Sunday, June 5, 2016

TKO - a light boxing game that still delivers

TKO was one of the surprises for me in the pack of games. I was interested in trying it out but I had very low expectations for the game. After all, it is basically rock paper scissors with a boxing theme slapped over it.
You get a stable of eight boxers in the game, each one built out of six cards. Every boxer has four meters, for high and low punches and high and low blocks. Every time they successfully pull off a move, they get a point in that meter. Five points in any given meter, you win that round.

Both players get a card that shows the four moves. You secretly pinch one of them and then reveal. Unblock punches earn points and successfully blocking punches earns points.

I have to admit that I'm used to fighting games keeping track of damage, not keeping track of technical points. However, it does work with TKO and it makes successfully blocking just as valid a strategy as punching away.

Each of the fighters starts with one or two points in the meters, giving them an edge up in that particular move. Of course, that also means that you can watch your opponents thinking that you will be going for that move. Makes the bluffing more interesting.

Let's be honest, TKO is a very light, very simple game. Most of the games in the Pack O Game games push the limits of what you can do with the medium. Even FLY, which is even simpler than TKO has an interesting scoring system, particularly for a game about dropping cards. 

Bluffing and rock-paper-scissors? That's been done before. Pico 2, R, Love Letter, Coup, they've all covered this ground and done it very well. Heck, Cosmic Coasters literally uses rock-paper-scissors for science fiction combat back in 2001. TKO isn't breaking any new ground.

But here's the thing. We've had a lot of fun playing TKO. When we've gotten the little one to bed and we are exhausted and half brain dead, TKO is a nice way to blow off some steam and decompress. 

TKO isn't a great game. It's a very light and fluffy game with all the decisions being built around mind games. And I will admit that it suits our circumstances right now. But when we keep on having fun playing a game, that's a big thumb's up for it.

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