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Quick, Simple Fun: High Society

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Marvel Champions

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20 Jan 2021 10:27 #318209 by Ah_Pook
Wrecking Crew is on the same level as Risky Business. It's not that they're not fun to play every once in a while, it's just that the scenario as written doesn't quite function at the same level as other scenarios. A few more tweaks in development and I think both could have been awesome.
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20 Jan 2021 10:49 #318211 by Shellhead
Felt ready for more of a challenge now that I am playing the rules correctly. Iron Man/Leadership and Black Panther/Protection vs Rhino (expert)/Bomb Scare. I have been a big fan of both Iron Man (aka Shellhead) and Black Panther since I was a kid, so I was happy to finally get to play them both in a decent game. The Iron Man deck was a nice thematic representation of that hero, but I felt that the BP deck undersold T'challa's speed and agility. He should have had at least a couple of dodge cards similar to Spider-man's Backflips.

It was a solid win for the good guys. Iron Man's +6 hit point gear was at the bottom of his deck, so I spent much of the game fretting over the hit points of both characters. On two separate occasions, I had to sacrifice really good allies (Vision, Luke Cage) too soon, just to avoid either Iron Man or BP getting knocked out of the game. I got Iron Man's boot jets and helmet out early, so Rhino's schemes were never able to build into a serious threat.

Marvel Champions does a great job of tying theme to mechanics. The pacing of each game feels comparable to the comics, where a single villain often poses a threat to a whole team of heroes even when those heroes should be able to dogpile the villain. The allies and minions come and go like cameos, but the nemesis characters often have a significant impact, especially if they show up when the encounter deck is getting low. The encounter deck works well enough as an AI opponent, and offers a surprising amount of replay because so many cards are just tossed for the boost effect. There are some nice little touches in the presentation of the game. The number dials are a good way to keep the token usage manageable. I like that the threat and damage tokens have different sizes as well as numbers, so it's easy to interpret them when there is a bit of a pile on a card.
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20 Jan 2021 12:12 #318214 by Shellhead
As a fan of both Marvel comics and the MCU movies, it's interesting to see the choice of characters used in Marvel Champions. Nearly all the heroes and quite a few of the villains are found in the movies, but the artwork is based on the more colorful comic book versions. For example, the Shocker in Spider-man: Homecoming is just some average criminal with an alien tech weapon, but in both Marvel Champions and the comics, he wears a distinctive brown and yellow costume. However, She-Hulk is in the base set and yet her movie won't be out until 2022 or later.

From a comic perspective, the selection of Marvel Champions characters so far is oddly skewed. Traditionally, there have been nine Marvel titles that have been continuously in print since they debuted in the '60s: Spider-man, Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Avengers, and X-Men. The X-Men slipped so badly in circulation numbers in the late '60s that it went into semi-hiatus for years, turning into a bi-monthly reprint book until the debut of the all-new, all-different X-Men in 1975. But it was never cancelled, and neither was Daredevil, despite going bi-weekly for a few years before Frank Miller got involved. Anyway, of the big nine Marvel titles, Fantastic Four and X-Men are missing, but hopefully will join the product line once there are MCU versions in the pipeline. But what is the deal with Daredevil? He has an ally card in the game (like his fellow Netflix Defenders Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist), so licensing rights aren't a problem. But he is a signficantly more popular character than either Quicksilver or Ms. Marvel. Maybe there will eventually be a Defenders boxed set that features those Netfllix Marvel heroes and maybe Punisher, too.

I can understand holding back Dr. Doom until there are decks for the Fantastic Four, but where is Thanos? I could see him having an epic campaign scenario, maybe designed for a higher player count like maybe 6 players. He could have separate schemes involving each of the Infinity Stones, and the acquisition of each stone could maybe add several cards to his encounter deck, allowing for more powerful effects as the game goes on.
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20 Jan 2021 13:52 #318215 by Shellhead
Looks like there will be a Thanos campaign coming:

comicbook.com/gaming/news/marvel-champions-2021-plans-leak/

Also a Sinister Six scenario pack, and 8 more heroes. I definitely want the Vision pack and maybe Valkyrie, but I can't work up much enthusiasm for the Venom or the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

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21 Jan 2021 22:51 #318259 by Shellhead
Tonight, Black Panther (Protection) and Iron Man (Leadership) took on Klaw and the Masters of Evil. Thematically, it was a great match because BP and Klaw are old enemies (Klaw killed BP's father in the comics) and the Avengers have fought the Masters of Evil on numerous occasions.

Both heroes take some time to put together their upgrades, so Klaw was able to finish his first scheme and move on to the second. I got Hawkeye in place twice, and his special was excellent at picking off incoming Masters and goons. For example, Whiplash popped up, and Hawkeye helped dispatch him quickly. I also put Vision into play and upgraded his Thwart and Attack with a permanent +1, and used BP medics to keep him around the whole game.

Then Iron Man and BP both got to unleashing waves of upgrade effects, wiping out Klaw I and putting the hurt on Klaw 2. The schemes and side schemes were getting burdensome, but then I drew into Maria Hill and Black Widow for some nice thwarting assistance. Luke Cage helped put down some of the more durable Masters and helped the main heroes thump on Klaw at the end. Another solid win. I should move up to expert level from here on out.

Klaw definitely had a very distinctive style compared to Rhino. It doesn't hurt that I am familiar with all these characters, but it's nice the way each scenario feels distinct from the others.
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24 Jan 2021 10:33 #318312 by Shellhead
With expansions on the way, I was looking forward to playing Marvel Champions yesterday. But after an odd January of fog and rime frost, we finally got a normal Minnesota blizzard. So the Amazon delivery didn't arrive until 9:00 PM. But I haven't even come close to playing out the contents of the base set, so Spider-man (Justice) and She-Hulk (Aggression) faced off against Klaw and the Masters of Evil, at expert level.

Maybe I'm not quite ready for expert level yet. I played with my usual tactics, except that I have come to appreciate the Defense action a bit more lately. But Klaw's side schemes can really pile on the threat quickly, and maybe I spent a little too much effort on thumping the Masters as they showed up. And I probably wasn't playing She-Hulk effectively. Her small hand size, big recovery amount, and special ability when shifting to She-Hulk form all indicated that I should have had her switch identities more frequently. But the heavy pressure from Klaw scheming made me want to maximize the time that both heroes spent in hero form. So I lost against Klaw III, and he still had around 30 hp when I lost.
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24 Jan 2021 10:57 #318313 by Ah_Pook
Expert is tough with just the base set cards. Once you get more of a card base the deck building opens up and you can get more consistent vs expert. If memory serves the core set deck building is basically "take all the good cards of whatever aspect, fill in the rest with Nick Fury + Mockingbird + Avengers Mansion + Helicarrier + your double resource cards".
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24 Jan 2021 14:09 #318318 by boothwah

Shellhead wrote: Looks like there will be a Thanos campaign coming:

comicbook.com/gaming/news/marvel-champions-2021-plans-leak/

Also a Sinister Six scenario pack, and 8 more heroes. I definitely want the Vision pack and maybe Valkyrie, but I can't work up much enthusiasm for the Venom or the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy.


I wouldn't get too hyped over this leak. Multiple spots on the list where msrps are off. Also there is a product called Star Wars Big Mac. Might be legit.

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24 Jan 2021 14:37 #318319 by Ah_Pook
I don't remember Star Wars Big Mac from my Marvel reading over the years, but I would definitely buy that hero pack.

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24 Jan 2021 22:00 #318327 by Shellhead
Captain America (Leadership) and She-Hulk (Aggression) defeated the Wrecking Crew in a very close game. They picked off Wrecker pretty quickly, but if I had it all to do over again, I might have focused on taking out Thunderball first and Bulldozer second. Thunderball took out 3 allies at once, and Bulldozer delivered some major damage with overkill (aka trample for you MtG players). That said, Piledriver was actually the most active villain over the course of the game, even though he was the second villain KO'd. I did better with She-Hulk this game, but Cap was definitely the V.I.P. Agent 13 also did a lot of thwarting, which was crucial once it got up to 4 and then 5 acceleration tokens on the main scheme.
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25 Jan 2021 12:11 #318335 by jeb
Help me out Kang battlers.

Had one quick game, lost in Kang I (!) with Ms. Marvel (Aggression) and Captain America (Leadership). Ms. Marvel had been tuned to beat lots of little minions and that's not how this goes. Like, half my hand was dead cards. So I rebuilt that and made it to Kang III before I had to pack it up (lost to dinner time).

I lost the little Kang insert and have some religious rules that kept me from looking it up, but I am not sure this is answered there anyway. I was able to find a rules write-up on BGG that tells me what to do. When the Champions are dispersed to different time shards in The Master of Time scheme (2B), all the Side Schemes from 1B turn into Acceleration tokens on 2B. But you can't actually lose 2B, there's no ceiling. And you don't actually put threat on there. It's just a holding place while you battle Kang IIs. Assuming you beat those, the acceleration tokens hop over to 4A. Like... what?
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25 Jan 2021 16:07 #318340 by Ah_Pook
yea 2b holds acceleration tokens until you hit 4b basically.

i got Wasp in the mail today, and i love some of the new aggression cards in her pack but they do not go in her precon deck AT ALL. her precon deck seems just awful tbh. but some of her cards are going to be staples in other aggression decks for sure. im setting up Ant-Man and Wasp to take a run at the Red Skull campaign, starting on stream tonight :)
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25 Jan 2021 22:22 - 25 Jan 2021 22:40 #318347 by Ah_Pook
Alright, 4 games of MC in a row on my stream tonight. I'm playing through the campaign on expert difficulty, but not using the expert campaign rules where you carry your health through between fights. You have to take healing cards (which I generally don't like) and it leads to gamey instances where you're trying to draw out the ends of fights so you can heal up before finishing off the villain etc. Anyway, I had a pretty bad loss to Crossbones to start, which felt bad. I drew both copies of Legions of Hydra at the same time and was basically playing on Heroic difficulty since I couldn't get out from under them, and things went south hard. The salty runback was smooth sailing though, followed by a quick Absorbing Man beat down without breaking much sweat (5 delay counters). Taskmaster put us through the wringer though. He's a hard counter to Ant-Man, and his constant drip of damage and nasty effects can be hard to deal with. I think I underestimated his difficulty after we stomped him the first time through the campaign, as he's always pretty tough when I've played him since. We did pull out the win in the end, and rescued 3/4 of the captured heroes on top. We had a chance at the 4th, but things were real dicey and we would have had to prolong the game by a round to get him and it would have been a big gamble. I still really like the way the campaign is done in the Red Skull box, and I'm eagerly looking forward to what they do in the next one.

But, Wasp is pretty lackluster on first impression. I love a lot of the new cards in her pack, but her hero kit is leaving me a lot to be desired. She doesn't have anything particularly interesting or cool feeling in her kit. Its just some attack and thwart events, and her support/upgrade cards are uniformly awful. Also she has She has 2 hero forms but there's almost no reason to ever change out of giant form, so why does she have 2 hero forms? Need to play more, but after how immediately super awesome Ant-Man was I had high hopes for Wasp and she's kinda... Eh.
Last edit: 25 Jan 2021 22:40 by Ah_Pook.
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25 Jan 2021 23:17 - 25 Jan 2021 23:18 #318348 by Shellhead
My Ant-Man order was from a different vendor, and it's currently not scheduled for delivery until February 5th - 9th, but I got the rest of my stuff last weekend. But I also randomly received the Black Widow expansion today, which I didn't order and was lukewarm about getting. Except that I was looking at a poll about favorite MC characters at BGG, and Black Widow was fairly popular, so actually I'm glad that I got this.

However, I already had plans for my next scenario: Ultron (basic). Inspired by Avengers #162, I am playing Thor (aggression), Black Panther (protection), and Iron Man (leadership) against Ultron, and hoping to draw into Wonder Man as an ally. No Wonder Man yet, but I did have five other Avengers in play last turn: Hercules, Black Widow, War Machine, Hawkeye, and Vision. And it's awesome, though Black Widow just took one for the team. Marvel Champions is easily my favorite superhero game that isn't an rpg.

Ultron's drones have been taking a savage beating from War Machine, with BP's med unit fixing him up after each strafing run. Loki is on the loose, and has already survived three consecutive defeats due to lucky card draws. Ultron has advanced to his second master scheme and still has 28 hit points left on his first body, so I decided to take a break and get back to it later this week.

Last edit: 25 Jan 2021 23:18 by Shellhead.
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26 Jan 2021 07:27 - 26 Jan 2021 15:16 #318351 by Ah_Pook
More Wasp thoughts: her events are good and she's got a lot of them, so it's not like she's not effective. It's just that her Giant/Tiny effects are pretty negligible, and her stats in Tiny are so bad (1/1/2), and her stats in Giant are so good (2/3/3), so her whole gimmick seems pointless. None of her cards ONLY work in Giant/Tiny, so I found myself basically never switching. And her supports/upgrades didn't feel worth playing even once, but maybe I'm undervaluing them?

I think she would be very good vs Ultron, since she can split her damage up how she wants among targets. But aside from that theres nothing about her that makes her stand out. All heroes have good events, so her having a bunch of good events doesn't make her pop yknow. Especially when her events don't do anything weird/interesting beyond do a bunch of damage or remove threat. That things are good obviously, but she's lacking a fun hook so far. Need to play around with some decks and see if I'm missing something.

Edit: final thoughts after cogitating on it today: Wasp is an event centered hero who has great events. Her upgrades are lackluster, and she needs resource help (Mansion, Helicarrier, quincarrier, etc), but none of that is games breaking. Mainly she's just a very straightforward hero, which is neither here nor there. You draw events, you play events, you're not building towards much and her game doesn't have an arc as such. That's fine, but for me it's a little disappointing (especially coming on the heels of Ant-Man). She would probably be a good choice for younger players gameplay wise, though I'm not sure she's a popular enough character for that demographic theme wise.
Last edit: 26 Jan 2021 15:16 by Ah_Pook.

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