When I was in high school my friends and I would go to the movies once a week. We always tried to arrive at the theatre a half an hour early with a pocket full of quarters because they had a Street Fighter II cabinet. I still remember playing the game with my friends. Jeff typically chose E. Honda, Lynn took Chun Li, I floated from character to character but played a lot of Ken, mostly because I figured out how to use the Hadoken, or fireball. I can still remember watching over Jeff’s shoulder as he beat Bison, the first of us to do it. To say the least, I have fond memories of Street Fighter II.
That’s why I was very excited to learn that Angry Joe and Jasco Games were producing a Street Fighter board game. To be fair there are a lot of games out there that recreate the Street Fighter experience, Battlecon, Yomi, Way of the Fighter, and VS. When I heard about this, I thought it was going to be something similar, however I was still excited about that. I was also wrong.
Before I go further, I need to point out that this article is based on game play videos, interviews, and Kickstarter materials I’ve viewed online. I’ve had no contact with the game so some of what I say might be a little off. If so, please comment so I can make the necessary edits.
Street Fighter: The Miniatures Game is unlike any of these. Several of these games feature a board, and the ones that do, focus on the two dimensional line that early fighting games, and many of the more recent ones, focus on. The characters can move forward and backward but are stuck in that line of movement. Street Fighter: The Miniatures Game opens this up by including a stage map. The characters in this game can roam in any direction. They’re able to circle around and side step. It sounds like a little thing, but opens a series of strategic options. With the addition of destructible terrain placement is made even more important. In fact, I’m hoping one of the stretch goals is taking a page from the Mortal Kombat and Injustice play book and make interactive terrain that can affect the match.
The rules are simple and available on the Kickstarter page, I recommend checking them out. A player’s turn is three easy steps: Draw, Move, and Fight. For draw, every character comes with a custom deck that represents everything they can do. The decks are built around each character, giving them the feel and identity that fans can recognize, from Honda’s Hundred Hand Slap to Chun Li’s ability to wall kick. Things you will recognize are there. Move, every character has a speed, some are faster than others, and they get to move a number of spaces up to their speed. Fight is taking two actions which can be anything from drawing more cards or playing an attack. Attacking is a simple matter of playing a card face down and having your opponent decide how they want to try and block it. They can either play a card from their hand or use the standard block. After that dice are rolled and hits are tallied. The turn changes hands and the game continues.
With a few flares and differences, I think I’ve basically just taught you the game. This is one of the strengths of this game. It’s simple but there is a depth there. What cards do you use, what is your opponent playing against you, do you have enough cards to defend yourself, and when do you play your big attacks? The questions take what could be a simple button masher and make it into what could be a strategic master piece.
At this point I have addressed most of the games title. I’ve talked about Street Fighter, I’ve talked about the game. Now, let’s talk about the miniatures. They put it in the title, they must have thought them important. In this day when you have companies like CMON, Ninja Division, and Steamforged elevating the meaning of a miniatures game to an art form when you put the word miniatures in your games title you better be ready to do some work. From the images I’ve seen, Street Fighter is going to be in very good company. Using a mixture of solid and translucent plastics the fully painted figures are beautiful. Each piece I’ve seen conveys the characters and fills them with movement and personality. Even Zangief, the most static of the poses, looks like he’s about to grab someone and fold them in unnatural ways. As a hobby painter I’m a little disappointed that the models are fully painted. Of course, every time I think that I look across the room at all of the still unpainted minis I have now and realize I should probably be okay with this one.
There are several different modes in the game as of now as well. 1v1, teams, free-for-all, and boss mode. Each of the modes looks well fleshed out and play tested. I’m impressed how the characters seem to work equally well in each mode. Balancing across multiple modes is something that historically is very difficult. I hope they succeeded at it. I’m looking forward to boss mode. I want to use the one versus many to take Bison out and slap my friends around while chucking out all the best quotes. Special gems like, “It was just a Tuesday,” and, “Keep your god. In fact now would be a good time to prey to him.” I anticipate trash talking an awful lot in this game.
The last thing I’m going to touch on here is what I think makes a good game great. Right now I think Street Fighter looks like a good game. I think it has the potential to be great. What makes a good game great is how it captures your imagination. Be it through storytelling, epic moments, stand at the table dice rolls, and the feeling of a hard fought victory. Street Fighter feels like it could be one of these. I’m already looking at the free-for-all mode with an eye towards modification. I think you can turn that into an epic convention and game club experience by turning it into a Royal Rumble/Battle Royal style match. The mode handles six players, but if you play it that once one player is eliminated, you bring in another player with a fresh character. Rinse and repeat until you run out of people or time. With the number of characters that have been unlocked so far, you could probably do this all day and never use the same person twice. It’s enough to make me wonder when Dan shows up.
There’s other things to talk about. I’ve heard they have the rights to Mortal Kombat and are negotiating with other properties. Who could they be? Will we see older games like Dark Stalkers, newer games like Guilty Gear, or out of the box choices like Arms? Will the game feature some of the bonus stages? Will Mikhail Gorbachev make an appearance? So many more questions this could be a ten part series.
There you go folks. My thoughts on Street Fighter: The Miniatures Game. I’m optimistic but cautious. At the time I write this they are well funded and nearing one million dollars with just under three weeks to go. It looks to be moving along well and all of the people involved have shown real passion and love for the project.
Leave a comment below and let me hear what you think of the project. What other properties would you like to see them tackle? Are there any nonfighting games you’d like to see them bring into this? Show of hands for Mario. Personally I’d love to see Teken or Soul Calibur. Could they get the rights to Injustice or Marvel vs Capcom?
If you get a chance check, out the Kickstarter, Angry Joe Show on YouTube, and Jasco games. If you do let them know Meeple Gamers sent you. See you later. I’m gonna go punch a car.