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Recollect Board Game Review

Board Game Reviews
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Marvel Champions

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01 Dec 2021 10:08 #328407 by Shellhead
I agree, the phrase "remove from game" was only used in the Thanos scenario, and the subsequent scenarios say "discard."

The original shipping schedule was supposed to be Mad Titan's Shadow in August, then War Machine, Nebula, and The Hood in the fall. European orders got delayed because of that ship blocking the canal, and a several factors have contributed to massive delays in ships getting unloaded on the west coast of the U.S.

The more I play Spectrum and Adam Warlock, the more I appreciate them.

Spectrum's deck includes a big Leadership card combo, but you can't pull it off unless you dial down the chump blocking and let Spectrum defend herself. 1. Bring out Avengers Tower for the ally discount, plus Energy Duplication to help with the costs. 2. Play allies. 3. Play Mighty Avengers to give all of your allies +1/+1. 4. Switch to Gamma form. 5. Play Mass Attack, tapping up to three of your allies to do an ATK equal to your ATK plus the combined ATK of your allies. Ideally pay for Mass Attack with Band Together. 6. Repeat if you can.

But if you do the chump blocking, that can leave Spectrum free to do a big thwart or attack. With Photon Speed, she can change to Photon Form, remove 1 point of scheme, thwart for 4, then tap and thwart for 3 more. With Gamma Blast, she can change to Gamma Form, deal 1 damage, attack for 7, then tap and attack for 3 more. With Speed of Light, she might be able to do both in one turn, especially if she already had a Ready to Rumble in play.

Adam Warlock is designed to cycle through his deck quickly. Normally, cycling your deck quickly is suboptimal, because you draw a facedown encounter card each time your deck runs out of cards. But if you get Adam's support cards out, you get rewarded for cycling cards. Use his Battle Mage ability to discard an aspect card for a modest effect, then tap his cape to untap Adam, plus draw one or two cards if you have one or both of his Mystic Senses upgrades in play. Best of all, you can place a token on Soul World each time your deck runs out of cards. Later, as an alter-ego action, you can tap Soul World and spend a token to completely heal Adam. To help accelerate his deck, Adam has attacks and thwarts that can be pumped by discarding several cards. This makes Adam uniquely qualified to fight Thanos in a post-*Snap* environment. By the of my last game against Thanos, Adam still had 3 unused tokens on Soul World at the end of the game.
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02 Dec 2021 02:31 #328430 by Kmann
Third time was the charm for Rocket & Groot to escape the collector's museum in GMW. It was a fairly long game, almost three hours, and at one point I felt like I was treading water. I'd tried to rush thwart him in my first couple of attempts and had learnt that was a quick way to lose so in the winning game I was being a little over cautious in moving from stage 1 to stage 2.

Even still it came right down to the wire with the final two turns full of calculated risk and much crossing of fingers. Rocket & Groot were both pretty beat up by the end and with all the side schemes that were out they probably wouldn't have survived another round.

As for the scenario itself, I dug it. It was a cool push into a different design space for the game and played unlike any of the others. Very cool. But as both these heroes are solid at removing scheme that no doubt helped enjoyment levels considerably.

The overall box difficulty is hugely increased from what came before, there's no denying it. Like I've said I dropped from expert to standard and each scenario has had me sweating on more than one occasion. But for me, this difficulty level feels pretty spot on. I can't see myself ramping it up to expert anytime soon. If ever.

So GMW is now at 3 for 3. Of course the two heavy hitters of Nebula and Ronan are coming up next.

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02 Dec 2021 12:25 #328439 by Ah_Pook
Nebula and Ronin are the real annoying ones, I'm curious to know how you enjoy them :)

Also, FFG dropped their preview article for Sinister Motives and it just looks completely awesome. The encounters look like bangers, the heroes look really fun, and there's a new Justice deck archetype introduced around SHIELD cards... Yea this one looks awesome.
www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2021/12/2/sinister-motives/
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02 Dec 2021 13:52 #328442 by Shellhead
Sinister Motives looks great. I wonder if the final badguy will be a Venom-infused Green Goblin. Of course, the Sinister Six scenario looks like it could be the highlight of this set, with six classic villains teaming up against the heroes. However, I kind of wish that their hit points were a little higher or else based on player-count. Thematically, I prefer beating on recognizable villains instead of ordinary goons, but one-shotting a known badguy like Scorpion shouldn't be so easy. On the other hand, it's a little disappointing to fight a main villain who can take big hits from Hulk or Thor or both at once and suffer nothing more than the loss of some hit points. Red Skull's Sleeper minion hit the sweet spot for me, with 5 hit points per player.

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03 Dec 2021 23:21 #328492 by Shellhead
Late in the game, Loki popped while we were battling Hela, which was very thematic. Fortunately, this time Loki departed promptly after getting double-blasted with repulsor rays from an airborne Iron Man, and didn't show up again before we finished Hela. The timing was tight with Hela, so there just wasn't time to pick up the Norn Stones on the way out, though the permanent stat buffs would have been totally worth it.

Final battle against Loki is not going great. The heroes all had to discard the top half of their decks at the start, due to the Thanos snap of two games earlier in the campaign, so we are starting slow. The random first Loki in play didn't take damage as long as there were side schemes in play, so it seemed like the perfect time to free the Asgardian prisoners from their side scheme. Sif joined Thor, of course. Fandral the Dashing is a gallant swordsman, so he went to Spectrum. Hogun the Grim has a mustache, so I sent him to help Tony Stark. That left Volstaff the Voluminous for Adam Warlock. Unfortunately, an injured Odin got seduced by Enchanteress, so Thor had to put him down like a mad dog. Unlike normal allies, Odin leaves the game if he gets defeated.

Loki keeps switching forms on us, so his attack and scheme scores fluctuate and he gains and loses a special ability with each switch. Status cards and hit points remain when he switches forms, but all of his forms have 80 hit points and we need to defeat him twice for the standard level win. One of his forms has a Scheme of 3, and he hung around for a while, so we are already at 32/48 on the single stage main scheme. But 3 of my 4 heroes are capable of decent thwarting, so we should be able to hang on. But then there are those nasty Infinity Stone cards going off on every other activation by Loki. And Laufey has already shown up twice, and he is a minion with Tough, an attack of 4+stun, and 6 hit points.

The Loki deck gets a campaign card that serves as a second way to bring a nemesis in play. So far, we have had three possible occasions for a nemesis to show up, but the first two happened to be Loki. The third was Magus, and his quick strike was wasted because Adam was in alter ego, which is funny to me because he is one of those heroes that doesn't even have a secret identity. Magus is Tough, has 5 hit points, and some kind of discarding effect which is actually potentially beneficial to Adam.

This is easily my favorite MC campaign so far. GMW is too hard for my standard decks, and so is the Red Skull scenario from the first campaign. Thanos is actually harder than the Red Skull, but more fun due to the various Infinity Stones and the Snap.

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06 Dec 2021 12:14 #328529 by Shellhead
Played a few more turns against Loki yesterday. My team is treading water and there is probably no way that they can hang on long enough to beat Loki this game. On standard difficulty, we need to defeat two random Lokis (out of 5 versions). Each version has 80 hit points, but the first one gets a Midgard Serpent attachment that adds 4 hit points per player. So our first Loki is currently at 72/96 hit points, and has an attachment that works like the original Loki nemesis: any time we inflict damage, he discards an encounter card and ignores all damage if he discarded a treachery. To make matters worse, this accelerates his burn rate through his deck, which will eventually lead to more acceleration tokens on the main scheme. We currently have 3 acceleration tokens in play, but can get rid of one by defeating a side-scheme.

It would be great to start whaling on Loki soon, and essential for a victory. But that damn Infinity Gauntlet keeps dishing out effects, like stun, confusion, and discards of upgrades, and Loki's minions tend to be Frost Giants with Tough and an attack of 3. One turn, two of my heroes were Frozen and Thor was Seduced twice by Enchanteress. I can deal with all of this stuff, but I don't know if I can win while dealing with all this stuff. On the plus side, most of my heroes have a decent amount of hit points and a decent setup of upgrades and allies.

Overall, the Mad Titan's Shadow campaign has definitely been harder than the Red Skull campaign, to the point where I am a bit concerned about power creep in this game. As the pool of available cards grows, the gap in effectiveness between standard and expert decks will grow, and it appears that the scenario difficulty will be aimed at the expert level, with not enough difference in difficulty level to leave the game fun for the standard players. The quality level of the untuned starter decks has improved, which helps, but that leaves some of the early heroes as a bit too weak without deckbuilding. Black Panther is great when he gets out several upgrades and plays Wakanda Forever, but the rest of the time is not too impressive. Black Widow has a different play style, but overall lacks the punch to handle more recent scenarios. I enjoy playing with Hulk and Thor because they can do some impressive damage, but they both have issues with hand size that can lead to occasional dead turns.

All of these issues can be addressed with some deckbuilding, but I just don't enjoy deckbuilding. If I do eventually do some deckbuilding, I would want to find a way to equitably improve all of my decks instead of taking all the best cards (say, cheap allies) for a few decks. That way I can pick any decks to just start playing a game without having to do additional deckbuilding before each game. In theory, I could just buy more cards, but I balk at the idea of buying duplicates of anything that I already have.
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06 Dec 2021 20:01 #328543 by boothwah
"All of these issues can be addressed with some deckbuilding, but I just don't enjoy deckbuilding."

It's very very true - I had a friend who was of similar bent - I have eventually won him over to storing all of his heroes and aspects and now he likes building his own decks, but at first I just showed him how to build some basic aspect decks that he could swap in and out with heroes - 25 cards that could added to any hero.

Like a sample Leadership pile might be :

Resources : (5)
E / S / G + 2 x power of leadership

Allies :
Squirrel Girl
Hawkeye (3 cost)
Hawkeye (2 cost)
Falcon
Maria Hill
Black Knight
Ant Man
Nick Fury

Supports :
Helicarrier
Rapid Reserves x 2
Triskelion
Team Training

Events
2 x Make the Call
2 x Lead from the front
2 x First Aid

Upgrades :
Endurance



I did a deck like that for each aspect for him. But after a couple of weeks, he'd pull the aspect deck out and a character and be like "United Front would be a much better card in this, since my hero is an Avenger - and he'd swap two cards out. Or he just got a new pack and and he looked at a card that we be awesome for spidey (Bait and Switch) and he would grab his "protection" deck, pair it with Spidey and sub in the cards he wanted to try with him.

Now he just grabs a small smattering of resource basic cards ( Heli/Mansion/Quincarrier, etc.) his e/g/s and power ofs and starts grabbbing cards from the aspect that he thinks would work with the hero -


There's no magical formula - but like MtG there's some pretty basic things you take care of in deckbuilding.

I start with five 5 card piles :

Pile 1 : RESOURCES In most cases, you can count on only having to build a 20 card deck - You are almost always going to start with e/s/g and 2 power ofs - Unless you are running some really tight tuned deck and are forgoing power of's or double resources and if that's the case you don't really need deck building advice.

Pile 2 : UPGRADES AND SUPPORTS : Some heroes have so much resource generation/ extra juice in their kit, some don't. Most heros will really appreciate extra resources/cards - I rarely build a deck that couldn't use a helicarrier, or quincarrier, and if the hero can afford it, who wouldn't want a mansion? For a long time I put Endurance and Downtime in every single deck I built ( mostly playing solo.) Team Building Exercise or Avengers Tower, Knowhere, CITT, DEft Focus, Martial Prowess, Sense of Justice, etc. are all cards that end up in this pile

Pile 3 : ALLIES : Sometimes I do more, less, but I would say 5 is the number of allies i pack into non leadership decks.

Pile 4 and 5 : THE DECK - seriously - these 10 cards are usually the decisions - These are the events/upgrades/extra allies that make the deck run - In prot it might a 5 stack of 1 cost upgrades and a some events. In aggression you might decide to throw a stack of Crushing Blows in and that will inform your decision to pack out the rest of your deck with melee symbols. If your picking Justice, it's probably to cover your hero's abysmal thwart - You probably play more events and not Heroic Intuition.


If you grabbed 3 semi-random aspects events and a random upgrade for the last 10 cards , it would still be far far far better than any of the precons, and I think you would really enjoy the heros and see their strengths really come out.
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06 Dec 2021 20:38 #328544 by Gary Sax
I must admit I'd be much sourer on deck building myself if I had to do it every game.
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07 Dec 2021 10:15 #328558 by Shellhead
Same here, especially if I have 17 hero decks (I do) but can only play a few of them at any given time without cannibalizing other decks. If I get into the deckbuilding aspect at all, I might leave the starters mostly intact, and just replace maybe a half dozen cards that never seem to hit the table. Even then, I would be looking to change out over 100 cards just to upgrade my existing decks. And if that modest tweaking isn't good enough to handle Expert level play, then I would probably be reasonably happy playing slightly overpowered decks against Standard.

That raises a separate issue. How easy should it be to win a solitaire/co-op game. Obviously, too easy would probably bore most people, but too hard would be stressful instead of fun. Where I draw the line is how much luck is needed to beat the game. If an experienced and skilled player can't beat the game without an unusual degree of good luck, that is a game that I probably won't enjoy playing much. I would rather play a game that punishes mistakes and can occasionally cause a loss due to bad luck.
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07 Dec 2021 10:50 #328561 by DarthJoJo

Shellhead wrote: That raises a separate issue. How easy should it be to win a solitaire/co-op game. Obviously, too easy would probably bore most people, but too hard would be stressful instead of fun. Where I draw the line is how much luck is needed to beat the game. If an experienced and skilled player can't beat the game without an unusual degree of good luck, that is a game that I probably won't enjoy playing much. I would rather play a game that punishes mistakes and can occasionally cause a loss due to bad luck.

I think this is actually a strength of Arkham’s campaign system over Marvel’s individual scenarios. It is, of course, more fun to win, especially if multiple losses and accumulated trauma lead to a death spiral, but the greatest fun I find in Arkham is in my investigator’s growth. They gain a personality and character as I see what struggle with and triumph over. My decks tend to more experimental than optimized, so I just enjoy seeing if they even work and watch them get stronger as victory points are accrued.
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09 Dec 2021 10:20 #328625 by san il defanso

boothwah wrote: Lots of stuff...


This helps a lot. One thing I'm learning about this game is that deck construction can elevate most heroes quite a bit, and your post here confirms what I expected. That is, it's not particularly difficult to make a deck that is more effective than the ones that come preset in the game.

I started the Red Skull campaign last night. I had a couple of failed attempts at beating Crossbones before this. I kept on getting buried in Hydra agents and side schemes, so I started running it with both Thor and Scarlet Witch. I totally boat-raced Crossbones, even though I had some terrible luck with the encounter deck. (A card made me discard encounter cards until I found a weapon card to attach to him, and I didn't find one until the second to last card. This was in turn two.)
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09 Dec 2021 14:43 - 09 Dec 2021 14:47 #328639 by Ah_Pook
It's fun to run Crossbones with no attachments in the modular sets you choose, so that card essentially reads "shuffle the encounter deck discard into the encounter deck and get an acceleration token". Yknow, for a certain value of the word fun ;) I really enjoy playing around with the modular mix on crossbones.

Speaking of modulars, I just sleeved up The Hood and man that's a lot of fun stuff in there. I do think Standard 2 is a big miss though. Permanent Steady is garbage, for starters. I'll probably mix and match a custom Standard and Expert set after I play around with them some. I'm a big fan of the modular sets that are all Environments or all sideschemes, those will be cool to throw in things.
Last edit: 09 Dec 2021 14:47 by Ah_Pook.

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09 Dec 2021 14:50 #328640 by Gary Sax

san il defanso wrote: This helps a lot. One thing I'm learning about this game is that deck construction can elevate most heroes quite a bit, and your post here confirms what I expected. That is, it's not particularly difficult to make a deck that is more effective than the ones that come preset in the game.


I found it was easiest to get started with an existing starter deck or (increasingly) net deck, and then make changes around the edges. I've played enough that I can do a deck from scratch these days, but I still often reduce my cognitive load by starting with someone else's well-liked deck even if I'm going to rebuild it around a certain card or couple of cards.

There's something about editing that's easier than creation mentally even if I end up doing almost the same amount of work.
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09 Dec 2021 15:02 #328642 by san il defanso
Yeah I actually just did this. I moved on to The Absorbing Man, and his scenario as printed is pretty light on minions. I was drawing a lot of ineffective cards with Thor's starter deck, so I went back and tuned it to de-emphasize minions just a little for this scenario. We'll see if it works, but it's nice that I'm not roped into a specific decklist with these campaigns.
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12 Dec 2021 00:33 #328716 by Shellhead
Loki with the Infinity Gauntlet has been too much for my team of untuned starters: Iron Man, Adam Warlock, Spectrum, and Thor. I can't blame the decks, because they function decently.

Iron Man takes some time to get up and rolling, but becomes a thwarting machine who also deals out some good attacks. Adam and Spectrum I have talked about previously, but I will note that Spectrum's huge combo is difficult to pull off but rewarding when it does land. Thor is heavily criticized at BGG due to his small hand size, but you need to lean in to his specialty of whacking minions and dishing out big attacks. Just with his starter deck, it is possible for Thor to go through 13 cards in one turn. 4 hand size as Thor + 1 for Asgard + 2 if a minion engages him during the villain phase + 2 if Thor engages another minion during his turn + 3 if he taps a fully loaded Hall of Heroes + 1 if he taps Avengers Mansion. Thor with 13 cards can do a lot of damage.

But Loki with the Gauntlet has beaten me twice, and it wasn't even close. His single stage scheme has a goal of 12 per player, which sounds like a lot and yet really is not. He schemes as much as you might expect from a God of Mischief, and then one of the Stones has a scheming effect. His minions are beefy, and the Enchanteress module can lock up a combat hero with an attachment card, and does so again whenever she enters play. Between Loki and the Gauntlet, there is a steady barrage of Stunned or Confused status cards for the heroes. And some of his cards punish you just for chump-blocking. Your stun-lock deck can also be checked if Loki turns into his Stalwart form.

So for this third game, I decided to pretend that my heroes had earned the Norn Stones while battling Hela. Each hero gets a Norn Stone as a permanent upgrade (can't be discarded), and receives +1 to THW, ATK, and DEF. Once per turn, a hero can also tap his Norn Stone for 1 point of healing. This may be enough to help me win game 3. The heroes are managing to hold the main scheme at about half full, and have whittled down the first Loki to nearly half his hit points. Thor has a nice array of cards in play and Adam is getting there. Spectrum is about to pull off her big combo. However, Iron Man has had some really bad luck, getting targeted by nearly every card that forces discard of an upgrade. But he has his big hit point bonus and his untapping tech, so that's something.
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