Review: Kung Fu Fighting

by Tonya Foust

Martial Arts Brawling, Hong Kong Cinema Style

I was perusing the dealer's room at Origins this year, when a couple of the people from SlugFest Games leaped out to show me one of their products, Kung Fu Fighting. I found the use of a "Kung Fu" dancing hamster to be a useful tool in getting people's attention. It was apropriate to the game concept and useful in it's purpose - getting people to notice the game. The cover (shown below) has a "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" feel to it. At least I thought so.

Kung Fu Fighting box cover

This game is rather straight forward and is designed for 2-6 players ages 10 and up *. I played a quick demo with the people from the game company and then later played with a friend of mine. Kung Fu Fighting is a card game, and it's deck consists of Attack cards, Attack Enhancement cards, Defense Cards, Weapon cards, Stance cards, and Chi Recovery Cards. Each player starts with 6 cards being dealt out to them. Each player also has a character card in from of them to help keep track of their remaining Chi and what Weapon and Stance they currently have (if any). The goal of the game is simple - be the last fighter standing - the last player with Chi.

Kung Fu Fighting player board

To begin play, the player to the left of the dealer has the option of discarding as many cards as they wish and then drawing back up to a seven card hand. The player can then attack one of the other players by choosing an Attack card and as many Attack Enhancements as desired against their chosen target. The cards determine the severity of the attack based upon the values listed. Some combinations looked to be pretty nasty. The player that is being attacked has the opportunity to block or defend themselves against this attack. If they are able to block then they do not lose any Chi. If they can only defend, they lose an amount of Chi equal to the difference between their defense and the attacker offense.

Once the player's attack is completed, they have the option of placing a Weapon and/or a Stance into play (placing them on their player card). At this point the player's turn ends and play continues clockwise around the table and continues until only one fighter remains

Kung Fu Fighting cards

Realistically, this game should probably be played by more than two players. Since it is a turn-based game, with more players you get a better feel for the action. However, the game has the potential to become a "blood-in-the-water" game where the first person to take damage continues to be attacked until they are eliminated. Despite this potential, the game is very well laid out. The instructions are clear and concise, with well written examples that make it easy for first-time players to pick the game up and play.

I do think that the game needs a bit more balance in the card distribution. Of the 99 cards, there were only 6 Chi Restoration cards and 1 combination attack. With the prevelence of Attack cards in the deck, the Weapons are really only practical for defense. However, the Attack cards combined with the Attack Enhancement cards make for some interesting and often funny combinations. I found myself picturing the old Kung Fu movies in my head as we described the attacks.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend this game. It is fun to play and with a little tweaking, or maybe house rules, you will get many hours of enjoyment out of it.

*: Kung Fu Fighting game box

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