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Day 1 - Marvel United Phoenix Five

Marvel United quickly shot to be one of my most played games of all time through the various lockdowns. Its simple easy to play nature, coupled with endless variety through hero and boss combinations made this one a boss battler that was easy to play via Tabletop Simulator without outstaying its welcome.

Of course once the lockdowns were lifted and life could return to some sense of normality, Marvel United continued to hit the table. And with a whole slew of extra content delivered this year in the form of the x-men, the variability went through the roof.

For Christmas I wanted to paint up a new expansion that would offer us some boss variety and an extra level of challenge and with Black Panther 2 bringing Namor into the MCU, the Phoenix Five expansion seemed like a no brainer.

In Marvel United each player takes control of a hero, they shuffle up their hero deck of 12 cards and draw 3 and then they are ready to play. On their turn a hero plays a card showing move, attack or heroic actions and then they perform those actions, plus the actions on the hero card before them in the storyline.

Each villain however changes the challenge. Some villains flood the board with thugs that need fighting, or powerful henchmen who fight back. Some put civilians in peril who need rescuing. While others go after the heroes themselves. Some win by direct damage KO-ing a specific number of heroes, while others win by running out their deck or overflowing the city.

What makes the Phoenix Five different is that they form a kind of gauntlet. After you defeat one, you fight the next one in turn until you defeat all five. However, each one adds its strength to the next villain, increasing its health and adding a unique power. Players can choose the order they encounter the villains, thus choosing which powers are added and in which order.

We began our encounter with Colossus. Colossus charges around the board using his threats to do damage to the heroes he lands on. Taking out his threat cards brings him under control. His special “Bam” effect causes him to shrug off the first damage every round, a power he would then pass on to each subsequent villain.

As you progress through each villain the difficulty ramps up with the third fight being roughly equivalent to a basic villain difficulty. I was impressed though that each of the Five does play differently and offers a unique challenge from the others. For example, we faced Cyclops in the third round and he largely stayed still, shooting us from range with his optic blast, while Magik summoned demons from Limbo to overwhelm us and Emma Frost mind controlled our heroes into playing cards randomly.

The downside of the Phoenix Five is that the later you face a villain in the gauntlet, the less unique they are, as they have all the powers of the previous villains you have faced and their threat cards have been replaced with the “Phoenix Five” Threat cards.

Still the campaign provided a great experience which we lost in the fifth and final fight one turn from the end… Of course we replayed the final game and won… always a good idea to bring a time traveller with you on these missions!


On the first day of Christmas Santa gave to me... A Phoenix that can devour all life!

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