The hit tactical skirmish game, Unmatched, expands with this standalone Victorian Gothic set. Pit Jekyll and Hyde against Dracula or see if Sherlock Holmes can track the elusive Invisible Man. Or try any of these four new heroes against any other Unmatched character. Set your battle in either of the two new thematic settings: the streets of Soho or in Baskerville Manor. Unmatched: Cobble & Fog is fully compatible with every other Unmatched title and features the atmospheric art of Andrew Thompson.
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If you are new to the Unmatched series of board games, this is the first set I would recommend that you pick up. The theme is strong throughout this set, from the characters' relation to one another, to the maps chosen (Streets of London and Baskerville Manor), to even the presentation of the rules manual. It's got old-timey posters in there advertising fights between characters from other sets, as their way of telling you that you can mix/match this set with all the others previously released. Even if you never pick up another Unmatched set, there's cohesion and replayability in this box that makes it a great stand-alone game.
The rules are simple enough to grasp your possible actions quickly: Draw and Move, Play an Action, Play an Attack in order to... Attack somebody. An attacked player can then play a Defense card to reduce damage (possibly all of it), and you apply the effects on each card. You get 2 of the above actions, then it's the next player's turn. You keep going until your opponent's main character (2-player) or both opponents' main characters (3/4-player) have 0 health. That's it, you learned the whole game.
The magic of this thing, and what's utterly hooked my family, is the way that each character puts their own spin on the above. Sherlock Holmes has become my favorite character of any set, for the way many of his cards involve guessing/peeking at the cards of other players. There's a natural synergy between action cards that let me see what another player's hand is, and those that let me force them to discard cards or "guess" at what they have in order to nullify attacks. With lucky draws and a keen eye for the pattern emerging in your cards, there's higher-level strategy to employ that's different for every character.
You definitely don't have to be especially "good at games" to succeed, mind you. Playing *any* card is likely to be good for you, and it's likewise beneficial to just move around and pick up new cards until you see something that makes you say, "Ooh, I could do *this!*" It's simultaneously fairly forgiving and rewarding, and that allows us to just sit down and quite literally 'play the hand we're dealt'. Does that mean that sometimes you get a "bad shuffle", or that towards the end it becomes apparent who is "going to win"? Yeah, sure, but the game title *is* "Unmatched". It's more about the spectacle of literary characters teaming up and punching each other for 15 minutes to an hour than it is about high-level competitive balance.
I would say that the time-to-play is fairly spot-on. It tends to move at a brisk pace with two players, due to the back-and-forth nature of two decks directly pitted against each other. These games strike a nice balance between being invested enough in your character to want to play "tactically" and win, and being a light enough skirmish to warrant "just one more game, maybe this time with or against a different character..."
We tended to slow our 3/4-player games down with lots of "strategizing", as we discussed our possible moves with our teammates. The aim shifts from playing into your own character's strengths, towards trying to get both characters to work toward common goals. For example: I moved Sherlock Holmes next to his ally Dracula, then used his "Master of Disguise" card to trade places with an opponent who already had their turn. They then had no way of moving before Dracula got his turn, wherein he got to use his special ability to deal a damage and draw a card for free. My team felt really smart for pulling that off, and these are the kinds of plays that have everyone in my family constantly excited to try out not just new characters but new team combinations and different maps.
I say, if you're at all interested, get this set and see how it goes. If you like it, grab whatever other sets catch your eye as "expansions". If it doesn't immediately capture you, then at least you only got the one set that can be played as its own self-contained game. Maybe you can find it a good home with a friend or relative.
This 4 player stand alone expansion adds several new mechanics and value to the extensive game. Each character plays uniquely to each other and each has a different strategy to use. The double sided board adds hidden passageways that add to your movement choices by allowing multiple locations on the board to be tied together.
This game is a must have for any Unmatched fan.
Not sure about the other reviews complaint about ambiguous language or length of time to play. This set is absolutely awesome. Dracula is definitely not unstoppable and I have beat him with Invisible man and Sherlock. This is definitely not a young persons game though. In order to be competitive, you have to know the cards in all of the characters sets, which only comes by playing, and know what strategy to use for each character. It is a blast even when I lose and it’s a new game every time. Absolutely love it and can’t wait for even more characters. So far our only confusion is why on the invisible mans 5 attack card, you have to move the fog he is on. We can find no strategical value in that.
Fun concept in a boardgame, but a little confusing as to benefits of playing as certain characters. Dracula is virtually unstoppable based on the action cards provided. The Invisible Man has tremendous upside. Sherlock Holmes has great action cards and protection with Dr. Watson. What's the strength of Jekyll/Hyde?
The game says it should take 40 minutes to play, but the first time we played (3 players) it took us over two hours. Normally that would be great, but having to read the instructions and rationalize the ambiguous wording became tedious.