Designed by Jad Yammine and Mohamed Al Qadi, and published by Cation Arts, All Time Wrestling is a combat game where players expend stamina to play cards to attack an opponent who either takes the damage or attempts to negate it by discarding cards from their hand. You're trying to reduce your opponent's health but you're also recording 'match momentum' on a tug-of-war tracker.
To successfully play an attack card you also have to match or beat the target number on the card using a standard six-sided die. Cards that dish out more damage usually demand higher die rolls, but you can partially mitigate that requirement by stringing together combo moves (matching up icons on the cards). Choosing what cards to play and when, then, is an important tactical decision in ATW. Similarly, you need to know when it's worthwhile defending and when you should just roll with the blows...
Stamina and health are tracked using wooden cubes that slot into players' individual dual-layer boards. Sadly, in our preview copy, the 'match momentum' tracker was a single layer board and a tiny cardboard token. We'd have liked to see a similarly jog-resistant dual-layer board for tracking momentum. The player boards also show and record each wrestler's four special abilities: three that are single-use and one that can be used each round. Again, you need to make the judgement call of when best to make use of your one-off special moves.
There's a lot of flavour in the illustrations and text on players' individual cards and we especially liked the way they could be used in combo. Just be warned tho' that the cards all have dark backs that bleed to the edge so they are prone to show any nicks or scratches; that means, you will probably be advised to sleeve them to avoid them becoming 'marked'.
Discarding two cards to defend against an attack is quite a big ask - to the extent that we've found in our few plays at Board's Eye View that we only resorted to defensive discards in extremis - when losing a battle put us close to losing the game altogether. In our games, players tended to go 'all in' early on, only to spend their time middle game rebuilding their hands and stamina for a renewed all-out attack. We're not claiming that as the most effective strategy, however.
We've only had ATW a few days ahead of its Kickstarter launch on 26 April and tho' our Board's Eye View shows wrestlers that will come in the version playable by up to four players, we've so far only had a chance to try out the two-player version of the game. If you like card-driven combat then pin yourself down to nabbing a copy of All Time Wrestling. We'll add a link to the Kickstarter when it goes live.