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A Fistful of Kung Fu Review – Wargame from Osprey Games

    Much like Bushido and Dark Age, I’ve been looking at Osprey Publishing’s A Fistful of Kung Fu for ages. Whilst checking out the Infinity casual play night out at Kayjay’s Games and Hobbies Café, I took the chance to lighten their stock of the Osprey Publishing’s range.

    Kayjay’s Games and Hobbies Café is what a games store should be, spread across two floors. The ground floor of the store is dedicated to stock, and stock there is.

    Kayjay’s carries a massive range, everything from Warhammer through to the more obscure games like A Fistful of Kung Fu.

    A Fistful of Kung Fu

    A Fistful of Kung Fu

    Osprey Publishing has produced a game that takes all the best elements from some of the kick-ass Kung Fu films: from Enter the Dragon and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to the cult classic Big Trouble in Little China.

    The game rules themselves are lightweight at only sixty-four pages, but that is part of the appeal; it’s a quick, brutal skirmish game based on Kung Fu films. What’s not to love?

    The gang generation system is extremely open, as well. You can create anything from a Kung Fu master, a cyborg, a seasoned cop or an ancient Chinese Vampire. Characters take “traits” that allow a further level of custom character and gang generation.

    A Fistful of Kung Fu is played with a small number of models, typically from five to fourteen models. The Protagonist is the leader. Each Protagonist is joined by a single Bruiser and a heap of henchmen, or Extras.

    I picked up two kits, ideally to run games, both full of archetypal characters you see in the classic Kung Fu films.

    Kung Fu Models

    The Kung Fu Masters are led by the Dim Mak Master (the Protagonist), the Martial Arts Champ (the Bruiser). Three Shaolin monks, a martial arts fanatic, and two martial arts students make up the extras.

    Kung Fu Demon Miniatures

    The demons are led by a Taoist sorcerer (The Protagonist), supported by a minor demon (the Bruiser) and backed up with three more minor demons, one Hopping Vampire, and three human cultists.

    The two Protagonists, the Taoist Sorcerer (left) and Dim Mak Master (right).

    The 28mm scale miniatures by North Star Figures are great representations of the characters they portray.

    The Taoist Sorcerer really does remind you David Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China, and the Dim Mak Master could be the venerable teacher from any Kung Fu film.

    The detail on the figures is crisp and clear and I can’t wait to get some paint on them.

    There is some flash left from the molding process, but no more than you would expect from any other metal miniatures and it isn’t in places that obscure details at all.

    osprey-fistful-of-kung-fu rulebook

    In other games, the scenery is there to give you something to fight over. In A Fistful of Kung Fu, it is something to fight with!

    This is one of my favourite things about the ruleset; the celebration of the cinematic stereotypes that make these sorts of films so enjoyable. The author, Andrea Sfiligoi, has a real appreciation of the genre and has done an excellent job of transferring some of its staples to the table top.

    The ruleset is an adaptation of Ganesha Games‘ Song of Blades and Heroes and the simplicity of the rules really lends itself to the frenetic pace of our favourite Kung Fu films.

    Miniatures activate performing one, two or three actions. Checks and rolls are all done against Q (or quality values). A character’s Q value can be used to activate them or perform some in game actions.

    If you fail activation roll(s), your opponent gets to perform reactions with their Protagonist. Actions include all the things you would expect from a kung fu hero. As you would expect from a kung fu film, there is Chi flowing all around. This allows gangs to perform superhuman feats and also mitigate detrimental game effects.

    Chi is different to magic (DUH!!) and your sorcerer protagonist can blast enemies to meet their ancestors using fantastical powers too.

    I am definitely planning on getting some serious game time (and going back to watch some of the classics) with A Fistful of Kung Fu. I’d highly recommend checking this game out.

    Links of Interest

    Element Games - Wargaming Webstore

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    5 years ago

    It seems like a cool game. It’s not my favorite genre, so no huge appeal to me, but Osprey Games does seem to do well creating rulesets.

    5 years ago
    Reply to  Adam

    Good idea on using the rules for other things. Didn’t think about that.

    5 years ago

    I like this game too- let me know when you have some paint and I’ll bust out my sorcerer and her samurai-rabbits to give the rule a run!

    Adam Jones
    5 years ago
    Reply to  Dave

    Painted? Erm …

    5 years ago
    Reply to  Adam Jones


    Jacob Stauttener
    5 years ago

    Nice Review. I like that you talk about the miniatures associated with the game too.

    Adam Jones
    5 years ago

    The Kung-fu masters, in particular, were one of the main drawcards for me. I also love the fact that I can take ANY miniatures and fit them into the rules. I even picked up a TMNT Kids’ Busy Book ( in order to have some other figures to use.