which is why performance contingency is also essential. Player interaction is exceptional, as you can anticipate from the dueling/skirmish strategy nature of Funkoverse games.
Component-wise, this game is gorgeous! Especially if you are a fan of Funko vinyl figures. I was lucky to get a “limited chase edition”, which contains a special Invisible Man with a transparent head, and it is really awesome. All figures are black and white, look outstanding, and have a delightful tactile sense of touch. The overall artwork is top-notch, making it compelling and fun to play. My only minor frustration is that I found the maps and mechanics slightly generic and less thematic than I expected.
Funkoverse: Universal Monsters is a worthwhile addition to your Funkoverse collection, even though it is not the best release and has some minor weaknesses. It has some of the best and most potent characters available, especially if you mix and match them wisely. The minor drawback is that the characters’ mechanics could be more thematic. The game, figures, and overall artwork are gorgeous, and the black and white design makes it stand out from the whole Funkoverse series. I have no regrets about owning Universal Monsters, but I did have higher expectations. Still, this game is a must-buy. If you are a Funkoverse fan, you will definitely love it.
Final Score: 3.5 Stars – It is a valuable complement to your collection and an exquisite Funkoverse standalone game.
• Fictional involvement is lacking.
• Maps, scenarios, and mechanics are slightly generic.
• This lite game may appeal to newbies but not skirmish/dueling games aficionados.
Note: This review was originally written by Mindful Phill, who is no longer part of Board Game Quest.