Cryptozoic Entertainment is back with another licensed deck-building game, this time based on Capcom’s legendary Street Fighter franchise. And while the title may not include numbers or add-ons like “Ex”, “Alpha”, “Third Strike”, or “Turbo”, they still managed to make it sound clumsy: Capcom Street Fighter Deck-Building Game (hereafter simply called Street Fighter).

Street Fighter DeckBuilder

Capcom Street Fighter Deck-Building Game | Cerberus Engine

If you read or watched my review of the DC Comics Deck-Building Game, then you know most of what to expect from this one. Street Fighter uses Cryptozoic’s Cerberus Engine, meaning that the core mechanics and card backs are the same as those uses with all of their other deck-builders: DC, The Lords of the Rings, and Naruto Shippuden. This allows gamers to mix together cards and characters from all of these different games. Yes, that does indeed mean that you can have Dhalsim fighting Gandalf, and Sakura fighting…well, Sakura.

Standard Ascension-style deck-building rules apply. Each player starts with a weak hand of vulnerabilities and punches, which you use to accumulate Power and purchase much better cards from the randomized line-up. These cards represent the characters from Street Fighter, along with all of their different powers and equipment. They’ll give you more power, and more importantly, more points.The goal is to have the most points by the end of the game (more on that in a moment).

Capcom Street Fighter Deck-Building Game | Video Review

Board Game Brawl presents its full video review and explanation of how the rules in the Cerberus Engine have been modified this time around.

Capcom Street Fighter Deck-Building Game | Play Mechanics

Street Fighter throws a couple of interesting bits into the mix that make it a different and-in my opinion-more interesting experience than the previous Cerberus games. For starters, like any good SF game, you get a huge roster of characters to play as right from the start. Fourteen World Warriors come right in the box, including almost all of the Street Fighter II cast (Blanka is a promo character that may or may not come with your copy of the game). Akuma, Fei Long, and Cammy round out the mix.

The game encourages you to attack much more than other deck-builders. There are many more cards that attack your opponents, and therefore many more cards that can defend against those attacks. In particular, each character gets their own unique Ultra card. For instance, M. Bison has his “Psycho Punisher” and Ken has his “Shinryuken”. This card starts play underneath your character card. This is another new aspect of the game; if a card ever ends up underneath your character, you can purchase it at any time as if it was in the line-up.

Metsu Hadoken Ryu Ultra Card

The Ultra card can be used in three ways: for power, Attack, or as a Defense card. That last part is where it gets interesting. Rather than have a static special power that activates when you play certain cards-like in DC Deck-Builder-the Street Fighter characters each have a Counter-Attack listed on their card. This is only activated when you use your Ultra card to defend against an enemy attack. Then, unless your opponent can Defend as well, they’ll be subject to your Counter-Attack. This can be anything from taking a Weakness card, to putting cards you’ve already purchased underneath your character card.

Finally, how the game ends is different as well. Instead of Super-Villains to plow through, the players need to overcome Stages, taken directly from Street Fighter II. Once you accumulate enough power, you can take the top Stage card and put it in your deck…but then you’re subject to the Counter-Attack of a Stage Boss. Shuffle up the character card you’re not using and flip one over; If you can’t Defend, you’ll be taking the full force of the Boss’ Attack. When the last Stage is gone, the game is over (the game also ends when the main deck runs out).

Sakura Shinku Hadoken Card

Capcom Street Fighter Deck-Building Game | Rating

If you didn’t like Cryptozoic’s other deck-builders, there’s probably not enough here to change your mind. However, for those that did like the DC or LOTR games, but wanted more player interaction, or if you’re a huge fan of the source material, this is definitely worthy of your attention. The introduction of Ultra cards and Counter-Attacks adds more to the game than I would have imagined. The theme makes much more sense here as well; you’re Street Fighters, so of course you’ll be beating the crap out of each other.

It’s not perfect. Like its predecessors, it’s far more random than more strategic deck-builders like Dominion or Tanto Cuore. And SF seems to be run much longer than the other Cerberus games, perhaps because the Stage cards are just not that useful, and therefore don’t give you a huge incentive to purchase them. Two of three games we played ended from the main deck running out, which almost never happens with the other Cerberus games.

But let’s be honest here: the Capcom Street Fighter Deck-Building Game is chock full of Hadokens and Sonic Booms, and if you’re an old-school fan, that’s going to go a long way towards covering up its faults.

Capcom Street Fighter Deck-Building Game
4 out of 5
by Board Game Brawl

Street Fighter Punch Card