There's a certain fun silliness to the chop-sockey karate movies, with their physics-defying maneuvers, varied fighting styles, and powerful attacks. The feel of these flicks is captured in Kung Fu Fighting, a simple and enjoyable card game from Slugfest Games.

The goal of Kung Fu Fighting is very simple: Be the last fighter standing. Each fighter starts with a Player Template with 20 Chi (think hit points), plus a space for one Weapon and one Stance. Each player starts with seven cards, and can discard and draw back to seven at the start of their turn. On their turn they can play and/or discard a Stance, play and/or discard a Weapon, play cards to regain lost Chi, and, most importantly, make an attack against an opponent. An attack can be made with an attack card (the most common are "Punch!" and "Kick!") and a player can defend with a card that reduces damage or ignores the attack. Some weapons give a bonus to defense or are discarded after use; some attacks make a player discard a Weapon or Stance; Stances give a bonus to some Modifiers and attack types, plus have bonuses against one other Stance; and one or multiple non-identical modifiers (like "Spinning!" or "Running Up the Wall!") can be added to an attack to increase its damage. If an opponent's Chi is reduced to zero by an attack, they're knocked out and gone from the game.

It's appropriate that Kung Fu Fighting is from Slugfest Games, because this game is a slugfest: attack, block, and knock out your opponent before they do the same to you. Like the karate movies this is based on (the subtitle in the rules is "Martial Arts Brawling Hong Kong China Style!") it's ridiculous and fun. Every card name ends in an exclamation point, and while many are straightforward blocks and attacks, some have more flamboyant names: "When Done Right, None Can Defend!" and "Your Kung Fu Is Weak!"

The real fun of Kung Fu Fighting comes from the combos you can put together. A simple "Kick!" isn't enough? Make it an Invincible Spinning Running Up the Wall Wild Kick! (And if you're using the Drunken Stance, you get +3 to Wild and +3 to Spinning -- plus +2 damage if your opponent is using the Dragon Stance!) This isn't as elaborate as many other card games (such as the similarly-themed Shadowfist), but that's part of the fun of Kung Fu Fighting. This is a good game to play when you want to kick back (pun somewhat intended) and relax with the fury of mighty martial arts.

Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch

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