Houdini vs. the Genie


Unmatched is a fast-paced, asymmetrical miniature dueling game that allows you to choose from an ever-growing roster of legendary heroes and villains from ancient mythology, classic literature, and blockbuster movies. This is a crossover like no other with many volumes, sets, and expansions that offer a wide variety of characters and playstyles. Houdini vs. the Genie is a magical battle for the ages, allowing you to play as the master escape artist Harry Houdini and wield the phenomenal power of the mystical Genie of the lamp.

Houdini vs The Genie includes:

  • 2 miniature figures
  • 1 sidekick token
  • 3 health dials
  • 1 gameboard
  • 62 cards
  • 1 rulebook
houdini vs genie cover art


One way Unmatched stands apart from other games is the dedication to art. In Houdini vs. the Genie, the new game board is colorfully printed with easily identifiable zones for combat, and both decks feature unique, stunning, and thematic artwork for each hero. Staying true to the concept of a crossover, each individual hero and their deck feel as if they were pulled directly from their source material and placed in an arena to battle one another. Each deck is incredibly thematic, featuring special abilities and card titles that include an abundance of references that fans of each hero are sure to appreciate.

unmatched houdinivsthegenie setup


In Unmatched: Houdini vs. the Genie, the goal is to pick your favorite hero and use their unique playstyle and abilities to defeat all who oppose you. You must take two of the following actions each turn: maneuver, scheme, and attack. You may choose two different actions or the same action twice. Each card has a special effect or value, leading to exciting and unique engagements every time you play. The two maps also provide unique environments that you can use to your advantage. You can also mix and match characters and maps from other Unmatched game sets.

For the full rulebook click here.

unmatched action card


Houdini vs. the Genie can be played 1v1 and a single match takes around 20 minutes. The basic mechanics might seem complicated at first glance, but they are easy to learn once you start playing. Some heroes do have more complicated mechanics than others, so there can be a learning curve. Fortunately, every card has specific instructions written on them, but you can always turn to the included rule book and our FAQ for more clarification.

In this set, a new mechanic is introduced with Houdini. His card effects that activate when he uses a card to boost adds an entirely new dynamic and strategy to the game. The Genie may not introduce any new mechanics, but he is still a very powerful and fun hero to play. Neither fighter is at a distinct disadvantage over the other, in fact many of their cards are designed to counter one another. With this in mind, we find the heroes featured in this set to be well balanced.

Map: King Solomon's Mine

king solomons mine

King Solomon’s Mine is the second map to include the SECRET PASSAGES mechanic. These passages are represented by a keyhole symbol and allow fighters to move across them as if they were adjacent to one another; however, this is only true for movement. Fighters cannot attack from one space containing a secret passage to another.

I am happy to see secret passages return. It is a fun addition that adds a unique strategy to each match. It especially helps this map as it is designed to simulate a cave with many tight areas. The spaces feel a bit claustrophobic even for a 2-player board, but I’m sure this was intentional. Despite this, the zones are spread out in such a way for ranged fighters to not be at a disadvantage. There are even two spaces that contain 3 zones and one space in the middle of the map containing two zones that gives access to more than half the board. It is designed to encourage head-to-head combat at nearly every moment while giving areas to retreat to and recover. Normally the narrow paths would make it hard to maneuver around the board, but the secret passages open up the board in interesting ways.


The Genie

Freed from the lamp and simmering with imprisoned wrath. This is no mere parlor trick. Be careful what you wish for, because, in the end, he grants you only death. 

Read more about The Genie here.


With the help of the beautiful Bess, he’ll set the stage. Then it’s a bit of misdirection and some sleight of hand. When you think you have the advantage, you’ll discover: It’s all part of the show!

Read more about Houdini here.

Final Thoughts

Houdini vs The Genie introduces two magical legends to the Unmatched battlefield. Houdini’s new boost mechanic gives his playstyle a unique level of diversity yet unseen in Unmatched, and The Genie is a hyper aggressive fighter with abilities that can turn any battle to his favor. The playstyle of each hero is incredibly thematic, especially Houdini who was designed to feel like you were playing card tricks like the magician himself.

This is the first set of two to feature the winners of the fan deck creation contest. Houdini was designed by Sam Crane and The Genie was designed by Adil Geresu. Both creators did an excellent job faithfully adapting these heroes to Unmatched.

Overall, this is an excellent addition to the Unmatched series and is a perfect starting point for newcomers. For all Unmatched enthusiasts, this is an essential addition to every growing collection. If you are interested in learning more about Unmatched or expanding your collection further, be sure to check out the following:

Unmatched: Houdini vs. the Genie

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