Superheroes are everywhere, books, movies and finally in board games. Many companies tried and failed with superheroes in the early years of hobby gaming with a few notable exceptions but these days the hobby market is chock full of supes fighting megalomaniacs. But a lot of those games don’t offer a mass market friendly entryway.
Superpowered beings can do a lot of amazing things and almost by necessity that means that a board game about superheroes needs complexity, needs granularity. You need rules for mind control, flight, super strength and laser vision. Marvel United however, takes all that variety and complexity and boils it down to just three simple actions, move, fight, be a hero.
In Marvel United each player takes control of a hero from the Marvel Universe fighting against one of the big bads, Red Skull, Taskmaster or Ultron. Each hero has a deck of 12 cards each with a different make up. Hulk is slow to move but hits like a truck, while Wasp is highly mobile but typically deals less damage per turn. Each hero also has 3 special cards, a little special extra rule that just they can do. Captain America can support the team by granting them action tokens, while Black Widow can spy on the mastermind and see what their plans are for the upcoming turn. It’s a hint of flavour, a tiny drip of something extra special without being over facing.
Meanwhile the villains offer their own challenges. Red Skull simply wants to raise the fear level, which he can do by flooding locations with thugs or chucking crisis tokens at heroes. And when that doesn’t work he’ll just punch you in the face. Taskmaster however hides behind traps, using a tactic of action denial. While Ultron is all about replication. His aim is to simply fill the city with his drones and drown the heroes in a sea of steel and circuit boards.