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BattleCON: Online Review

Quick Look:

Designer: D. Brad Talton, Jr.
Artists: Víctor Pérez Corbella, Fábio Fontes, Jen Frichot, Danny Hirajeta, Katrina Lin
Victoria Parker, D. Brad Talton, Jr., Eunice Abigael Tiu
Publisher: Level 99 Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 1-2
Ages: 9+
Playing Time: 15-30 Minutes

Find more info about the physical game on BoardGameGeek.com and the online game at Video Game Geek.

Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock-n-roll. Shigeru Miyamoto
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/shigeru_miyamoto_184192?src=t_video_games
Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock-n-roll. Shigeru Miyamoto
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/video_games
"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock-n-roll." 
 Shigeru Miyamoto

From the publisher:
BattleCON Online is a digital version of the deeply strategic card game of the same name. Pair two cards together to form an attack. Use unique combinations to out play your opponent. With this card pairing system, characters have tons of move options with just 10 total cards! Choose your fighter from a diverse roster of spell-slinging duelists, tag-teaming werewolves, time-traveling boxers, dimensional knights, and more!

There use to be a fine line for me when it came to playing board games. I would never even think of playing a digital version of a game. This mindset had one major flaw in it: the ability to actually play the games. We all know the struggle is real when trying to get people together for game night. Having a digital copy of some of my favorite games has given me the ability to play when I have some random free time and no opponents. Level 99 Games has recently brought BattleCON to Steam in the form of an open Beta, so let's choose our fighter and battle!


Rules and Setup:
Each player selects a character who uses a unique gameplay mechanism/fighting style to give them an edge in combat. Players move along a seven-space-long board, trading blows and attempting to strike the opponent, using attacks formed by combining a character's unique styles and abilities with a set of basic cards that all characters share. There is no hidden information: you always know exactly what cards the opponent holds, just not the ones they'll choose. Last player standing wins.


Hand Management  
Point to Point Movement 
Simultaneous Action Selection   
Variable Player Powers

Game Play:

***NOTE--The fighters in this game can get VERY specific as to what abilities or attacks they have. This is just a general overview of game play.

Each player selects one of the fighter to play with. The initial beta has four characters to choose from (more on that later). Each player takes 20 life and 2 force and are ready to begin.

During a turn, each player will secretly select a base card (these are the cards that are the same for every player) and a style card (character-specific cards) and place them face-down in front of them. Once both players have done this there is an ante phase, where, in turn order, the players can ante in some temporary boosts to their power, priority (speed), or stun guard (certain characters have other boosts, but these are the general ones that are available). Once both players have passed, the players reveal their combinations and compare priority. The player with the higher priority value becomes the first player for the beat (attack round). If there is a tie, the players CLASH, and have to select a new base to replace the current base card. If it is still a tie after that, the process is repeated until they are either out of base cards to play or until one player wins priority.

Starting with the first player, each player resolves any beat effects. Then the active player does any actions labeled "Before Activating," followed by their opponent. Then the start player (the player who had the higher priority value) makes their attack (factoring in range), resolves any "Hit" effects, and then resolves any "After Activating" effects. Then the reactive player does the same thing, so long as they did not get stunned. If you take damage greater than your stun guard for the round, then the reactive player loses their actions and does nothing for the beat.

Finally, both players (in turn order) resolve any "End of Beat" effects. Then they cycle their discards, bringing the leftmost pair into their hand, shifting the remaining pair on the board over one space, and putting the cards they just played into the right-most space on the board. Each player will gain one force token (two if they have 7 or less life), and play proceeds to a new beat. The game continues until one player is out of life.

Artwork and Components:
The art in this game takes me back to all the great fighting games from SNK (i.e. Fatal Fury) and Capcom (i.e. Street Fighter) I have played over the years. Level 99 Games took several extra steps in making this game have some extra life to it. The individual voices for each character--and not just having their pictures on the screen--is a big plus for me.

The Good:
It's free. What I mean by this is that you can try it. You don't have to buy the game right off the bat to see if it's something you would enjoy. I also like the tactical aspect of trying to decide if your opponent is going to load up priority points in order to attack. There is a lot of tactical planning to each decision, and every turn you will need to reevaluate your game plan.

The Bad:
Sometimes it does lag or take a little more time than I would like to load. Of course, this is still an open beta, so those things are to be expected. Also, if DLC is not your thing, this game can be perceived as being very heavy on it. You can buy individual fighters and season passes of characters. You do have the ability to play your way into unlocking every fighter, but some of the costumes you will have to buy or play matches to obtain.

Final Thoughts:
Now, I am sure some of you look at the gameplay section (as I did the first time few times I played BattleCON) and think, "What is he talking about? Beats? End of Beats?" Well, there is good new for you! The online "How To Play" is excellent for this. For such a small deck of cards, there are a ton of possibilities on attack style, planning your next move, or even baiting your opponent into a false sense of control. Also when you look at all the different characters, everyone feel distinctly different, and not just a cut-and-paste of the previous one with a minor tweak.

Now, if you'll excuse me, Uleyle Kimbhe and I are going to seek revenge on.....Wait...Oh, that's interesting. This is actually happening in real-time as I write, so I will just add this here. The free characters change periodically, which I did not know. Wow. That's a big deal to me because it will eventually give me the ability to try all the different fighters, and only unlock the ones that I like.

Players Who Like:
2D fighting games, strategy-based games, online gameplay.

Check out BattleCON: Online on:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamepublisher/11752/level-99-games   https://www.level99games.com/battlecononline/   https://www.facebook.com/level99games/   https://twitter.com/Level99Games   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FSoa0bWxxA   

James is a child of the 80's he grew playing D&D and Stratego. He currently owns more games than his understanding wife of 20+ years thinks he should. James lives in Buffalo, New York with his previously mentioned wife, 2 teenage kids and one Havanese dog. Also, if someone outside of Buffalo says they serve buffalo wings, they are lying.
BattleCON: Online Review BattleCON: Online Review Reviewed by James Freeman on November 01, 2018 Rating: 5

1 comment

  1. I don't know but for me, the game is way too slow compared to playing physically. It takes 40minutes-1 hour just for 1 round with all the animations and confirmations.