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Underleague Review


Quick Look:

Designer: Fergus Blair
Artists:  Mozchops, Matt Paquette
Publisher: Cogwright Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2-5 Players

Ages: 12+
Playing Time: 45-90 Minutes


Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

"Without gambling, I would not exist."
-Hunter S. Thompson

From the publisher:

Underleague is a fantasy card game set in the smoke-filled city of Helgarten. Players take on the role of breeders assembling a stable of fantastical creatures and mechanical monstrosities, and entering them into illegal pit fights against each other--while also betting on the outcome of these bouts.

In Underleague, each player has a 30-card creature deck. During the game, 3 of these cards will be in play as that player's current stable. Each creature has a unique effect and a value which contributes to a player's overall victory points. Each round, players use these creatures to challenge their opponents' while betting on which creatures will win and lose fights. Winning fights results in additional victory points.

There is an additional shared 250-card strategy deck from which players will draw scheme cards and equipment cards, which can be used to impact the results of fights and the flow of the game. The more correct bets a player makes during a round, the more strategy cards they will be able to draw in the next. The first player to achieve a total of 20 victory points wins the game.

Underleague contains a total of 30 unique creature cards and 40 unique strategy cards. In addition to the basic game mode, it also contains rules for "constructed" and "draft" play.


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When you collect/play board games as your main hobby, themes seem to blend together. Games are rooted in the mechanics and the theme is not always the thing that hooks you in. When I heard about Underleague, I went to go read the description from the publisher (which at this point you have also read). The first time I read it I got two sentences in and stopped. I actually said out loud, "Pit fights?" "Monster pit fights?" This was for sure something different and I want to tell you about it.

Review:

Rules and Setup:
Shuffle the strategy deck and place it in the center of the table. Place the dice near the strategy deck. Each player will take a creature deck and shuffle it, and will also take a set of five of the same-colored betting chips. Each player draws five strategy cards. You will then take the top three cards of your creature deck, choose one and put it face down on the table, then place the two that were not chosen to the bottom of your deck. You will do this process two more times, giving you a total of three creatures on your team. Each player flips over their monsters simultaneously to show their starting team.



Theme:
Fantasy
Fighting

Mechanics:
Betting/Wagering 
Dice Rolling  
Hand Management

Game Play:
The game has three phases:

Pre-Season Phase:

At the start of each round, you count up your victory points. If no one has reached twenty points, the player with the lowest amount of victory points is the start player. Creatures are reset (untaped) and players draw strategy cards equal to the bets they won the previous round, if any. If you control three of the same type of creature, you get to draw an additional card. The last part is when you can take two additional action cards, or exchange one of your creatures for one from the top of your deck.

Betting Phase:
Players take their five chips and bet on which creatures they think will win or lose. You may not bet on the same creature twice.

Combat Phase:
Players take turns playing action cards and challenging other players' creatures. The creatures have a day attack and night attack value; this is the number of dice they roll during combat. The player that was challenged chooses weather it is day or night. Highest roll plus modifiers wins. If you challenged, then you get a victory point and they get to commit (tap) the opposing player's fighter. If the defender wins, they do not get a victory point, but they also do not have to commit their creature and can use it for another attack this round.


Artwork and Components:
The betting chips have a really nice thickness to them, and make a nice sound when they hit the table (if you're prone to throwing your chips like a boss when you bet, which I may or may not have done). There is really no words I can use here that would justify how incredible the art is in this game. This is easily some of the best fantasy art I have seen in any game, ever.

The Good:
The art is great super great stunning and the three different types of dice (D6, D4, D3) help balance the battles out, only giving a slight edge to the better character.

The Bad:
The dice can be unforgiving at times. Yes, I'm bitter that I rolled three 1s that one time...


Final Thoughts:
You have to make interesting decisions in this game. It's not just a straightforward fighting game.
You can't win every battle, so you have to figure out if you're going to just cut your losses with some battles until the next round.

Players Who Like:
Betting, Dice Chucking, Fantasy Monster Battles


Check out Underleague on:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/223132/underleague   http://www.cogwrightgames.com/   https://www.facebook.com/CogwrightGames/   https://twitter.com/cogwrightgames   https://www.instagram.com/cogwrightgames/?hl=en         


James Freeman - Reviewer

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.

See James's reviews HERE.
Underleague Review Underleague Review Reviewed by James Freeman on February 28, 2019 Rating: 5

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