WWE Superstar showdown

Game Overview: In WWE Superstar Showdown, you take control of one of six WWE wrestlers (Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Big E, John Cena, Randy Orton, and Big Show) along with their miniature figure and deck of cards as you battle it out in the wrestling ring.  Using your deck of cards, you go for the win by either forcing your opponent to remove their cards from the game or by pinning them.  You can play a one on one match or combine wrestlers to form a team and have a tag team match.  You can take the game to another level by randomly picking the match stipulation match.  You may end up with a hardcore match, last man standing, endurance match, along with others.  In addition, advanced rules allow you to play an event which will have multiple matches and with different rules and victory conditions.  There is a lot of strategy that is involved with the game and you do not have to be a fan of WWE to enjoy the game.

Box Contents:  Each deck has the wrestler on the backside and action shots on the front side on the card.  The pictures and cards are top notch.  The miniature figures are plastic but are very detailed.  They are begging for people to paint them up.  The board has excellent art on it to match the theme of the wrestling ring.  The box itself, has holders for each of the action figures and a spot for the cards to sit right above their figure to prevent them from mixing up within the box.

Clarity of Rules: An excellent rule book.  It is a full sized with very detailed descriptions of the rules, especially each of the different actions that are found on the wrestler cards.  Along with the text explaining these rules, many pictures are included to provide examples.

Game Play:  To begin the game, you select your wrestler and deck of cards that match that wrestler.  Each deck has the same number of slam and block cards.  They each differ with the number of grapple, strike, and maneuver cards.  You place your miniature figure in a designated spot in the middle of the wrestling ring.  After shuffling your deck, you draw a hand of six cards.  Each card has different capabilities and actions,  You may be able to move a certain number of spaces, inflict power/damage against your opponent, throw your opponent, reverse a move, stun your opponent, move to bounce off the ropes, climb on top of the corner post, block a move, or setup your next move for your next card.  You play three of the cards from your hand to the game board.  This is where the strategy of the game comes into play.  For cards to cause damage to your opponent, you have to be in an adjacent spot so you need to make sure you are there before playing a card that causes damage. Some cards moving additional actions to your next card, so you need to play them in order.  You also have to consider what the other player may be playing based on where they are in the ring.  Each player flips over the first of their three cards and a rock, paper, scissor type battle begins.  A strike card beats a maneuver card, a maneuver card beats a grapple card, and the grapple cards beats the strike card,  In addition, the slam card beats all of the others.  If you win, you take whatever actions are listed on the card in any order.  The loser discards their card.  If your card allows you to cause damage to your opponent and you end up in an adjacent space, your opponent may have the ability to block the move.  If they do, it prevents damage but it removes that block card from the game.  If no block is played, the losing cards are only discarded and remain in play.  However, they must remove the number of cards that equal the damage that was played on them.  For example, if the power is four, then they remove a total of four cards from the game.  It can include any of the cards that remain in their hand or you can blindly draw from the player deck.  Play continues for the next two cards on the board.  If a tie occurs at any time, you draw the next card off the top of your deck to resolve the battle.  After the three cards have been played, whoever won the most has the option to pin your opponent if you are in an adjacent space.  If this occurs, you can play a kick out card that is in your hand.  If you do not have one, then you draw three cards from your deck, one at a time.  This is considered the three count.  If any of the cards have a kick out, you play that to avoid the pin and the card is removed from the game.  If no kick out is found, then the game is over with a pin.  As the game progresses, your deck will become smaller and smaller,  If you run out of cards and you can not fulfill an action, you will also lose.  However, you can catch your breath by going out side of the ring and if you start your next round there, you shuffle back in your entire discarded cards to refresh your deck.  Being outside of the ring has a negative impact though.  With every loss outside the ring, instead of going to your  discard pile they are removed from the game.

Replay Ability:  Because there are only six wrestlers, the replay ability between characters is limited.  Although each match is different since it is based on the cards that are drawn in played, I think some people will tire of using the same six wrestlers. 

Appropriate Audience:  The box suggests 8+.  Yes, a kid this young can play but they may need a assistance at first to understand the results of the different cards that are played.

What We Liked/Didn't Like:  The theme is amazing and puts you right into the world of WWE wrestling.  We loved the board, the miniatures and the game play that allows you to relive many of the situations you see on TV.  We weren't crazy about the game when a couple of our matches ended after the first round with a pin.  This is not very realistic in the WWE world.  Having the characters that have the most maneuver cards can be frustrating at times because they do not inflict damage.  However, at times those maneuver cards are very valuable if you need to get in or out of the ring.  Being able to play a round robin tournament and determine a Champion, which carries over to the next game has been fun.  For us, Roman Reigns won two consecutive championship before Big E took him out.  Also, it would have been helpful to have a place on the board for your deck and for your cards that are out of the game.

Add-ons/Other Releases:  At this time, no additional add-ons are available.  A request has been submitted to Gale Force Nine to see if additional wrestlers will be available as part of an expansion set. 

          **A preview copy of the game was provided to us.