In Beatdown: Streets of Justice, you play as a team of superheroes who work together to defeat several enemies and then a boss. A co-operative game that plays 1-4 players, this game will surely be a delight to any superhero comic book fans.
In Beatdown, the players win by defeating the boss. The game is usually played in 3 waves: 2 waves of grunts, and a final boss fight. The enemies win by killing all of the heroes. A turn consists of rolling a die. If this die roll exceeds a certain number, then that player can play a card from their hand or from the top of a shared deck. They can do this as many times as they want: however, each additional card must cover up half of the card that was previously played. Also, depending on the face-up symbols on the cards, the die roll needed to succeed gets successively higher.
If you fail the die roll, your hero gets counter-attacked. Also, once all the heroes have went, the enemies each have a turn to attack and deal damage to the heroes. If you roll a “10” on the ten-sided die, then your hero lands a critical hit and can draw loot used to upgrade one of your heroes. At any time, the player can choose to end their combo. Thus, there is a bit of push-your-luck involved since you want to deal as much damage as possible, but don’t want to get counter-attacked.
Tyler: I thoroughly enjoyed my first time playing this game. The artwork was phenomenal and highly entertaining, and I congratulate the artists on evoking nostalgia for old childhood comic books. After finishing, I found myself wanting to play a second time with more players on a higher level boss than before (having played with the Tutorial boss the first time around). This highlights both strengths and weaknesses for the game.The game boasts significant strengths in the enjoyability of play. This is one of the better cooperative games I’ve played in its ability to induce unity amongst the players, likely because of the very visual nature of the common (and comical) enemies. Further, the game provides a “push your luck” element combined with the strategy of playing your hand that is highly satisfying. Looking forward, it is also of note that you never have to play the same game of Beatdown twice; with several bosses, a random element of enemies, tools, and player special abilities, the game ensures a unique twist with every play.An easily identifiable weakness of the game is the immense learning curve that comes with first time play. Throughout gameplay I found myself worrying I was making poor strategy decisions, more so than with other games upon first play, and by the time we had finished, I was wanting to play again with a better understanding of the gameplay and successful strategy. Although the rulebook is well-written and fairly clear, the game is complicated by its nature, and many new players without the stamina for complexity seasoned board gamers typically have might find the learning curve a bit daunting. The difficulty of understanding the rules in a timely fashion, or that of understanding strategy without having played through at least once has the potential to create a significant gap between an experienced player and a newcomer, should someone who owns this game want to introduce a friend to it; however, the severity of this downfall is mitigated immensely by the cooperative nature of the game. I look forward to future rounds of Beatdown. It’s hard to imagine this as a game one would tire of easily, given the structural changes that a different setup at the beginning of the game would induce. While I wouldn’t choose this game as my first pick for a group of friends who don’t play a lot of board games, I would assuredly recommend it to anyone looking for a new lighthearted yet strategically based cooperative game. 7.9/10
Jorge: I really enjoyed the first wave of enemies, but found that the game quickly started to drag. We quickly looped through the main deck and the loot deck, and so the main combat mechanics seemed to be a bit too repetitive for me. The boss fight ended up being anti-climatic: the boss seemed to be weaker than some of the grunts despite having an insanely high amount of health. It felt unnecessary to actually play it out, since as soon as the boss fight began we knew that we were certain to win. Part of the reason that we were in such great shape by the time of the boss fight is due to the fact that players can cash in defeated enemies for 7 health. For that reason, we were all pretty much at full health after each round. For this reason, I think that enemy waves should be removed from the game, and the players should start off by fighting the boss. It would also be interesting if there was more of a resource management aspect to the game. It felt like there was no reason not to play all the cards from your hand if you could, since you’d just draw back up to 3 (and the deck would be re-shuffled if empty). For such a battle of attrition, it seemed like a missed opportunity to incorporate a mechanic of permanently removing cards from the deck for some kind of short-term bonus. The rules could also use a lot of work- the main issue was a lack of diagrams that most other rulebooks have (set-up diagrams, card dissections, a visual example of a combo, etc.). The rulebook directs you online, and out of frustration, we did so. Unfortunately, the online rulebook was even harder to understand than the physical one. Despite the fact that I am highly critical of these aspects of the game, I also thought that there were some highly unique and engaging elements of the game as well. Most notably, this game combines push-your-luck and co-operative mechanics very well, creating a game where there was limited alpha-player syndrome due to hidden information and a healthy dose of luck. Our group overall enjoyed the game, and it would be a great fit for anyone who is a fan of the theme or co-operative games.
Who is your favorite super hero? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!