Monday, March 4, 2024

GenCon Report: Legends and Mutants Battle For Supremacy At Mondo Games

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While parent company Mondo has been around for about 15 years, Mondo Games is still relatively new to the tabletop scene. Mondo, owned by the famed Alamo Drafthouse, has made a name for itself with t-shirts, vinyl records, collectibles, and, especially, limited-edition, silkscreen movie posters. Mondo Games got their first taste of the industry when they produced The Thing: Infection At Outpost 31 alongside Project Raygun. After discovering that they really enjoyed making board games, a small team of four came together to form Mondo Games. The company hopes to use Mondo’s stable of artists, as well as their licenses, to create games that appeal to their fanbase of film buffs as well as the gaming public at large. 

This year they announced not just a game, but an entire game system they’ve developed alongside Restoration Games: Unmatched. Despite their busy schedule, they found time to meet with me at GenCon, where I got the lowdown on not just their new releases, but some of the things coming up in the future.

It’s The Ultimate Showdown

Unmatched: Battle of Legends Vol. 1

Retail Price: $40.00

Release: Fall 2019

Arthur is clearly compensating

The first release in the series, Battle of Legends Vol. 1 shows off the basic conceit of the series: the greatest heroes/villains/other of literature, film, myth, and legend are all coming together to duke it out. The battlefield has a distinct terrain to it that you have to overcome while also defeating your foes. Each character has an incredibly detailed miniature to represent them, as well as a deck of cards that dictate what you can do each turn. They’re built to reflect each character’s unique style and feel: Alice can change size as well as use the vorpal blade and Jabberwock, Medusa attacks from range with the help of her harpies (but don’t look her in the eyes), Arthur can burn cards for power and get help from Merlin, and finally Sinbad gets stronger as the game goes on and he becomes more experienced from his voyages. It’s meant to be a fast-paced and incredibly fun game, and it has top-notch production value with art by Mondo artist Oliver Barrett, a double-sided board, and pre-washed minis.

Unmatched: Bigfoot vs. Robin Hood 

Retail Price: $25.00

Release: Fall 2019

Just go with it

The first two-player expansion to Unmatched shows of that, yes, they mean it when anyone can show up in the game. Who would think to make Bigfoot and Robin Hood fight? Mondo. Like in the base game, the new additions play in their own way. Bigfoot, for instance, hits like a truck and can get across the board pretty quickly alongside his friend the Jackalope, whereas Robin Hood is nimble (albeit squishy) but is deadly at long range and a master thief. The two player sets will all be totally stand-alone, but can be mixed and match with other sets as you please. So you can make Bigfoot fight Medusa if you want (and who wouldn’t want that?).

Leave him alone!

Unmatched: Bruce Lee

Retail Price:  $15.00

Release: Fall 2019 (Direct-to-consumer only)

Bruce Lee Noises intensify

Their third big release is also their first licensed one, adding Bruce freakin’ Lee to the game as a playable character for Unmatched.  Now you can bring the greatest martial artist of all time to bear against the other characters of the game. Bruce is a hot-blooded up close fighter who benefits from challenging his enemies and winning in combat. Sadly, Bruce is not a stand-alone and has to be used in conjunction with one of the other releases. But honestly, it’s going to be hard to not pick him up. Bruce Lee vs. Sinbad is going to have to happen.

All three Unmatched releases are available for pre-order from both Mondo and Restoration Games .

Duking It Out With Dinos

The fight for supremacy continues, but it moves to the island of Isla Nublar, where the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park prey on the humans who returned them to the world. Just as with Bigfoot vs. Robin Hood, the Jurassic Park expansions are both stand-alone and compatible with all the other Unmatched titles.

Unmatched: Jurassic Park—Ingen vs. Raptors

Release: Late 2019

Clever girl

The first outing takes us to the Raptor Paddock, where players reenact the tense battle of wits between Muldoon and the three recently escaped Velociraptors. The raptors are as quick and deadly as always, and the player acting as Muldoon and his Ingen Security team must use traps to slow down the raptors and then attack from a distance. Not part of the initial release, Mondo did have examples on hand at GenCon to show what the expansion will look like.

He’s fine

Unmatched: Jurassic Park—Sattler vs. T. rex (tentative name)

Release: 2020

The next expansion will allow you to play as the single most badass character in the Jurassic Park franchise,  and she’s staring down a T.rex!  Perhaps one of the more lopsided matchups in this series,  Dr. Sattler will have to cleverly use her surroundings and wits to defeat the seemingly unstoppable Tyrannosaurus. But she has an ace up her sleeve: Jeff Goldblum. Yes, Ellie has Ian Malcolm alongside her with his math, chest hair, and knowledge of Chaos Theory all working to make sure neither of you end up as dinner.

Unmatched: Jurassic Park—Grant

Release: 2020

Everyone’s favorite paleontologist, and least favorite substitute dad, will be entering the battle sometime next year. Much like the Bruce Lee expansion, Dr. Grant will be all by himself unless you swap him into the other games. He adds almost a mini-game element to things as he tries to get Lex and Tim to safety (which is a very relative term in this game).

New Challengers Approach?

Due to the complexities of property use, and the generally long development time of board games, the final three additions to Unmatched are being kept pretty close to the chest by Mondo. The first is Unmatched: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a four pack that will contain Buffy, Willow, Angel, and Spike. There will also be a Cobble and Fog expansion that will dive into the literature of the 1800’s, as well as a Battle of Legends Vol. 2 that will add four more iconic characters to the mix.

Enter The Vortex

Named for Alamo Drafthouse’s chain of video store/bar/store/boardgame shops, Video Vortex is the next big original release for Mondo Games. It’s set in a world where Y2K happened and, as one would expect, everything went to shit. A few generations later, the mutant descendants of the survivors find an old video store buried in the rubble. Without any other references to the past, the mutants interpret the tapes they find in the store as a record of history. But there’s disagreement over what is and isn’t canon, and soon the mutants form factions centered around their chosen genre: horror, sci-fi, noir, even romantic comedies have factions willing to kill to prove the dominance of their genre. It’s going to be a deck-building game where each player takes on a faction, with art by the artist Boneface. The game will properly debut at MondoCon in early September.

Example board showing the retro look of the game as well as some of the cards you can collect and use

Keep an eye here for more info on all the latest releases from Mondo and Mondo Games, and don’t forget to check out all the rest of our GenCon 2019 coverage!

Images belong to their respective owners


  • Dan Arndt

    Fiction writer, board game fanatic, DM. Has an MFA and isn't quite sure what to do now. If you have a dog, I'd very much like to pet it. Operating out of Indianapolis.

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