Are you swift? Sneaky? Ready to knock out all your opponents? Then Shadow Strike Melee could be the next game for you! A fast-paced game for 3-9, fully equipped with bluffing, combat, and energy bars, it is sure to be a hit with any groups that like a lighter style of game, but with some additional challenge in not knowing your full hand at the beginning of the game. Let’s take a closer look!

What Is It?

A light, quick combat card game (WITH NINJAS!) where you are trying to KO your opponents. You start with your 3 fight cards only facing your opponents and your 3 items cards facing you (these never change, while your fight cards do). Work to deduce what cards are in your hand, and use items to switch them out or force an opponent to play lower cards so you can beat them in battle!

Who Is It For?

I would recommend this to all ages! The game itself states ages 10+ which is a pretty good range, but it if you have some younger gamers (7 or 8) I think they could definitely get into this and understand it with no problem if you explain it well. It is easy to pick up, so kids can enjoy it, but it also has plenty of challenge for older audiences. At the time frame it takes, I think it is a great filler game for any group that definitely outweighs party games.

Quality of Components

Comes in a nice box, very sturdy. The rule book is small, but everything is clear and legible. I appreciate that they went with a non-standard font to avoid being boring, but that it was still clear and easy to read; it is laid out nicely as well. The cards are also good, pretty average quality, but again everything on them is clear.


  • Quick to learn, teach, and play.
  • Different from a lot of games because of how information is hidden; I’d say the closest thing is Hanabi, but I think this does it a lot better.
  • Team options and high player count ability are nice


  • Small parts of the rulebook were phrased a bit funny (the use of “arbitrary” instead of “optionally” for instance) which tripped me up at first.
  • A few bad draws can really hurt you, more in this game than other card games because you can’t see your cards at first. In a high enough player count, you may not even get a turn if you have low cards and everyone fights you. But, a higher player count may mediate some of this though, when you play in teams.
  • Smoke bombs aren’t as powerful at first without knowing the cards you have, but they do improve once you turn some around
  • Not as good at lower counts (i.e. only 3) but still works, even though it’s much shorter.


I’d probably give this one a 2/5 out of all for difficulty. It’s a tad clunky the first time or 2, but it really improves once you get the hang of it and becomes an excellent game.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I thought this was a very nifty game with a fun theme. Like I’ve said, it’s very simple and quick, so it works well as a filler, or at the beginning of the night. And because it’s quick, it’s easy to play a few rounds to really get the hang of it. I would really recommend this to bigger groups as well, because I think it would be a bit better with more people.

Additional Information:
Creators – Johannes E. Benjamin III, James W. Muckell, and Josh K. Buel
Artist – Miguel Angel Perez Lopez
Publisher – Pure Fun Games

*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review. *

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