Working through my catalogue of board games, the time has come to review WWE Superstar Showdown. This board game created by the guys and gals over at Gale Force 9 and could potentially be a cool little bridge between Pro Wrestling and the table top world? Let’s dive in and find out.
WWE Superstar Showdown features six of WWE’s greatest superstars (at time of making) Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, John Cena, Big Show, Randy Orton, and Big E. In this, a game of miniature combat driven by specialized card decks that highlight the unique style and signature moves for each WWE superstar.
The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Company have been round for so long bringing entertainment to the masses via live shows, TV broadcast & now even have their own subscription streaming service. Safe to say they are an entertainment corporation power house, so it makes sense for them to expand their reach to the board gaming community. Now before anyone says it I would just like to say before we start, that YES, there have indeed been card-based games for the WWE before, but what the folks at Gale Force 9 are doing here is bringing their own vision to Superstar Showdown using a nice combination of cards and miniatures. The game includes a nice depiction of a WWE wrestling ring in the Centre of the board. To accompany the ring they have also added an extra section surrounding the ring so that just like the TV show you can spill all that adrenaline filled action to outside.
Rules wise the rulebook does a fantastic job of keeping rules simple and where required explains mechanics that may be daunting to the players. Once you feel you have grasped the basic rules & mechanics, they have also included advanced options to help spice things up and keep the game fresh.
Included in the game are miniature representations of superstars John Cena, Big Show, Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, and Big E. My first thought was while I like Big E as a superstar he does seem rather out of place in this set alongside the well-known Money-makers but o well. The initial roster isn’t huge or to be honest very varied, despite this fact GF9 have done a pretty good job at making each wrestler resemble their real life counterpart with regards to their moves and abilities. Big Show for example is a seven foot tall behemoth in reality and is appropriately a powerhouse in the game, with a range of slams and grapples in his arsenal, and to cover for his sheer size he is also made to resemble a walking tank with very limited movement. Whereas the people favourite Daniel Bryan has a deck selection full of reversals and setup bonuses to movement to represent his real life speed and agility around the ring.
WWE’s weekly programing is a true treat for any of its viewers with the high production values and stunning visuals with the use of fireworks and special effects to immerse you into the physical soap opera you are watching, so GF9 must have had a blast trying to replicate this in board game form. I am happy to say that when I opened the box no fireworks where releases setting fire to my house, but instead I was met with a very nice choice of well printed coloured boards and cards. Using the easily identified colours of red and blue (Raw & Smack down) the colours are bright and vivid with each area designated for your cards is highlighted effectively with a pretty cool glow. The ring itself is just about the right size for the action you will have although as a wrestling fan I would have loved 3D representations of the ropes and turnbuckle, making the game just that tad bit more visually appealing and immersive.
The wrestler’s miniatures themselves look pretty good sculpt-wise, excluding the odd ball we mentioned earlier, Big E really seems to have been a real afterthought especially as his miniature is very generic and could easily be confused with random jobber.
If you haven’t figured throughout this review I am myself a Pro Wrestling fan, not so much WWE these days but I do keep up to date with the brand. I found this game whilst perusing eBay for fun quick games that could be appealing to new people that come to my gaming club and to be honest Even if you don’t keep up with WWE on a regular basis, this game is still a blast to play, add the fact that you can knock out a game in a short space of time couple with the instant draw of that iconic logo and characters, makes this a good to demo at events and at home. For me personally I like it as a quick warm up game before getting stuck into something with more substance. Painting the miniatures was fun too. Is it worth your hard earned money? Well I got mine for £10 at the time so, If you are a fan of the WWE, then you owe it to yourself to play this game. If not then it’s fun, its quick, BUT there are a lot better games out there for not much more money.