What if you could pit any character from your favorite movie, book, or comic franchises against any other character from your favorite movie, book, or comic franchises? What if you could team up Harry Potter and Batman? Or Robin with Voldemort? Mix and match heroes and villains from your favorite fandoms in Funkoverse from Funko Games. Okay, the dream of literally any franchise has not yet been realized, but here’s a start.
How It Plays
Funkoverse is a team tactical miniatures game. While each box includes characters from one franchise, you can mix and match any of the characters to form your teams as you please.
The actual goal of the game depends on your chosen scenario. While knocking out another character is always going to get you points, you may be trying to capture the opponent’s flag, control a central area, or defending the leader of your team.
First you’ll need a team. The standard/full game pits 3 characters against 3 (although even the large core sets come with 4 full characters and 2 generic character tokens. For the full experience you’ll need at least a couple sets). How you build those teams is up to you, but you can mix up characters and team heroes with villains. Each character has unique abilities.
During play, you’ll alternate teams, moving one character at a time. Each character gets 2 actions; moving, interacting with tokens, and standing up another player on your team are all basic actions. You can also spend a token to activate one of the special actions of your character. These actions may include moving farther, manipulating other characters or items, getting bonus attacks, activating status effects, and more.
Once all characters have been used, the round ends with a scoring phase, the first-player token swaps to the other side, and a new round begins.
Combat – or, in game terminology, challenges – involves rolling dice. Both attacker and defender roll dice. The attacker must roll more attack symbols than the defender rolls defense symbols. If they do, the defender is knocked over. When you attack a knocked over character, the same rules apply, but if the attacker succeeds the defender is knocked out. This earns the attacker’s team some points, and the defending character is sent to the Cooldown track.
The Cooldown track is used for characters, ability tokens, and point tokens. When you use an ability token or collect a point token, it goes to the cooldown track. The more powerful the ability, the higher up the track it goes. Everything on the cooldown track shifts down 1 space at the end of a round; when it shifts off the track, it goes back into the token pool (or back on the board in case of point tokens).
The game ends when one team reaches 10 points (or 6 if you’re playing 2v2).
Fight for the Right to Party?
Funkoverse is in many ways an obvious game. Crossing the streams of different franchises is a staple of geek culture, and Funko miniatures have practically been begging for gamification.
This could easily have been a cash-in, a bland game of rolling dice and moving your mice that relied purely on the star power of its characters and the cuteness of the Funko-pop style. Fortunately, what we’ve got here is a clever, enjoyable little game for the whole family. The characters have fun powers, the rules are pretty simple, and there are some great mechanics that keep things strategic and interesting.
It doesn’t hurt that it has a star-studded cast and incredible adorable Funko-style miniatures to play with.
The rules are simple enough for most people to learn without feeling overwhelmed. You won’t feel burdened with complex movement patterns or power costs or resource management. But, there’s enough going on to offer you tactical choices on your turn.
Move, attack (“challenge”), use a power – that’s generally what your turn boils down to. But the scenario goals give your actions purpose, and the character abilities make things interesting.
Aside from the main goal, there are also points at the corners of the map you can pick up, and you can always earn points by knocking out other players. Do you spread your team out to cover as much of the board as you can? Do you sent out an attacker and leave someone behind to defend? Do you keep your whole team together? It’s up to you, and each option has its benefits and drawbacks.
Each character has a role to play, which is fairly easy to parse based on their abilities (and likely from what you know of the character). Voldemort is aggressive and cruel, while Hermione protects her allies. Catwoman is nimble and can move across the board quickly, while Robin, the perennial sidekick, thrives working with a partner.
Harry Potter? He knows Expelliarmus.
I really like how combat works here. Your first attack knocks the target down (if successful), no matter how many more successes you roll. There’s still some luck involved with those dice, but it evens things out a bit. It’s a lot less swingy when it’s purely hit/miss versus a range of 0-10 points of damage. You usually have a chance to stand your character back up, although it costs you valuable actions and you may make the choice to leave them down so you can do more. It takes some team coordination to really knock someone out. When you do, it’s only a brief moment before they’re back in the game swinging.
The cooldown track is the brilliant mechanism that ties the whole thing together. Power limitations and costs, item usage, character respawning – all of these things are made simple. You just place them on the cooldown track after they are used, and wait for them to be ready again. This forces you to choose key moments to use your best powers, as you might not have access to them again for a while. It also opens up the door for some fun character powers that can move tokens back on your opponent’s cooldown track or forward on your own. Overall, it cuts out any sort of complex resource management system that might be required, and by combining everything into one track there’s a lot less to remember to update at the end of a round.
The character ability system is also interesting. Each power costs a certain token type, and each character grants your team 2 tokens. However, you pool all your tokens and can use them on any character’s power, letting you play the field and use the powers you need versus being stuck with an unusable token for a character that doesn’t have an opportune moment. You still have to manage your token usage, but you have a lot of freedom in how you choose to do so.
The most complex rules are what you’d expect – Line of Sight. Most attacks require adjacency, but many character abilities allow for ranged attacks. It’s easy enough to count squares, but then you sort of have to measure an imaginary line between the two spaces to make sure it’s clear. Every once in a while you’ll run into a tricky measurement where a character or wall MIGHT be in the way. It would have been nice to include some kind of Line of Sight tool in the box for when this is necessary, but… oh well. It’s not a huge deal.
What I’d rather see is more items in each box. Full teams include 3 characters and 1 item, but each box only includes 1 item. You can’t split that between 2 teams, so you can’t really play with items without buying additional sets. 2-3 items per team – or at least 1 item per team – would be much more welcome. This is especially true for Harry, who has abilities (Expelliarmus!) built around yanking items from people’s hands.
Speaking of buying additional boxes… each box you might buy does contain the components you need to play a game (if not a full game), including scoring tokens and cooldown tracks. Which means once you have a few boxes, you are going to have a LOT of extra components to store. I understand the goal of making each box playable and avoiding consumer confusion, but… well, hopefully future expansions pare things down a little. More items, maybe, and fewer superfluous cooldown tracks.
Different game types provide unique goals. They’re not the most original or unique – you’ve got Capture the Flag, control zones, and take out the leader, but having specific goals makes for more fun than just “knock out the other team.” It allows you to approach each scenario strategically, and rely on a variety of abilities. It’s not just going to be the strongest attacking team that wipes out the other. Smart play, clever use of your resources, coordinating abilities, and paying attention to what your opponents are doing will help you succeed.
This should be fun for kids, and fun for adults to play with their kids. I’m not sure it has a ton of legs for adults alone, but then again if you keep getting new sets there’s always a new favorite character to try. I have the Harry Potter big box and the Robin/Catwoman set, and I definitely want to get my hands on the full Batman set. Also available are the Golden Girls (an odd choice for a battle royale game, but also showing us just how widespread we can expect to see characters get pulled from) and Rick and Morty. Back to the Future has been teased, and there’s basically an infinite potential for franchises given the breadth of licensing that Funko-Pops already covers.
I just have one question: will someone get me a Mulder and Scully set for this game already?
iSlaytheDragon would like to thank Funko Games for providing a review copy of Funkoverse.