2 players, Competitive, Fantasy Tactical Skirmish
Designer: Rob Daviau, Justin D. Jacobson
Artwork: Oliver Barrett
Publisher: Restoration Games, Mondo Games
Release Year: 2020
This particular Unmatched set was my very first foray into these games. I just couldn’t resist the Jurassic Park theme and the idea of playing as a group of velociraptors was too tempting to pass up. I ordered this one as soon as the preorders dropped and never looked back. To give you a hint of how much I enjoy these games, shortly after I played this set I went ahead and ordered all the rest of the sets currently available. Heck, if there was some kind of Unmatched subscription service I would have already joined. This week we will be taking a look at the Raptors vs Muldoon set and discussing the differences between this set and the others I have already reviewed. To take a glimpse at the other reviews for the Unmatched sets, you can find those links at the end of this review.
Components/Game Board/Card Decks
For those of you just tuning in I’m going to let you in on a little secret, these components are excellent! The miniatures are especially nice with incredible detail going into the raptors and Muldoon AND these are washed to bring out that detail even more. THAT SAID, I would be remiss to not point out a GLARING omission here. Where the heck is Muldoon’s trademark hat?! I mean I was perusing through all the cards and almost all of them have him in that great hat of his. Even in the movie I can only remember a handful (or less) of times he even removed his hat. I feel that miniature would be so much improved with that hat, I desire it greatly. The rest of the components are all excellent quality as well, with a number of cardboard tokens representing Muldoon’s “Traps” that he can toss about to hinder the raptors. He also has three side kick tokens representing the InGen goons running about “helping”. Yeah, helping getting eaten more like it.
In a first for the series you play as three heroes when controlling the raptors. Three different sculpted miniatures with three different life counters to keep track. They each only have 7 life and individually they are rather weakish, but together they are a strong force to be reckoned with. I have to toss a shout out to whoever did the sculpts for these raptors too, I mean they are just awesome. Classic poses from the movies each one and they look just incredible.
The game board in this setting takes place at the raptor pen and the surrounding jungle area. This creates a pretty thematic setting with Muldoon and his squad positioned up at the guard tower and around the pen and the raptors out in the jungle stalking. It also introduces some new movement options on the board. There are spaces where you can move one-way but not the other, basically when you move into the pen you are limited on how you can get back out. This adds a much deeper bit of strategy to the game when it comes to how you want to move. It’s a really fun battle map, actually one of my favs to be honest. BUT, in this set you only get a one sided game board unlike the previous sets. So, even though this map is excellent, there isn’t as much replayability with the map as other sets.
The card decks in this set are also some of the best and most fun I’ve seen yet. You can really tell as more sets are released they are getting very clever with how each new character works. Muldoon’s deck is focused around his traps and movement (see: running away). Many a card will allow you to do extra damage depending on adjacent traps or even allow you to detonate adjacent traps. His special ability allows him to place a single trap at the start of his turn AND whenever a trap is tripped and returned to the box, he gets to draw a card. On top of that Muldoon and all his sidekicks are ALL ranged characters so it’s in your best interest to continually keep on the move staying away from the raptors and taking pot shots at them whenever you get the opportunity.
Conversely, the raptors are a melee bunch of critters. Their deck primarily focuses on added damage based on other adjacent raptors and movement (see: ambushing). That is key when playing as the raptors. You always want to keep your raptors up close and engaged on all sides as they will always do extra damage based on how many other raptors you have next to the defender. Get up in their faces and devour those measly InGen workers quick and utilize your card abilities to move other raptors into position to surround Muldoon before he can load up the place with traps.
Visual Appeal /Theme
If you like Jurassic Park, even a teensy weensy little bit, then you will go gah gah for this set. It oozes the Jurassic Park theme with gusto and good gravy the artwork! This set has my favorite artwork of all the sets with the way the art on the cards melds so flawlessly into the card borders. One card has a raptor literally biting the edge of the card and little pieces are flying off of the border. I squeal like Dennis Nedry just seeing a can of shaving cream open every time I behold these wondrous pieces of work.
On top of the incredible artwork, they bring back some of those classic lines from the movie for the titles of these cards. Such fan favorites as “They should all be destroyed”, “Clever Girl” and my favorite, “SHOOT HER!”. I can’t help but utter that line every time I play the card. Also, the artwork is SO good on the Clever Girl card that just looking at it gives me nightmares.
Optimal Player Count/Replayability
This set is packed and ready for 2 players to meet up and battle to the death. As far as the replay value goes this set is actually a little less so than the other sets. I touched on this a bit already but since the game board is only one-sided that effectively reduces the amount of area to explore by half….which sounds like a lot when you hear it but basically it takes it from 2 to 1.
Positive Final Thoughts
This is an awesome set, especially if you liked Jurassic Park. They did an incredible job pouring the theme into the cards and the artwork is second to none. The new abilities with Muldoon are exciting and unique and playing as three heroes with the raptor pack is also a clever and interesting route to take with these heroes.
Negative Final Thoughts
I’ve only got two negatives about this set and only one is real. The first fake negative is the fact that the Muldoon mini doesn’t have a hat, I meannnnnnnnn cmon! He just NEEDS that hat! But again, that’s more of a silly negative. The real negative would be that the game board is only one-sided. I think they could have easily slapped on another location for the raptors, such as the power shed area or the main complex area. As such this does hurt the replayability a bit.
The Bottom Line
Personally this is my favorite 2-player set that is currently released. I just freaking love the theme and how the characters work and I just cannot stop talking about how great the artwork is. This is one that, once played, will cause a great deal of people to want to hunt down the other sets. Beyond the slight miss with the single-sided game board, this is a near perfect set.
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