osprey fist full of kung fu pack

Ratboy reviews – A Fistful of Kung Fu

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I have discovered a new FLGS (Friendly Local Games Store) in Footscray. Not so local, but accessible.
Much like Bushido and Dark Age, I’ve been looking at Osprey Publishing’s A Fistful of Kung-Fu for ages. Whilst checking out the Infinity casual play night out at Kayjay’s Games and Hobbies Café, I took the chance to lighten their stock of the Osprey Publishing’s range.
Kayjay’s Games and Hobbies Café is what a games store should be, spread across two floors. The ground floor of the store is dedicated to stock, and stock there is. Kayjay’s carries a massive range, everything from Warhammer through to the more obscure games like A Fistful of Kung-Fu.
osprey fist full of Kung-Fu pack
Osprey Publishing have produced a game that takes all the best elements from some of the kick ass Kung-Fu films: from Enter the Dragon and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to the cult classic Big Trouble in Little China.
The game rules themselves are light weight at only sixty-four pages, but that is part of the appeal; it’s a quick, brutal skirmish game based on Kung-Fu films. What’s not to love?
The gang generation system is extremely open, as well. You can create anything from a Kung-Fu master, a cyborg, a seasoned cop or an ancient Chinese Vampire. Characters take “traits” that allow a further level of custom character and gang generation.
A Fistful of Kung-Fu is played with a small number of models, typically from five to fourteen models. The Protagonist is the leader. Each Protagonist is joined by a single Bruiser and a heap of henchmen, or Extras.
I picked up two kits, ideally to run games, both full of archetypal characters you see in the classic Kung-Fu films.
osprey fist full of Kung-Fu masters
The Kung-Fu Masters are led by the Dim Mak Master (the Protagonist), the Martial Arts Champ (the Bruiser). Three Shaolin monks, a martial arts fanatic and two marital arts students make up the extras.
osprey fist full of Kung-Fu demons
The demons are led by a Taoist sorcerer (The Protagonist), supported by a minor demon (the Bruiser) and backed up with three more minor demons, one Hopping Vampire, and three human cultists.
osprey fist full of Kung-Fu protagonists
The two Protagonists, the Taoist Sorcerer (left) and Dim Mak Master (right).
The 28mm scale miniatures by North Star Figures are great representations of the characters they portray. The Taoist Sorcerer really does remind you David Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China, and the Dim Mak Master could be the venerable teacher from any Kung-Fu film.
The detail on the figures is crisp and clear and I can’t wait to get some paint on them. There is some flash left from the moulding process, but no more than you would expect from any other metal miniatures and it isn’t in places that obscure details at all.
osprey fist full of Kung-Fu rules
In other games, scenery is there to give you something to fight over. In A Fistful of Kung-Fu it is something to fight with! This is one of my favourite things about the ruleset; the celebration of the cinematic stereotypes that make these sorts of films so enjoyable. The author, Andrea Sfiligoi, has a real appreciation of the genre and has done an excellent job of transferring some of its staples to the table top.
The ruleset is an adaptation of Ganesha Games‘s Song of Blades and Heroes and the simplicity of the rules really lends itself to the frenetic pace of our favourite Kung-Fu films.
I am definitely planning on getting some serious game time (and going back to watch some of the classics) with A Fistful of Kung-Fu.

  • David Munro

    When I first picked up this rule set I was surpised just how similar to Songs etc it is. However a closer reading revealed a really neat mechanism to help bring big trouble to little table top china. The focus on the main protagonist (hero cop, evil sorceror) by giving them an opportunity to react during their opponents turn really dials up the importance of this figure. The list of traits are easily tailored to make characters that match your models, and the scenarios look to have the right sort of feel. This is a good addtion to the Songs suit. The downs side seems to be that the game looks very prop/terrain hungry. Oh well, an excuse to build and buy more stuff, I guess.

    • The reliance on terrain is a bit of a pain, but there’s ample opportunity to bulk out the collection. I am seeing a school as a setting and all the hilarity that ensues.
      One gang against a horde of zombies! Two gangs against each other and a horde of zombies. A whole heap of school kids battling each other on an island, last man standing style. Hmmm, I think I just got an idea for a movie.

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  • Christian Guzzer Guzman

    Hello there,

    Just came across your review of fistful of Kung Fu and the biggest surprise if that you picked it up at my local game shop! I just live 5 minutes from Kay Jays. I have picked up a whole stack of miniatures for this game, from modern day gangsters, bikers, cultists etc etc.. If you ever decide to head to the site to play a game let me know! I picked up the rule book when it was released.

    • Hi Chris. Although I live in Cheltenham, I found Kayjays shortly after they had moved. It’s a hike but it’s worth it. If I get more game time I definitely want to get some Kungfu action.

      • Christian Guzzer Guzman

        Awesome. I’ll keep an eye on your blog for more Kung Fu action if you’re still playing. Keep up that great posts 🙂

        • At the moment, I am gaming at zero percent. However, things are starting to settle down and I am hoping to get some serious Mancave time again. I have Kung-fu masters and demons to paint up! Also, I am trying to source some 32mm Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles just for some giggles.