Shadow Strike Melee: Ninja Card Game is a fast paced bluffing game for up to nine players! It is currently live on Kickstarter, but we were fortunate enough to be given a prototype copy for review purposes.
Shadow Strike Melee puts its players in the shoes of a group of overconfident ninjas in a wild battle. The goal of the game is to outlast all of your opponents as players deal “strikes” to each other using numbered attack cards.
Combat itself plays out like War. Higher valued cards defeat lower valued cards. Ninjas never let things remain that simple though. These ninjas are cocky. Players represent that by playing with their three combat cards facing away from them. This means that everyone else knows more about a players hand than they do!
This information mismatch is the driving force behind the game. You really have to look at your opponents cards and make careful decisions. It might seem safe to attack someone with a hand full of ones and threes, but you don’t necessarily know that your hand isn’t worse! Fortunately, you also have a trio of equipment cards that help manipulate fights in your favor, or rescue you if your cards aren’t helping.
Shadow Strike Melee can be played individually, but our family preferred to partner up and play in teams. This gave us the option of using our equipment cards to help rescue our friends, and take advantage when our opponents get aggressive.
The biggest highlight of the game for us so far has been how fast the games are. Players are eliminated, but no one sits idle for long. The box says that games last around ten minutes, but I think that might even be too long.
Can Kid’s Play The Game?
The short answer is “Yes.” It does involve number comparisons and the equipment cards do have a small amount of text on them. But, this is not a challenging game to play.
One problem that young players MIGHT have is with their hands. You have to hold your hand in a very specific way to make sure that your opponents can see your cards. Younger players might struggle with that and drop cards a bit more often than they normally would. I don’t think this is a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination, but it is worth keeping an eye on.
The Kickstarter campaign has a little less than three weeks to go and is more than halfway to its goal. You can get yourself a Standard edition of the game with a $20 pledge.
Go for it. This is a great game to get things started on family game night and makes a great party game for larger groups.