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Funkoverse

Funko uses its popular collectibles and characters to launch a new board gaming line with this skirmish line of games.

Gameplay

Funkoverse offers light skirmish play using a cooldown system to mitigate character powers in interesting ways. Each set is based around a set of miniature Pop figurines from different universes (Harry Potter, DC Superheroes, Rick and Morty, and The Golden Girls), though the core gameplay is similar across each set.

The game offers multiple modes. In the Harry Potter set, these are Leaders, Territory, Control, and Flag. Though battling between characters is key to each scenario, carrying out each mode’s objective the most effectively will determine the winner.

Each box comes with a double-sided board. The side to use is determined by the mode chosen. Leaders is the simple skirmish mode, asking players to knock out the leader of the opposing side to gain points, marked with cool crystals. Territory leverages four specific points on the map, asking players to occupy those areas to gain points. Control functions similarly, though the points are at different locations and use markers that are flipped to denote who has control. Finally, Flags is a game of getting to the opponent’s side of the board to get near their flag to earn points.

Players will be using their Pop miniatures to move, battle, and aid fallen allies. Each character comes with a card listing their special powers. These powers are denoted by blue, yellow, and gray chits each player/team receives at the start of the game. When a player decides to use these powers, they will place the denoted chit color on the cooldown track starting at the listed number. For example, if a power has a cost of three and uses the gray chit, the player will place the gray chit on the number three on the cooldown track. At the end of each turn, this chit will move down one space on the cooldown track until it is returned to the player card ready to be used again. There are instances where a character will also be placed on the cooldown track (for example, in the Harry Potter set, Bellatrix Lestrange, when knocked down, can be placed on the cooldown track with a power that allows her to return next to her ally Voldemort). Some of these powers are basic, but useful, knockdown attacks — others, however, as highlighted by Bellatrix’s special cooldown, can be manipulated by savvy players in clever ways to take control of an area, help an ally, or stage an ambush on the opposing players.

Items can also be obtained that allow characters to do extra attacks, move further, or better assist allies. These items can be placed in the figurine’s hands and swapped as needed during the course of the game. 

Each mode is a race to six or ten points (depending on how many characters — two or three — are being played per side).

Funkoverse Harry Potter

Review

Upon first glance, the Funkoverse Strategy Game is likely to illicit guffaws and conjure caution among any gamers. Being the first foray into board gaming from Funko, who are known for their popular but polarizing Pop figurines, the use of these characters in a skirmish game seems like an easy way to placate their fans and push out some cute new figurines to collectors.

However, Funko Games launched this venture earnestly when they bought popular design house Prospero Hall. Prospero Hall has been on a tear of late turning unlikely intellectual properties into casual board games that bring new fans into the hobby and make old ones squeal with glee (Villainous, Jaws, Trapper Keeper, Keeping it Saxy, etc.) This is why Funkoverse Strategy Games are equally strong: they provide an easy and light introduction to fans of the Pop figurines to skirmish board games via whimsical characters that already have devout fan bases. 

Another factor is compatibility. Players can buy any of the sets and characters they wish, mixing and matching characters throughout the scenarios. This is due to the balanced cooldown system, which is also where much of the strategy of the game is involved. Players who are quick to burn through their abilities will find themselves in an early advantage, but doomed in the late stages of any mode. Knowing the abilities of each character and how best to leverage them is where the strategy of the game lies, but beginning skirmish players will be able to deduce simple strategies and compete out of the gate. Not all abilities are similar either, which adds a bit of asymmetry to the game’s characters. Games are also quick and lively, so unless two seasoned skirmish players are battling it out in a game of wills, most players will finish a game in 20-30 minutes. 

Lastly, the game’s components beyond the Funko Pop miniatures is great. The double-sided boards are thick, the chits are already pre-punched and sorted, and the game stores quickly and easily. It is difficult to pry out the figurines from their resting places but doesn’t take up too much time. 

Unlikely to wow seasoned war and skirmish gamers, board gamers curious to dip their toes into the genre now have a great entry point thanks to another surprisingly spry and engaging Prospero Hall design. Funko Games promises to not only expand this line with new characters and scenarios, but to also expand into more traditional board game mechanics with their own unique spin. Despite the mass market hoopla that turn off some, the initial offerings from the Funko Strategy Game universe are hard to ignore. 

Pros: Quick setup, great introduction to skirmish gaming, variable character abilities and powers, unique cooldown system

Cons: Relies on intellectual property and Funko Pop figurines that may turn off some gamers