A Fistful of Kung Fu Review
Publishers anotation: A Fistful of Kung Fu brings the hyper-kinetic, bullet-spraying, demon-slaying, kung-fu-fighting action of Hong Kong movies and Asian cinema to the wargames tabletop. In a modern world walking a precarious line between the advances of next-generation technology and the tradition and mysticism of ancient cultures, Kung Fu schools face off in no-holds-barred tournaments, corporations hire agents and spies to steal each other's secrets, overworked SWAT teams respond to gunfights between feuding Triad and Yakuza clans, and ancient artefacts are sought by hopping vampires, demon sorcerers and cyborgs alike. Combining the gunfights of John Woo's Hard Boiled, the hand-to-hand combat of Enter the Dragon, the sheer mystical weirdness of Big Trouble in Little China, the wuxia action of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and everything in-between, A Fistful of Kung Fu is a skirmish wargame unlike any other.
I have found AFOKF quite recently. When my brother and I started looking at Osprey Wargames, I have felt tempted by the immage of action movie on the tabletop. I have read several reviews and started considering the game. So I have bought the PDF and started reading.
The book is written in the same style as other OWG, such as Lion Rampant or Ronin. 66 pages including reference sheet and ilustrations (which are very characterful with the rules). The basic game mechanic is based on Song of Blades and Heroes. I have personally never played SoBH but I found the mechanic amazingly cool. Every model has two stats: Quality and Combat. At the beginning of each models activation, the player chooses to roll 1-3 dice for the character. Every die that rolls equal or more then the models Quality means success and gives him one action to take. The failure provides reactions to the opponents Protagonist. Two fails mean that your turn is over.
What I like on this system is that you decide how much do you want to risk. At the beginning of your turn you have to consider what do you want to achieve and activate carefully models to achieve it. When it's done, you just try your luck with other models. If you roll three actions, good for you, if you roll a turnover... you have accomplished what you needed so what's the fuzz.
Absolutelly the best asset of the game is the way to build your gangs. All the characters in the game has the same stats based on three levels:
Protagonist - your action movie hero! The guy is the major force on the table and everything is just build around him. You have one in your list and he is badass!
Bruiser - sidekick to your hero. Little better then an extra. You can also only have one but bruiser is not mandatory.
Extra - Mooks. You can have up to 14 of them and they die like flies. Their job is to fulfill objectives (like search the room, capture someone or so) and to keep opponents Protagonist busy killing them (which is quite easy task).
Ultimatelly there will always be a fight between the Protagonists.
Now to the best thing. All of these "roles" have their stats. But then there are the Traits. Traits allows absolute customization of your characters. Each Trait has a point cost and you can buy certain amount of points to each of your character. Traits can be weapons or equipment such as guns and armour or it can be spells or characteristic attributes of the character, like acrobat. In this system you are able to customize everything you think can be interesting on the table.
If this would be a videogame, I would have put huge red text on the cover that say: Interactive Environment. The game works with the location where the fight takes place pretty nicely. When fighting in a bar you can use furniture as an improvised weapons, throw bottles of booze, throw your opponent out of the window and so much more. Sky is the limit.
I really like the action movies and this game is fulfilling everything you can see in those. A Fistful of Kung Fu really brings action movies to your tabletop in a blazing glory. Thank you Osprey Wargames.
Thanks for reading.