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February 19, 2021

Barnes on Games- WWE Superstar Showdown

MB Updated
Barnes on Games-  WWE Superstar Showdown

Game Information

There Will Be Games

Where is Koko B. Ware????

WWE Superstar Showdown becomes the third really good wrestling game after Wrasslin' and Luchador. But this one has a huge license that I really don't care anything about. I know the dude with the hat is John Cena because I've seen T-shirts and I think the guy on the far left runs a beer growler store near my house. But these other cats, I have no idea. I guess this is what it feels like to play a Marvel or DC game and not be familiar with the characters.

Yet once again, Gale Force 9 delivers on making a licensed game approachable, fun, and in reach even for folks like me for whom wrestling is at its best when it's Latino guys in masks flying all over the place or in matches where the ring is in a pool filled with mines and there are scorpions and thumbtacks everywhere. Or it's WrestleMania III. What matters most is that WWE Superstar Showdown is a really fun to play, easy to play fighting game with some cool mechanics that create a great facsimile of the up-and-down drama of a pro wrestling match.

I can't help but wish that we were looking at Rowdy Roddy Piper, Iron Sheik, Macho Man Randy Savage, Jake the Snake Roberts, Ultimate Warrior and of course pre-racism Hulk Hogan on that box. Maybe they'll give us something like that with an expansion, but for now this will do nicely.

I actually can't wait for their Family Guy game because that is an IP I completely loathe with all my heart. If they can make a good game out of that manure, they will be the undisputed champions of licensed games.

Review is at Miniature Market, and I've also got pieces up on Strange Remnants and the Relic expansions. The Relic expansions are really good, I think that game is unfairly ignored at this stage.

Just got in a package today from F:AT advertiser Greenbrier Games...I didn't want their zombie game, I wanted Yashima: Legend of the Kami. This is a COOL looking game where each player has a fighter with a set of weapon cards and you mix that with an animal-themed Kami deck. It's a man-to-man martial arts battle, and in a way it kind of reminded me of WWE flipping through the rulebook because it has tactical movement. It looks really promising and quite unique. More later.

I've got all of the new Imperial Assault stuff so I've been dinking around with it. Might get the new mini-campaign rolling this weekend. Stock is going up on that game with me, having more characters really helps- especially when they're novel ones like C3PO and R2D2. They actually made them work in skirmish.

Motorik sent me Africa, the old Reiner Knizia game no one cares about any more. I'm trying to find time to get my Cut-Rate Knizia series started, and that might be the first one I do. I love this game. It's simple, easy, evocative and really unusual. With most Knizia games, you can trace a sort of lineage. With this one, it really feels like a one-off. It's almost like he wanted to do an exploration game.

Next week I'll be looking at Star Trek: Five Year Mission and I've got some other things floating around in the mail.

There Will Be Games

Michael Barnes (He/Him)
Senior Board Game Reviews Editor

Sometime in the early 1980s, MichaelBarnes’ parents thought it would be a good idea to buy him a board game to keep him busy with some friends during one of those high-pressure, “free” timeshare vacations. It turned out to be a terrible idea, because the game was TSR’s Dungeon! - and the rest, as they say, is history. Michael has been involved with writing professionally about games since 2002, when he busked for store credit writing for Boulder Games’ newsletter. He has written for a number of international hobby gaming periodicals and popular Web sites. From 2004-2008, he was the co-owner of Atlanta Game Factory, a brick-and-mortar retail store. He is currently the co-founder of and as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Miniature Market’s Review Corner feature. He is married with two childen and when he’s not playing some kind of game he enjoys stockpiling trivial information about music, comics and film.

Articles by Michael

Michael Barnes
Senior Board Game Reviews Editor

Articles by Michael

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evilgit's Avatar
evilgit replied the topic: #209440 27 Aug 2015 21:35
So how well does it handle the differences between the wrestlers? I know they each have their own deck, right? But do they play differently and do they feel right?
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #209442 27 Aug 2015 21:55
It's all in the card mix and the variations in the actions and values. Beardy McBearderson moves a lot more than the Great Baldini, who is slow but has powerful slams. Beardy also has more reversals than some of the other guys. John Cena has strong strikes. Some of the others have more setup moves for combos. They do all feel different, but it's not like any one of them of them is radically different. Very balanced.
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #209443 27 Aug 2015 22:07
They all have the same number of SLAM and BLOCK cards, which is pretty crucial since those are the most valuable cards in the game.
drewcula's Avatar
drewcula replied the topic: #209609 30 Aug 2015 13:16
I tried to play a demo game at Gen Con, but couldn't find enough time during tournament play to break away. That mentioned, GF9 demos their games on HUGE printed matts that look super fab.

If this game is as solid as Michael reports (I tend to trust every Barnes review), and considering the expansion released thus far for Firefly, Spartacus, and Sons of Anarchy - Superstar Showdown will have plenty of wrestlers to release in the future. If I'm not mistaken, WWE owns the rights for their stable. Past and present. I don't see why GF9 couldn't release expansions with Savage, Warrior, Piper, etc.

This game is definitely on my wish list. I've slipped said list into Wife/Santa's purse...
stoic's Avatar
stoic replied the topic: #209765 01 Sep 2015 15:25
I'm going to wait for the Folding Metal Chair and Thumb Wrestling Expansions.