Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Uncle Cucuy's Lucha Libre Solo Play

I got Uncle Cucuy's Lucha Libre as part of the Red Cross Earthquake Relief bundle and I'm slowly taking a look at all those books. I'm also always looking for games that can be solo-friendly and from the first read of the rules, it seemed so.

What you get is an 8-page book with rules for a moderately abstract combat system that lends itself well to the proposed matches of lucha libre. It's not hard to come up with narrative from the outcome of the dice, and there is little bookkeeping. I really liked the idea of the character stands which allow you to draw your luchador's mask. The free expansion book, also available at RPGNow, adds a few options to the game.

As a solo game, in my opinion the fun of Uncle Cucuy's Lucha Libre involves generating narratives from the matches. You can roll a die for each wrestler to choose which kind of attack they will use. I came up with the simple table below, according to the luchador "type" (highest attribute):

Because of the "exploding dice" mechanic used in the game, my first few matches ended in a couple rounds. After reading the expansion book, I decided to tweak the starting values of the attributes. I found that just by granting twice the normal Stamina to wrestlers, you get interesting matches where holds become more important. By adding one or two dice to the "free pool" during character creation it's possible to generate a wider range of wrestlers, suitable for a tournament.

For those curious about the results, here's the first match between El Diablo Verde and Perro Loco. Diablo enters the ring first, wearing his characteristic green mask and matching pants. Then Perro Loco jumps into the ring, wearing a red mask with wolf-like ears sewn on the top. He's at least six inches shorter than the musclebound Diablo, but makes up for it with his speed.

The two start circling each other and then Perro Loco darts towards El Diablo, who grabs him and tosses him headfirst into the ground, before he can finish his maneuver. Perro attempts to get up by tossing his feet upwards, in an attempt to hit El Diablo's chin. However, the other wrestler grabs him by the ankles and spins him around, throwing him against the ropes of the ring. The crowd roars in awe and, surprisingly, Perro is not stunned by the maneuver. El Diablo charges towards him, and Perro trips the larger wrestler and starts to pin him down. However, El Diablo Verde manages to grab Perro Loco's neck and pull him forward, tossing him over his body and slamming his back on the floor. The judge finishes counting up and El Diablo wins the match.

Overall, a fun little game that is worth its price tag. Good to play a few quick matches between friends or to exercise your creativity when playing solo.

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