Let me start by requesting that my readers go check out a quick start tutorial video so that you are caught up on the rules, as the rules are extensive. Don’t worry, I’ll wait…
*Cue the Jeopardy music.*
…Alright, did you study up? Good.
I’ll be honest I am not a large fan of fighting card games or living card games, but this was actually really fun. I have a few Level 99 games and I will say that they just get how to do fighting games. Off hand I can think of two in particular that I’ve played in their fighting genre that are also pretty great and those are Sellswords (very similar to Triple Triad from Final Fantasy 8) and Disc Duelers (it’s like RPG Battle Pogs), which has sadly been discontinued. I am terrible at both of those games, but I held my own well in Exceed.
The artwork in Exceed is beautiful, however, it does have that typical big breasted women look which has always been a turn off in board/card games to me. It just gets old seeing it everywhere. I do like that this fighting systems art differed from the style of Pixel Tactics, Sellswords, and Disc Duelers. The character cards in Exceed are incredibly detailed and the normal attack cards have this great water-color look which is phenomenal.
The cards are good quality, but the box and rules bothered me. I don’t like the idea of a game box that opens at the end, but honestly I may just be spoiled by all these great board game boxes and clamshell card games. The rules fold out open, which wouldn’t be terrible if they weren’t so massive. I just wish the rules came in a booklet style. Other than that the rules are well written, however, I was confused on when to use Boosts. Boosts are actions listed on some of the cards and the rules explain how they play out, but didn’t clarify whether or not they could be played during a Strike. I later received clarification on this from Mr. Talton Jr from Level 99 Games, whom is a really nice guy by the way. I informed Mr. Talton that I hadn’t used Boosts during my first few playthroughs and his reply was great:
“Boosts generally start to come into play once you have the fundamentals down and understand the matchup against your opponent. They allow you to get around the normal “X beats Y” flow of play, but that requires a solid understanding of the Normals and their relationships. A lot of depth that experienced players will find in the game is through the use of these boosts to alter the ordinary attack relationships. :)” – D. Brad Talton Jr, Level 99 Games.
The characters in the game really bring heart to fight, they all have their own things they focus on. For example in box one of Red Horizon you have Reese, Heidi, Nehtali, and Vincent. Nehtali focuses on the use of Gauge, these are cards that are set aside after Striking. These cards are used to essentially pay for attacks. Nehtali had some of the most powerful natural attacks and widest range of any of the eight characters I got to play as. Vincent focused heavily on movement and close ranged attacks. Heidi focused on Boost abilities and Reese focused on gaining the Advantage.
This is a great two player fighting game and I really enjoyed it, it will definitely be in rotation with my husband and I. It reminded me a great deal of Brawl by Cheapass Games and while Brawl is much easier and faster… Exceed has much more depth and with so many characters all focusing on different things it has way better replayability. I am hoping for a better box and rule set up, but at this point I’m just being picky. Looking at games that are strictly two player, it’s in my top five for sure.
I highly recommend checking out Exceed on Level 99’s site, there is print and play version so you can try before you buy, tutorial videos, and information on Seasons 1 and 2 of Exceed.
Please remember to check the links I’ve inserted by clicking on the highlighted words. So how’d I do guys? Let me know! And until next time… Live by the Board.