Dragon Punch is a micro card game that lasts about the same amount of time as a game of Street Fighter. In it you’ll select a move from a combination of throws, kicks, blocks and fireballs. Your opponent will do the same and you’ll compare your selections to see if anyone has landed a blow. Each move has a high and low state, speed and damage. If your attack isn’t blocked or evaded your opponent will take the damage rotating that amount of cards to their red side, all reds and you’re KO’d.
At first the game seems completely random but it’s cleverer than that, whenever you use a move you flip it over and can’t use that move again until you’ve gone through your complete repertoire (or used a reset move). And so begins a dance of manoeuvring and bluffing and trying to remember what your opponent has left. Blocks and evades are limited so using them at the right time is crucial.
If you’ve played A Game of Thrones the board game, then this is the commander mechanic distilled into a three minute punch up. It’s a seriously quick game that takes up little in the way of space and cerebral power but players who can get their heads around the different moves are going to be rewarded and will get the most satisfaction out of the game.
Did I forget to mention characters? Each player selects a character to fight with, giving them access to a unique special move. Not only do these characters add a bit of variety to proceedings they also give the game its visual flair. They’re not drastic enough to completely change the your fighting style but just enough to add some diversity.
Now I know loads of people throw the words ‘micro game’ and ‘filler’ around a lot but I really do believe that Dragon Punch is a perfect little filler game. It takes just a few minutes to play and is made up of only a handful of cards. You can keep Dragon Punch in your back pocket and whip it out if you’re waiting for that third player to turn up, you can play a game of Dragon Punch in less time that it takes to make a cup of tea!
Dragon Punch is a quick little game that manages to capture the right level of tactics and speed of an arcade beat ‘em up. It’s not terribly deep, but then it doesn’t need to be, aiming at the right level to give some strategic thinking without falling to randomness.
Dragon Punch is on Kickstarter now.
This Kickstarter review is based on a prototype version of the game provided by the publisher; the final product may look, play or smell different to that used in this preview.