The Hong Kong Book of Kung Fu! (part 1)

I like my job. One of the perks I enjoy is being able to see things before other people do, like the columns of Rick Priestley and Richard Clarke (and there are two excellent ones for the next issue). Then there’s the various review items WSS gets sent; a topic that I will return to in a future blog entry. One final perk is seeing new games, although usually only for a brief period before I have to hand them over to a reviewer!

We’ve had plenty of guest writers reviewing new games, but I decided it was high time I wrote an article for our Lets Play series; namely a review of the newly arrived A Fistful of Kung Fu from Osprey Wargames. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, I gather a group of gamers and get them to play through a game. We record our experiences and ask one of our number to write up their thoughts on the game. I like to take an active part in these games, so when it comes to editing the piece, I can judge whether a comment or critique is either justified, a mistake (we all read rules that little bit differently), or simply unfair (which is, thankfully, very rare). Obviously it is important that we write a fair and (as much as humanly possible) objective  report on any new game, so people know exactly what they are getting.

This last Friday it was time to try out A Fistful of Kung Fu. This is similar to the previously published Gods and Mortals game, but with a number of clever tweaks which make it stand apart. You’ll be able to read my review of Gods and Mortals in WSS issue 71 (forthcoming). Suffice to say, some of the local gamers who tried Gods and Mortals did not quite get on with it, but did take very well to the Kung Fu game.

We didn’t have any of the new miniatures from North Star, so we had to improvise with a selection of Yakuza (Dixon), Cops (Crossover & Foundry), Cultists (Crooked Dice & North Star), and Ninja (Crossover). Suitably armed we equipped the table with several Sarissa buildings from their excellent City Block-range (initially bought for the club for some Superhero games). And no, I did not have “Penry the mild mannered Janitor”-model or a Phooey mobile.

Initially, we were going to run it as a two player game, going for a “Cops versus Robbers”-engagement and see how that went. However, as two of our local players were without games, I offered them a chance to join in. Of course, there are immediate challenges with games when you have more players, but we overcame them all right. We simply played the game, taking it in turns clockwise, and adjusted the reaction system. In AFoKF, you have a chance to react when your opposite number fails an action. As there were four of us, we could not all react to one player’s poor rolling for activation, so we agreed to take it in turns, each player reacting in turn to a failed roll.

So how did the game play? Very well, but for that you’ll have to wait for part 2 on Wednesday!

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