Board game special: FunkoVerse – – Gamereactor

Over the past few weeks, I have been playing a lot of FunkoVerse and have been pleasantly surprised by a game that is much deeper than you would think just looking at the colorful and toy-like characters. It constantly grows the more you play. So, should you get it?

The premise is simple, we’re talking about miniatures of ordinary Funko Pop collectibles (which ironically are themselves a kind of miniatures) who then fight on a board to be the first to reach ten points. However, it is not just about punching each other in the face, and there is much more finesse to it than that – although there is a lot of punching.

Board game special: FunkoVerse
The game plans and characters are very thematic and the components are of fine quality.

You have many ways to play and earn points. For example, to speak in video game terms, there are variations on Capture the Flag and King of the Hill, as well as Leaders where you get extra points for defeating a particular character. In addition, each board has four points you can interact with to increase your score and you are also rewarded for defeating a character. The setup is team-based and you run two or three characters against as many on the opponent’s side.

When it comes to the number of players, FunkoVerse is meant to be played one-on-one or two-on-two. The latter may be an afterthought, but I’ve mostly played two-on-two. Each team has three characters and the idea is that one person controls two of them and one controls the latter. In reality, this is an open game with no hidden cards, and it tends to end up with the team controlling the characters together, speculating and discussing every move regardless of the character to try to outsmart their opponents.

The beauty of FunkoVerse is, of course, the characters. Not only are the beautiful game pieces from different brands, but they also have unique abilities. And the latter is usually very well thought out. For example, the Joker is a sneaky rascal who leaves many unpleasant surprises, and combined with a teammate who can make opponents step into said surprises – it’s a real pain in the ass to deal with. Similarly, friendly Dumbledore has terribly powerful attacks that can only be used occasionally and not against a lying opponent, while the Kool-Aid Man can, of course, run through walls.

Board game special: FunkoVerse
Darkwing Duck, John Snow, Captain Hook and Joker in fierce battle with Dolores Umbridge knocked out bottom right.

This causes the gameplay to change significantly depending on the game mode chosen and the characters on the field. In addition, the characters’ best skills “cost” colored tokens to use, two of which you get predetermined for your character (six total, since you have three characters). Since these tokens are shared between characters, it may be a good idea to try to choose characters with matching colors so you can do the special skills more often.

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Each time you use a token, it is placed on a four-segment countdown track, with more powerful items generally costing more and cheaper items falling further down. After each completed round, these tokens are then moved down and eventually come back into play. A clever concept that is also used for several other things in the game, such as defeated characters, objects you interacted with and items. I won’t go deeply into the items, but no matter what boxes of characters you buy, one or more items are included. Each team gets an item (which can be mixed in any way, so you can give Batman a Golden Girls Cheesecake to take into battle) which further adds to the variety of battles. Battles are also dice-based, meaning that while you play with probability in mind, you can often put all your eggs in one basket and try a crazy maneuver that changes the situation if you get lucky.

Each big box (with four characters) of FunkoVerse that you buy includes two game boards (one on each side) based on the theme. For example, Jurassic Park lets you fight in the T-Rex enclosure, while Harry Potter lets you fight in Diagon Alley and Squid Game in a playground. There are also mission cards included that give a little theme to the battles and explain the setup. It’s a very clever system and the courses can be played as many times as you want. In addition, each box includes prize tokens that match the current theme, highlighting the amber Jurassic Park tokens with insects in them.

There are numerous characters from various unexpected brands to choose from, and hopefully video game characters will be added in due course.

The range of characters is also very good. You can easily match DC against Marvel, maybe team up with the shark from Jaws, with Marty McFly from Back to the Future along with the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland. There is also a nice black and white box (everything from boards to tokens and pieces is black and white) with classic Universal horror characters like The Bride of Frankenstein or Dracula, and a cleverly designed Darkwing Duck that encourages you to play stealthy. It’s also worth noting that all of the boxes – except those with one character – have what you need to get started and play.

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However, there are some shortcomings that I think you should be aware of before playing FunkoVerse. One is that the game takes up a lot of space if you get a few boxes. And just having a few boxes also makes it difficult to pull everything out while playing. For myself, I usually just pick a few where me and my fellow players pick fighters. Also, there is no good way to quickly see which fighters have which color tokens. If you don’t want to open all the boxes to compare, you can pick character cards and have them individually, or print out a list of what they have to offer. Another less optimal thing is that to take out a character, they have to be defeated twice, first standing and then lying down – but the plastic pieces are so large that they are a bit awkward to have lying around when many characters are close together.

Board game special: FunkoVerse
The FunkoVerse pieces are smaller than the Funko Pop originals and are primarily intended as game pieces – although they are nice enough for the geek altar.

Finally, I think this board game almost requires you to have more than six characters (there are four in the big boxes and one or two in the smaller ones). If you only have four characters, you get to play with two “base characters” that have no real game piece and only have access to the basic properties. And if you have six characters, they will always be the same ones facing each other, which FunkoVerse does not take full advantage of. However, once you get more than this and can start rotating them, it really grows.

FunkoVerse has a surprisingly nice depth of play, and at first it’s easy to forget or realize what your chosen fighters are capable of together. Thanks to this, it works both as a simple slugger and something more chess-like as you begin to understand how traits can be combined to create a whole new depth. In the end, then, my rating is high. If you can imagine buying two or three boxes from your favorite series, you can expect a very entertaining game that will last a long time and has a much smarter game system than you might think at first glance.

Rating: 8/10

Game Information:
Recommended age: 10+
Average playing time: 60 minutes
Number of players: 2-4
Price: £20/€25 for a large box

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