Take on four exciting new challengers in ‘Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume Two’
Since I originally wrote about the Incomparable series in 2020, Restoration Games and Mondo continued to grow the franchise, releasing several additional standalone expansions. How their latest stacking? We’ll take a look.
What is Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume 2?
Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume 2 is an asymmetrical hand management and tactical combat game for 2-4 players, ages 9 and up, and takes approximately 20-40 minutes to play. It can be played alone, or the 4 fighters and game board can be mixed with any of the other editions of Incomparable. It’s currently available for purchase on Amazon or directly from the Restoration Games online store, and retails for $40.
Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume 2 was designed by Noah Cohen, Rob Daviau, Justin D. Jacobson, Chris Leder, Brian Neff and Kevin Rodgers. It is published by Restoration Games, with illustrations by Zoë van Dijk.
Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume 2 Components
Here’s what you’ll find inside the box:
- 4 figures
- 120 action cards
- 5 health dials
- 4 character cards
- 6 sidekick tokens
- 1 game board
As this is one of the larger sets, there is a bigger battlefield to allow for team play with 4 players. The board is double-sided, but instead of having two single cards like in the cobblestone and fog together, Battle of Legends, Volume 2 has the same card on both sides. However, one side differentiates the areas using only colored rings around each circular space, while the other uses colors and patterns to fill the spaces. While the former allows more artwork to shine through, I prefer the more traditional map as seen above. I find that with this style it is much faster to identify areas on the board, which is important for both combat and card play.
Maps, Health Dials, and Sidekick Tokens are the same quality as with previous versions of Incomparable. The only fundamental difference in this set is that Yennenga’s Sidekick tokens are double-sided, as her archers have 2 life each.
Of course, four new fighters means four new figures, and Restoration Games continues to improve their quality with each new Incomparable Release. Here you can see the dynamic sculpts, the details of which are highlighted by the ink wash used on all miniatures:
How to play Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume 2
You can download a copy of the rulebook here.
The objective of Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume 2 is to defeat your opponent’s fighter by reducing them to zero health.
Choose a side of the game board and lay it on the table. Each player then chooses a hero and takes their corresponding deck of cards, figure, sidekick tokens (if any), health dials, and any hero-specific tokens.
Set the health dials of heroes and minions to the starting level as shown on their cards. Note: Sidekicks without a health dial have 1 health, but those in Yennenga have 2.
Shuffle the respective hero decks. Each player then draws a starting hand of 5 cards.
The youngest player places their hero on space “1” of the battlefield. If this hero has sidekicks, they are placed in the same area as the hero. (Zones are made up of all spaces that share a corresponding color.) The other player places their hero on space “2” and similarly places any sidekicks they may have. The youngest player then plays the first round.
On your turn, you must perform 2 actions chosen from the three different actions. You can perform the same action twice. These are the actions:
First, you must draw the top card from your deck and add it to your hand. Then you can optionally move any or all of your fighters a certain number of spaces up to their maximum speed listed on the hero card, one at a time. If you ever need to draw a card and your deck is empty, your fighters each suffer 2 damage.
You also have the option of boosting movement by discarding a single card from your hand and adding the boost value printed on that card to your movement value for that turn.
Choose a Stratagem card from your hand and place it face up, resolving the effect. Note: Some cards can only be played by certain fighters, which will be indicated on those cards.
The fight takes place in three stages:
1. Declare the target
Declare which of your fighters performs the attack and which opposing fighter is the target of the attack. Melee fighters can only attack fighters in adjacent spaces, while ranged fighters can attack either an adjacent target or any fighter sharing the same area as the attacker.
2. Choose and Reveal
The attacking player chooses an attack card and places it face down. The defender then has the option of playing a defense card, which he also places face down. Both cards are then revealed at the same time.
3. Resolve the fight
All attack and defense cards have both an attack or defense value and an effect that will resolve at some point during combat.
First, resolve any effects that occur At once. Note: If the attacker and defender have cards that resolve at the same time, the defender resolves theirs first.
Then resolve any effects that occur During the fight.
Then determine the results of the fight by comparing the value of the attack card with the value of the defense card. If the attack value is higher, deduct the point difference from the defender’s health dial.
Then solve everything post-fight effects. And finally, place all played cards into their respective discard piles.
Note: Some cards are also “all-purpose” and can be played to attack or to defend.
You can play 4 players with two teams of two but you have to use one of the bigger battlegrounds like the one in Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume 2 which have four starting squares. Install and play alternately between each player on each team, and you must defeat all heroes on the opposing team to win.
End of Game
If a fighter’s health is reduced to zero, they are defeated and removed from the board. If your hero is defeated, you lose the game.
Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume 2 is GeekDad approved!
why should you play Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume 2
I’m already a fan of Incomparable series, as my previous GeekDad Approved review can attest. But to keep a series fresh, you need to introduce new mechanics, while maintaining internal balance so that new fighters take their place alongside old ones, instead of replacing them.
One of these new mechanics is the use of High Ground. In the image above, Sun Wukong is on top of the temple. As you can see from the arrows pointing away from his space, he takes extra damage from attacks adjacent to him. So it would deal extra damage to Yennenga, but if she attacked from that position, her damage would not get the bonus.
Speaking of bonuses, each of the heroes of Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume 2 have cards with post-fight effects that allow them to make a second attack with an attack action. In some cases, like with Sun Wukong’s card below, the effect only triggers if a certain criteria is met:
Each of the characters of Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume 2 is very distinctive, requiring their own strategies both to play and to defeat. Bloody Mary is the only character in the set without any sidekicks, but she has a lot of cards that can combine to make her powerful. For example, her special ability grants her a third action if she starts the turn with exactly 3 cards in her hand. Here is one of the best played cards during this third action:
She also has other cards that can generate a third action, like this:
Other characters are simpler to play, but still have their own unique flavor. Achilles seems a fairly straightforward fighter at first, with a 6-wound sidekick, Patroclus. But when we look at the special abilities on Achilles’ character card, we realize that he becomes really formidable if he loses Patroclus:
Of course, Achilles is forced to discard a few cards from his hand when Patroclus is gone, but from then on he takes extra damage from his attacks.
Overall, I found the heroes of Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume 2 to have a slightly higher complexity than in some of the previous Incomparable editions. More attention is paid to card synergies and combos, especially with Bloody Mary and Sun Wukong. I would recommend these fighters for the more experienced Incomparable players, while Yennenga and Achille were both a little easier to use. This complexity, along with Higher Ground tactical considerations, really helps elevate this build. Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume 2 keeps the gameplay fresh and engaging, and is a welcome addition to the Incomparable family.
It’s also worth noting that Restoration Games brought in cultural consultants to Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume 2. We are moving away from cultural appropriation in the board games released in recent years, and it is good to see that an effort is being made in this direction with the historical characters of Incomparable.
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Disclosure: GeekDad has received a copy of this game for review.