Ultimately, the fantasy theme is the icing on a heck of a sports game cake. The mechanics of ScrumBrawl are solid and impressive, even down to its grid board. Aside from the art, it stands as a 20x20 grid, and two 20-sided dice determine random positioning on blue and red axes. This allows for random placement of creatures, orbs, or portals. Even the possibility of dropping an orb is accounted for with the randomizing eight-sided die that shows which direction it can fall. From that point, the game system runs clearly: get a blue point for getting an orb into a portal or a red point for killing three opponents; three points wins. Players draw cards to get creatures, enchantments, or events. There are also invaluable Alter Reality cards that enable the player to shift rolls several degrees, possibly turning a disastrously placed portal into one much closer to friendly creatures or saving a creature’s hide in a fight by upping defense (or, conversely, making the kill stick with upped attack).
In all, ScrumBrawl is a well designed game with excellent production values. It is fairly advanced, making the 13+ age recommendation reasonable, but rules are straightforward so that it is not as overwhelming as the titanic games like Twilight Imperium or Civilization, making for an in depth but relatively short game at about 45 minutes, depending on number of players. The well loaded rules book contains plenty of information to settle gameplay disputes, and the website explains any further errata as well as displaying a demo of game play.