Who would win in a fight between Rick & Morty and the Golden Girls? How might Batman and his gadgets confront a wand-wielding Harry Potter? If the very concept of those match-ups has you laughing, you’ve begun to grasp why the new Funkoverse board game seems to hit so many of the right marks. Funko Pops have been a dominating force in the collectible market for some years now; a big part of the joy is finding characters from disparate fictions, and seeing them displayed in a shared (and usually adorable) visual style. Funkoverse extends that same conceit into the tabletop gaming world, with a smartly built tactical skirmish game that’s incredibly easy to pick up and play, but carries enough unique character powers and customization to bring it out onto the table again and again.
Pick up any of the Funkoverse packs to start your collection, with characters drawn from varied properties like Batman and Harry Potter, or upcoming releases like Jurassic Park and Aggretsuko. The whole idea is that any given game pack can be played by itself, or combined with others as you grow your collection. Whether you snag one of the two- or four-character packs, you bring home attractive figures that can as easily sit on your shelf as display pieces as stay hidden away in the game box. The Funkoverse characters are significantly smaller than traditional Funko Pops, and each has a peghole for holding game items. But they all feature attractive sculpts and, like their bigger cousins, manage to capture important character traits through familiar, minimalist toy design.
The rules for gameplay carry over from one game to the next without much in the way of new ideas to integrate. In general, you’re choosing one of the double-sided boards included with each pack, and setting up a squad of characters to do battle. In a basic variant, you’re just seeking to knock out your opponents (which is a great gateway playstyle, for adults and kids alike), but the more rewarding options are included scenarios that offer variants on capture-the-flag, territory control, and others. Games move fast, with playtime well under an hour. With combat and challenges played out through throws of the dice, there’s an element of randomness that could potentially frustrate some players. But given the straightforward tenor of the overall game, if that’s where your head’s at, this might be the wrong pick for you in the first place.
The variation and replay value arise through the different character powers and the items they introduce, and the way the designers managed to capture the flavor of such varied settings and have them play nicely with each other. Whether Batman whips out the Batarang for ranged attacks, or Morty loses his cool with his Violent Outburst action, it’s entertaining to imagine the way each scene plays out, echoing familiar moments from the TV shows and movies.
One of the smartest mechanics at play is the use of a cooldown track for those abilities. Every power demands the use of a specific token that corresponds to its flavor, from finesse and agility-style actions to those that require great strength, and the token then moves onto a cooldown track, and can’t be used again until enough turns have passed. Potent leadership abilities like Rick’s “Get Schwifty” or Batgirl’s acrobatic Flying Tackle can be game changers, but must be reserved for important moments, as you risk taking essential tokens out of play for a time. Picking teams that can maximize their shared token pool is often key to success.
With its simple scenarios and light tactical throwdowns, Funkoverse Strategy Game isn’t going to replace any veteran gamer’s sprawling miniature army or heavyweight fantasy wargame. But that’s clearly not the point. Instead, Funkoverse ably translates the simplicity and collectible quality of the Funko universe into an accessible ruleset that can easily expand over time. Here is a game that welcomes younger and inexperienced players into the fun of tactical movement and engagement, without denying more experienced players the chance to tweak and shape the gameplay, and the whole thing is backed up through the inclusion of some of the most recognizable pop-culture figures imaginable.
If you’re interested to check out more options for your next board game get-together with friends or family, make sure and peruse the backlog of articles in the Top of the Table hub, including a look at the best tabletop games of 2019. And if you’re ever looking for personalized recommendations, I’m always happy to field your questions over email. Drop me a line, let me know what you’re looking for, and I’ll help you find the next awesome game for your group.
Matt Miller explores the ever-expanding world of tabletop board, card, miniature, and role-playing games in his column, Top of the Table. Check back every other Friday for the best in the hobby scene.
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