A couple months ago, I was gifted Quodd Heros, a very beefy kickstarter game with really high production quality. I had never heard of it before the night played it. It is a programming game and everything is modular with different boards, there are something like 14 different scenarios from racing to a capture the flag type of variant.
I am bringing this up because I am not sure if this is a game I want to keep around, so I wanted to see if any of you had heard of it? It seemed to do well on Kickstarter but I just wanted to see what the consensus around it is!
A short note before I start my review. I know I call these Rambling Reviews but I have noticed that they have been getting longer and longer.
Sure, I get to say whatever is on my mind but I was starting to wonder if I would read my own reviews.
That's a sure sign to cut back.
So I'm going to shoot for my reviews to be readable in around 10 - 12 minutes. I was starting to creep up towards 20 with my last review.
If you do like my style you can see the rest of my reviews here. (Note: I reserve the right to go back and shrink them down a bit!)
On to the review:
#Marvel Champions: The Card Game is a living card game from Fantasy Flight. You play as one of the marvel heroes fighting against a marvel villain or villains who have their schemes and side schemes they are trying to accomplish in addition to trying to kick your butt.
During play you use the cards in hand as both power sources and as events, upgrades, support cards, etc that help your hero go from their starting state to being real power houses!
While you do that you must also make sure the villain does not fulfill their scheme or defeat your hero in combat.
If a villain completes a scheme or defeats all the heros they win. If the heros defeat all the villains stages they win.
Tagging @theDL as he was interested in this game. :)
Generally speaking there are cards
lots of cards.
The card quality is good as one would hope. They are stiff but shuffle well. I typically don't sleeve my cards and I don't feel the need to do that here either.
The health counters for the heros and bosses are really nicely done. They are made out of thick cardboard and they hold their values well.
The counters are also nice thick cardboard. There are enough of them as far as I can tell. (I have only played solo and with two heroes using the physical copy of the game.)
My one big complaint is the storage solution for the game. I understand they have to pack the game in a way that everything inside survives shipping. You can't see it in this picture but the bottom left corner plastic was actually cracked a bit so it did it's job.
However, it would have been nice to have some basic dividers included in the game. or some pre-created slots for the different deck sizes. (Hero decks, villain decks, and scheme decks are all generally the same size. The aspects do differ in size.) You will tend to be swapping cards in and out a lot so keeping them divided saves a lot of time.
I did end up doing my own thing using some resources I found online but I would have paid more for professional dividers.
The rulebooks are done in the Learn to Play and Rules Reference style FFG has been using for a while now. Generally speaking the learn to play book is good but you really MUST read the rules reference to get all of the rules because you will miss out on important rules if you don't.
As this is a living card game a lot of questions come up for card interactions, timing etc. I'm a magic the gathering veteran and have played a lot of different deck building/construction type games so I generally figured things out or found it online quickly. I suspect non-gaming parents buying this game for their younger kids will have a devil of a time figuring some of the stuff out based on the rule books alone.
I have to mention the plethora of online resources for this game. First of all Marvel Champions Deckbuilder · MarvelCDB is amazing. You can look at other peoples decks, see reviews and discussions on them, build your deck using the cards you have or peruse the top decks out there to see what you need to buy to build it.
It's a great resource!
There is also a discord for it that is very active and Hall of Heroes – A Marvel Champions LCG card resource (hallofheroeslcg.com) is also a great source for the goings on of the game.
For games of this type "setup" is really a big part of the game play if you want it to be.
First pick the hero you want to play which gives you the special hero card. The obligation card goes in the vilain deck and the nemesis cards are put aside for now.
From there you build a deck following the deck rules:
I really enjoy the deck construction aspect of this game. It both simplifies and challenges you at the same time. Because you must use the hero cards, have at most one aspect to play with (typically) along with basic cards ythe design space has limits. You are constrained to start but this allows you to focus on the cards you have.
For fans of Marvel and comics in general it's a way to play around with the heroes. What would a She-hulk protection deck look like? What if spiderman lost it one day? Let's create a spiderman aggression deck!
Each card is also the energy source that pays for other cards and some cards perform better if you pay for them with certain energy types. So you not only need to consider what the card does but how it can be used to pay for other cards. This allows a lot of refinement in any deck and choices like taking perhaps a bit of a lesser card with the right energy type.
Second decide on the villain you want to face and the stage of the villain you want to start with. For example, you can start with Rhino stage 1 and then fight Rhino stage 2 OR start with Rhino Stage 2 and move to Rhino Stage 3 for a harder challenge.
Then start with their 1A scheme (aka the main scheme) and follow the instructions to setup the rest of their deck. Following instructions on the card.
For the villain deck they typically include:
The hook that grabbed me the first time I played it at SHUX was that each hero had their hero and alter-ego side. You were able to swap between the two which would change the cards you could play, abilities you could activate, and what the villain did.
T'Challa on the left allows the player to RECover their health, use the alter-ego power, and activate other powers that require the hero to be alter ego form.
Black Panther on the right can thwart the villains schemes, attack enemies directly, and defend against enemy attacks. Most of the attack and thwart event cards will require the character to be in hero form to use them.
The alter-ego state is about building up cards, increasing your strength, and healing damage but they can't do very much to thwart the villain or defeat them.
The hero stage gets fewer cards so will be using up resources but this is where a lot of work gets done towards winning the game.
You can only swap once a turn normally and deciding when or if to swap is a very important aspect of the game!
Cards are paid for using other cards in your hand or energy sources you may have on the board.
Get ready gives you one physical and tenacity gives you one energy. If you put down a card with a cost of 2 you could pay for it by discarding these 2 cards.
Generally the game flow has the hero being behind the curve versus what the villain can put out in damage and scheming so they need to get more powerful.
Heros are one way to power up. They usually have a special ability and can thwart or attack and also defend the hero. Note that hawkeye here takes one damage whenever he thwarts or attacks. Three damage and he is discarded but can come back later.
Another way to power up is with upgrades and there can also be supports which aren't directly tied to the hero and do a wide variety of things.
You also play event cards which can do a variety of things from damaging the villain, adding effects like stun to them, removing scheme from the schemes on the board, stopping the villains attacks, healing characters etc.
You use these different tools to build up your capabilities to stop the villains scheme and then take out all of their stages.
Once the heroes phase is over it's the villains turn. They typically add scheme to the main scheme automatically. They will then take a scheme action if the hero is in alter-ego form or attack if they are in hero form.
Rhino has 4 scheme on his main scheme. 3 more and he wins!
To scheme or attack you take the villains scheme or attack value and then draw one or more cards from their deck as a "boost" card. This may add additional power to the action or have some other special effect. The heroes often have cards to counteract the boosts and there is nothing stopping one hero from helping another out.
Any enemies engaged with the hero also scheme or attack but without the boost cards.
After that each hero will be dealt one, or possibly more, encounter cards. These cards can do all kinds of different things including causing another attack or scheme action by thye villain, messing with the players board or powering up the villain such as:
Putting another side scheme in to play.
Upgrading the villain.
Or engaging an enemy to that hero.
An obligation might be pulled from the deck. This immediately impacts the affected hero and typically represents the conflict between trying to be a hero while still having an alter ego.
The dreaded shadow of the past card. If this card comes up as an encounter card the player takes the set aside nemesis and engages it. They then shuffle the other nemesis cards in to the villain deck.
The nemesis cards are designed to take what was the heroes strength and turn it against them. I love this aspect of the game for the flavour but man do I dread it when it comes out.
I have played this mostly solo, a couple of times two handed, a three player multiplayer, and four player multiplayer game.
Solo can be tricky because you don't have a lot of room to play with. You can have things well under control and then a scheme with a bad boost followed by an encounter that causes another scheme and it's game over. There are cards that can mitigate that but not all decks have them so some acceptance that luck can ruin you has to be taken. Personally I like the challenge and building decks for solo versus multiplayer adds another deck building style in to the game.
Four player games can tend to go a little long. The villain has four times the health the scheme has four times the amount. Sure things happen 4 times as often but it felt a little long for me.
Two and three player games would be what I call the sweet spot. The game doesn't extend too long, you have enough breathing room to try different strategies, and you can get some player synergy going.
I really enjoy Marvel Champions. It hits a sweet spot of Marvel comics theme, enjoyable deck construction, fun play, and easy setup.
You can spend very little time on it, just using the premade hero decks and suggested villain setups, or spend a ton of time on it tweaking your deck, taking it up against tougher and tougher villain setup to see how far you can take it.
You can spend a little money on it, the core set gives you 5 heroes and 3 villains with a bunch of schemes, or pickup all of the heroes and villains giving you a ton of options. The nice thing is that even if you buy everything you will be nowhere near what you can spend on a collectible card game.
And as it is a living card game there is a lot of room for FFG to come up with interesting game variants. With new heros, campaigns, and villains releasing all the time there is a lot of variety here.
My only complaints are the storage solution and that it can get a bit long and samey at a 4 player count. Those complaints are pretty minor to the enjoyment you will get out of this game!
I discussed playing #Sentinels of the Multiverse in a previous Challenge post here, so I won't go into a huge amount of detail on the actual game. Feel free to give that article a read for more of an explaination on how the game works.
What I would like to talk about is the experience of playing a co-operative game like this solo and via an app. Now, SotM is a card based game, each hero gets a deck of cards that are represent their powers, equipment and actions. There are also decks for the environment and the villian that you will be facing.
So, I don't know if it is still free, but if it is and you like a puzzle without having to do too much admin I would absolutely recommend trying out the app if it is as a solo experience.
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