Sunday, 21 May 2017

Sports Entertainment in miniature Part 2 - RUMBLESLAM in other words.


Rumbleslam - a game of wrestling in a fantasy world... Or as I see it the game that:

a) Broke my 'going to concentrate on the games I have got' pledge IN A BIG WAY.
b) Got me into Pro-wrestling (firstly WWE and then others) which I had successfully managed to either avoid or deride for 55 years IN A BIG WAY.

There are plenty of 'what's in the box' unboxing videos flying around and Beasts of War did a play through which is on their site I think. So this is a more - 'what I love about it' type post not really a review as such, yes I am a fanboy!

Pictured above is what a typical game layout will look like. You have a 'team' of wrestlers from various stables (casinos in the game) which you can play as a 'team' or mix and match with other characters from the same casino, superstars or even other casinos (although you will not get the little sponsorship buff if they are not from the same casino). Wrestlers are hired up to a certain 'dosh' level for the game 1000K being the base short game (40 minutes or less) although I think once you have played a few and are using superstars and event cards most people will be playing 1500K games and the time is around 50-60 mins.

Each wrestler has a stat card with, amongst other things, how many squares they can move over the course of their activation and how many actions they can do, and how many and what type of the special dice they roll for doing what they are doing (copper, silver and gold with the possible amount of hits increasing with the die colour). Different actions take up differing amounts of action points - a normal slap, stomp, punch, knee or whatever other 'brawl' action you want is a point, bouncing off the ropes is a point, climbing on the turnbuckle a point, trying to lift a wrestler a point - you get the idea.

Specialised attacks cost more but do more damage or an 'effect' - so a grapple like a head lock will cause your opponent to have no defence dice against your brawls to come - grab them round the head and smash the shit out of them kid !   Signature moves normally cost the most and are the most devastating the better the wrestler is.

Basically to attack you roll the requisite dice, they roll the requisite defence dice depending on how they are defending and the one with most fists wins. Win by 4 or more and you do a beatdown which gives them extra damage and maybe an effect. Lose by 4 or more and they reverse your attack stopping your go and maybe even causing damage.

After an initial start of round (there are six of them) dexterity roll to see who starts the players alternate activating their wrestlers - when the wrestler runs out of actions or the player wants then the next wrestler goes - no getting bored in this game mister! All the action of the squared circle is there in all its glory - high flyers soar from the turnbuckles, big boys beat down their opponent, wrestlers bounce of the ropes to attack and clothesline, grapples, head slams, pile drivers, joint wrecking holds - IT'S ALL THERE. There is a clever mechanic for being groggy bought on by some attacks or being 'dazed' as a beatdown where the injured wrestler will get minus action or movement points (kept track of by tokens on the cards) on their next activation. Conversely there is a clever mechanic for getting the crowd riled up and cheering for you (or booing if you are a heel) and that can give you extra action points or activate your 'crowd pleaser' ability (which are wide and varied but always useful).

After a few rounds players fly through their activations and the action is quick and smooth. You win 'royal rumble' style when all your opponents are thrown out the ring - or if the bout ends you win by having more 'dosh' worth of conscious wrestlers in the ring. There are already fan based house rules for movement out the ring, special 'bouts', covers and pins etc and rumour has it official ones will add to the game play even more.

Star wrestlers are, well, as the name suggests STARS and the shouts of 'THIS IS AWESOME' is often heard ringside... Yet like in reality the booker can be against them and a lucky roll or pure strength of numbers can see there lesser locker room bros being put over! Even if you are a big shot that little psyched up hafling grappler can cause a shock when the popcorn hits the fan!

SO all in all a perfect game really - quick, fun and fairly easy to pick up and very easy to play when you have got the rules down (which is normally a few rounds). Non wrestling mates have enjoyed playing and wrestling fans LOVE it...  The only down side is the printed dice (which is all that could be funded) which the crowd would be shouting 'You fucked up' or 'Delete' at - basically the fists rub off QUICK. Solved by a spray coat of varnish and hopefully people find that out before its too late. There are etched dice on the way hopefully. WOO WOO WOOOO

All in all though it's BRILLIANT = 'And you can't teach that !'

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Saturday, 20 May 2017

Sports Entertainment hits the blog...

I blame Rumbleslam for certain - wasn't going to get it but get drawn, all to easily, towards sports games. Wrestling to me meant Mick Mcmanus, Joe Royale, Big Daddy, Les Kellet and Kendo Nagasaki on ITV Saturday tea-time. Cups of tea, biccies and the occasional hot roll and peanut butter, advert time wrestling with my dad (until I began to hurt him). Missed the whole WWF revival in the 90s by surfing my brains out in Tasmania and then UFC seemed the thing to watch. But BANG suddenly Rumbleslam has pulled me into a world of 'real fakism' - the world of Sports Entertainment, and pulled me in with a vengeance.

In this, the first of a two part blog entry, I look at the world Rumbleslam parodies - the world of Pro Wrestling...

 Over the top reality escapism is how I would describe pro-wrestling, a world where reality meets fake... yes the blows and matches are fake, all set up to entertain, to let the audience suspend their belief to enjoy booing at the baddie (or HEEL in wrestling terms) or cheer the goodie (Blue Eye or Baby Face in wrestling terms) and forget about the real life shit that is happening. SO, much the same as watching a good adventure or martial arts film - it seems strange that people will watch the Last Samurai and say how good it is without feeling the need to inform me that the actor didn't actually get sliced with a katana, shot with the rifle or speared by the arrow while a wrestling bout will soon have people telling me - that drop to the head from 10' up was fake - COURSE IF WAS FUCKING FAKE - if it wasn't the dude would be DEAD !

They are actors, on the whole pretty bad, cheesey, actors - BUT they are incredible sports people., Anyone who has done any kind of contact based self defense martial art will know how hard the breakfalls these guys and gals do - UKEMI the way you receive an attack, whether that's fading out, breaking your fall, making them think they have hit to suck them in is an important part of budo - and the pro-wrestlers are freakin brilliant at it (which is what I like about it the most I think) what they do is a martial art no doubt, just as realistic as karate sparring, judo matches etc yet they combine it with story telling. I know that will rankle a fair few people who say karate isn't fake - when's the last time you saw someone break someones face or arm in a karate match then folks? UFC (or whatever cage fighting you are into), Thai boxing etc are different obviously. But Brock Lesnar went from the fake of the wrestling world to the top of the UFC world by basically doing the same thing (only leaving when it was obvious he was a little too dangerous in the cage - oooo drug scandal anyone?).

So, take it for what it is people - an entertaining, skillful and violent STORY ! And then there is Rumbleslam...

A Wrestling game set in a fantasy world setting...