A thick mist descends on the streets of London. Footsteps echo out on avenues lit by gas lamps. The scene is set for more epic battles between some of the biggest historic and literary heroes of all time.
Unmatched: Cobble and Fog is a follow up to one of my favourite games from last year. It adds four new Heroes you can choose to fight with and a double-sided arena board featuring the streets of Soho London on one side and Baskerville Mansion on the other.
Unmatched appealed to me as a tactical battle game that is simple to learn, but full of interesting decisions and strategies. One a turn, you have two actions. You can Maneuver, moving around the board and drawing a card. You can play a Scheme card, which has some sort of immediate effect. And finally, you can launch an Attack. What would a fighting game be without that?
The neat thing about Unmatched, is that you fight as cool characters like Medusa, King Arthur, Sinbad, and Alice in Wonderland. Characters each have their own deck of cards and may have some allies that will fight on the side of your Hero. Supplemental releases included Robin Hood and Bigfoot, Bruce Lee, and Jurassic Park. The premise of Bruce Lee facing off again a pack of Raptors is pretty exciting.
Cobble and Fog introduces Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Invisible Man, and Sherlock Holmes. Dracula is joined by the three Sisters, and of course, Holmes has the trusty Dr. Watson at his side.
For a more in depth look at the rules, you can get out my previous article here, but in this piece, I’m going to focus on the new Heroes and what they bring to the table.
Dracula and the Three Sisters: the undead Count is the toughest fighters to come out of this set. That doesn’t mean necessarily that he be the hardest to beat, but that he has the most obvious strengths. His special ability is causing a point of damage if he’s adjacent to another fighter at the start of his turn. He has some powerful cards like the six strength attack Beastform. Six is already a strong attack, but you can also discard cards adding plus one to the strength for each card. Prey Upon is a scheme card that lets you deal one damage to adjacent fighters and regain one yourself. The Baptism of Blood card allows you to regain two health and return one of the defeated Sisters to the board. Speaking of the sisters, they’re no slouches either. The Ravening Seduction card allows you to move any fighter up to two spaces and then deals them one damage for each Sister adjacent to them. Now, Drac himself isn’t too strong with only 13 hit points, but with strong attacks and so many ways to recover health, you can afford to be a little reckless. Pin opponents with the Sisters and go in the kill with your vampire Hero.
Jekyll and Hyde: I’ve played with him a couple times but have not learned to perfect him. You start the game as Jekyll, but can switch at the start of your turn to Hyde. As Hyde, if you Maneuver you take a damage. The pain of living a double life is catching up to you. That being said, Hyde has much stronger attack cards. It can be worth one damage to deal out five, like the Recoiling Blow or Forever Hyde cards. The Strange Case card allows you to reveal the top card of your deck and deal damage equal to its Boost value, then put the card in your hand. Returning to your normal Doctor form allows you to cycle your hand a bit and recover some health. Both the Distracted Triage and Calming Research will be just what you need when your hit points are deleted. I think the key for Jekyll is to bide your time and then make the switch to Hyde when you have a chance to deal out a lot of damage.
Sherlock Holmes and Watson: This is the most interesting duo in the Cobble and Fog set. They’re tough (8 and 16 hit points), and Watson is the only character with ranged attacks in the set. Their special power is that specific Holmes or Watson cards can’t be cancelled; a useful ability you can attest to if you’ve ever had one of your cards cancelled by an opponent. Holmes has some useful Scheme cards like Master of Disguise, which allows you to swap spaces with an opponent and deal them two damage, or Confirm Suspicion which allows you to name a value and your opponent must discard of that value and take damage equal to the the Boost value. Holmes and Watson rely a bit on knowing or deducing what is in their opponent’s hands. Cards like the Elementary defence allow you to predict the attack value of an opponent’s card and if you’re right, you can ignore the attack and any card effects. If you pair that with the Eliminate the Impossible Scheme card, you can take away some of the advantages the competition might have.
This brings us to The Invisible Man: by far one of my favourite minis in the game. He comes with three Fog tokens. They start in his zone, but can be moved throughout the match. Fog tokens add one to the Invisible Man’s defence. They also are treated as if they are adjacent to one another when he Maneuvers, very useful when trying to get around the board quickly. At first glance, I feel like this Hero is the weakest of the new bunch. He has some fun cards that take advantage of the Fog tokens, like the Emerge From Mist attack, which becomes a five power attack if he started his turn on Fog. Then there’s the Step Lightly Scheme card which deals one point of damage to an adjacent opponent or three points if the attack comes from a Fog token. The Invisible Man is tricky. He has a lot of tools at his disposal, and can create headaches for opponents. I need more plays with him to better figure out how to best exploit his powers.
I want to make a mention of the two arenas that you can play on with Cobble and Fog. Soho is interesting with the zones laid out in long narrow streets and alleyways, as well as along the rooftops of some of the buildings along the street. Baskerville Mansion has some indoor and outdoor areas, but the arena has four different secret passages that are considered adjacent for Maneuvers. However, if your Hero is considered ‘Large’, they can’t make use of the passages.
The art in the game is really beautiful as you’ve come to expect from the Unmatched series. The cards are minimalist but evocative of their effects and the rulebook even has some fun ads that look like they should be in a Victorian era newspaper.
So, the verdict: you should definitely pick up this game if you own and enjoy the other titles in the series. It gives you more of what you love with four new Heroes entering the battle. I have yet to face off against some of the older Heroes, but I’m looking forward to trying. Dracula vs. Bigfoot will be a fight for the ages. If you haven’t ever tried Unmatched: Cobble and Fog is a a nice stand-alone starting point, but you can also consider getting the original Battle of Legends for some slightly more straight forward Heroes.
A media copy of Unmatched: Cobble and Fog was provided for this article.