At the start of a game, players can either divide up into two gangs and play competitively, or all players can play together as one gang, and the game itself can simulate an enemy gang. There is no deck building before you play a game of Kobble, and there is just one box to buy. Each gang is dealt a small selection of character cards at the beginning of the game, and they must draft their shared gang card and their individual specialty cards from among the cards that they are dealt.
Each gang then gets location cards, which represent that gang’s territory. Over the course of the game, gangs can attempt to invade enemy territories and take control of them. Once one gang wins enough fights, they gain control of the entire neighborhood, and thus win the game.
Each round consists of two phases. The first phase is the opportunity phase, in which players gain resources based on which territories they control, and then use those resources to purchase upgrades for their characters.
The second phase is the fight phase, in which one gang attempts to invade a territory of their enemy gang. Fighting in Kobble plays like an amped-up old-school JRPG. The basic rules are simple, but because your character and your opponent’s characters change drastically from one game to the next, the “perfect strategy” in a fight will change from one game to the next, making the fight mechanics very difficult to master. Attacks hit hard, HP values are low, and through working together with the other members of your gang, abilities can synergize together in explosive ways. By taking the right actions, even a strong opponent can often be defeated in a single round.