Theme is often a big attraction for a game to attract players. Too often it often feels slapped on by game creators as an excuse for clever and innovative mechanics to work.
That’s certainly not the case with ScrumBrawl, published by VicTim Games, which is essentially made up of Tim Bugher and Victor Moyer.
Scrumbrawl, according to the rulebook, is a sport where fantastic creatures vie for supremacy within the arena, scoring goals by maneuvering various orbs into portals set within the arena or fighting other creatures to the death to prevent them from reaching the portals.
Doing either of those things will earn a scoring chip. The first player to earn three of those chips is the winner, but at least one of those chips needs to be earned by putting an orb through a portal. Just having your creatures destroy three creatures of your opponent won’t get it done.
The arena is represented by a 20 x 20 square grid playing board. By using a pair of 20-sided dice, the portal, the orb and the creatures are randomly put on the board. The creatures are represented on cards, which are randomly drawn into players’ hands, played and then put on the grid. Each creatures is rated in seven different categories, which control how well the creature fights, its mobility along with its ability to throw and catch the orb. Most also have a special ability.
There are even different orbs that are picked randomly with characteristics that alter a player’s strategy.
When the game was originally planned, the time it took to play was an issue that needed to be solved. “
“The average playing time is usually just less than an hour,” said Bugher. “We have had some games go as long as 1.5 hours but that is rare. There are multiple ways to play the game though and some ways take longer than others. Generally with two players we recommend playing with one orb and one portal. With 3-4 players we recommend playing with two orbs and two portals. With four players we prefer to play with teams.”