Unmatched first burrowed into my brain simply with its art. I believe the publisher said they wanted every piece of art to be able to be a poster, and they pulled that off spectacularly. So while I waited for the game, I made the quiet chant to myself over and over, “please don’t suck”.
When I got my early copy from Gencon I played it as soon as humanly possible and I was intrigued. The battle system was so simple, but felt new and honestly weirdly opaque at first. I didn’t understand what the ideal positioning was, I didn’t understand what to play and when, and I began to worry the game may just not be that great. Then I kept playing, and it started to become clearer what to do. So now, as I learned what better positioning looked like, I was worried that the characters may not be as balanced and thought maybe it still isn’t a good game. Then I kept playing. The balance issues lifted like a fog. Now maybe the game is too simple. Yet I keep playing and playing.
After about 30 plays in not even nearly that many days, it has become clear that this game is just fantastic. The characters are evocative, the rules are simple in that beautiful way that sets a game up to be viral, and every single aspect of the product design, from the insert, to the dials(which are slightly different sizes depending on starting health), to the art, is absolutely perfect. Restoration Games correctly deduced that skirmish games could be reduced to the simplest form possible and still be infinitely deep, and I’m beyond excited.