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 has 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 lightweight 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 martial 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 molding 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, the 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‘ 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.