Review by Stephen Mingo
Happyclash Games’ debut entry into the tabletop world, Heroic Echoic, is a fast-paced card game of bidding, bluffing and making silly noises (the latter is optional until the awesome Exclamation card comes up, but great fun to do anyway). In short, an Echoic refers to the onomatopoeia sounds taken right out of the pages of history’s greatest comic books. The object of the game is simply to win 5 of the 27 superheroes available. You win them by any player putting them up for a contest and all players then bidding cards with a matching symbol on them. The highest bidder wins the hero, and then gains that hero’s special ability to use, which can prove useful in disrupting other players during later bidding wars.
There a couple of special cards too, meaning multiple heroes can be contested for at once or even stolen from other players. We enjoyed a few games with both 2 and 4 players and we found each game took a comfortable 10 to 15 minutes to play. The game itself was simple to learn after an introductory round and the handy pamphlet does a great job of keeping the explanation simple. Once you get to grips with the basics, the first few turns pick up speed as you all quickly draw cards to build up your hand to a decent number of cards to choose from before somebody initiates a bidding contest. The bluffing part? Well, that’s up to you. It is indeed satisfying to put down two cards, for example, and then tell your friends you’ve got another six in your hand waiting and it certainly brings a social bargaining element into the game.
The Echoics themselves are very entertaining. Having recently read the Empyre series of Marvel comics, I was pleasantly surprised when the much used “KRAKOOM” showed up. Other honorable mentions go to “PATANG”, “TWANG”, “EEEYAGH!” and “!?”. There is even a special card in there which allows the wielder to claim echoic cards if other players neglect to make the noise on the card as they draw it. The artwork by Luke Parker is also very good. The superheroes leap off the cards in true comic book fashion with bright colors and vivid titles, and each echoic is accompanied by a suitable background to emphasize the word.
Heroic Echoic isn’t out for sale just yet. The word on the street is this might hit Amazon UK in time for Christmas, with a U.S release date sometime a little further in the future too. However, owing to complicated delays beyond the designer’s control, and the inevitable pandemic spanner in the works, this may potentially be pushed to 2021. That being said, right now you can follow the game on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under the handle @hechoic or visit their website www.hechoic.com to find out more.
Heroic Echoic is a pocket size, quick game that we recommend makes regular appearances at game night. It is easy to learn, a joy to play and has a definite replay-ability factor about it as you demand a rematch to avenge your narrow defeat. The game is fairly well balanced and the use of 6 discard piles further assists in adding an element of unpredictability. This game is definitely one to keep your eyes peeled for as we head into 2021.
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