As my most played game of the year it wouldn’t be Christmas without some Marvel Superhero action, however, this is the first time we’re getting the game to the table with physical components rather than on Tabletop Simulator.
In Marvel United players take on the role of one of a roster of Marvel Superheroes. The base game comes with 7 heroes to choose from, but as a Kickstarter backer I have a bewildering array of 53! And rather than three supervillains to fight I have 28!
You pick a squad of heroes and a villain, shuffle up the decks for each and start playing. Each game begins with a villain turn, they move, potentially attack the heroes and seed the board with thugs to fight and civilians to rescue. Then the heroes go, playing cards from their custom decks to gain actions. There are only three actions in the game, move, fight, and heroic, which is a catch all for everything else that isn’t the first two.
Marvel United however encourages teamwork, not only do you get the icons on your cards, but you also get the icons from the previous hero card too. In this way you can use the last player's card to boost your own actions, or you can use your card play to set up the next player in turn order.
Play continues, with heroes taking turns and the villain activating every two or three turns to cause more mayhem. When the heroes defeat the villain they win, but if the villain completes their Villainous Plot the heroes all lose!
So far this festive season we have fought and defeated the crimelord, Kingpin, who is simply trying to take over the city by flooding the streets with tougher enforcers, and whittling down the heroes health with his signature henchman, Bullseye. Then we took on the Green Goblin, who is pretty tough as he overwhelms the city with threats and hides behind captured civilians preventing our heroes from attacking him directly.
We’ve also fought Doc Ock, who wins by destroying locations and uses his long tentacles to pull heroes towards him before attacking them. And finally we took on Electro, who can tap in to the power grid to boost his health and shoot electricity across the board, leaving the heroes with fewer places to hide.
As for heroes we’ve run the gamut, we had a whole team of spider people, we’ve had every member of the defenders, captains America and Marvel put in an appearance and even the daywalker Blade popped by to help with some spidey villains.
Marvel United is a delightfully simple system, that the designers have found an incredible amount of design space in. Despite the fact that there are 28 different villains, they all play fairly differently without being overly complex. Games are short, but everyone stays involved as they try to solve the puzzle the villain presents. The teamwork aspect encourages table talk as players discuss how to set each other up for the best possible moves.
Oh, and my set is fully painted so it looks awesome!
On the sixth day of Christmas, Santa gave to me six Infinity Stones!