Dale Yu – Essen Preview of Kung Fu

Kung Fu

  • Designer: Zong-Hua Yang (Bob)
  • Publisher: Good Game Studio
  • Players: 2-5
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Review copy provided by Good Game / Taiwan Boardgame Design

Kung Fu is a super colorful game which arises out of a mostly black and white box. It is one of those rare creatures which is designed and illustrated by the same person. (Well, at least that’s what it says on BGG). From the publisher (rulebook):

Tai-Chi, Wu-Dang, Wing-Chun, Shao-Lin, and all those spectacular Kung Fu factions gather together today. Will you be the last one standing to claim the title of Kung Fu Master?

Kung Fu is a dice-driven card game for 2-5 players to compete for the title of Kung Fu Master. After drafting 10 Kung Fu cards and adjusting the initial status, each player will play 3 cards from their hand simultaneously for each round. Based on the overall initiative values, players will take turns to be the attacker while all the others must defend for themselves. During the fight, each player rolls their own 7 dice and assign them in sets to activate their three Kung Fu cards to attack or defend.

The game ends when there is only one player standing, or after three rounds, the player with the most HP remaining wins!

In the game, each player gets their own player board- On this is a picture of a fighter but more importantly, the 5 attribute tracks: HP, ATK, DEF, HIT, AVO. The player puts a marker on the leftmost spot of each to start the game. The game starts with a drafting phase where players start with a hand of 10 cards, keep one and pass them.

Once each player has drafted their ten cards, the attributes seen in the upper left of the cards are summed up and the stats on the player board are accordingly adjusted. Each player then starts at the base Hit Point space on the track (and adds any extra HPs that come from the drafted cards).

Now that drafting is done, the game moves into the Fighting phase – here there will be a maximum of three rounds. In each round, all players secretly and simultaneously choose 3 cards from their hand and then display them face up in front of them. Initative is calculated, and the lowest Initative total is the first attacker. All non-attackers are considered Defenders.

In a fight, all players roll their 7 dice, and then all players simultaneously use their rolled results and assign them to their 3 cards. The goal here is to assign appropriate dice to each card in order to activate it. The combination needed for each card is show just above the bar at the bottom that shows the action. A card can be activated multiple times, but it must have a valid combination of dice played to it for each activation. Attackers can spend HIT points from their board to modify their dice +/- 1. Defenders can spend AVO points from their board to modify dice +/- 1.

Now the player calculates their ATK value which is the sum of their base value from their player board added to the ATK provided by any activated cards. This is the value that attacks ALL the defenders. Each defender now calculates their DEF value (adding their board value to their activated cards). If ATK>DEF, the defender loses hit points equal to the difference. If the hit points hit zero, that defender is eliminated. Each defender calculates their possible damage separately.

When that attack is over, the player with the next lowest initative value becomes the attacker, and all other players defend against him by rolling dice, assigning dice, and the resolving the fight individually. When all players have had a turn at being the Attacker, the round of Fighting is over. If there is only one player left, that player wins. Otherwise, all remaining players choose three new cards from their hand and a Second round of Fighting occurs. When that is done, if needed, a third and final round of Fighting happens.

If there is a sole survivor at any point, that person wins. Otherwise, the player with the most hit points left after three hard rounds of fighting is the winner. There are no tiebreaker rules.

Kung Fu is an interesting mix of drafting and then tactical dice play in the second phase (though you still have to use some skill in picking the right cards to work with each other in the Fighting rounds). I’ll admit that I’m still not quite sure yet what the best strategy is in drafting – I normally don’t care too much about initiative in the first two rounds as I’m not worried about whether I get hit first or whether I dole out damage. I try to find cards that either have a good effect or have a varying die need from my other cards. There are a few cards which can take any die, and a few which need no dice at all – these are nice to help you have some sort of outlet with your roll. Additionally, I do have a liking of the AVO skill as it gives a lot more flexibility on defense, and you spend much more time on the defensive here than on offense. In short, it’s really hard to know what is the “best” card to take, so I don’t sweat it too much.

The artwork on the cards is an appealing sort of pencil drawn/paintbrushed line art. I like it very much. Though it is small, here is the reference from the rules with all the different pics:

The game plays quickly, and it feels like it might take longer to explain the game and the cards than it does to play! If I were going to make this a super quick filler, I might even be OK with simply dealing out a bunch of cards and jumping right into the fighting. But, as written, it’s a fun battle royale, and one that might cause me to make weird Bruce Lee squealing noises in the middle of the game room

Until your next appointment

The Gaming Doctor

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
This entry was posted in Essen 2019, Preview. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dale Yu – Essen Preview of Kung Fu

  1. boardgamelab says:

    Hi, Dale,

    Thanks for the review! I’ve included Bob in this email.

    See you next week!

  2. Pingback: Dale Yu – Essen Preview of Kung Fu – Herman Watts

Leave a Reply