Batman and Batgirl race through the room of requirement, desperately searching for Voldemort. In the distance, they hear a crash as someone rounds a corner coming toward them fast. Bellatrix LeStrange closing in on them, holding the Joker's oversized mallet. Strange though that seems, Batman rushes forward to incapacitate the witch, when, quite suddenly, he's knocked off his feet by... Rose Nylund from The Golden Girls? Welcome to the Funkoverse.
With Funkoverse Strategy Game, the collectible giant Funko have set their sights on a brand new realm to conquer: tabletop gaming. For two to four players, Funkoverse Strategy Game is more a system for play than a single game, giving players control of shrunken down Funko Pops (they seem just a bit bigger than half the size of a normal Pop) from a variety of exciting and surprising IPs.
Released so far are the Harry Potter Base Set (containing Harry, Hermoine, Bellatrix, and Voldemort), the DC Base Set (containing Batman, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, and Joker), the Harry Potter "Expandalone" (containing Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy), the DC Expandalone (including Robin and Catwoman), the Rick and Morty Expandalone (containing the titular Rick and Morty), and the Golden Girls Expandalone (containing Blanche and Rose). For the purposes of this review, we checked out the Harry Potter and the DC Base Sets, but we'll speak to the nature of the expandalones in a moment.
The game itself is fairly simple. It's a tactical game where each player builds a team out of these Funkoverse characters, and then face off against their opponent in any number of challenges and scenarios. On a turn, characters can take two actions: they can move, they can interact with the map (if applicable), they can help a knocked down teammate stand up, they can make a basic challenge (effectively a basic attack), they can use an item if they have one, or they can use a special ability. That's it: just move, help a buddy, or interact with the world around them. But don't mistake these for simple mechanics when in reality they're just incredibly clean mechanics.
The goal of each scenario will dictate win conditions, with different scenarios and maps included in each base set and expandalone. And whether you're playing a game of capture the flag with Draco, or area control with Harley, the mechanics of the game involve challenging your opponents through simple dice-roll-offs. I roll a number of dice equal to either a base attack or a special ability, and you roll your defense dice. If I score even one more hit than you can defend, I knock you over. If I do that again to you, I knock you off the board for a turn. But with tons of different special items and unique abilities flying around the battle grid, scoring two hits on an opponent may prove more difficult than it seems at first.
And it's in those special abilities that Funkoverse really shines. Each character has a character card with various abilities, all of which are extremely flavorful and relevant to the characters. To spend a skill, players use one of their corresponding resource tokens and put it on a cool down board, and each turn that token gets one step closer to being usable again. (A knocked out character will find themselves on the bottom spot of this board, as well). But what I really love about these abilities is how connected they are to the figures. Batman has an ability called "Grappling Swing" where he swoops in next to an enemy and gets a free attack. Harry Potter has his classic "Expelliarmus" which, you guessed it, makes a rival's item unusable for two turns. The flirty Golden Girl Blanche has a power called "Hi, Boys" which allows her to move four spaces toward a rival she can see. Simple, but evocative, these special abilities are the heart of Funkoverse, and finding clever combinations between different IPs, characters, and factions will be half the fun as this game grows.
The expandalone expansions are a clever idea, as well. Each smaller box comes with two Funkoverse figures, one game board, and the necessary tokens and items. They have everything you need to play (including extra, generic characters represented by flat tokens), but they're meant to add in to, and designed to mix well with, the base sets.
The Bottom Line
While sitting and playing Funkoverse with some friends in preparation for this article, a thought suddenly struck me. This is, essentially, a miniature skirmish war-game. It has (big-headed) miniatures moving on a grid, they have special abilities, I'm rolling dice to try to defeat my foes, and I'm vying for control of specific areas on the board. Sure, I'm not measuring their movement, and there's no 3D terrain, but this is absolutely of the same vibe. I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out which miniature skirmish game I wanted to invest in, and here was one staring at me with those big, Funko Pop beady eyes. Funkoverse Strategy Game is the gateway into tactical battle games I've been looking for. It's fast, it's fun, and you don't have to paint anything... but there's a hidden depth to this game that it's cutesy and zany premise belies, and it's obvious that it's been made by true fans of all respective IP's. And with Games Workshop coming out with a line of Warhammer 40K Funko Pops, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw the epic showdown between 40K's Space Wolves and Harry Potter's Death Eaters sooner than later.
Get This Game If:
You're looking for a deceptively deep (but easy to learn) strategy game
You're a fan of the IP's represented
You've always wanted to see Batwoman and Hermoine team up against the Golden Girls
Avoid This Game If:
You're looking for a truly heavy strategy game
Funko Pops creep you out
The copies of the Funkoverse Strategy Game used for this review were provided by Funko.