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Marvel Champions: The Card Game

Marvel Champions: The Card Game

Game Information

Fantasy Flight Games

Rhino rampages through the streets of New York, Klaw peddles illegal weapons to the world’s most dangerous criminals, Ultron threatens nuclear annihilation. The world needs champions to stop these villains! Are you up to the task?

Marvel Champions is a cooperative Living Card Game® that invites you to step into the shoes of the iconic Super Heroes of the Marvel Universe, battling dastardly villains and their diabolical schemes. But the champions of the Marvel Universe have more to worry about than a supervillain's plots. Each carries their own iconic history, full of their old enemies that can resurface at the worst possible time! Can you gather your team of heroes, take down the villain, and save the world?

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fightcitymayor's Avatar
fightcitymayor replied the topic: #300333 01 Aug 2019 08:35
But how does a game like this not get lost in the crush of Marvel games released in the past few years? I realize it's FFG (thus sales) and I realize it's an LCG (thus more sales) but it feels like this would have gone over far better 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago. It's tough to make a Marvel game feel special when this is the umpteenth million iteration thereof.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #300335 01 Aug 2019 08:41
Marvel has something like 20 movies and TV shows planned for the next four years. I wouldn't be surprised if they aren't a little frustrated that the game tie-ins are moving too slowly.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #304189 13 Nov 2019 21:13
Played Marvel Champions tonight. First off, the art is fine. It's a step up from the stuff they're using for marketing and it's otherwise OK. There's nothing scintillating about it, but it's fine. We squared off against what was explained to us as the easiest boss: The Rhino. I was She-Hulk with Aggression and there was also Black Panther with Support (I think), Spider-Man with Protection, and Iron Man with Justice (the game's owner.)

I can't say that I'm particularly impressed. First off, it's basically Sentinels of the Multiverse; a game that I mildly detest, despite my long history in comics and my undying love for the RPG, Villains and Vigilantes. I don't really like co-op games and, other than Spirit Island (and, recently, TE Defenders and some games of TE Zombies), I generally won't play them. So, that's one strike. One plus is that they indulged in a lot of the classic Marvel stuff, even with updated imagery. Nick Fury is there, looking like Samuel L. Jackson. There's Tigra and The Shocker and Hydra and the Helicarrier and so on. Each hero has a nemesis that will be brought out by a particular card in the villain deck if it's drawn at the right time. She-Hulk's is Titania. Each nemesis does different things and will add cards to the villain deck that make it more difficult. Each hero also has an Obligation that forces them to do different things if drawn at the right time. Each hero also has an alter ego, which performs in different ways (changes hand size, different abilities, means the villain can't attack you but instead furthers his scheme, etc.) So, there's plenty of variety in both game state and game play.

However, like many of these games, it's very mechanical, since you're not playing each other but against the game, and it's easy to slip into a state where basically all you're doing is helping other players do interesting things. Iron Man builds up an engine (appropriately) and that player had about two dozen cards in his tableau that he could do a variety of things with. In one turn, he almost singlehandedly lowered the Rhino's threat on his scheme from 2 below a loss to almost zero. On the last turn, he wiped out a full third of Rhino's health by himself and won the game. Black Panther spent a lot of time summoning allies to good effect, while Spider-Man spent most of the time trying to stay alive. I, on the other hand, spent more than one turn not able to do much of anything because I was resource-starved. I think the point of both She-Hulk and Aggression is to deal out big bursts of damage and then rebuild. I was able to kinda do that once, but not nearly as often as I looked at my hand of cards and said: "OK. I can make one play and do nothing to affect the game state, so I'm done."

That's the case with a lot of these kinds of games. I've had it happen in Sentinels multiple times, where someone ends up just feeding cards and/or opportunity to other players so that they can actually do fun and interesting things. This is no different. I mean, that's teamwork, but you might as well replace that one person with a waterbird for all the participation that they have. This is also one of Fantasy Flight's LCGs, which means a constant outflow of cash for the next year or two to build it to the game state where it seems like some of the heroes actually have options. They've already announced the first expansion, which is The Wrecking Crew. That's really cool for the nostalgia factor, but it's not a game model that I want a part of, for mechanical reasons and because it's still a collectible game.

So, yeah. It's not a bad game. It's most certainly not in my wheelhouse. But I can't say that I'd recommend it right now even if it was.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #304205 14 Nov 2019 16:33
They have this weird tension to manage where they want to hold back a lot of the shit people actually want hero and villianwise but also need to ensure the success of the product to start. It looks like they're doing a decent job from a hero perspective, iron man and spider man are in the opening pack, captain is coming, etc. Will be curious to see how deep they go into the back catalog.
boothwah's Avatar
boothwah replied the topic: #304210 14 Nov 2019 17:44
I would be the target market for this 15 years ago - And I WAS! UDE did Vs. System and managed to snag the Marvel and DC licenses simultaneously - It was glorious - The game was good - My favorite CCG of the dozens that impoverished me in my 20's and 30's. I have 10 5 wide long boxes of the stuff. If I have a group that wants to superhero, I have have the stuffs. Man I wish they wouldn't have tried to lean so hard into the competetive CCG space - That game was good, and I think it would have had legs for a long time if they hadn't blown so much money trying to push it into competing with Magic and trying to do the pro tour thing right off the bat...not that I'm complaining about the merch that I won playing it....I would have rather played a lot more of it for longer.

I'm not interested Marvel characters vs a deck of bad things. If it has any of the design DNA leftover from LOTR LCG, then I can tell you that I would only be interested in the game as a replacement for kindling around the campfire. At least the art looks better than Legendary. I think this is a hard pass from me.
blatz's Avatar
blatz replied the topic: #304320 18 Nov 2019 10:25
I'm gonna take the other side on this one. The kids and I are really enjoying this one so far. I love how easy (and optional) the deck building is and how you can choose a hero and play them in different ways. Want Spider-Man to be the team leader? Just shuffle his cards into the leadership deck and, boom, you're done.

It's obvious they've learned a lot about what didn't work in the LOTR game. I always felt like deckbuilding was the whole game in LOTR and that games were almost 100% dictated by how well you built your deck and whether the right cards happened to come up at the right time. Marvel Champions feels better to me in that far more of the game is decided by your card play DURING the game. Also, the theme. Never once have I thought "Man, it would be so cool to see Bilbo and Denethor tooling around in the Dead Marshes." But She-Hulk and Captain Marvel teaming up to stop Ultron? That's what comic books were all about for me as a kid.

The core set is a complete experience but definitely feels like the framework for a lot more interesting things down the road. I think I'm on board, at least for a while.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #304322 18 Nov 2019 12:58
I really like it. FWIW, I wasn’t a big fan of the LOTR LCG because it felt a little too mechanical and while I like was Arkham is doing on paper, I don’t like the commitment of playing through storylines. Marvel is way more pickup and play, which is perfect for how I approach any CCG these days. The main strategy is balancing your hero mode and your alter-ego, kind of like, I don’t know, a superhero would. Flipping back and forth between the two feels fresh, though it’s kind of in the Transformers CCG as well though not anywhere near as well implemented as it is here. Is it the be-all-end-all of superhero games? Probably not, but nothing else has come as close to doing what I want a superhero game to do. They snuck out heroes personal lives in, and I love being able to pick a hero or two, pick a bad guy and smash ‘em together for 45 minutes. It’s great fun so far.
Space Ghost's Avatar
Space Ghost replied the topic: #304323 18 Nov 2019 13:01
Josh - did you like Capes & Cowls (or did you get a chance to play it, and if so....)?

P.S. Congratulations!
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #304350 19 Nov 2019 07:17
Thank you!

I did the one time I played it, which was years ago. Not sure how I’d feel about it now.

I should say that when it comes to superhero games, this is where a license will go much further with me than original characters made for the game. My investment goes way up if I’m playing as _the_ Spider-Man, not a thinly veiled Spidey analogue, so long as I’m doing Spidey things and Spidey things are happening to me. I care about that stuff and while it won’t give me the emotional gut-punch like when Peter tells Aunt May what really happened on the night Uncle Ben died in Spider-Man 2, I love seeing the alter-ego stuff come up in Champions because it’s well-executed enough.