So… you’re looking for other games to play while stuck at home…

If your past few months have been anything like mine, you’re sorely missing getting your regularly scheduled dose of TFTCG. Here at WnRHQ, we’ve slowly and carefully begun playing against each other in controlled circumstances, but we’re probably still going to have to wait a while for in-store play.

Players have adapted to this in a number of ways. Webcam play is great, but less great if you don’t have a good set-up or living space for it (guilty as charged on both counts). OCTGN is also a valuable tool, but not quite the same as face-to-face play. If you’re lucky, you have a significant other, roommate, or trustworthy friend that you can play against in-person. If you’re in a part of the world where in-store play is feasible, we hope you’re being safe while doing so.

The reality of the situation is that a lot of folks are stuck at home and unable to play our favorite game under our usual circumstances. For that very reason, I wanted to throw some potential replacement games that are worth considering while you’re waiting for the world to return to some semblance of normality.


Marvel champions LCG

(Fantasy Flight Games)

This is a game that we’ve featured on the channel, and pretty much the entire Wreck ‘n Rule crew owns a copy and all of the expansions. Marvel Champions follows the LCG (Living Card Game) distribution model. In short, there are no blind-buys and you always know what cards will be included in each expansion.

The basic idea behind the game is that the player(s) try to defeat a villain. It can be played solo, or scaled up to 4 players. It’s fully cooperative, in that the players are working together against the game itself. Thematically, it feels like you’re playing through a single issue of a comic book, or in some cases, a single extended scene from a comic book. As of now, there’s no official “campaign” system to play through an extended storyline, although that seems likely to change with the first deluxe expansion.

In the game, each player plays as a hero with their own personalized deck. To build a deck, each hero has a set number of specific cards that MUST be used in the deck. You then fill out the rest of your deck with cards from your chosen aspect (Aggression, Leadership, Protection, or Justice) and basic cards that can be used by anyone. If you’re not a fan of deck building, each hero also has a “default” deck that can be used if you just want to get right into playing the game and don’t enjoy the deck-building aspect as much.

To play, you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of the core box, pictured above. Inside, you’ll find five heroes, a solid base of aspect and basic cards to build hero decks, three villains, and a multitude of different ways to build out the encounter decks to make them more or less difficult. There’s a lot of value and replayability packed into the core box. From there, you can expand the game by buying new hero packs (for more player/deck-building options) or scenario packs (for more villain and scenario options).

Buy this game if…

  • You like the ability to play solo or with up to 4 players.
  • You like deck-building.
  • You don’t like deck building.
  • You like the ability to customize the difficulty of your gaming experience.
  • You want to buy into an extended gameline while it’s relatively early in its lifecycle.

Lord of the Rings LCG

(Fantasy Flight games)

The Lord of the Rings LCG is the spiritual grandfather to Marvel Champions. In this case, you select a mini-Fellowship of characters (typically 3) and build a deck consisting of allies, equipment, and events. From there, you attempt to progress through various stages of a quest, fighting off enemies, persevering through setbacks, and exploring locations.

Compared to Marvel Champions, it is significantly harder and more complex. While playing Marvel Champions, my wife and I were able to defeat the “intermediate” difficulty villain (Klaw) with relatively minor tweaks to the decks we were using for the “easy” villain (Rhino). The learning curve in terms of optimal play and streamlined deck-building was more significant for Lord of the Rings as we moved from the first quest to the second one. Beyond that, you can tell that LOTR LCG was designed in the heyday of FFG’s turn/phase bloat, where each phase has multiple steps and different systems to go through, and understanding them is key to successful play.

To start out, you want at least one copy of the core box. It’ll give you 12 different heroes, a large base of cards to use in your decks, and 3 different quests to play. Unlike Marvel Champions, there’s no ability to tweak the difficulty of quests (aside from the Nightmare expansion packs, which are separate purchases). To play with more than 2 players, you’ll need a second copy of the core. From there, you can continue the quest that begins in the core box by purchasing 6 small expansion packs (roughly $15 MSRP each). Each of these packs gives you options for the player decks, while also giving you a new quest to play through.

After that, you can continue by playing through different cycles, which consist of a deluxe box (roughly $30 MSRP), followed by 6 smaller expansion packs that expand that cycle’s storyline. You can play through those cycles in whatever order you like. If you only want to play through the official canon events of the books, you can follow their Saga expansions (2x deluxe boxes per book). I’m a bigger fan of playing through the other exansions, though, which use Tolkien’s lore to explore the events just before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring.

The current cycle of products seem to either be the end of the LOTR LCG line, or there might just be a pause while FFG reconfigures their vision for the game. Either way, there’s a finite stopping point.

Buy this game if…

  • You like the ability to play solo or with up to 4 players.
  • You enjoy a little bit more complexity and difficulty in your card games.
  • You enjoy deck building (each quest is almost like a puzzle that you need to solve, so you’ll be tweaking or rebuilding your deck often).
  • You want a LONG series of quests that you can play through (quick guesstimation is that there are at least 75 different quests available, a bit more since the deluxe boxes contain multiple quests).
  • You don’t mind putting in some work to track down specific products (certain expansions temporarily sell out until FFG does another print run).

Arkham Horror LCG

(Fantasy Flight Games)

I have not played Arkham Horror LCG yet (even though I do own the core and a few expansions). My understanding is that it’s roughly in the middle of LOTR LCG and Marvel Champions LCG when it comes to complexity. It’s also my understanding that it has the strongest narrative “feel” of the three different games. If you love the Cthulhu mythos, this is an easy pick.


Funkoverse Strategy Game

(Funko Games)

To be totally honest, when it was first announced, I dismissed this game line as a cash-grab and wrote it off. Then, a number of game reviewers that I follow kept giving it a lot of praise. I grabbed the Batman 4-pack and the first Golden Girls 2-pack (my wife is a huge Golden Girls fan, and has even converted me to enjoying the show) and played through with my wife and was really surprised at the depth of the game. Much like TFTCG, it was easy to learn the basics, but had quite a bit of complexity if you want to dig deeper into it. The only rules that might be slightly confusing involve line of sight, but even those are a lot simpler than most other tabletop games.

One of the main strengths of the game is that you can literally grab any 3 characters and 1 object (which you place into one of the figure’s hands), and you’re good to go. You can play any 2-pack or 4-pack box with basic rules, but I’d recommend grabbing at least 6 characters to play the full game. You don’t need to worry about building a list using points. We’ve played a bunch of games with different line-ups, and it feels balanced. As a bonus, almost every set (except for single figure packs) contains a double-sided map, and each side of the map has multiple different game modes that you can play. As an example, some of the modes have a Capture the Flag feel, while others are more like King of the Hill or area zone control.

As of typing this in June of 2020, you can get sets featuring characters from DC (Batman mostly, but a Wonder Woman 2-pack is on the way), Harry Potter, Golden Girls, Rick and Morty, Jurassic Park, Aggretsuko, Kool-Aid Man, Jaws, and Back to the Future. They also have a number of sets in the pipeline (a Game of Thrones set seems to have been revealed a few days ago). As an additional bonus, you can often find the older sets on clearance, since it’s stocked by big box retail stores like Target and they semi-frequently reset their inventory to move out old products and bring in new ones.

Buy this game if…

  • You like the idea of Batman, Betty White, the Kool-Aid Man, and a T-Rex all fighting each other.
  • You’re looking for a quick skirmish game with depth.
  • You’re interested in an entry-level miniatures game.
  • You don’t mind grabbing a few expansions to play the game to its full potential.

Unmatched

(Restoration Games/Mondo Games)

Unmatched and Funkoverse were released at roughly the same time, and basically fill the same niche within your collection. Initially, I went with Funkoverse, but I’ve actually been playing Unmatched more lately, and for now, it’s taken the lead in terms of my preferred game to play at home with my wife. Fun fact: Unmatched is a slightly tweaked version of the general rules system used for Star Wars: Epic Duels, which they also retweaked to make Transformers Armada: Battle for Cybertron.

In Unmatched, you play as a character from legend, history, or pop culture. Each characters has a specialized deck of cards that you use to move, attack, or activate special abilities, giving each one a unique playstyle. My understanding is that Restoration Games did much of the work under the hood to develop the mechanics and rules, while Mondo is using their licensing with various intellectual properties to bring in characters from movies and TV.

The currently available products are Battle of Legends Vol. 1 (Alice in Wonderland, King Arthur, Sinbad, Medusa), Robin Hood vs Bigfoot, Bruce Lee, Jurassic Park (Muldoon/Ingen vs Raptors), and Cobble & Fog (Invisible Man, Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Jekyll/Hyde). Additional sets are on the way, although the only one revealed features characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Any of these products (except single figure packs, so far only Bruce Lee) are playable out of the box, and all are compatible with each other.

The rules are even more streamlined than in Funkoverse, but again, still present quite a bit of depth and decision making. It also rewards continued play, since understanding the options available to your opponent (AKA knowing their deck and what might be in it) is one of the key ways to improve at the game.

Buy this game if…

  • You’re looking for a quick skirmish game with minimal set-up and tear-down.
  • You care about aesthetics. The card art, board design, and miniatures are all fantastic. I actually ordered a bunch of clear matte Dragon Shield sleeves because the designs on the backs of the cards deserve to be seen rather than covered up.
  • You want to see if Bruce Lee can beat a pack of 3 Velociraptors.

Klask

Coming out of PAX Unplugged 2019, the entire Wreck ‘n Rule crew was incredibly hyped up about a game they were able to demo called Klask. I missed out, since I was only able to be there for one day, but the hype continued and multiple members had a copy. The hype was so strong that I ordered a copy online without even playing it.

It did not disappoint.

Klask is a crazy hybrid of Foosball, Air Hockey, and other random dexterity-based tabletop games. However many words I decided to keep typing could not properly convey how fun the game is.

On top of that, there’s also a 4 player version available, which I think is even more fun, as it introduces the possibility of creating temporary alliances to prevent other players from running away with a quick win.

If you can find a copy, buy it. Now.

Buy this game if…

  • Just buy it. Now.

As always, keep your eyes on the Wreck ‘n Rule YouTube channel for our usual shenanigans. Also consider supporting us on Patreon, since the proceeds go toward helping us upgrade our recording set-up AND toward throwing some sweet custom swag your way! Plus, we now have merch available too!

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