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Guilty Gear Strive board game turns the video game fighter into a two-player throwdown on the tabletop

Exceed-ing expectations.

Image credit: Level 99 Games/Arc System Works

Fighting video game Guilty Gear Strive is headed to the tabletop in a new two-player board game built on the popular Exceed card system.

Guilty Gear Strive: The Board Game adapts developer Arc System Works’ flashy 2021 2D fighter, which marked a deliberately more approachable take on the long-running franchise and has gone on to sell more than a million copies - making it the most popular entry in the anime-styled series’ 25-year history.

The trailer for Guilty Gear Strive: The Board GameWatch on YouTube

The Guilty Gear Strive board game will be powered by designer D. Brad Talton, Jr. and publisher Level 99 Games’ Exceed Fighting System, previously used in fellow video game adaptation Under Night In-Birth: The Board Game and the board game based on Guilty Gear spiritual successor BlazBlue, as well as past standalone games and expansions featuring characters from Shovel Knight, Street Fighter, Red Horizon and Seventh Cross. Like previous Exceed games, Guilty Gear Strive will be cross-compatible with titles such as Under Night In-Birth and BlazBlue, allowing characters from different games to face off.

The system makes use of unique decks for each character to recreate the fast-paced blows of fighting video games. Players take turns to execute attacks from their hand of cards, which feature attacks from each character’s distinctive moveset.

Image credit: Level 99 Games/Arc System Works

The attacks play out in combination with a central board where the fighters’ respective positions are represented by standees or cards, moving back and forth along the row of spaces by spending force - generated by discarding cards - to close in for certain attacks or back away to avoid others. Particular attacks require characters to be within a certain range on the nine-space track, and the characters can jump over each over by spending additional force. Certain card effects can also push and pull your opponent around the arena.

Cards can be used to strike - attempting to land a blow and damage the opponent - or for an optional boost at the bottom of the card, which can be used to help set up for future attacks or increase the power of other moves. Attacks can be turned into more powerful EX attacks by playing two copies of a matching card, boosting the move’s stats.

Image credit: Level 99 Games/Arc System Works

When the active player strikes, they play one or more cards facedown, before their opponent has the chance to respond with a card from their own hand. If they don’t have a suitable card, the player can take a ‘wild swing’ by playing a facedown card from the top of their deck instead.

The cards’ speed determines in what order the attacks happen, with ties going to the player who initiated the attack. If the faster attacker’s power is greater than that of their opponent, they will stun their opponent - leaving no opportunity to counter-attack. Armour, as you’d expect, reduces incoming damage.

Two player board games to play in 2023Watch on YouTube

Successful strikes add cards to the player’s gauge, which can be spent to ‘cancel’ moves - allowing additional actions to be performed on the same turn - draw extra cards in addition to the one drawn at the end of each turn (but not if the player used a strike), and execute powerful ultra attacks. Gauge can also be spent to flip over the character’s ability card and ‘exceed’, upgrading their unique power for the rest of the fight.

Like a classic fighting game match, each roughly 15-minute battle ends when one character’s life is reduced to zero.

Image credit: Level 99 Games/Arc System Works

The board game will include 20 characters from the video game’s roster, which launched in 2021 with 15 core characters and has seen nine additional fighters added since, allowing for 380 possible matchups out of the box. The box will include almost 700 cards.

Guilty Gear Strive: The Board Game will look to launch a Kickstarter on August 22nd, offering both a $99 standard edition - including a neoprene playmat and two metal coins - and a $179 collector’s edition with an extra playmat, four coins and acrylic standees for the characters.

Ahead of the game's Kickstarter, Level 99 has released a free two-player demo deck featuring playable decks for Guilty Gear Strive characters Sol Badguy and Ky Kiske, as well as a metal coin.

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Guilty Gear -Strive-

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Guilty Gear Strive: The Board Game

Tabletop Game

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About the Author
Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis


After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.