Champions of the Galaxy reviewed: Galaxy game offers plenty of thrills
By NICK TYLWALK -- For SLAM! Wrestling
It began as a simple concept: a game that was simple to learn and play but
still capable of capturing the thrills of professional wrestling.
Mark Didham of Whitbourne, Newfoundland wins one copy of Champions of the Galaxy. Thanks to everyone who entered.
If that sounds like an idea whose time has come, that's probably the exact
same thought Tom Filsinger had over 20 years ago when he first dreamed up a
game called Compucard Wrestling. The New York native thought enough of his
creation - a card and dice game featuring real wrestlers he watched in his
youth - that he pitched the idea to someone by the name of Vince McMahon.
When the WWF turned Filsinger down, he simply turned up his imagination.
The loss of the WWF led to the birth of the GWF, the fictional centerpiece
of what has been known since 1985 as Champions of the Galaxy. Set over 100
years in the future, the game lets players book and simulate matches between
competitors who have convened from places all over space and time to do
battle in the squared circle. With it's wild characters and sci-fi twist,
Champions of the Galaxy is one part pro wrestling, one part comic book.
Game play focuses on the illustrated cards which list all of a grappler's
moves. Using the cards and dice, players go through a match move by move,
with each new situation set up by the previous result. Wrestlers' attributes
like power and agility also affect the success of certain moves, while
special charts allow the action to spill outside of the ring or continue
after the bell. The basic game can be learned in minutes and optional rules
allow enough additional detail that the matches resemble something that
might be seen on RAW or Nitro.
But even the most colorful performers in today's wrestling world don't quite
match up with the denizens of the GWF. A booklet included with the Champions
of the Galaxy introductory set describes each of the 24 wrestlers in terms
of personality and wrestling style and also sets up the feuds and alliances
that exist in the league. Once things get under way, it's up to the players
- who Filsinger calls promoters - to decide which direction to take the
ongoing saga of the GWF.
In order to keep things fresh and give promoters more options, Filsinger
Games releases updates for the game every six months. Each new set contains
new wrestlers and a new booklet describing what has transpired in the GWF in
the last year of fictional time. Buying all of the updates allows promoters
to use over 200 wrestlers (including real-life superstar Greg "The Hammer"
Valentine) and enjoy a rich storyline, but it also comes at a hefty price:
$169 USD for the 23 game editions released to date.
Still, there's fun to be had even in the introductory set, which Filsinger
Games has been offering in a colorful and handy box since early in 1999.
Champions has a few drawbacks - the dice control the moves instead of the
players, the move descriptions tend to be vanilla and the visual aspect of
wrestling is obviously absent - but the game flows smoothly and an entire
card can be simulated in an hour or two. As an added bonus, the game can be
played just as easily solitaire as it can with another person.
Filsinger Games continues to support its creation in a number of ways.
Visitors to www.gwfwrestling.com
can place orders, get the lowdown on
upcoming game editions, compare results with other promoters and even catch
up on Tom Filsinger's very own fed. The official newsletter, GWF Promoter,
offers a variety of articles to spice up the game. And even though the most
recent game edition is ominously titled The End 2109, the GWF shows no signs
of running out of steam.
Champions of the Galaxy's unique spin on wrestling and the future make it
well worth checking out. Wrestling fans with vivid imaginations just might
find even Monday nights paling in comparison to the GWF.