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Dragon Punch

December 17th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

I played a LOT of “Street Fighter 2” back when arcades were still very much happening.  I’m not going to claim that I was the best, but I had a pretty mean jump kick/sweep combo when playing as Ryu.  “Dragon Punch”, a tiny fighting game that’s coming early 2016, reminds me a lot of the aforementioned game.  Here, two players will be duking it out with different character and move cards to determine the victor.  Before I get started, I’d like to thank the folks at Level 99 Games for sending me a pre-release copy.


Dragon Punch



The game includes 12 basic cards, 5 character cards, and a rule book.

Setup & Gameplay

Each player will choose a character and receive the same set of six basic cards.  Whichever player recently lost a game (any game) gets to go first.  All basic cards start white-move up, while character cards can start in any orientation as they’ll be changing throughout the game.

The game plays over a series of turns and each turn has four steps:

1. Both players choose a card, move it to the front of their hand, and reveal it simultaneously.

2. The cards are compared to see which attacks are successful.  There are attack, block, and evade icons on these cards that determine successful attacks.  If both players successfully attack (because neither player blocked or evaded), only the quickest player is successful.  This is determined by initiative & execution time.  In the event of a tie, both attacks succeed.

3. Player take damage if there were successful attacks.  A player’s health is equal to the number of white-side-up cards.  Any player taking damage will flip a number of white-side-up cards to red-side-up, equal to the damage dealt.  When a player’s cards are all red-side-up, they are defeated.  Used cards this turns are flipped to the back of their hand so that their opponent can see it and can only be used again when unflipped via a taunt card.

4. Update initiative.  Certain cards grant initiative on a successful attack or block, lasting one turn (the next card played).  Initiative only comes into play when breaking ties during the second step.

The first player to win two rounds, wins the game!

Editor’s Note: The above doesn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but should give you an idea as to how the game is played.

The Review

“Dragon Punch” introduces some interesting gameplay mechanics that I certainly wouldn’t have minded seeing while playing “Street Fighter 2” in the arcade.  There’s always that one guy that spams the same move over and over again and unless you’re well-versed in counters, you’ll often leave the game frustrated.  I like how “Dragon Punch” makes a move unavailable after you use it and further, you can only get it back by playing a vulnerable taunt move.  I also like how moves change as they are flipped from their white to red side, allowing a player to become more fierce or dangerous as they take damage.

One thing I didn’t like is that both decks have the same colored backs.  For ease of dividing the basic cards between both players, it would have been nice if the backs were two different colors. There’s also only six basic cards per player, making a player’s options rather limiting.  The upside to this is that you can usually knock out a game within minutes, meaning you can’t take it just about anywhere.  This game puts an emphasis on mind games and timing…that is, trying to predict what your opponent will play next.  While I do like the fact that each character has a different ability, I would like to see more content added to the game at some point to give it more variety.

The game itself all fits in a sort of tri-fold wallet, making it easy to tote around.  There’s also a few variants listed in the rule book should you want to try something different.  All in all, not a bad game…though it could have used more content to provide players with more moves/options.  According to the email I received from Level 99 Games, “Dragon Punch” should be available to the public sometime in January, 2016.

Final Verdict: 6/10


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