- Designers: Rob Daviau and Justin Jacobson
- Artist: Oliver Barrett
- Publisher: Restoration Games
- Release Date: April 2020
Luke: Unmatched is what I would describe as the Super Smash Bros. of the board game world, and that’s, to me, high praise.
Phil: Characters from various properties duking it out to prove themselves the strongest warrior in the arena.
Luke: And with the new expansion now out on Mondo’s digital shelves for purchase, let’s take a look at how Jurassic Park storms its way into the series.
Phil: I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical at first. With each of the 2-player sets announced featuring a human character and some dinos, I was concerned with some of the fighters feeling a little generic or stale because of it.
Luke: I think that’s kind of a boon, though. A swarm of raptors can fight against any character in the series and feel somewhat natural.
Phil: And having seen what the team has done with Muldoon and the raptors here, all my doubts have vanished.
Luke: For those unfamiliar, Unmatched is a light fighting game in which each player controls a unique character with their own deck of cards and play styles. Gameplay is easy to pick up; on your turn, you take 2 actions, in any combination:
- Maneuver: Draw a card and move each of the characters you control according to their movement value. This number can be increased temporarily by discarding any card, adding its boost value to that movement.
- Scheme: Each character has a number of cards that act as instant effects, each with their own flavorful abilities.
- Attack: When declaring an attack, the attacker places the card they are playing face-down. Then, the defender chooses whether or not to block with one of their cards. All cards are revealed, and damage is calculated (attack minus defense). Cards may have effects that will change the outcome of the fight or provide additional effects after the combat has concluded.
This continues until one player’s hero is defeated.
Phil: It’s a svelte system that’s quick to pick up, communicates the information well, and is supported by gorgeous artwork.
Luke: Oliver Barrett, who I’ve had the chance to meet and play a game of Unmatched with back at GenCon, is such a talented guy, creating some beautiful illustrations for this game, and the InGen vs Raptors set may contain some of my favorite images yet.
Phil: Mechanically, what this set provides is more complex characters to wrap your brain around. The raptors, rather than having sidekicks that can be thrown away if need be, is composed of 3 hero figures, all of whom need to be defeated. Muldoon, meanwhile, is composed entirely of ranged characters and places traps around the board but is weak to an onslaught of attacks.
Luke: Both play very differently and provide incredibly diverse ways to approach the game, making them a rewarding set to play just against each other.
Phil: But when introduced to the larger cast of the series, wow does this game flourish. I’ve seen Bruce Lee get devoured by some clever girls and Muldoon tracking and hunting down the elusive Bigfoot. Every match-up feels fresh and interesting.
Luke: And that’s the biggest contribution that this set offers; these characters feel unlike anything the series has offered yet and make new fights that feel tense. You can see some of Muldoon’s style in Robin Hood, but by and large, players will be captured by the puzzles at play here.
Verdict: This is Unmatched at its best. If you’ve been on the fence as to whether or not to give this game a go, Jurassic Park: InGen vs. Raptors is a great starting place to see whether or not this is a game system for you, assuming you’re okay with learning the system with more complex characters.