Rumbleslam 2 Player Starter Set Review (TTCombat)


“Hey there sports fans and welcome back to Kaisers Palace for another nail biting edition of Friday Night Smash Up and what a show we have in store for you this evening!  Looks like there is a score to settle as the home favorites The Heavy Pounders are still licking their collective wounds after last weeks total TKO of the entire team at the hands of those dastardly darlings The Deadly Divas, tonight sees a rematch that can only be described as ‘edge of the seat madness’; the Hitters are out for blood, but don’t count the Divas out just yet as they always have a dirty trick or two tucked away under those tight leotards.

The Furry Fury are also baying for blood tonight as they face off against old rivals The Raging Beasts and who knows what will happen with so much fur flying in the ring? 

And our main event is a grudge match for the ages, home darling Triple D and her on again off again partner (in and out of the ring) Statesman, square up against Vitamir and Marowhackjob to settle an argument that has even us baffled.  Can Statesman defend the honour of Triple D after that insult from Marowhackjob at Slamfest last month, or will Vitamir turn him into borscht? Stay tuned and find out.  Tonight’s show is brought to you by Gungans Dancing Elixir, if your needing that extra zing in your day, try Gungans Dancing Elixir for that zip in your stride!”

Rumbleslam is a fast paced all action wrestling miniatures game from TTCombat.  The game is set in a fantasy world and does for the pro wrestling scene, what Games Workshops Blood Bowl did for American Football!  There are many fantasy and science fiction sports games out there (Guildball, Dreadball, etc) but it is these two games that seem to stand head and shoulders above all others and there are reasons for that which I will look at in a moment. I have already done an unboxing of Rumbleslam, but here I will go into much more depth!

So what do you get for you bucks?  Well Rumbleslam is surprisingly excellent value for money in terms of content, and amazing value for money when it comes to entertainment itself.  Packaged in a slipcovered box, the game contains the following.

  • Ten highly detailed resin miniatures
  • Ten clear plastic bases
  • Team roster cards
  • 16 Rumbleslam Dice
  • 56 Acrylic counters
  • A 12” x 12” Neoprene play mat
  • Full colour 64 page rulebook

Firstly the miniatures.  There are two teams provided in the starter box, The Heavy Pounders and their rivals The Green Bruisers!  The Heavy Pounders comprise of a Halfling Brawler, a Halfling Grappler, a Human Brawler, a Human Grappler and an imposing Ogre.  Each miniature is cast in high quality resin and with exception of one miniature whose hands need to be glued on, they are all single cast models.  Detail is extremely good and all miniatures have very dramatic animation with fluid lines of movement. The Ogre is a huge miniature that towers above his team mates, resplendent with his arms by his sides and ready to slam anyone into the middle of next week! This is one guy you wouldn’t want to mess with.  The Humans are posed in pretty classical wrestling stances, one arms folded across his chest, complete with pony tail dangling down his back, the other arms outstretched as if he is going to drag anyone to the mat at any moment!  Both of the Halflings are single cast models and again great posing on both models.  One is pointing as if to an opponent or to gain support of the crowd, the other poised ready to pounce and make use of his small size and immense speed to take down a much larger and slower foe!

The Green Bruisers are as the name suggests, an Orc team, which features a Orc Brawler, a Orc Grappler, a Goblin Brawler, a Goblin Grappler and the only multi-piece miniature in the team is a Troll!  The Orcs are big, much bigger than their Human counterparts and again the detail is fantastic, each model being depicted wearing a wrestling leotard which will give the player a whole slew of possibilities when it comes to painting them up, likewise the Goblins and even the Troll are wearing these shiny spandex outfits, and painting them to match will make them really pop when you play your games.  The Goblins are small and nimble just like the Halflings and look like most other generic fantasy Goblin miniatures, long hooked noses, and large pointed ears, they are posed dramatically and certainly look the part for the job.  The Troll is the largest miniature in the set and most likely the game itself, this is a multi-part model that needs to be assembled using a super glue as normal model glue will not work on resin models.  It is very simple to put together and again looks fantastic with a really rough and ready demeanour that looks as if he is going to pound the living snot out of some poor soul.  Excellent lines of movement and great animation, the model looks very heavy and if he jumped up, would flatten just about anything when he landed (which I will get to in a moment).

Each miniature is supplied with its own clear acrylic base, with a larger base for the Ogre and the Troll.  The bases are clear so you can see the movement markers on the mat so its advised not to paint or texture them!

Speaking of the mat!  This is a very high quality neoprene games mat that depicts a standard wrestling ring. The mat is gridded out with marks that wills how the players where they are moving too and are very simple to see through the clear bases.  As with wrestling in real world, the mat features four turnbuckles which lie around the outskirts of the ring and hold in place the ropes!  Both turnbuckles and ropes are used in the game as in normal wrestling and will allow players to make special attacks or moves during play.  The artwork is fantastic and is a perfect three dimensional representation of a wrestling ring, well painted and laid out and best of all due to the nature of neoprene it is extremely durable and should survive for many, many games without any problems!

As mentioned above the game comes complete with over fifty acrylic tokens to represent the various conditions in play, such as health, stunned, and action points.  Each of the tokens is coloured in clear acrylic and extremely durable over say card stock counters that seem to be the norm for other games.  There is a market for third party companies making acrylic tokens for other peoples games, but seeing as TTCombat also produce a huge range of highly detailed and excellent MDF and laser cut buildings, it was a great stroke of genius to include them at no extra charge.  Seriously if other companies did this rather than using fiddly card counters that tend to split, my gaming world would be a much better place for it!

The game also features Combat Roster Cards for each of the teams, with all the stats, skills and abilities of the wrestlers being clearly written on one side and the details of the abilities on the reverse.  Cards are very simple to read and go as follows

  • Wrestlers Name: The name and class of the wrestler such as Orc Brawler or Human Grappler!
  • Stats: Which cover all the dice that the wrestler has in their profile. These are broken into four areas: Attack (ATT), Defence (DEF), Grapple (GRP) and Dexterity (DEX) each of those statistics has a set number of pictorial dice represented on them.
  • Weight Class: Each wrestler has its own weight class, the higher the WEIGHT number the heavier the wrestler is. This is used for several things during the game, including base size, Popularity (POP) and Throwing (THROW) which is the number of squares a wrestler can throw another wrestler.
  • Stamina: is how much physical damage a wrestler can take before they become KO’d and knocked out the action.
  • Action Points (AP): is the number of actions the wrestler has to perform certain actions and attacks during the game.
  • Movement Points (MP): is how many squares the wrestler can move, the larger and heavier the wrestler, the less it can move. Smaller wrestlers are nimble and extremely fast! Trolls and other large creatures are slow and ponderous!
  • Dosh: How much it costs for the player to hire the wrestler from their budget.  This is normally depicted with a K following a number so 1K is equal to 1000, 40K would be 40,000, etc! This is the price you pay per wrestler!
  • Actions and Abilities: Found on both the front of the card (just the name of the action or ability on the front) and with full descriptions on the rear of the card, these tell the player just what the wrestler can do!  Some wrestlers, just like in the real world (SIC) are the good guys, while others are the bad guys (known here as HEELS).  These traits tell you what you can perform and how much it will cost in AP and what dice are needed.
  • Crowd Pleaser: Just like normal wrestling, the wrestlers in Rumbleslam have their own signature moves which they will use to get the crowd worked up!
  • Casino: The affiliation casino that the wrestler is associated with. Often used for team play, though you can make up teams of any wrestlers if you so wish

Each card is well laid out and very clear as to what is what with the various dice, stats and abilities and only takes a few moments to work out at a glance how many dice the wrestlers have in defence or agility and which dice they are! Also each card comes with a piece of artwork or photograph of the miniature so as to avoid confusion. Also included are quick reference cards for basic actions and reversals which also speed up play!

As mentioned above, Rumbleslam uses its own unique dice when playing, these take the form of various coloured D6 dice that are as follows

  • Copper: The most common dice used in the game, has less chance of success.
  • Silver: Less commonly used with a greater chance of success.
  • Gold: Rarer used dice with the best chance of success.
  • Crowd Dice: A red dice that is used to decide what the crowds reaction will be.

Dice are used for almost everything in the game from determining who sets up their miniatures first, who gets initiative and which models will activate first. They are also used to see how the crowd reacts to Crowd Pleaser actions or if a wrestler performs the same action several times in a row as the crowd can either love it or hate it and end the wrestlers turn abruptly!

Each of the dice is very easy to read, though some videos I have seen have seemingly confused the silver dice for white, no big deal really but worth noting.

So on to the rules and how the game plays!

Though Rumbleslam is a two player starter set, it can easily be played with up to four players (more if you have room around your table) and playing two on two would be great fun! Anyway onto the rules!

The rulebook is a 64 page book in A5 format.  It is in full colour and takes you step by step through the basics of setting up the arena to play your first match, how to move miniatures, how combat works and who wins and how!  All laid out in very clear and easy to read text and often accompanied by illustrations as to how to do a specific task such as using ropes to move, or some awesome artwork featuring the wrestlers.

The rule book also goes into detail about the history of the game and the various casinos that have sprung up and act as stables for the wrestlers and their legions of fans.  Here we find a world that although fantasy uses magic as a technology and numerous mentions of sponsorship’s and advertisements are littered throughout the book.  Fancy a refreshing beverage?  Why not try Orca Cola to really quench that thirst?

These really add to the fun aspect of the game which doesn’t take itself as seriously as other games may do, and makes it a fun thing to play and get into.  Far too many games tend to focus on the grimness of the world that the players are inhabiting, here is a breath of fresh air that is fun and entertaining at the same time as staying with the games narrative structure!

The rules also cover all of the special abilities and rules for the wrestlers (though some later rules may just appear on the cards for the wrestlers), a complete guide to building and running your own teams and casinos, and how to add sponsorship’s to your games to give bonuses to the wrestlers and much more.

The latter part of the rule book is given over to page upon page of photos of excellently painted wrestlers who inhabit the worlds of Rumbleslam, some of these are totally made up and feature teams of fantasy creatures such as Ratmen or Werewolves, but others are very clearly based on famous wrestlers from reality such as The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Chyna and Rowdy Roddy Piper!

Naturally with these superstars in your roster you will need rules to use these spandex clad warriors of the squared circle, and these are given, along with rules for using tag teams which can be great fun!

Finally its great to see a game with not only a context page but also an index as well!  So many games forget this simple thing and it can save a lot of frustration for new players having to search through a rule book to find something that they remember reading.  Just simple little things like that help this product stand out! Finally the quick reference guide gives you everything at your fingertips and again is very well laid out and simple to read.  Once you start to add more wrestlers to your teams and casinos you can expand them by downloading the cards that are available at the official Rumbleslam website, as well as the latest errata and FAQ that pop up with most games, and you can take part in the very active community on the official Facebook page and the many groups that support this fast paced game!

Okay that’s a look at the game itself, how does it play?

The basic game is broken down into five rounds, with the object of the game being to throw your opponents from the ring and therefore out of the game!  The winner is the person who at the end of the five rounds has the most number of models or Dosh remaining in the ring.

Players roll a single Copper die to determine who will set up their miniatures first and will each in turn place a model at a time till all their teams are in the ring.  Miniatures can only be set up in base contact with another team member and start off along the ropes on diagonally opposite sides of the ring.  Players may not set up anywhere else other than their deployment zone and must remain in contact.  However you can set players up so that they go out into the ring itself as long as they don’t go further than one square in from the ropes and follow the contact rule and no player may start on their turnbuckle!

Once all the teams are set up and play is ready to being, both players will get to see who goes first.  Normally the Initiative Card will go to the player who set up the first wrestler but both players choose who they wish to nominate to activate first and then roll off against the DEX stat of the chosen wrestlers.  The player who rolls the highest takes the first activation and so on.  The chosen wrestler must always go first, and players can’t change their mind regardless of who won the initiative!

Players will then take turns in activating their wrestlers.  Each wrestler has a number of Action Points that they can use per activation and may use all or none of these during their turn.  So an Orc Brawler as 4 AP and 4 MP which means he can perform up to for AP’s worth of actions (some cost much more some are free) and can move up to 4 squares with his MP’s.

Though in the example above our Orc only has a movement of 4 he could move much more if he uses the ropes or one of his special abilities! If a wrestler is at the ropes when they end a move, they can use the ropes for 1 AP and move 5 squares in as straight line away from the ropes as they bounce into the ring.  Some wrestlers have special abilities that allow them to clothesline others with rope attacks or do something equally crazy!  Also jumping from turnbuckles can mean a wrestler can make a great ranged attack, especially the smaller creatures such as Goblins and Halflings who can make devastating dives from the turnbuckles due to their fast speed!

Wrestlers can choose to make special attacks from their cards, or grapple or brawl.  If they choose to grapple or brawl the relevant stat is used and the opposing wrestler uses the same stat.  So brawl against brawl as the two giants fight each other off, or grapple against grapple as they lock arms and try to best each other! Once you get your head around this the rest is very simple indeed!

The wrestler can make attacks against an opposing wrestler in an adjacent square.  The player controlling the wrestler chooses which attack to make and uses the number of AP’s required.  Each ability will have a set number of dice on the wrestlers’ card and this is how many dice are needed to be successful.  The opposing player rolls the DEF for their wrestler and adds any bonuses that they may have. If the result is equal nothing happens and the wrestlers just stand their ground, if the player making the attack rolls higher then they are successful, if the defending player rolls higher, then they manage to fend off the attack.

Sometimes fate can make fools of us all and what may seem like a simple roll can leave a wrestler wide open to attack.  If the wrestler who is defending rolls higher than the attacker it can cause a reversal which means that the defender gains the upper hand and turns the tables on their opponent, just like on television wrestling when an underdog seems out for the count, but ends up pulling off a spectacular move from nowhere!

Once the DEF roll has been worked out, any hits are marked off the wrestlers’ card.  If their STA is reduced to 0 they are in a pretty bad way and are more or less unconscious.  Wrestlers who have a STA of 0 are easy targets and can then be picked up and thrown out of the ring.  That said they also will have the chance to make a comeback if they can roll their crowd dice and get the right result as the crowd cheers them on to make a recovery.

AP’s are also used for other actions such as standing up once you have been knocked down, climbing turnbuckles and other tricks of the trade!  There is an expansion already available called Back Alley Brawl that introduces using objects as weapons in much the same way that WWE wrestlers may hit another wrestler with a chair or table or some other prop!  A full review of Back Alley Brawl will be up on Gamers Web as soon as I can get my hands on it!

Play alternates back and forth between players until all players have activated or are out of the ring or KO’d.  Once the fifth turn ends the game is over and the winner is the person who has the most wrestlers left in the ring, or in the event of a tie, the player who has the most DOSH left in the ring wins!

That’s a very simple break down of how easy the game is to play.  There are of course rules that can make the game more complex but given the fact that it is played over five turns, it makes Rumbleslam a pretty fast game and can easily be played in under an hour, even faster once you know your teams.

Teamwork is a very important part of Rumbleslam and getting to know who works well with who is key to winning!  Do you go for a heavy hitting team that is slower but can take more punishment and deal out more in the long run, or do you go for speed and hope that your sheer agility will help you run rings around your foes?  Or maybe a quiet medium is required, a mixture of both power and speed!  Either way you are free to choose from the huge roster of models and mix and match as you see fit!

The one thing I really loved about Rumbleslam was how fun it was! It takes something that is way over the top and spins it on its head and comes up with something that sits alongside the giant of sports games Blood Bowl at the head of the table!  With dozens of models already available, an events deck and even rules for referees, Rumbleslam is a game that has so much scope for replaying.  Add to this the excellent MDF wrestling ring that TTCombat produce for the game and you are really onto a winner (pun intended).

So sports fans, head on over to TTCombat and pick up your copy of Rumbleslam, slap on that greasepaint and grab yourself an endorsement from one of our sponsors.  The squared circle never looked so good!

I am new to Rumbleslam and intend on expanding my rosters as much as I can and can honestly say I am blown away by this game.  Excellent value for money and great fun that can be played over and over again, for me this is my game of the year (yes I know its been out a while but I have only just discovered it) so I give this my Game of the Year award for being outstanding value. I have been a gamer for almost fifty years now and know a great game when I see it!

You can pick up Rumbleslam directly from TTCombat or from all good game stockists NOW!

Images copyright TTCombat All rights reserved 

Warning Gungans Dancing Elixir may cause, blindness, hair loss, excessive flatulence, amnesia and temporary paralysis!

Published by Marc Farrimond

I'm a 55 year guy from Wigan in Lancashire living in Edinburgh, Scotland with two of my four awesome kids and my long suffering wife Laura. I have worked freelance over the years for some of the biggest names in tabletop and roleplaying and I am a very keen cosplayer and photographer.

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