Monday, September 3, 2007

Marvel Heroes

Bought this amazing boardgame last Friday, and only got to play it today. It's another high production value game from Fantasy Flight Games, with 16 superhero and 4 supervillain miniatures. Each player controls one of four of Marvel's superteams: the Avengers (represented in the game by Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, and Thor), the Fantastic Four (composed, of course, of The Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic and The Thing), the Marvel Knights (Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Elektra and Spiderman), and the X-Men (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm and Wolverine). Each player also controls the "nemesis" of the team to their left (respectively, Red Skull, Dr. Doom, Kingpin, and Magneto).

The idea is to manage your team of superheroes effectively as threats appear all over the city of New York, which is divided into six areas in the game. Successfully troubleshooting threats garner victory points (VPs), and the game ends when one of the superhero teams accumulates a set amount of VPs. Victory conditions vary depending on which storyline was chosen at the start of the game (there are 10, ranging from the "default" Born Again which requires only 15 VPs to Brood Wars, which requires the same amount but has special rules).

We managed to play two games, the first one using the Born Again storyline, which was recommended for new players. To win in Born Again, a superhero team must collect 15 VPs). I think we stumbled through the learning curve without hurting ourselves much. I can't remember any highlights since we were a bit busy figuring out the rules, except when I sent out Captain America and he got his white arse handed back to him by Blastaar. The X-Men won the victory, thanks mostly to Logan's adamantium claws.

For the second game, we tried randomly drawing from the other nine storyline cards and came up with Brood Wars, where the goal is 15 VPs as well, but now, Villains marked with the "Most Wanted" icon are considered to be infected by the Brood, raising their attack and defense ratings but lowering their outwit ratings. If three Brood-infected Villains score victories on the superheroes, then it's game over and all the players lose!

One of the highlights of the second game include the massive slugfest between the Avengers' Hulk and a Brood-infected Super Skrull, aided by a lot of other villains. Super Skrull actually managed to clobber the Hulk into submission! Spiderman was also defeated by the Kingpin. The 'Pin only managed to do so by launching a sneaky suprise attack (with the aid of Sandman) right after Spidey had a tough fight with Absorbing Man. Still, between Spidey and Dr. Strange, the Marvel Knights managed to score enough points to claim victory.

The Marvel Heroes Strategy Boardgame is a fast and fun game with some furious dice--err, slugfests, almost accurately depicting the Marvel Universe. The toy factor is a plus as well (20 pre-painted miniatures!). Fans of the Marvel Universe should definitely not miss this experience.

Here's looking forward to the expansions!