With my tabletop gaming, I tend to very much gravitate in certain circles; more thematic, yet strategic board games tend to be the games I’m most interested in, which means those are the ones I tend to hear and get excited about most often. So slightly different genres or formats of game can often escape my notice; miniatures game Rumbleslam is a perfect case in point.

Though it’s been out for a few years, this fast-paced, fantasy/wrestling mashup flew entirely under the radar for me – yet it was clear that it ticked all of my boxes. Easy to learn and teach? Check. Bright and appealingly colourful aesthetic? Check. Highly thematic? Also check.

Board game fans do need to know a few caveats, though. These are common to pretty much all miniatures games, so it’s not as if Rumbleslam is unique with these words of caution to be aware of before diving into the ring. You’ll need to cut and file down bits of excess plastic on the included wrestlers yourself, and painting them is quite a time-consuming – albeit somewhat zen – and potentially expensive hobby all on its own, as well as the fact that, to get the most out of the game, you’ll likely need to go beyond what’s included in the Starter Box.

Yet what is included in the Starter Box actually gives a fairly complete, genuinely fun experience in its own right, especially for how much it costs in comparison to other miniatures games. The ten included models are beautifully designed and produced, their accompanying character cards all shown the same love and attention from the graphics design team as the rest of the game. The other accessories – including a mouse mat-style neoprene wrestling ring, along with tokens, player aid cards and custom dice – are just as consistent in terms of the high production values and excellent design. The acrylic, coloured, shaped tokens are a highlight amongst the already excellent components, though be warned, especially if you’re playing with kids: some of them do have fairly sharp edges. The included rulebook (which costs a tenner on its own if purchased outside the Starter Box) is well laid out, nicely written and even contains some excellent, very amusing lore to set the scene for the game’s action.

The game itself sees players taking their own team of wrestlers into the ring, with the objective of taking out their opponents using their various special moves, with a variety of environmental or situational options too. It’s all very luck based, with rolls of the custom dice determining hits, damage and defence, but there’s definitely a decent amount of strategy in knowing who to move next and how best to utilise their specific moveset.

Games tend to last around 30-45 minutes (unless you’re going crazy with the value of wrestlers allowed to compete, in which case: set aside a few hours!) and don’t require any complicated set-up or reams of rules to memorise, with most useful information being on the character cards and player aid cards that each player will have in front of them. These are an absolute godsend for games such as Rumbleslam and they’re incredibly handy to have; it’s another great example of the thought that’s gone into the game’s design and production.

Though not the most strategy-heavy game in the world (to say the least), Rumbleslam does what it sets out to do beautifully: it’s an engaging, fast-paced, simple experience that can be taught and played by just about anyone of any age. The 80s-style wrestling theme, coupled with over the top fantasy characters and their own signature special moves – and a very tongue-in-cheek style with the game not taking itself too seriously – makes it an awful lot of fun, without breaking the bank in getting yourself enough for a full game experience – unlike many miniatures games on the market. There are a number of excellent additions to the Starter Box, however, available directly from publisher TTCombat – such as a deluxe, MDF wrestling ring that even has storage for game components and figures – that you’ll perhaps want to invest in after a few bouts against friends and family. Excellent stuff.

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