Funkoverse – Face Off In The Ultimate POP! Battle
This review was written jointly by Andrew Smith and Nick Martinelli.
Funko POPs have had a huge impact on bringing a little slice of pop culture into every geek’s home or cubicle. They help display our fandom for things we cherish dearly like Star Wars, Labyrinth, or the Marvel universe. Now, Funko has created the Funkoverse: a universal game system that lets players combine their favorite POP culture icons in head-to-head competitions.
Players first agree on a map and one of the four scenarios they will play. Then, place the dice and point gems beside the map.
Flip the First Player marker to see who goes first. Each player takes a cooldown track and selects the POP(s) they want to use. They choose an item and take the basic character tokens, character cards, status tokens, and status cards for their POP(s). Finally, each player takes an exhausted marker for each of their characters.
The character cards have colored dots in the corner that correspond with ability tokens. Players take a token for each colored dot then place their characters in their starting spaces.
Finally, check the specific setup rules for the chosen scenario. Now get ready to fight!
Players take turns choosing a character (not yet exhausted) and performing two actions. They can do the same action twice if desired. Characters can move up to two spaces in any direction for their action, or interact with an enemy, ally, or the environment.
The core mechanic in Funkoverse is the challenge. A basic challenge against an enemy means each player rolls two dice. The attacking character wants more explosions than the defender’s shields. Triple exclamation points give bonus points to whoever rolls them.
Items and abilities allow characters to execute different levels of challenge, allowing them to roll more dice or perform dastardly deeds. Players spend ability tokens to use abilities and place them on the cooldown track in the appropriate space.
If a defending character loses a challenge they are knocked down. If they lose while knocked down, they are out and placed on the “One” space of the cooldown track.
Characters become exhausted after performing two actions. The next player selects a character and goes. Once all players have exhausted all of their characters, the round ends.
Remove all exhausted markers and activate the cooldown track. The cooldown track is a multi-use track that each player uses to determine when their characters are available again or when their abilities are recharged. Move everything down one number. If anything comes off the One space (like a knocked out hero) return those things to the player’s tableau. Characters go to starting spaces, tokens to the player’s token pool, and items to the characters.
Pass the first player token to the next player.
Win conditions depend on the selected scenario.
Players can reference the detailed rules on skirmishes in the rulebook while they play.
The Funkoverse sets we’ve played all have the same four scenario types, listed below.
After secretly choosing leaders, win various amounts of points depending on who defeats who! Leaders and their allies battle other teams directly for dominance (in the form of points).
Flags works a lot like Capture the Flag. Each team has a flag space in their starting area. A character ending their turn next to the other team’s flag space gets two points and returns to their own starting area to try again.
There is a shared scoring area in the center of the board. Control that area at the end of the round to gain points! Interact with point markers to score more points.
Players interact with control markers to flip them to their teams’ color. Players gain points for the markers they control at the end of the round. Knock out rivals or interact with point markers for more points.
Funkoverse is easy to learn, simple to teach, kid friendly, and available basically anywhere games are sold. Funko has created a complete system that maintains the same ruleset across all of its releases. Whenever you pickup a new set, just review special character powers and items and you’ll be ready to duel.
Each box comes with a double-sided board with unique areas that support the four different game modes. Even a single box has great reply value! The artwork is stellar and highly thematic.
Characters are cleverly designed with abilities and items that fit with the character’s persona. Joker’s Joy Buzzer and Batman’s grappling swing abilities are iconic. Items give characters extra special actions that can be used on a turn. What would Batman be without a batarang, or Harley Quinn without her mallet? However, anyone can use items from any set. Why couldn’t Batman wield a cheesecake instead?
Funkoverse is a great stepping stone game system to graduate kids into more difficult strategy skirmish style games.
Two players can play with two characters each, or four players can create teams and battle it out. In addition, all sets include basic characters (henchmen, police officers, Death Eaters, etc) that get used in various scenarios.
The Best Parts
The cooldown track is the most novel mechanic in the game. It smartly ties into characters, items, and abilities seamlessly. Since the game doesn’t rely on cards or dice to activate abilities, players can use them when they feel the time is right. Players who can figure out the best timing to use these abilities will have an edge on their opponents.
The Funkoverse rule books are some of the best we’ve seen: well structured and full of visuals. The rules present simple setup, rules, and walkthrough, then stop players once they’ve read the basics and direct them to learn the rest through play.
Mixing and matching sets is what the Funkoverse system so great. Anything is possible, from epic girl power team ups (Golden Girls vs Harley and Hermione), or animal mayhem with Jaws verses T-Rex. Also, some characters have supporting abilities that make them great for adding additional support; e.g. Batgirl gives intel to an ally, decreasing their ability costs by one. Acquiring more than one set means you’ll be able to scheme up some interesting teams.
Expanding the Funkoverse
The Funkoverse is rapidly expanding with many different sets, covering all kinds of pop culture IP. The catalog already contains sets like Jurassic Park, Jaws, Back to the Future, Game of Thrones and the radical 80’s Kool-Aid Man (Oh yeah!). Funko has no shame in flexing their IP licensing muscles.
Funkoverse DC 4 player pack
DC’s most iconic characters, Batman and Batgirl, team up to take on the evil forces of Harley Quinn and the Joker.
Funkoverse Harry Potter 4 player pack
Expand into the magical world of Pottermore! Voldemort and Bellatrix LeStrange battle it out with Harry and Hermione. The most notable addition with this set is multiple ranged attack abilities from the spellcasters.
Funkoverse The Golden Girls 2-Pack
The art here is nostalgic and brings you right back to 6151 Richmond St. These power of presence is tangible with these ladies: Blanche weakens enemies merely with her presence (adjacent rivals roll 1 fewer die when challenging) and Rose draws visible allies to herself. Master of the cutting retort, she can even counter-challenge, an ability we haven’t seen elsewhere.
While this is one of the coolest sets released, this set is more appropriate for slightly older audiences. Parents of younger kids probably don’t want to explain Blanche’s Flirting ability or what the basic character Gentleman Caller is.
The Funkoverse system was designed with a simple core rule set that’s streamlined and easy enough for kids to grasp. The recommended age of 9-10 is spot on because of all the options available to a player. Pre-readers will struggle because of all of the unique abilities. Some sets do have slightly more mature content, so be mindful before introducing new sets to your kids.
This system opens up the doors for all kinds of genres and is easy enough for gamer parents to start their kids on skirmish games. It’s light-hearted and respectful to the properties it licenses, and is designed to be accessible to everyone. Kids can even play on their own with their friends or team up to take on mom and dad.
Centering the mechanics around the cooldown track was brilliant and I hope I see this in other games as well.
The vast lighthearted intellectual property and the adorable POPs definitely set a tone for this skirmish game that makes it approachable and family-friendly. Even though the game is streamlined and simple there is some dissonance between the very approachable, fun POPs and the fact that the game does take awhile to set up before playing.
If two players are evenly matched, games can drag a little bit as the back-and-forth jockeying slowly grows stale. Deep strategists will be frustrated by the lack of ability to slowly build a strategic advantage, given the simplicity of the skirmish fighting. It’s impossible to not compare this to Unmatched, which offers a faster and more deeply strategic experience.
If you play for grins and not for wins and you love the idea of playing vicariously through all of your favorite pop culture icons, you owe it to yourself to check out the massive catalog of POPs available to you in the Funkoverse!
All of the Funkoverse games can be found at Amazon, Target, Walmart, or your friendly local game store today!
The Family Gamers received copies of Funkoverse from Funko Games for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
Behold the Funkoverse!
Number of Players: 2-4
Age Range: 10+
Playtime: 20-60 minutes