1-4 player 45-90 minute ages 14+ language dependant : yes
Written by Arnuald
Fantasy Flight Games is an editor who likes to flirt with licenses. It regurgitates them in many versions and even created its own style of game: the Living Card Game. The LCG is a card game that will be provided with, depending on its success, many extensions packets to enrich it with new challenges. After Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, A Game of Thrones and Arkham Horror, the newest Universe to be given an LCG treatment is that of Marvel. Here we have the right play cooperative card game in which the players will each play a hero and fight together to triumph over a scenario linked to a villain. Heroes and alter egos. For now, only the basic game box is available and allows you to play 4 of the 5 heroes present. Peter Parker aka Spider-man is a young student looser on whom rests all the weight of the world following the death of his uncle Ben. Torn between his odd jobs, the College, the girls, he is the representation of the ordinary hero, human and tortured.
The multi-billionaire Anthony Stark aka Iron Man is an arrogant playboy whose technological genius allowed him to manufacture an almost indestructible armor and endowed with the top of the armament of his company.
Jennifer Walters is a lawyer and cousin of Bruce "Hulk" Banner. Following an injury, her cousin gave her a blood transfusion which transformed her into Miss Hulk. Less powerful than her cousin, she manages to control her transformations.
T'challa, the Black Panther, is the heir to the throne of Wakanda, a small country in Africa which owes its wealth and technological advance to Vibranium, a rare metal teeming underground.
Carol Danvers is a former US army pilot. An accident contaminated her DNA with that of a Kree, a powerful alien race. Become Captain Marvel, she acquired extraordinary powerful powers, like flight, the projection of photonic energy and a great strength.
Form a deck team!
This duality is important since it is part of the heart of the Marvel Champions game. Each hero is represented by a double-sided character card: one side with their alter-ego and the other their superhero version. An important concept since depending on which side is face up will determine that characters, powers, actions, the hand size and the cards they can play. All will differ.
The card deck of a hero is made up of different types of cards: · Events which are generally the most emblematic attacks of each character (repellant rays of Iron Man or kick of Spider-Man)
· Allies who will be able to support them (Spider-Man is really well off with Black Cat, the delicious Félicia Hardy in a leather costume too small for her)
· Improvements which are generally emblematic objects of the character and which will remain in play (with Iron Man, we have the whole panoply of the character with armor, helmet, gloves, boots and the reactor!)
· Supports, in the form of characters or places (Aunt May makes an excellent regenerative soup while the Avengers mansion allows you to draw additional cards). Each player adds their affinity cards to a deck. These cards are specialized in a way of playing. There are 3 special affinities in the basic box, as well as basic deck of cards. The affinity Justice makes it easier to manage the villain's scheme, the affinity Protection … protects and treats the affinity then Aggressiveness increases the damage inflict
Using all these cards, players will therefore design decks based on the character and the way of play they choose.
Cards in hand
Marvel Champions is played in two phases: in turn order, each player performs all the actions on their cards, then move on to the violent turn of the Bad Guy. What actions are there? Each card has a resource cost (there are 3 different ones in the game) which must be paid by discarding cards containing this same number of resources. And that's all ?
Not really. Some cards have a temporary effect, others remain in play and are immediately usable to attack the villain immediately, or for any usual game effect (drawing cards, healing, lowering the threat, etc.). Once per turn, the player can decide if they wish to turn over their character's card, from their secret identity to hero form (or vice versa). Because it is on one side or another, the actions available will be presented to you. On top of that, some cards may require a particular identity side.
This system of play is rather traditional. And therefore necessary to master the terminology of all keywords to get the best use possible out of your cards. You must optimize because the challenge is not easy. Once all your actions are done, it passes to the next player. Once all the players have passed, they straighten all their used cards, raise their hands to their maximum size. And they will need it because we are going to ...
The Evil Phase !!!
We almost forgot that one! Three Villains are available in the basic box.
The first two are more of the underlings: the Rhino, a recurring enemy of Spider-Man is ideal for learning the game, as he does not pose a great threat; Klaw, the sound master is an enemy of the Black Panther and will bring a little more difficulty.
Finally Ultron gratifies us with his presence, and here we enter a category of Villain not easy to fight, a real challenge.
At the start of the game, you will therefore have chosen an Enemy, two cards among three to determine the difficulty of the scenario played, Scheme cards, deck of cards to which you must add Encounter cards (additional scenarios like bomb alerts, civilians to save or enemies who will come to support the Evil One).
And here we are at the very heart of the game. To win, you have to remove all the hit points of all your villain cards, while preventing the threat from reaching the value indicated on the Scheme card. Otherwise it's instant defeat.
And the level of scheme goes up quickly, very quickly. The Villain's first action is to gain Threat, then they attack all of the Heroes. If players have kept their alter-ego face, he is Scheming instead!
Then each hero receives a card from the Villain deck which they will have to resolve alone. This tour of the Villain is fast, but particularly brutal.
The Players must really cooperate as best they can with each other to manage the Threat to bring down, attack the Villain, get rid of the minions who come to help them and go back under their secret identity to be able to heal themselves. Each choice is essential, the game really gives the impression that the bad guys are powerful and harasses the players.
The game also attacks the poor costumed heroes, since every super hero's weaknesses arise from time to time: their Obligation. Each hero has a weakness (money problem for poor Peter Parker or a need to take care of his kingdom for T'challa) in the form of a bond card. This card is put in the Villain's deck during preparation and is given to its owner as soon as it is drawn. They will have to solve it before doing anything else!
With great power comes great responsibilities!
Marvel Champions is for me a real success in the adaptation of the super heroic license. Marvel Legendary had already been a good deckbuilding game, but it didn't allow you to play a single Character and missed that personal touch to each character. Here we embody a superhero, their strengths, weaknesses, allies, and enemies. The villain of the script of course, but also a Nemesis which is unique to each hero and which can come and play the spoilsport at any time.
The components are impeccable. The illustrations really stick to the comics and the identity of each character. The choices are really difficult between keeping cards for later because they are very powerful, or getting rid of them to take the corresponding resources. The hero's strategy can be changed due to the villain's threat level. During his turn, he can indeed gain more threat than expected. Thus, the hero can be forced to try a finish him to prevent him from running away.
The only big black spot of Marvel Champions remains its distribution. Problem of success, orders or production capacities, the basic box quickly found itself out of stock. And its first extensions are taking the same direction. Released on January 31, they are almost impossible to find ...
The game also remains strangely very anchored only in the universe of the Avengers. No cosmic hero, no X-Men, no Fantastic Four, all that leaves questions about the very content of the license. Unless boxes of extensions are planned to open this universe to the ship of the guardians of the galaxy, the laboratory of Red Richards, the Manor of the gifted young people of Professor Xavier or the coming of Galactus, preceded by his faithful Silver Surfer . Characters and scenarios that make fans of Marvel comics dream, questioning where the game will take them.
Technical score 9/10 As usual for the editor, the material is impeccable; the illustrations of the cards, without being produced by recognized comic book authors, are in tune. The rest of the material is made up of tokens, made of very thick cardboard, colored as necessary to permeate the Marvel Universe. FFG keeps its habits by providing its two famous usual rule books (learning and lexicon). A note of 8 that my fan side goes to 9, I still grew up reading the Golden Age of the X-Men by the pair Claremont / Byrne!
My BGG score 8/10 A game that will appeal to fans of card games: Marvel Champions is fluid, fast, combinative, ideal for the more gamers who will be able to optimize their decks thanks to the basic affinities, and to the new cards which will come to grow this brand. For players who are less demanding but a fan of the license, the pre-built packages will be more than enough to have a good time.
Combined score of 8.5 / 10 And now it's your turn to play ...