First off, I am biased. I have promoted this game on behalf of Comic Images (the makers) as a manager, tournament organiser and demonstrator. I have also playtested expansions of this game. Raw Deal is a trading card game based on the ever popular World Wrestling superstars. You can play anyone of 56 different stars (so one of your favourites is likely to be there) and challenge your mates to a fight. Each players is represented by their wrestler card which gives you your starting handsize, superstar value (for deciding who goes first) and an ability. This ability, and extra 'super-star specfic' cards give you a flavour of the wrestler. This means not all decks are the same. Mankind/Cactus Jack starts off by taking a beating, but can come back later. Kane is brutal, wearing you down over time. HHH, The Game, is wiley tricky opponent always with lots of options. Trish Stratus wins by her distracting charm (and the occasional bulldog) And so forth. So, your in ring actions are denoted by three types of cards. Your arsenal is made up of 60 of these cards. Manuevers are the all important ways of hurting your opponent. Actions are stunts and showboating wrestlers do, while reversals are ways of escaping and stopping the moves of your opponent. Each card type has a fortitude cost and a damage value. Obviously moves do the majority of damage, and for each point of damage you inflict, your opponent has to over turn one card from their deck. If they have no cards left, they're pinned. Reversals can stop the hurt when over turned from deck, or played from hand. There's also reversals to Actions as well. A players total fortitude is simply that amount of damage they have played (cards played are put in the rign area). It's a simple mechanic, that means you have to do some small moves (like punches, kicks) before getting the more impressive flying clotheslines and powerslams off. The more forti
tude you have, the better actions you can do, and the better reversals available to you. The actions are where the variety in the game comes along, as they allow you to recover cards that you've overturned, or make a move harder to reverse, a move much bigger (for example you can irish whip into a punch for extra damage) or make them discard cards. Superstars tend have a mix of cards that denote their trademark finishers (Undertaker's Tomstone Piledriver, RVD's 5-star frog splash) and actions and sayings (Al Snow's "Head" gimmick, Big Show's 'Mountain of a Man'). The advanced game adds a 'backlash' deck that is allows you to represent to pre-match call outs and promo's wrestlers do, as well as mid-match occurences and give more flexibility to your deck and hand. Games are short (10-30 minutes) but exciting and too closely matched decks have a lot of back and forth action. Plus with card titles like 'Sorry your boring me' or 'Got it Flaunt it' or 'Just bring it' you can also taunt your opponent, just like in the WWE. It really feels like a wrestling match and like WWE programming. There's a reprint of the basic set coming out very soon, Survivor Series two gives you all the basic cards and starters for most of the popular and current superstars. The set 'Velocity' is the latest expansion to the game, and expansions come out every 6-9 months. There's a thriving scene around the country of folk playing in tournaments (nothing very serious) and a good web prescence as well for fans of the game. The inventors, Mike Foley and Barron Vangor Toth (his real name) are also very approachable to email comments and ideas. They love promoting their game. The product itself is well presented and laid out with good hard wearing cards, ecah with a full colour WWE photo showing the action depicted by the card (check out the Lita cards). As with all Tr
ading Card Games, the idea is to trade and cards come in different rarities. The one gripe I do have about the game is the 'Ultra rare' foils that are for each superstar. While you get three in the starter sets, there's always one more to find for your superstars in each set, and this can make things hard to track down and find. But if your stick to one or two wrestlers, you can trade or buy single copies. Each wrestler is more or less equivalent, and it'll depend on your style and tactics to get the best out of each. Some are naturally better than others, but with each new expansion the game changes subtly (and not so subtly). Raw Deal is an interesting game, with a simple premise but lots of tactics and strategy involved in building and playing decks. Plus, the best thing, everyone knows the people in the game and exactly what a kick, punch or slam actually is.
POOBANDITS LIKE WWF. WE LIKE MEN AND STRONG PECKS AND HOW YOU SEE THE PEE PEE THROUGH UNDERWEAR! HAHAHA I CAN SEE HULK HOGANS COCK! WE BUY CARDS OF WWFF AND TRADE THEM WITH LITTLE BOYS WHO SHARE OUR HOMOSEXUAL DESIRES. I GET ONE OF TRIPLE H AND I SLEEP WITH IT! MMM I MAKE LOVE LIKE A REAL CHINAMAN! POKE HOLE IN THE CARD AND GET BUSY! UH UH UH UH UH UH CARD SAYS "YES YES YES YES BEAT IT TO ME SPEED IT TO ME". WE REALLY LIKE CARDS, THEY GOOD FOR SATISFYING OUR RAVING HOMOSEXUAL DESIRES. TOO BAD THEY BAD DESOLVE IN POO AND PEE. ONE FLAW IN OTHERWISE AWESOME CARD!