When it comes to skirmish games, they come in a few different flavors. For the die hards, you have games like Warhammer 40k, which has you building and painting miniatures, and books thick with rules and lore. On the other end of the spectrum, you have lighter games like Wildlands and Unmatched. These games have only a handful of rules that seek to get you into the action right away.
Which brings us to today’s review of Super Fantasy Brawl from Mythic Games. This big box game features a dozen unique heroes that will be duking it out in an area for glory. With fantastic looking miniatures and an easy to learn ruleset, is Super Fantasy Brawl the next skirmish game for you? Let’s find out!
The goal in Super Fantasy Brawl is to be the first player to gain five trophies. To do that, each player will assemble a team of three heroes, each with their own deck of 6 cards (that will be shuffled into one 18 card deck).
Each game of Super Fantasy Brawl takes place over a series of rounds where each player takes a turn. On a player’s turn, they can take three actions, each of which will use one of a player’s cores—either red, blue, or yellow.
Cores can either be used to play a matching color card from a player’s hand, or use one of the basic actions which allow a single hex of movement and a minor action (heal, plan, or wound an enemy). Cards will have a variety of effects, but most will allow you to move a hero and either attack or manipulate other heroes in some way.
The goal is to either KO an opponent, which earns you a trophy and allows you to flip your hero to their leveled-up side, or position your hero to allow you to complete an objective card. These are usually area control challenges, although a few do resolve around other ways to score. However challenge cards aren’t checked until the START of your turn, so you’ll need to survive your opponent’s turn before you can claim the card.
Attacks are diceless affairs that can be either ranged or melee, with the specific card determining the range, damage, and special effects. Each hero’s deck will come with one reaction card that can be played to help defend against an attack, yet it requires you to spend one of your cores to activate it, meaning that core will be unavailable for your next turn.
Players will go back and forth taking three actions on their turn unit a player collects their fifth trophy and wins!
When this massive box of Super Fantasy Brawl landed on my doorstep, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. This had all the makings of a heavy, skirmish game and I was expecting the ruleset to be a thick tome. Surprisingly, the rules for Super Fantasy Brawl are really light. I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to shoot through the rulebook in a few minutes and get it to the table very quickly.
In fact, I consider Super Fantasy Brawl more of an area control game than a skirmish game. Sure, you’ll be attacking your opponents constantly, but securing those challenge cards are going to net you the most points. So heroes that can manipulate your opponents (push/pull, etc…) are definitely going to have a nice advantage to be exploited. Knocking your opponent out of an area they control is crucial to stopping them from earning points. This also helps prevent Super Fantasy Brawl from becoming one of those games where you just stand in place and play attack cards over and over. Instead, heroes will constantly be moving around the area, fighting and jockeying for control over different locations.
The downside of this is that it can lead to some analysis paralysis prone turns. As players look over their hand of five cards and try to figure out how to either positing their heroes to claim a card, or knock their opponent out of an area, the game can sometimes grind to a halt. So while the challenge cards definitely keep things interesting over a game that is straight-up combat, there is a bit of trade-off in game flow.
One of the interesting parts of Super Fantasy Brawl is squad building. Since you always have a team of three (at least in a 2p game) and you mash their decks together, it’s nice when you get get a little bit of synergy on your team. Being able to slide an enemy out of a control area and then snipe them with a ranged attacker is a nice combo. And that makes it all the more frustrating that Mythic games didn’t include any kind of player aid in Super Fantasy Brawl.
While the game isn’t complicated, there are some 15-20 keywords we had to pass the rulebook around constantly to reference. It was definitely kind of annoying for our first few games, yet I can say that eventually you can get a feel for what they all do and it’s not as big a deal. However, the bigger omission in my opinion is the lack of any kind of guide for the heroes. When we drafted, we basically chose heroes that looked cool, having no idea as to if they would work well together. Super Fantasy Brawl could have really been helped by including a character reference so players could know at a glance what each is good at. Heck, even the Kickstarter page had that! It’s because of this that I think an experienced player is definitely going to have an advantage in this game.
Finally, let’s talk about the components. The miniatures in Super Fantasy Brawl look absolutely fantastic. They are big, detailed, and just begging to be painted. Mythic Games has definitely been elevated to the top tier of miniatures production in my opinion. Even the card are both high quality and feature fantastic artwork. My only complaint here is, surprisingly, with the Game Trayz. I’m a HUGE fan of their storage solution, but in Super Fantasy Brawl it creates a massive amount of wasted space. This box is over a foot and a half long and takes up a lot of shelf space. While each mini has its own tray, I feel like this is a less than optimal storage solution. If you take out the trays, everything in the box could fit in about 1/3 of it. What’s worse, is that the Forces of Nature expansion doesn’t even fit in the box for some reason, making you need to store a second box as well.
Overall my complaints on Super Fantasy Brawl were minor: a lack of player aids and wasted space in the box. But as far as the gameplay, it’s really good. Mythic Games created a very streamlined skirmish system here that I could see them easily expanding in the future. If you want a skirmish game that you can not only jump in and start playing in minutes but also doesn’t devolve into just punching each other back and forth, you’ve found it here. Super Fantasy Brawl managed to straddle the line on a game that’s light enough to easily come off the shelf, yet not so shallow that you’ve seen all it has to offer after a couple of plays.
Final Score: 4.5 Stars – Gorgeous miniatures and smooth, streamlined play make this a win for gamers.
• Really could have used a player aid
• Lots of wasted space in the box