“Two squads of severed hands fighting each other in a battle of life and death” feels like a top tier idea for a game crowdfunded so close to Halloween. Jokes aside, RoShamBo really lets you control a team of hands placed in rows of a certain, fantastical battlefield, ready to unleash their techniques to outsmart and defeat their opponents.
When we first heard about this game, the idea looked nothing short of insane, but the more we’ve learnt about it, the more intriguing it started to sound. What’s RoShamBo, how does it play and is it actually fun? Let us introduce you to the game.
What Do We Have Here?
RoShamBo is the first game designed by the duo of Alexis and Edgar Guevara – two brothers with a huge passion for tabletop games. The game is played by 2 players on a 6×6 board divided into squares – Chess style. Players can choose between a classic board or a more stylized one with a realistic looking battleground.
Each of you takes control of 6 hand shaped figures: 2 rocks, 2 papers and like you’re probably expecting: 2 scissors. RoShamBo also uses a pair of dice, some tokens and two decks of cards representing artifacts that affect gameplay in a major way. When setting up the game: pieces get placed on each player’s lowest row – Chess style.
The Battle Begins
The starting player is decided through a good old Rock, Paper, Scissors match and then both of you take turns alternately.
Before making any moves you start a turn by rolling a set of 2 dice and determining the coordinates where an artifact token gets placed. Next: a player can make 2 moves through the board. Pieces can traverse one square each move but diagonal movement is not allowed. It’s also possible to move backwards as long as the location is unoccupied. Additionally: if you land on a square with an artifact token – you can get a corresponding card (more on these later).
Hand to Hand Combat
To win in RoShamBo you have to defeat all pieces belonging to your enemy. To achieve that combat is unavoidable. Attacking enemy units is as simple as standing directly next to them and announcing your intentions. When this occurs, players get an amount of dice related to the figures fighting.
Like in Rock, Paper, Scissors each piece is weak to a certain type of piece and strong against another. The player with the dominating piece gets 2 dice, the one with a weak one gets 1 and if they’re the same – both get 1 die.
When fighting, you both roll your dice. Whoever gets a higher result – becomes the winner. While the battles are quite random – the stronger piece always has much higher chance at winning. The randomness however can be countered with artifact cards that you’ve managed to collect.
The artifacts are divided into 2 types: immediate and passive. When you collect an artifact token, you draw 2 cards of the corresponding type, choose one of them and pass the other to the second player. The hand limit is 2 immediate cards and 1 passive card so using the cards as often as possible sounds like a good idea. Especially considering how much they change the entire game.
Immediate artifact cards have instant effects and can be played during your turn, unless they say otherwise. What can you achieve with these? For example: some cards allow teleporting your units to a completely different place on the board. Others let you swap 2 units or perform a diagonal move which is normally against the rules.
Passive artifact cards have long lasting effects and you can have 2 of these activated in front of you at a time. They can increase damage dealt with dice, add defense to your rolls or even grant an additional move during your turns.
RoShamBo on Kickstarter
RoShamBo manages to merge 2 well known classic games with a modern card game and it results in a great piece of entertainment. The passive and active card system helps with balancing out the game and makes it rely less on random rolls. It also makes RoShamBo full of surprises and tons upon tons of discoverable combos that can lead to crushing your opponent. The gameplay itself is fast paced and a lot of fun, especially considering its spooky artstyle perfect for this season.