2 players, Competitive, Fantasy Tactical Skirmish
Designer: Rob Daviau, Justin D. Jacobson, Chris Leder
Artwork: Andrew Thompson
Publisher: Restoration Games, Mondo Games
Release Year: 2020
This review marks the last of the Unmatched sets that are available at this time and the end of my Unmatched Block Review Month. This particular set is also the most recent set to release and Spoiler, one of my two fav sets of the series! This week I am taking a look at Cobble and Fog, a much more cohesive and interesting set than the other 4 character set that was released. Read on to find out my thoughts as well as my final comparison and ranking of all the Unmatched sets to date. 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
Just like all the other sets the components are excellent all around. This set comes with four different characters: Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Invisible Man and Dr Jekyll & Hyde. Each has its own dedicated miniature with that nice wash finish and Dracula comes with a few vampress sidekick tokens and Sherlock comes with a sidekick Watson token of course. Jekyll comes with a cardboard vial token you can manipulate to transform him between Jekyll and Hyde. The Invisible Man comes with a few “Mist” cardboard tokens that you place around the board and can manipulate around giving that character mucho freedom of movement and defensible powers.
The game board, I’m happy to say, is double-sided with one side depicting Baskerville Manor with a large outside courtyard area and indoors mansion area for movement. The opposite side is the streets and rooftops of Soho. Surprisingly with these boards I am actually having a tough time choosing my favorite. The Baskerville side has some super interesting secret pathways that allow you to move to different parts of the board very quickly which really increases the strategic movement aspect. On the other hand the Soho side is a really fun game of cat and mouse running across the rooftops but being untouchable from melee characters on the streets below. If I HAD to choose I think Baskerville Manor would edge out Soho just because of the secret passages.
Now, let’s discuss the different characters card decks a bit. Dracula and his “sister” sidekicks are a fully melee bunch with Dracula having 13 life and each of his three sister tokens having just 1 life each. Their movement is only 2, luckily an abundance of the deck has to do with being in the same zone as your opponent which isn’t that terribly hard to accomplish. Dracula’s special ability also allows him to deal 1 damage to any adjacent fighter at the start of his turn AND draw a card, which is very powerful. Basically, make sure you stay away from Dracula. Dracula’s deck is chock FULL of powerful cards, cards allowing him to appear in ANY space, recover health, mind controlling opponents to show you their hand and allowing you to pick any card you want for them to play, moving opponents minis around. I mean Dracula is a VERY formidable character in this series for sure. Honestly he might be my top pick for strongest characters in the entire series of Unmatched games, there’s not a card in his deck that I didn’t find useless in any situation.
Sherlock Holmes and Watson are a nice mix. Just like the books/movies they are very different people and it shows in this game. Sherlock is a melee character with 16 starting health with Watson being a ranged character with 8 starting health, pretty high for a sidekick. Movement is only 2 for both of them as well and the special ability is they both have immunity to cancellation effects for their named cards. Basically they can play their cards without fear of them being canceled by an opponent. That’s nice but……a kind of boring special ability. Their deck is a kinda mish mash of abilities with Watson having some healing cards for Holmes and Holmes, well, Holmes has a whole bunch of random abilities. His attack card (only 1 pure attack card for Holmes) have him move afterwards, his defense card (there is only 1 pure defense card) is a random guessing game that allows you to negate attack card effects….IF you guessed the attack value correctly. The vast majority of cards in this deck are the Versatile cards which makes this deck extremely….uh…versatile. The most fun comes from all the different scheme cards though. You can look at your opponents hand and force them to discard a card, swap spaces with opponents while doing them damage and more of the guessing games where you name values and if correct, cause damage to your opponent. All said and done, Sherlock Holmes and Watson are my least favorite characters in this set. There are some interesting ideas at work here but they are just TOO random for my taste with most of their cards and special ability being super situational.
Jekyll and Hyde reminded me a great deal of Alice from the Battle of Legends set. But where Alice could flip her token and grow or shrink, Jekyll flips his token to transform into a stronger monster or a clever man. Regardless of which form you take they are both melee and have a starting health of 16 and a movement of 2. The special ability is their transforming although if you maneuver while as Mr. Hyde you will take 1 damage. Just comparing what we have already he starts with the same starting health and movement as Holmes BUT doesn’t have a sidekick with 8 health to aid him. Don’t let that fool you though, Mr. Hyde hits HARD. You seriously could get one-shot by this dude if you’re not careful. While playing as Dr. Jekyll you are drawing cards and healing damage typically. But if you see your opponent transform to Mr. Hyde and he is anywhere near you, be prepared! He has a couple cards in his deck that allow him to discard Dr. Jekyll cards to increase the attack value by TWO for every card discarded, and it already starts at a 5 attack value. Keep those cancel cards at the ready when playing against him. I had fun playing as him trying to weasel my way close as the innocent Dr. Jekyll only to rear my ugly head as Mr. Hyde and lay a good walloping on my opponent.
Lastly we have the Invisible Man, a pure melee character with 15 starting health and 2 movement. His special ability is super interesting with him placing 3 fog tokens at the start of the game in separate spaces in his zone. When he is in the same space as a fog token he adds 1 to his defense cards AND he can move between fog tokens as if they were adjacent. This allows him to be-bop around his starting area very fluidly and defensibly. He’s got a nice mix of all the different style cards in his deck with a bunch allowing him or his opponents to change the position of the fog tokens giving him even more movement freedom as the game progresses. When playing as the Invisible Man I found him MUCH more fun when playing the 4 player team games than the 2 player vs matches. You just get so much more out of him the more players there are in the field. Often times when playing just a 1 vs 1 match my opponent would quickly get wise to my antics with the fog tokens and just stay away from them which really negates the value of the Invisible Man. I would suggest playing on a smaller board in one of the other sets to really maximize his abilities.
Visual Appeal /Theme
The artwork for this set has changed hands from the previous sets but let me tell you it has not suffered in the least. All the cards still have that amazing look and feel to them, an almost powerful feel to go with the card text and abilities. It really stands out here just like it does in all the previous sets. The miniatures all look great as well, with the standouts being Jekyll and Invisible Man. The Jekyll mini is basically split down the middle with half his body being that of Dr. Jekyll holding a flask and walking upright and the other half being that of Mr. Hyde crouching slightly with a muscular arm holding an axe. The Invisible Man mini is just clever all around with his standard trench coat and hat holding a cane but with no face or hand. With that mini in particular being so unique I just have this overwhelming urge to display it.
They did a much better job with this sets theme being much more cohesive than that of the first Battle of Legends set. All the characters in this set just feel like they belong together to me and I couldn’t even tell you if Sherlock Holmes has ever encountered Dracula before or not. But the way it is put together makes it seem like perhaps they have and the same goes for the rest of the characters in this set. It just feels right.
Optimal Player Count/Replayability
This is only one of the two released big box sets available and as such you get a lot of bang for your buck here! With four completely different characters and a larger double-sided game board you really cannot go wrong. Two of the characters have side-kicks to manipulate and two don’t, and I mean there are lots of options between the characters playstyles. I usually prefer playing these games 1 vs 1 but depending on the characters chosen, the Invisible Man in particular seems to do better for the group play 2 vs 2 in my experience.
Positive Final Thoughts
This set is in my top two fav sets released thus far and for good reason! It’s got an interested cast of playable characters that all mesh very well together. The double-sided board is my fav of all the boards released and I just love the overarching theme they went with for this set. Dracula is an amazing character and my fav of this set for his deck and the Invisible Man is in the running for coolest looking mini of all the sets.
Negative Final Thoughts
Sherlock Holmes deck isn’t that amazing, it’s SO random and situational. And I really enjoy the Invisible Mans deck and powers but feel like they work better on smaller boards or larger play groups.
The Bottom Line
Ok let’s get down to brass tax here (not even sure what that means but I’ve heard it many times and always wanted to utter it somewhere). Of the two larger sets this is the one to get first if you are wanting a larger variety/replayability with an awesome theme behind it. This set will keep you entertained switching up the boards and characters for many, many hours. Don’t forget to check below for links to all the other Unmatched series sets reviews and my ranking!
The Fuzzy Llama Golden Seal of Eternal EXCELLENCE
This brings my very first Review Block Month to a close with all the currently released Unmatched sets. Below I have ranked them in order of how much I enjoyed them based around all my criteria I outline in my reviews. Number 1 being my fav down to number 5.