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Michael Barnes
August 18, 2022
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Godtear Beats the Odds - Review

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August 04, 2022
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Scout Board Game Review

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July 29, 2022
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July 28, 2022
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The Split - Review

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July 21, 2022
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Marvel Champions

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22 Feb 2022 12:06 #330975 by Shellhead
The Hood is in big trouble. We knocked down his first version while he is still stuck on his first scheme, though he does have 4 acceleration tokens on it, so he will likely get to his second scheme soon. And all three heroes have taken some damage. He has the following modulars in play so far: Brothers Grimm, Beasty Boys, and State of Emergency.

At one point, the Hood tried to vigorously Ronan the Black Widow, and she wasn't having it. She got six encounter cards in one turn and swatted three of them away with prep cards, costing him 3 hit points in the process.

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24 Feb 2022 10:51 #331021 by Shellhead
Because the State of Emergency modular set got added to the encounter deck when it was close to empty, we suddenly started getting whacked with State of Emergency cards. Most of them are side schemes with 3 threat per player that add an acceleration token plus a when-revealed trigger effect. And there are also a couple of treachery cards that re-trigger each of those when-revealed effects. So in very short order, we got 3 more acceleration tokens, plus 1 more when Black Widow's nemesis Taskmaster entered play. War Machine nearly got taken out by some indirect damage from one of the State of Emergency cards, and Quicksilver got slashed pretty good by a quick-striking Griffin.

So I decided to let the Hood complete his first stage scheme and move on to the second stage, and focused on directly attacking him. Three turns later, we won. Both Quicksilver and War Machine did a lot of damage, but Black Widow was also a key player as she continued to sacrifice various prep cards to shut down a variety of nasty cards from the Hood. I used to struggle to play Black Widow well, as she had such a different style of play. All the other heroes are very active in their own turns, attacking, thwarting, bringing out allies, etc. Black Widow does some of that, but her main focus is on laying traps and then setting them off during the villain turn. I finally internalized her play style and remembered to use her prep cards when relevant. More importantly, I developed a better instinct for when to use her prep cards and when to let bad things happen. I also became more aware that some of her cards are not Hero Action cards, they are just Action cards. That means that she has some good actions that she can play while in alter ego form and safe from villain/minion attacks.
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26 Feb 2022 11:50 #331106 by Shellhead
Played two games last night and lost both. The Wrecking Crew debuted with an exciting multi-issue storyline early in the original Defenders series. So I went after the Wrecking Crew with Dr. Strange/protection, Hulk/aggression, and Valkyrie/aggression. I knew that the Valkyrie starter is a bit dysfunctional, and the Hulk starter is notoriously unpopular with the True Solo crowd, but I figured that the OP OG Dr. Strange deck would even things out. But I really needed a justice deck in the mix, probably Dr. Strange. Or maybe I could add a fourth Defender to play justice, like Hawkeye. Yeah, Hawkeye was a Defender for a few issues, during the amazing Avengers-Defenders War. For a bunch of beefy thugs, the Wrecking Crew does a surprising amount of scheming.

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28 Feb 2022 12:31 #331159 by Shellhead
Added Hawkeye/justice to my Defenders team and went after the Wrecking Crew again. We did manage to defeat the Wrecker and had Piledriver down to 3 hit points, but lost again with plenty of blame to spread around. One particular problem was that Piledriver was pretty active in this game, and his specialty is forcing heroes to discard upgrades and supports. Most heroes are somewhat reliant on certain key upgrades and supports, so losing them faster than they can be replayed is a serious issue.

Hulk: One dead turn where he drew a redundant card and 8 points worth of resource-only cards. And two turns where Hulk spent the turn thwarting even though he is one of the worst thwarters in the game. Which is really more of a reflection on the rest of the team, since Hulk is clearly designed to smash the bad guys.

Valkyrie: I've read negative comments about her on line, but figured that was mostly True Solo players and that maybe she would make a decent team player in 3- or 4-hero game. But thanks to Piledriver, I couldn't assemble a decent amount of her kit, so nearly half of her turns were fairly dead turns where she defended herself and didn't get much else done. Aside from defense card Shield Maiden, she lacks untap capability. I suspect that inefficient default Valkyrie is good against a scenario that generates a moderate number of medium-weight minions, like the Masters of Evil modular set or maybe Sinister Syndicate. The Wrecking Crew has a small number of weak minions plus 4 main villains, which is a bad mix for Valkyrie.

Dr. Strange: Definitely the MVP of the Defenders. He attacked, he thwarted, he healed, he buffed, but it wasn't enough to make-up for the lackluster Hulk and the ineffectual Valkyrie.

Hawkeye: His kit is pretty self-contained, being focused on cheaply playing one or two specialty arrows per turn, with a nice variety of effects like attack, thwart, stun, confuse, and pierce. But his arrow stuff doesn't have any synergy with any of the four aspects. His default leadership aspect is probably the best for him, because it allows for a decent amount of chump-blocking. But I needed Hawkeye to play justice this game, and he was only semi-effective at it.

So despite the weak reputation of the Wrecking Crew with MC fans, I now have 3 consecutive losses against them in recent play. What makes them so tough?

First and foremost, they have a single-stage scheme with a low target number of 6/hero. Even if the heroes never go into alter ego, that means that the Wrecking Crew will in 6 turns or less if the heroes aren't thwarting. Every WC member seems to have at least one bonus thwarting card, and each has just a 15-card deck, so they pick up acceleration tokens more quickly than most villains.

Second, the Wrecking Crew has a lot of hit points compared to any other scenario. Because you need to defeat all four of them to win, you are looking at a whopping 50 hit points per player. Even expert Ultron stage-2 has only 27 hit points per player, while expert Ronan stage-2 has only 25 hit points per player.

Third, each member has a side-scheme that gains at least one threat per turn, and those side schemes detonate and reset every time they hit 10. The effects can be quite nasty. Piledriver forces each hero to discard their most expensive support or upgrade. Thunderball stuns every friendly character. The only way to prevent or even delay these effects is to defeat the related villain or do some thwarting against the side schemes instead of the short-fuse main scheme.

Moreso than most scenarios, the Wrecking Crew must be defeated with a powerful combination of aggression and justice. Hawkeye is only so-so at justice, and untuned Valkyrie isn't carrying her weight. In fact, every single game that I have played with Valkyrie has a been a loss. I think that I will need to actually build a deck or otherwise stop using her, despite wanting to just play this game at standard level with untuned decks.
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05 Mar 2022 10:12 #331384 by Shellhead
I am still enjoying getting beat by the Hood. This time, I lost with Vision/protection, Scarlet Witch/justice, and She-Hulk/aggression. All three decks performed reasonably well, as they were untuned starters. I mixed in some different modulars for The Hood, so this game featured his typical Beasty Boys and Ransacked Armory, but also Electro and the Masters of Evil. To make matters worse, Vision's nemesis Ultron showed up.

Early on, the game went well. The heroes managed the threat pretty well, and knocked the Hood down to 17 hit points on his first stage. Then we started to lose momentum. Both Griffin and Mandrill of the Beasty Boys dish out stun or confusion effects, and one of their treachery cards does both at once. Then Ultron and the Masters of Evil showed up, and we were beset by waves of supervillains and drones. At one point, Vision was simultaneously under attack by Ultron, 3 drones, and 3 members of the Masters of Evil. One of them was Radioactive Man, and he ended becoming a magnet for tech upgrades from the Ransacked Armory, due to his naturally high hit points.

But Vision doesn't break easily. While fighting that swarm, he ended each turn either in intangible form or his alter ego. They can't attack his alter ego, and each attack does -2 damage while Vision is intangible. One turn, he had four defense cards in his hand, so he stayed dense and dealt out retaliation damage to each attacker. She-Hulk also helped by doing a couple of ground stomps.

But the Hood got away with too much scheming, because Wanda kept getting stunned or confused or both, costing her valuable turns. By the final turn of the game, the Hood had 9(!) acceleration tokens, so the main scheme was unstoppable. But it's almost as much fun losing to the Hood as beating him, because the card interactions between his several modular sets are wild and unpredictable.
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05 Mar 2022 15:39 #331391 by boothwah
Just finished a game I started on Thursday.

Red Skull + Frost Giants and Band of Badoon in place of Hydra Patrol versus Aggression Valkyrie and Leadership/Prot Spider Woman.

I was pretty excited when the randomizer gave me Valk and a bunch of minions. But the Spider-Man Woman build took me a bit. I ended up leaning into the cool 1 cost prot upgrades and built a little Mighty Avengers engine, and it worked : Spider Woman flipped turn one, defended the entire game and never flipped back, and let her allies do all the thwarting and attacking.

VALK was a monster. One notable turn, I had 5 minions in front of me and 12 cards in my hand after all her pull a minion tomfoolery. I cleaned them up and had decide what to do with the last 4 resources. I fired Hall of heroes 3 times and there were 4 counters on it at end of game.

Super fun moment on penultimate turn, when Valk got her obligation, pulled Shadows of the Past, and got stuck with a no attack attachment, plus Enchantress side scheme that has to be cleared before removing cards from friendly players. That was a squirrely turn, that actually ended up being pretty productive.....because I was playing 2 handed. Unless your table talk was super detailed to the point of resource counting, I think it would have been a "push" turn in multiplayer.

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05 Mar 2022 15:42 - 05 Mar 2022 15:43 #331392 by boothwah
Also...I love dexkbuilding. If any of you are not getting this to the table because you want a better deck for the hero you want to play but hate deckbuilding....hit me up. There's a dude on reddit that does this on Fridays and it inspired me.....I build decks for my real life homes all the time. I'd love to build decks for FaTties.
Last edit: 05 Mar 2022 15:43 by boothwah.
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11 Mar 2022 16:36 #331536 by Shellhead

boothwah wrote: Also...I love dexkbuilding. If any of you are not getting this to the table because you want a better deck for the hero you want to play but hate deckbuilding....hit me up. There's a dude on reddit that does this on Fridays and it inspired me.....I build decks for my real life homes all the time. I'd love to build decks for FaTties.


I might eventually take you up on this, after taking some day taking a stab at it might myself. But there are a number of decks that I skipped buying, and it seems like cards from those decks are constantly getting used in deck designs. These are the sets that I don't have and don't want to get just for deck-building:

Wasp
Ms. Marvel
Star-Lord
Gamora
Drax
Galaxy's Most Wanted box
Agent Venom
Nebula
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11 Mar 2022 22:38 #331541 by boothwah

Shellhead wrote:

boothwah wrote: Also...I love dexkbuilding. If any of you are not getting this to the table because you want a better deck for the hero you want to play but hate deckbuilding....hit me up. There's a dude on reddit that does this on Fridays and it inspired me.....I build decks for my real life homes all the time. I'd love to build decks for FaTties.


I might eventually take you up on this, after taking some day taking a stab at it might myself. But there are a number of decks that I skipped buying, and it seems like cards from those decks are constantly getting used in deck designs. These are the sets that I don't have and don't want to get just for deck-building:

Wasp
Ms. Marvel
Star-Lord
Gamora
Drax
Galaxy's Most Wanted box
Agent Venom
Nebula


I'll build with what you got. Just let me know who, how many of who, aspects (or free to choise) and who you want to fight .
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11 Mar 2022 22:54 #331542 by Shellhead
It took me a stupid number of games to get good at playing Black Widow, because her counterpunching style is so different from the other decks. I keep playing Valkyrie for the same reason, in hopes that she will at least be a solid team player if I get used to playing her effectively.

So Valkyrie/aggression, Captain Marvel/justice, and Spider Woman/aggression+justice went up against the Hood. He started with Legions of Hydra in play, soon picked up the Brothers Grimm, and eventually also Electro. An early Shadow of the Past brought in Valkyrie's nemesis Enchanteress. Spider Woman's actual nemesis never came out, but Madame Hydra from the Hydra module ended up being a problem for most of the game.

The good news is that Valkyrie really pulled her weight this game. She got a big array of support and upgrades going, and was starting to really exploit them. Spider Woman was great, as usual. But Captain Marvel had some bad luck and abruptly got defeated during one very unlucky turn while beset by multiple minions. Valkyrie and Spider Woman soldiered on heroically, but soon lost anyway.
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14 Mar 2022 00:02 #331579 by Kmann
Finished my second run through the Galaxy's Most Wanted campaign last night. This time around I was playing Star-Lord and Venom.

You might recall that shipping delays kept the box from getting to me until months after its release. By the time I got it, it'd been out for months elsewhere around the world and had built up a really bad rep.

It's fair to say the bad word of mouth and the huge wait had soured me on the box before I got it. So much so that I'd decided to skip the whole Guardians cycle. But then I saw it in a crazy cheap sale so snapped it up and threw in the available Guardians as well.

I'm glad I did. I really dig it! I love how GMW challenges you and forces you to play on its terms rather than your own. That said, I did drop from playing expert to playing this on Standard - tho keeping the standard set expert modular cards in. This for me hits the challenge sweet spot, keeping the game difficult and fun but not spirit-crushingly impossible.

The first three scenarios in particular are just great. I played Drang (scenario 1 of the campaign) about four or five times with Venom & Star-Lord, not because I was losing but just because it's such a great scenario.

The two Collector scenarios are unique and challenging and really make you think about what and how you're playing.

The final two scenarios are slugfests with survival as a paramount concern. I can see how certain heroes would just get massacred, but Venom & Star-Lord are both so capable of dishing out high damage that as long as there was a plan to get through the villain phase they could inflict serious pain making it sort of like a race to 0.

In my view the campaign provided the good kind of stress and supplied memorable games. Some highlights were beating Nebula with only 1health point remaining on both heroes or Star-Lord jumping in the Bad Boy to escape an uber-powerful Ronan attack that would have knocked him into next week.

The clutch card was definitely Blaze of Glory, which gives every Guardian +2 thwart/+2attack until the end of the round for a cost of 1 damage. Squirrel Girl (made a Guardian thanks to Star-Lord's ability) hitting Ronan for 3 to soften him up for Star-Lord's game winning Sliding Shot was just a fantastic, surprising, conclusion.

Star-Lord and Venom are obviously really good heroes and are both fun to play but I enjoyed playing Rocket & Groot more when I took them through the campaign. They were both so mechanically interesting and thematic to play.

I can't see myself ever playing GMW on Expert but on Standard I think it's superb.
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16 Mar 2022 23:17 #331665 by Shellhead
Another losing game in progress against the Hood. This time, it's Iron Man/justice, Thor/aggression, and Vision/protection. The initial modular set was Frost Giants, and Thor's nemesis Loki showed up quickly, giving this game a very Asgardian flavor. We soon picked up three more modular sets: Beasty Boys, the Anachronauts, and State of Emergency. For some reason, the Frost Giants keep going after Iron Man.

Iron Man was probably a poor choice against the Hood, because it can take several turns to really get Iron Man up and rolling, leaving the Hood free to quickly scheme into his second stage scheme. Iron Man is now fully prepared for action, but the Hood is already on his third stage scheme. Vision's deck continues to feel somewhat inefficient, though several of his individual cards are just fine. Thor has done really well this game, quickly assembling a nice array of upgrades and supports, and bringing out Heimdall just in time to quickly dispatch Loki.

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17 Mar 2022 16:23 - 17 Mar 2022 19:23 #331691 by boothwah
Last night's inspiration was a bunch of old Englehart Defenders, and some Marvel 2-in-1 featuring the Guardians of the Galaxy.

So I started with the Defenders in mind. Dr Strange! - Aggression so I can play Hulk and Valkyrie as allies. And I wanted him paired with Adam Warlock so that I could play with all the OG Guardians (Martinex, Star Lord, Charlie 27, Vance Astro) I start flipping through my deck building box and set aside all those funky Alliance cards that haven't seen play yet, and think.....Adam can run one of all of these, After some pile shorting and tough decisions on Adam's deck (It is hard to keep him 40 cards....I punted and ran 43) I came up with a pretty fun tandem of intentionally not the the most optimized decks. Dr. Strange ran 3 copies of "As One", Boot camp and a bunch of 3 attack allies with the Avengers trait (read as Defenders in my head cannon) plus a copy of Cosmic Alliance for giggles. Warlock ran Knowhere, spells, all the og guardians and a few more, a copy of each of the other alliance cards, and strangely he had been named the new Sorcerer Supreme.

I ran them through a test run on the Hood last night and it was a hoot -The Hood pulled Brother's Grimm, then Galactic Artifacts for his additional scheme - Apparently the power of these arcane artifacts was disturbing enough to alert Dr. Strange, so he began assembling the "Defenders" and engaged the Hood's nascent plot. Adam Warlock in his new role as Sorcerer Supreme also became involved in the matter, with the assistance of some of his time traveling cohorts.

The first turn was amazing - Dr. Strange had Winds of Watoomb + a Mystic Whatever that lets him cast it twice - He ended up with Cloak, Eye, and casting Rings of Ragador - Warlock played the leadership alliance card that allowed them to plop Sentry and Wraith into play for 4 resources.

I spent about 5 turns nibbling at threat and building boards for both, and now we are in the endgame - The Hood's machinations have unleashed a portal to the Underworld - The legions of Hel have burst forth (both copies of the side scheme surged into each other) and Vance Astro was the first to fall, and was imbued with great power. Astro is currently undead, wearing the Beyonders Cloak, and the Vanadian Power Wand trying to destroy his teammates.
Last edit: 17 Mar 2022 19:23 by boothwah.
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17 Mar 2022 17:10 #331692 by Shellhead
I'm ready to finally do a little deck building, after so many losses to the Hood and even some recent losses to the allegedly easy Wrecking Crew. I have played all of the standard decks enough to recognize that certain cards always get played for the resource or discarded. And certain decks feel like they need some repairs.

I went to Hall of Heroes to look closely at the aspect and basic cards found in all the hero decks that I don't have, namely Ms. Marvel, Wasp, and all of the Guardians except Adam Warlock. As I suspected, many of the deckbuilding staples are found in these hero decks. But I don't want to spend $145+ on hero decks that I don't want just to get some cards that I want. So I made a shopping list and bought about 50 single cards from a couple of sites that carry MC singles. The most that I paid was $1.50 for Miles Morales, and the least was various common cards at $0.10 each. Overall, I spent as much as it would have cost to buy 3 of the hero decks, but that included $15 worth of ridiculous shipping charges. It's legit to charge for shipping, but $15 is excessive for two regular envelopes, each containing 1/2 a deck of cards.

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17 Mar 2022 17:21 #331693 by Shellhead

boothwah wrote: Last night's inspiration was a bunch of old Englehart Defenders, and some Marvel 2-in-1 featuring the Guardians of the Galaxy.


That was my introduction to the Guardians of the Galaxy... guest shots in Marvel Two-in-One and the Defenders. Then I managed to score a battered copy of Marvel Super-Heroes #18 at a garage sale. And then they showed up again for the Korvac Saga in Avengers. The modern incarnation of the team never really grabbed my interest, because comics became so expensive and the stories within became so decompressed. It was nothing personal against the Guardians, and the second movie was pretty good despite the smarmy Chris Pratt. Anyway, your setup for this game sounds cool.

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