Unmatched: Cobble and Fog – The Mist Rises
Last year, Restoration Games quietly released Unmatched: Battle of Legends Volume One. This recreation of the well-loved hit Star Wars: Epic Duels gave the classic battle game a fresh look, pairing expertly crafted game play with four legendary characters.
Restoration continues to add to the Unmatched arsenal. Most recently they have released another four-character set, honoring famous characters created by British authors. Unmatched: Cobble and Fog brings four men out of the shadows and onto the table in an all-out battle for dominance. Expertly balanced by the development team at Restoration, Cobble and Fog blends seamlessly with existing releases, expanding the potential cast of Unmatched to 15 playable characters.
Unmatched is a game for 2-4 players ages 9+, and a game lasts between 20-40 minutes. This review will touch on Unmatched as a game system and explore the new entrants into the battle.
Setup is simple in Unmatched. Choose the board you’d like to use. Then each player selects a character and gathers the corresponding health dial(s), cards, and sidekicks. Youngest to oldest, players place their characters on the map. Each player draws a hand of five cards from their character deck and the youngest player goes first!
The core gameplay is as simple as the setup. Each player performs two actions on their turn, choosing to Attack, Manuever, or Scheme. A player may choose the same action twice.
The attacking player chooses one of their fighters to attack and declares the target, then plays an attack card face-down. The defending player may play a defense card (also face-down). Both players reveal simultaneously. After resolving any effects, the defending fighter takes any damage remaining (attack value minus the defense value). If any fighter’s health is reduced to zero, they are dead and removed from the board.
Perform melee attacks when fighters are adjacent to each other. Ranged attacks require either adjacency or presence in the same Zone. Zones are denoted by the color and style of the circle your fighter is in, and some spaces are in multiple zones.
Scheme cards are cards that have some kind of effect on them. Resolve the effect.
To manuever, a player first draws a card. Then, they may move each of their fighters, up to the Move number on their character card.
The game is over when all but one player’s fighters are eliminated.
Unmatched has a four player mode where players team up to fight each other. This works exactly as you would expect, with two players (and their fighters) battling it out with the other team. There’s no official free-for-all in the rulebook, but we can’t figure out a reason that it wouldn’t be possible.
That’s it! The mechanics of Unmatched are simple and asymmetrical decks make every character unique. With that in mind, let’s look at the characters in Cobble and Fog:
The primary perk of the Invisible Man is the presence of fog tokens. The Invisible Man can move between these three tokens as though they were adjacent to each other, and many cards allow him to move the fog tokens as well. This creates a tremendous evasive advantage, or the ability to strike quickly from across the board if desired. He hits fairly hard and can also deal damage directly through some Scheme cards.
Jekyll and Hyde
Jekyll and Hyde represent two skill sets in a single character (similar to Big Alice/Small Alice in the first core set). Dr. Jekyll is a more conservative, defensive fighter whose cards focus on evasion and healing. Mr. Hyde has some very powerful attacks, with the ability to boost some of them as well. Jekyll also has some direct damage Scheme cards.
Dracula makes use of the three sisters, single hitpoint fighters with their own abilities. In addition, his Beastform ability deals the most damage out of any character in this set. Dracula offers a little manipulation through hypnosis, a feature that’s sure to drive opponents crazy. He also has some resurrection abilities for the sisters.
Sherlock leverages the services of Dr. Watson. Dr. Watson is the only ranged attacker in this set and can also heal himself and Sherlock. Sherlock’s powers lie in manipulation like Dracula, but, unsurprisingly, they also rely on intuition.
His Scheme cards fit strongly with his personality, and are best used when a player has a good idea of what their opponent has in their hand. There are also opportunities to use Sherlock’s cards to make the opponent’s (previously safe) fighters suddenly vulnerable to attack.
From the moment I first sat down with Unmatched in July of 2019, I was in love. Combat is quick and simple. Players can sit down and immediately get into the action. Unmatched allows a huge variety of play styles from the manipulative (Sherlock) to the evasive (Invisible Man). Every play offers opportunities to learn a little more about the characters and potentially better ways to play them.
The variety across sets is amazing, and the fact that Restoration Games has managed to make them more or less balanced across all of these characters is astonishing. I’m always down for a game of Unmatched against my 9-year-old gaming buddy, since we can play from setup to teardown in just about 20 minutes.
Unique in Cobble & Fog
I also adore the art style. I realize it may not be for everyone, but the gritty tone and colorized monochrome style of all of the Unmatched releases is exactly what I’m looking for. The miniatures are of excellent quality and the black wash they already have on them makes them look darker still. Perhaps more than any other set, this look complements Cobble and Fog perfectly.
The card sets for each character fit incredibly well: Dracula and the Sisters have many ways to attack and heal; Sherlock cycles cards and reduces opponent’s effectiveness; Invisible Man is best for evasive hit-and-runs; and Jekyll and Hyde must constantly struggle to find balance between Hyde’s attacks and Jekyll’s mobility and defense.
The double-sided board offers even more variety. In Soho, fighters go between buildings and on top of them, making for an interesting layout. Even more exciting is Baskerville Manor, with secret passageways that allow characters to “step” easily across the map.
Unmatched was released at almost the same time as the Funkoverse games. I like them both, but if I were forced to choose one to play, Unmatched is the easy winner. For my money there’s nothing better than simply opening a board, placing a figure (and maybe some supporting cast), and raising my fists. It’s easy in, easy out, and at this point, the whole package is, indeed, unmatched.
Pick up Unmatched: Cobble & Fog at Amazon or at your FLGS today!
The Family Gamers received a copy of Unmatched: Cobble & Fog from Restoration Games for this review.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
Unmatched: Cobble and Fog
Number of Players: 2-4
Age Range: 9+
Playtime: 20-40 minutes