- Designers: Rob Daviau, Justin Jacobson, and Chris Leder
- Artist: Andrew Thompson
- Publisher: Restoration Games
- Release Date: June 2020
Phil: We at 1-2-Punchboard are big fans of Unmatched.
Luke: Have been since we had the chance to give it a go at Origins last year.
Phil: So any chance we have to talk about this gem of a series, we’ll take, and surprisingly, we have yet another expansion to talk about.
Luke: With the Jurassic Park set having only come out a month or so ago, it feels like a treat to get 4 more characters are 2 more maps.
Phil: The first big box release since the base game.
Luke: This is also the first set not illustrated by Oliver Barrett; Andrew Thompson has taken the reins this time around, bringing his own unique flair to the series, and I have to say, he’s done a fantastic job.
Phil: Oliver’s a tough act to follow, and I can certainly say that both are incredibly talented humans who have brought such life to these titles. Genuinely, I applaud them both for what their skills have added to this series.
Luke: For those of you just hopping aboard the Unmatched train, this 2-player-focused series pits famous characters from pop culture against one another in a battle to the death.
Phil: This time around, we face the likes of devilishly smart Sherlock Holmes and Watson, the crafty Dracula and his Sisters, the devious Invisible Man, and ever-conflicted Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Each has their own decks and abilities, but the gameplay remains the same across all heroes, tying everyone together in an intuitive system.
Luke: Each turn, you’ll take 2 actions, either moving, fighting, or using a special ability. Moving tends to be the only way to get more cards, making it an integral step to take so you have options to work with. Instant effects vary from character to character and can help to differentiate play styles. But the meat and potatoes is the combat.
Phil: After someone declares they are attacking, laying a card face down, their opponent may either block or not. Revealing any played cards, players will compare card effects and values, seeing if the defender takes any damage or what abilities come into play.
Luke: And hot damn, these characters have some spicy options to work with. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde focus on defense and attack respectively, pressuring you to flip back and forth as need be while sometimes taking some risks. The Invisible Man can disappear from the board for entire turns before reappearing anywhere he wishes. Dracula can dish some serious damage while hypnotizing players into using different cards than they selected. And Sherlock can look through his opponent’s hand and discard some of his opponent’s options.
Phil: Every hero feels powerful in their own right, but you’ll have to play smart and carefully to be successful. Something to stress about this set is its best for more familiar, advanced players.
Luke: Hero abilities are more nuanced and involved, and card effects can take up large portions of a card, meaning you’ll have to pay close attention to every move you make.
Phil: But unlike the base game, I feel like this set provides a more diverse line-up of fighters in terms of their mechanics. Everyone feels far more unique and pushes you to try different tactics.
Luke: And the boards provide little details to make them all the more exciting to traverse. A sprawling mansion allows players to move across the map through secret tunnels whereas the streets of the city could feature a rooftop brawl, cut off from the rest of the map.
Phil: Overall, this is a phenomenal set if you are already invested in the game. I would recommend checking out some of the other releases of the series first, but once you’ve grown acclimated, there’s no other game out there quite like it.
Luke: I will say, on a personal note, that this is a first set where I generally just don’t care for one of the fighters. The Invisible Man is conceptually awesome, disappearing in a puff of smoke across the board while milling the opponent’s deck, but in practice, I’ve found him tiresome and annoying to fight against. Particularly when he can just leave the board for a whole turn twice per game, it can be frustrating to have nothing concrete to do until he reappears.
Phil: That being said, I loved playing as him, as there’s no other hero that’s been released who plays in such a skittish, stealthy manner. Not every character will be to everyone’s liking, of course, but I think the hero will be great for some and polarizing for others, more so than the rest of the cast.
Luke: Still, I would hands down recommend this set without hesitation. What it adds to the experience is well worth the price tag.
Verdict: Unmatched: Cobble and Fog is a fantastic addition to the series, adding a ton of new toys to an already robust series. It shouldn’t be the set you start with, but once you’re more familiar with the system and heroes, this will be a must-buy.