Review: Funkoverse POP! Strategy Game is fun, but limited

 

Funko Pops are a thing. A big thing.

While I’m not a collector, I get it. They’re adorable. They’re fun. They’re relatively inexpensive. And there’s one for just about every single pop culture franchise you can think of. (When there’s a sexy Jeff Goldblum from Jurassic Park figure, you know they’re going deep.)

So it shouldn’t be a surprise when they made a Funko Pop board game. It features their adorable figures (this time half the size), tokens and a game board. And like the regular Funko Pops, the Funkoverse game is available with figures (which act as the game pieces) from any number of franchises.

You can get them featuring characters from Batman, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Game of Thrones, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Back to the Future, Jaws and even The Golden Girls. Some feature four figures, some just have two. There are also single-figure packs with characters as wild as the Kool-Aid Man.

But they all feature the exact same rules. That is part of the of the beauty of the game. The four-packs and many of the two-packs are full games with maps, figures, tokens and a rulebook. And after you collect a few editions, you can mix up your Harry Potter figures with Game of Thrones or have the ultimate Back to the Future/Golden Girls crossover you’ve always dreamed of.

Of course, each set has some unique rules and cards (Batman gets batarangs, for example), but otherwise, everything functions the same way in every game. The game rules say you should only mix your DC Comics figures together, but though there are a few different special rules in each set, I see no reason why you can’t have crossovers.

That makes the mix-and-match nature of the game pretty cool, and it leads you toward collecting figures (this is Funko, after all) and experimenting with different lineups.

It also leads to the game being pretty simplistic. There’s no difference, really, between the maps and scenarios in the Batman box versus the Harry Potter box. And when each box comes with the same two scenarios (albeit with text flavored toward the characters in the box) that leads to the game becoming stale pretty quickly.

We played the Batman version of the game that comes with Batman, Robin, Joker and Harley Quinn. The figures were pretty neat, and I have to say the game board is gorgeous. One side is Gotham City and the other is Joker’s twisted carnival, and each piece of art included tons of references for Bat-fans.

Here’s how everything works: Each turn, your character can move or attack (called a challenge), interact with something on the game board (say, disarm a bomb) or perform one of its special abilities.

Using special abilities causes your character to expend a token (each character gets two) that goes to a cooldown track. The more powerful the ability, the higher on the track it goes. At the end of the turn, your tokens slide down the cooldown track.

Batman has a neat move, grappling swing, where you can choose a rival within three squares of him, move adjacent to them and attack. But that goes to No. 3 on the cooldown track, and it’ll take three more turns before can do it again. His relentless feature, which allows him to stand up, goes to No. 1 on the track. He can do it again next turn.

Attacking another character is pretty simple. Each character rolls dice (abilities give you more or less dice to attack/defend) and you compare the results. Dice have symbols — pow, shield or three exclamation points — and the attacker puts their pows up against the defender’s shields. Anyone who rolls a “!!!” gets to add three to its result. If the attacker has a higher score than the defender, the defender is knocked down. If you successfully attack someone while they’re knocked down, they’re knocked out and go on the cooldown track. (Like your favorite Saturday morning cartoons, no one is gone forever. They’re only knocked out for a minute and come back later.)

You can play in what I call battle royale mode — we did the first team to get three knockouts — or play a scenario. One, called “Flags,” is basically capture the flag. You try to grab the opponent’s flag and move it to your starting area. Once you get a certain amount of points (which you can do by getting the flag, knocking out opponents or accomplishing other tasks), you win.

The second is called “Leaders.” Each player picks a leader, and that character starts in the middle of the board. Your leader gets extra points for knocking out any opponents (especially the opposing leader), and your opponent gets extra points for knocking out your leader.

And that’s it. That’s all there is. You’ll get more variety by collecting more, of course. There are new figures, each with new abilities, plus new maps and such. But each box and every gameplay experience is largely the same.

Maybe all you want is a straightforward, pop culture-focused board game experience, and I can’t begrudge you that. The collectible nature and the ability to do crossovers is also fun, and I must say that the components — figures, tokens, game boards and even the rocky, Batcave like organizer that came in my Batman box — are very, very nice.

But if you wanted something a little more robust, you won’t find it here.

All that said, I played with my kids, and they loved this game. Their age is maybe the distinguishing factor. They’re going to play this game over and over again. It was pretty easy for them to learn, and they’re younger than the game’s suggested age range of 10+. It was easy for them to learn, and it’s Batman.

They’ll keep coming back. And I just might have to get them a few more expansions.

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