Ultimate Fighters: Creatures of Titan Is An Upcoming Card Game That Packs A Punch
"This isn't even my final form!""
I recently had the opportunity to playtest a prototype of a new game designed by Trent Ellingsen and developed by Eddie Kesicki called Ultimate Fighters: Creatures of Titan. The game is a love letter to games like the Street Fighter, the Super Smash Bros. franchise, and Dragon Ball FighterZ as it uses unique game mechanics in an attempt to capture what makes these games so great. Plus you don't have to worry about it being a pay-to-win trading card game as everything it has to offer is held a single box (other than possible future expansions). Now let's go over how the game is played.
Character and Stage Cards
I think what makes this game stand out is definitely the amount of variation you get with its characters and stages. Each character has its own stats and two different specials which have their own unique effects that are either used for attacking or defending. Each character has a different style of playing based on its characteristics and one of my favorite parts of playing the game was trying out as many characters I could to see how each of them worked. I really liked the playing the Wind Snake character, as its strong point was stalling and slowly chipping away at opponents. Also look at how beautiful the art is (which was done by Phil Ryuh and Herrick Ong).
Like the character cards, the stage cards bring a huge amount of variety to the game. Each stage has its own deck with unique mechanics and cards. For example, if you were playing on the Environmental Stage, game-play would be affected by the "Season" cards that are unique to the stage. There would also be playable cards that give you the opportunity to change the seasons, which are not included in any other of the stage decks. The game has seven unique stage decks that each offer a whole different experience, just like stages in Super Smash Bros. would (unless you play on omega or battlefield mode I guess). The game allows for a lot of experimentation with each character and how they synergies with different stages.
The Combat (A.R.T)
After you and your opponents have chosen your characters and what stage you're going to play on, each player receives however many cards their character's health stat indicates. These cards serve as both your health and the actions you are able to execute. This forces players to stay aware of how many cards they use every turn and how many cards are left in their health pile. Each player starts with a hand of four cards and as the game goes on, there is no hand card limit.
The basic combat cards are Strong (a strong attack), Block, Dodge, Special 1, and Special 2. Each character has a different stat for these cards that relate to their play style. Every turn you are able to play an "Action" card and your opponents are able to play any number of "Response" cards in response. After actions are responded to, players take their hits (A.R.T: Action, Response, Take Hits). For every point of damage players take, they draw the same number of cards from their health pile, which means that the more you get hit, the more powerful you become. Players lose as when they are out of cards in both their hand and health pile...
...or do they?
The coolest part of the game is probably the characters' "ultimate forms." After a player runs out of health, they flip over their character card and are dealt a new pile of health cards. These "ultimate forms" have new stats and new specials which are stronger and cooler than their old ones. This mechanic can be seen in countless anime series and gives you a chance to come back with new, devastating power against your opponents. A player truly loses after they are defeated in their "ultimate form" and the last man standing is the winner of the round.
I grew up playing Super Smash Bros. Melee and watching anime, so a game that combines aspects of both of them really caught my attention. Like I mentioned before, one of my favorite parts of playing the game was the different play style every character had. Each match-up was unique and the changing stage mechanics kept every fight refreshing and new. The more I played, the better I became at card management, which helped me stay alive longer and win more rounds. From the games I played, the characters all seemed pretty balanced and every skill and attack had the opportunity be responded to. Overall, the game is pretty easy to pick up, but allows experienced players to get better and better as they explore the variety of play styles and stages the game has to offer. I am definitely going to purchase a copy when it is released and am looking forward to getting a better grasp on every character with my friends.
The game is scheduled for launch at the end of 2019 and you can be notified by email through their official website at https://www.boardgameatlas.com/products/ultimate-fighters. Their website also presents the rules in more detail so if you are interested in any way I'd check it out!