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WrestAngel is a fast-paced, interactive game. All cards have double use. They can be used to move, fight, avoid hits, play special actions, fly from the ropes OR to pin an opponent down on the ground for the three-second count. It is up to you to balance them well. It is not useful to throw down an opponent if you are not able to pin it: One... Two... THREE!!!
Angelo Porazzi Games
Players: 2 - 10
Time: 15 - 30 minutes
Ages: 6 and up
Weight: 100 grams
Language Requirements: Game components are printed in multiple languages, including English. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.
- 84 cards:
- 20 warrior cards
- 20 ring cards
- 42 deck cards
- 2 advertising cards
- 1 rulesheet
Average Rating: 3.8 in 2 reviews
This card game comes in a small box that just fits the cards, which measure 1 11/16” by 2 5/8”. The cards feature Mr. Porazzi’s characteristically whimsical artwork. In all there are 84 cards: 20 Warrior Cards, 20 Ring Cards, 42 Deck Cards, 2 cards advertising other Porazzi games—plus one rules sheet that folds into roughly one 8” x 11” piece of paper. The Warrior Cards, printed in Italian on one side and English on the other, feature such names as “Jess the Snake,” “Hooker Nile,” “Baptizer Animal,” and “Lion Vanham,” among others.
The game can be played from anywhere from 2 to 10 players. From 2-5 players, each player gets two warriors; from 6-10 each player gets one.
The rules sheet shows how to set out Ring Cards to form a ring. The ring consists of two cards, laid out one above the other, with a Ring Card closer to the center and a Rope Card laid above the Ring Card. Warriors start the game situated on the Rope Card.
The goal of the game, naturally, is to pin your opponent or opponents. (Depending on how many people play, players have one or two warriors that they handle.) In a two-player game, the winner is the first person that eliminates both of his opponents’ warriors. In a multi-player game, the game ends when the first player loses one or both of his Warriors to a pin. The other players then add up the value of their own remaining wrestlers plus any wrestlers they may have pinned. The player with the highest point total wins. Ties are possible.
Warriors are rated for various abilities, including Power (the ability to throw down an opponent for an attempted pin), Vitality (the ability to resist being thrown down), Movement (the ability to move in the ring or away from someone trying to thrown down a warrior, or, a rating used to “Charge”—pushing off the ropes and charge into an opponent in the center of the ring), Special Actions (an attack which employs a special hold or ability listed on a warrior’s card), and Value (the ability to “fly” from the ropes down onto an opposing Warrior situated on a Ring Card, and, the value of the warrior itself for the final score in the game).
All of these abilities are color coded: Red for Power, Pink for Vitality, Green for Movement and Charge, Gray for Special Actions, and Yellow for Fly From the Ropes and the value of the warrior. Each warrior is rated for Power, Vitality, Movement and Fly From the Ropes. With one exception, each warrior also has 0 to 3 Special Actions (gray) ratings on the center part of its card. These ratings are listed as numbers within colored circles on each Deck Card. In actual play, the Deck Card ratings are combined with corresponding color ratings on the Warrior Cards to give an overall point total. Additionally, there are Orange Deck Cards that are wild cards and can be played as any type of card the owner chooses.
Each player starts the game with four Deck Cards. On one’s turn, one can play none or all of one’s cards. At the beginning of one’s turn, one has to draw back up to 4 cards, but can choose to discard all remaining cards if one wishes.
The basic idea of the game is to throw down an opposing warrior and pin him or her. To do that, on one’s turn a player must either attack an adjacent opposing warrior or move one’s own warrior to become adjacent to another warrior before attacking. When attacking, to get the full effect, the owning player should scream the special “war cry” listed on the warrior card and then play one Deck Card—a Power Card, a Special Action Card, or, depending on the situation, a Charge or Fly From the Ropes Card—to try and throw down an opponent. On defense, a player can play a Vitality Card to resist, a Movement Card to evade, or, depending on the situation, a Power Card to try to throw down the attacker instead.
For example, Hooker Niles has a power rating of 4. Let’s say one of the 4 Deck Cards the owner is playing has a red 4 on it (Deck Cards can have point values from 1-7). The owner declares he’s going to attack Ray Hissterio and yells Hooker Niles’ scream, “SOOOBEK!” placing the Deck Card face down. Ray Hissterio’s owner plays a Deck Card face down—a Vitality 3 card, which, combined with Hissterio’s Vitality rating of 4 makes a total of 7. Both players reveal their face-down Deck Cards, and we see that Niles’ power total of 8 (4 + 4) beats Hissterio’s total of 7 (3 + 4), so Hissterio is thrown down. Now we go into what’s known as the Pin Phase.
Each owning player is dealt an additional 3 cards from the draw pile (you’ll probably find that you have to reshuffle the draw pile during a game, particularly with more players). From all the cards they now hold, each player selects 3 cards, which they place face down. They then agree in which order they’ll reveal their cards because each card represents one count in a 3-count pinning process. Each time the attacker plays a card equal to or greater than the defender’s card, that’s one count in the pin. If the attacker can play 3 consecutive cards equal to or greater than that of his opponent, he completes a pin and is awarded the point value of the defeated wrestler (the yellow number in the lower right-hand portion of the warrior’s card).
To continue this example, let’s say that on the first card revealed the attacker and defender both play a 5: a tie goes to the attacker so that’s one count. The second card revealed shows another 5 for the attacker and a 4 for the defender, so that’s two counts. Finally, the attacker plays a 7 card, knowing that no matter what the defender does now, the best he can do is play a 7, which is a tie and therefore doesn’t stop the pin. Sure enough, that’s exactly what the defending player was thinking as he turns up a 7, but it’s not enough to avoid the pin.
After a pin, or if the defender avoids a pin, players discard if necessary back to 4 Deck Cards in their hands.
Incidentally, it is not easy to pin an opponent for 3 consecutive card plays. One needs a number of high cards and also needs to outguess which cards the defending player might play in the 3- card pin sequence.
Charge and Fly From the Ropes can also be devastating attacks that usually will result in a defender being thrown down, but can only be played in certain circumstances when one warrior is on the ropes and an opposing warrior is either moving across the center of the ring or is situated on a Ring Card. And, Joker Cards can be both versatile and valuable to play on either attack or defense.
As for the screaming, players don’t necessarily have to do so when they attack, but to get the most out of this game you might as well get all the way into it and scream away. I’ve played it with adults and kids, and the kids in particular get a kick out of it when I scream upon attacking. I even insisted that my screams helped complete a pin.
Once players catch on to the various rules, the game plays fast and furious. Given its nature, trash-talking also follows. The game is rated for ages 6 and up. Younger players, of course, need to be taught and guided through game play, but by explaining some basic rules and simply playing through the game, even the youngest players can follow the game.
Wrestangel is a game I’d heartily recommend to others (regardless of their interest in pro wrestling), and I can’t imagine turning down a game. As with Porazzi’s other games, it’s obvious that a lot of thought and play-testing went into this game. The result for gamers is simply a good time.
WrestAngel (Angelo Porazzi Games, 2006 – Angelo Porazzi) is a game that’s easy to overlook – most likely because it’s one of the smallest games you’ll ever see, coming in a miniscule box with a deck of miniscule cards. It’s the fourth game that Mr. Porazzi has placed in his WarAngel universe – the characters are from several of the armies from that epic game. But rather than focus on the serious aspect of war, this game is a more lighthearted romp look at a different world – that of “professional” wrestling.
And as a light, fast wrestling game, WrestAngel works. If you can get into the wacky theme of this type of wrestling (maybe even making the war cries and grunting noises), it just might become a hit. For me, I found it mildly entertaining, after getting through the poor rules layout, and something that I would enjoy as a diversion – but not much more. It actually does seem to mimic professional wrestling, but I don’t necessarily mean that as a compliment.
Each player picks a team of two characters from the WarAngel universe. These characters have four major stats: Power, Vitality, Movement, and Value. Most characters also have one to three other stats on the cards – with different names but all included in the Action category. A ring is set up with four spaces included for each team – two rope spaces and two ring cards. A deck of cards is shuffled, each with a value from “1” to “7”, and of six different suits (Power, Vitality, Action, Movement, Value, and Joker). Players are dealt four cards, and then the youngest player starts, with play proceeding clockwise.
On a player’s turn, they may play cards from their hand to activate one or both of their warriors on the table.
- Movement cards are added to the character’s movement stat, giving the total number of spaces that player may move. Since there are fairly few spaces on the board, this doesn’t matter much. However, if the character moves into the center space of the ring, then any opponent on a rope card can declare a charge, playing a movement card that (adding in their own movement stat) is higher than the moving character’s total. If this happens, the moving character is immediately knocked down.
- Power cards can be used to attack an adjacent opponent. They play their power card face down on the table, which is added to their power stat for a total number. The defender must either take the attack (in which case they are knocked down), or play a power card (in which case it’s likely that both characters will be knocked down), a vitality card (which if added to the vitality of the defender, is higher than the total attack – the attack misses), or a movement card (which avoids the attack by moving the character to an opposing space). Both attacking card and defending cards are played face down then revealed. Attackers win all ties.
- Action cards can be used only once a turn, unless the player has multiple actions. They are played the same as an attack with the same results – except a defender who plays a power card will automatically be knocked down.
- A player can also attack with a Value card but only if they are on a ropes card and adjacent to an opponent directly in front of them. Value numbers are usually quite hard; so while they can be defended with Vitality (not Power –an automatic knockdown), it’s usually best to avoid them with a movement card. Value cards can also be played as a “reaction,” when an opponent moves into the spot directly in front of a player on the ropes.
- Wild cards can be played as any type of card.
Whenever a character is knocked down, a pin phase occurs. Both the attacker and defender draw three additional cards to their hand. They then both play ANY card from their hand face down, with the attacker attempting to play an equal or higher numbered card (only the numbers matter). If the attacker succeeds, both cards are discarded and another round occurs. A defender needs to only win once for the pin round to immediately end; but if an attacker wins three times in a row, the defending character is eliminated from the game! Otherwise the knocked down player stands back up. A knocked down player can also stand up on their turn by playing any vitality card.
A player can have many cards in their hand (as these are the results of being pinned, etc.), but only draws up to four at the end of their turn (they may discard as many as they like beforehand). The game continues until one team is eliminated. At that point, players total the value of the characters still remaining on their team and add the values of any character their team eliminated. The player with the highest total is the winner!
Some comments on the game…
- Components: It’s a tiny deck of cards in a tiny, tiny box. This
makes it highly portable, of course; but I still removed the cards and
put them in a sturdier, easier to find plastic box. The card artwork
is enjoyable, although small – like the cards. The numbers are fairly
easy to read – with little letters near them to help if you can’t see
the colors. Some aren’t going to like the small cards, and I think the
game would have been enhanced with a larger size; but it is functional.
- Rules: I had the privilege of seeing the first draft of the rules,
and I can say that what comes with the game is light years better.
Still, the translation from Italian isn’t always easy to understand,
and the layout of the rules can be quite confusing. It is possible to
figure out (or you can read my summary instead), and really – the game
isn’t so confusing to teach. In fact, with the constant getting
knocked down and back up, it’s interesting how the mechanics of the
game really fit with the theme of the genre.
- Knockdowns: By far, the most interesting (and frequent) part of
the game is the pin phase. Players are attempting to out maneuver each
other. The defender has the advantage in that they only need to win
ONE of the three rounds; but the attacker wins ties, so they simply
need to play smart. Also, if the defender loses the second round and
the attacker has a “7” card in their hand, that’s the end of the
defending character – one must be careful not to fall in this trap.
This simultaneous selection mechanic is always a favorite of mine, and
I enjoy it quite a bit in this game with one caveat. There’s just so
much of it going on – these pin phases are happening on every turn. A
good half or more of the game is consumed by these pin phases, and I
think it’s a bit much (for the game, not the theme.)
- Tactics: Certainly there’s a chunk of luck in the game, with all
the cards that one is drawing from the deck; but it appears to even
out. Of course, a “7” in any card type is a nice thing to have –
especially for the perpetual pin phases, but it is interesting to know
what cards to play when attacking and defending. Movement is the best
way to defend; but by using up your movement cards, a player takes
reduces their maneuverability quite a bit. Using Attack cards is
invariably better than using Power cards, but the numbers on the
characters are usually lower, making the chance of success against
Vitality smaller. And is it ever worth it to step into the middle
space of the board? Look, there are no agonizing decisions to be made
here, but there is enough variety to keep it fun for people looking to
play a light game.
- Characters: I’m not sure if the characters (who seem awfully close
to real wrestler names – “Ray Hissterio”, “Jess the Snake”, “Ultimate
Eagle”) are balanced, but there are none that I would have a problem
using. Taking a creature with a high Value means that their stats are
most likely better, but they also become a huge target – especially in
multi-player games. Typical stats for the game: Hooker Nile (Power 4,
Vitality 4, Move 4, Value 6, Attack 3) and Dawn Fire (Power 6,
Vitality 4, Move 7, Value 10, Attacks 1 and 2). As you can see, the
stats aren’t THAT different, but they do cause some variety; and with
twenty choices, players should be satisfied.
- Players and Time: The game supports up to five players normally
and can go up to ten if each player only uses one character. These
larger style games can be extremely chaotic with wrestlers running
everywhere (think Royal Rumble), and I think a three-player game or
even a two-player game is the best version. Even so, I enjoy the fact
that the game ends after one elimination, keeping it short and making
every move count. WrestAngel would be quite horrific if it lasted a
long time; ending after only twenty minutes makes it quite okay.
- Theme and Fun Factor: I thought I wanted to play a silly wrestling
game, but I guess not, even though WrestAngel really does simulate
one! It will appeal with those who want to make loud noises when
attacking an opponent; those who sit enthralled by WWE each week; or
those who simply want to have a silly time when playing.
You know, other than the small cards and box, there isn’t much negative that I can say against WrestAngel – it really does deliver on the theme of “pro” wrestling, and I know that a lot of folks are going to enjoy it based on those terms. For me, however, the game was simply okay; I wasn’t that excited and felt like there were too many pin phases. But this is how I feel about pro wrestling in general, so perhaps my disdain for the “sport” has carried over to the game. Even though in WrestAngel you have a giant-winged insect fighting a minotaur, it’s a carbon copy of what I’ve seen on TV otherwise. So my recommendation is: let your feelings for professional wrestling dictate your choice about purchasing your game. They’ll probably line up neatly.
“Real men play board games”