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Marvel Champions

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17 Jan 2023 11:33 #337885 by Ah_Pook

Shellhead wrote:
This is a good example of a significant issue in this game: there is not a large enough gap in challenge level between standard and expert. In fact, by the time I won this last game, I had done enough re-tooling of my decks that I should have been playing (and losing again) on expert level, but it took everything I had just to win on standard difficulty. I also resent the design philosophy that dictates that the final bosses should be so brutally difficult. It's just my personal opinion, but I think that a co-op game should be winnable maybe a third of the time, and anything less than that diminishes the entertainment value of the game for non-masochists.


. In theory, most aspects of this game smoothly ramp up or down based on player count. But in actual practice, I have found that the tough final bosses tend to require hero decks that are focused on attacks or thwarts or both.

.


Expert is significantly harder, because it puts a lot more pressure on you at the beginning of the game when you're not set up to handle it. Just looking at Magneto, you're starting with 4 extra encounter cards on the first turn. Doesn't sound that bad maybe but that plus every attack hitting for 1 more dmg is hard to handle. The endgame is largely similar Standard vs Expert, you get built up and you crush the villain. Getting there is way hairier in expert.

I play exclusively expert (except vs Ronan and Collector 1, but I usually just don't play them) and I've got a recorded win rate of 71% over 177 games. The game is generally regarded as easy for a reason, and you can hardly blame them for upping the difficulty of some scenarios over the years I think.

I don't like 4p games though, they just take too long .
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17 Jan 2023 12:51 #337886 by jeb
I haven't played MARVEL CHAMPIONS in a while, but I love it every time I do. Like HEROSCAPE, there is enough game here to satisfy someone as "the only game." If you had nothing else, but a decent collection of MC, you'd be a happy gamer for a long looooong time. The issue is internalizing the rules.
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17 Jan 2023 13:47 - 17 Jan 2023 13:48 #337887 by boothwah
I have all the stuff - just recently went through a play time lull due to the holidays. I had a very satisfying evening recently unmaking every deck and filing everything back into the boxes. I then had a satisfying evening the following night building 12 decks. I played those over the next couple of weeks - playing 2 handed solo vs random expert villains and mods - sometimes choosing hero pairing, sometimes just randomly grabbing two -

I had a mix of old favorites and some newish heroes that hadn't gotten as much playtime - Led to some fun combos that I wouldn't have played - Storm/Drax was a blast. Gaming Storm's weather to make Drax even more nuts was especially satisfying. This Vision/Wasp game was amazing simply because the cards had some great story beats.

Unfortunately, I got jazzed about running a new Symbiote Cap Go All out deck, and then I wanted to try a Iron man repurpose deck that borrowed cards from half of my built decks....and then my friend Eric was like " We should Black Panther and Storm next week. The King and the Queen." so I built those last night and had to tear down 2 other decks. While I was doing that Adam Warlock jumped into my head while I was sorting out the cards and...

Tonight I am going to have a satisfying evening sorting cards and filing everything back into the boxes.
Last edit: 17 Jan 2023 13:48 by boothwah.
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17 Jan 2023 14:53 #337891 by Shellhead
I recently set up an account on marvelcdb.com so I could keep analyze the four X-Men decks that I was struggling with against Magneto. It's helpful to get a quick view of card cost curves and things like that. It also advised me that one of my decks requires 26 packs to assemble. which is wild because I have purchased the base game and exactly 25 expansions, counting hero decks, villain scenarios, and campaign boxes. It seems numerically impossible that I took one card each from 25 sets plus 15 hero cards to make a 40 card deck, given that my deck includes a few duplicates. That said, I have purchased some single cards, so I do have cards in my collection from more than just the base set and 25 expansions.
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18 Jan 2023 22:50 #337910 by Shellhead
I rediscovered the joy of this game tonight, after so much misery while battling Magneto with the X-Men. Thanks to the local public library, I have been re-reading the excellent Thor (goddess of thunder) run, so I knew that I wanted to play the custom Thor/Jane deck again. And I knew that I wanted to play two heroes. I ran my randomizer spreadsheet and got:

Thor (Jane) and War Machine

vs,

Crossbones
Hydra Patrol
Sinister Assault
Frost Giants
plus his usual mini-deck of Experimental Weapons

It was fun. War Machine is an above average hero and I might have built this Thor deck a little too well. Then again, I didn't win until Crossbones was on his third and final main scheme stage, with 7/10 scheme on it. Though both Thor and War Machine have some access to Toughness, Crossbones first experimental weapon gave him piercing on all of his attacks, and I never got around to getting rid of that one. He also got his armor for a while, plus retaliate and a discard effect.

A couple of frost giants showed up, including Laufey himself, but War Machine is excellent at dealing with enemies with toughness because he can ping them for one damage for free with his Shoulder Cannon. Thor can also toss her hammer for free once per turn (though it costs a resource to retrieve it from the discard pile) for two ranged damage. Hydra Patrol guys are the most fragile minions in the game, so they were screwed. Sadly, only Vulture from the Sinister Six made an appearance. The rest kept showing up as boost cards.

I can't rave enough about the Thor/Jane deck. It's really fun to play, comparable in power to the best official heroes in the game (like Dr. Strange), and thematically right on target. I used to consider the custom Wolverine deck the best custom deck, but the official Wolverine deck is very similar, leaving this Thor deck my new favorite.
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19 Jan 2023 03:38 #337912 by san il defanso

jeb wrote: I haven't played MARVEL CHAMPIONS in a while, but I love it every time I do. Like HEROSCAPE, there is enough game here to satisfy someone as "the only game." If you had nothing else, but a decent collection of MC, you'd be a happy gamer for a long looooong time. The issue is internalizing the rules.


One thing I really appreciate about the game is that you don't need to min-max the whole thing within an inch of its life to succeed. You certainly CAN play a very hardcore version of Marvel Champions, but it's hardly necessary to get joy out of it. I have everything through the end of 2021 and it's just so much content. But it's gotten a lot of play, and I've really liked it.

I got Sinister Motives for Christmas, and with my brother-in-law and nephew around this holiday season we played a few rounds of it. My son joined in, and we had a great time. Miles Morales got a lot of play from my BIL. We actually played a four-player game with Venom, using MM, Cap, Hulk, and War-Machine. I had anticipated a four-player game to take way too long, and there's some merit to that, but I really liked how the game felt with that many people. While I play solo some of the time I much prefer it with a second human brain at the table, and truthfully more players makes it more enjoyable for me.

I've been running a She-Hulk Aggression deck lately. My son (12, almost 13) has been asking for this one a lot, which is very gratifying. He built a Miss Marvel deck, so I think we might take on one of the earlier campaigns at some point.
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21 Jan 2023 15:41 #337943 by Shellhead
Sandman is a relatively easy scenario once you get some allies in play to keep the streets clean. But I randomly swapped out the usual City in Chaos modular set (featuring Rhino) for Crossfire's Crew, and that really made for a more challenging scenario.

I wanted to finally try the Storm deck, and randomly got her ex, Black Panther. I had already tuned my BP/protection deck a while back, but hadn't had a chance to play it yet. I did spend a few minutes tuning the Storm/leadership precon, because it was obvious that she didn't need three copies of certain cards, like Endurance or Uncanny X-Men.

The game did not go well. Whenever I got allies out, somebody in Crossfire's Crew would toast them, leaving the sand counters to pile up. Storm has some neat tricks with her weather deck, but it was taking forever to assemble BP's five crucial upgrades. Storm's nemesis Callisto showed up on turn two, knifing Storm once before we got rid of her. Later, Sandman got her switchblace and then got into a couple of knife fights with Storm. We got Sandman down to 28 hit points in his second form before he schemed out for the win. I plan to do a re-match after spending more time fixing both hero decks.
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21 Jan 2023 16:33 #337945 by Ah_Pook
Storms nemesis set is one of my very favorite modular sets in the game. It's so fun thematically and mechanically.
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23 Jan 2023 22:02 #337966 by Shellhead
While tuning these decks, I was surprised to find that my Black Panther deck had 45 cards. Even I know that it's important to keep these hero decks down to the minimum of 40 cards if at all possible. Especially BP, since he needs to get his upgrades in play ASAP and then hope to draw at least one Wakanda Forever every turn or so.

At some point between the releases of Sinister Motives and Mutant Genesis, I simultaneously tuned all of my decks, though not heavily. Usually I added maybe 3 to 6 new cards and removed and equal amount of existing cards from each deck. I think that I might have gotten interrupted while working on BP and forgot to remove five cards.

My second game against Sandman plus Crossfire and Rhino was even worse. We never quite got Rhino to his second stage, and BP's nemesis Killmonger showed up at an inconvenient time. Sandman raced through his decks even faster than usual, partly because my allies got screwed by some Crossfire cards, especially Crossfire himself and the side scheme Out For Blood. In addition, Rhino added two acceleration tokens with his Now or Never cards.

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30 Jan 2023 09:56 #338118 by Shellhead
Storm and Black Panther finally beat Sandman and Crossfire's Crew on the third attempt. It was a pretty wild game, with Storm getting eliminated just after reshuffling her deck for the first time. The resulting extra encounter card proved devastating the following turn, as she got attacked twice by Sandman and then drew Shadow of the Past. The quick strike for 3 from Callisto was a mortal blow. But I had Sandman down to just a few hit points on his first phase, so I continued play with just Black Panther. He ended up getting all of his special upgrades out, along with some protection upgrades, allies, and resource generators like Helicarrier.

Unlike the other four heroes from the base set, BP lacks a big attack card along. But once BP's string of upgrades are out, Wakanda Forever serves as his big attack only more flexible and more frequent. By getting so much of his deck in play, BP started reliably doing either Wakanda Forever or a stun effect (Tackle or Mockingbird) every single turn. Plus he was retaliating for 2 against every attack plus occasionally getting in extra hits with other Protection cards. Sandman got slowly beat down into a shapeless pile of sand.

This game really drove home the point that Storm is a glass cannon. She can deal out serious damage, but she is fragile in terms of both defense and hit points. And with the ongoing threat of Callisto jumping out and stabbing her for three damage, I need to keep a close eye on her hit points. Otherwise, her deck performed well all three games.

I randomized another game and got Quicksilver and Vision against Venom and the custom J. Jonah Jameson alternative nemesis set for Spider-man. Both of my hero decks were designed as protection decks, so I was worried that they might not have enough damage-dealing capability to win. But I underestimated both heroes, and also the JJJ cards were almost entirely lacking in boost icons. The big revelation was Serval Industries. In past games, I tended to overlook it or just spend it for a resource, because Quicksilver/protection doesn't usually spend much time in alter-ego. But my re-tooled Quicksilver deck wasn't serving up much defense early on, leading Quicksilver to spend a couple of turns in a row in alter-ego. Using Serval Industries, I cycled a total of six Quicksilver cards back into a relatively small remaining deck at that point. The next few turns featured a lot of Quicksilver cards, allowing for big amounts of thwarting and damage to minions. Because of Venom's vengeful nature, I tended to leave the direct attacks to Vision aside from a big flurry of attacks from Quicksilver at the end of the game.
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05 Feb 2023 21:32 #338192 by Shellhead
I wanted to try Wolverine, so I randomized a second hero, a scenario, and a modular set. I got Scarlet Witch/justice, Sabretooth and Mystique, plus City in Chaos (Rhino).

Lost the first game due to failure to remember how nasty that Rhino modular set can be. By turn three, I had two extra acceleration tokens on the main scheme thanks to Rhino. And Rhino himself showed about twice as often as I was expecting. Also, I didn't tune the Wolverine deck at all.

So I tuned the Wolverine deck for a rematch, and noticed that he has 3 allies that cost 4 each, with no discounts available in the deck. But then I looked at the allies in my unused cards, and the only Aggression ally left was Angela, who costs 0 but with a couple of onerous conditions. So I just swapped a few Aggression cards.

Lost the second game, which was going really well, because Mystique killed Senator Kelly with an Infiltration card. I knew it was in my Scarlet Witch deck and I knew it was coming, but she just didn't have any allies left in her draw pile at that time. Mystique herself showed up way too often that game.

Third game, I focused hard on the obvious strategy: Wolverine attacks the villain and Scarlet Witch thwarts the main scheme. It was going reasonably well, with Mystique never showing up and Rhino showing up three times. In the final turn, Scarlet Witch dealt 13 damage and Wolverine would have dealt another 9 except that Sabretooth only had 17 hit points left. We won!

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12 Feb 2023 22:04 #338306 by Shellhead
I know that most players don't see the point of the custom card sets designed by other players. The quality seems questionable by default, and then there is the hassle of downloading, printing, and sleeving the cards. But I have been picky about which ones I bother with, and so I have four great villain scenarios, several good modular sets, and several heroes ranging from interesting to great.

My latest game, thanks to my homemade randomizer, served up Thor/Jane Foster/justice (custom) and Spider-Woman/aggression/justice versus Super-Adaptoid (custom) and the very nasty Inheritors modular set.

Thor/Jane plays like an overpowered Captain America, with an extremely nice mix of everything, including damage blocking, healing, stun effects, toughness effects, ranged attacks, etc. Spider-Woman is also a very versatile character.

Super-Adaptoid is a very nasty villain, though not quite campaign final boss level of nasty. He is unique in that he actually adapts slightly to whatever the first player is doing. He does so with an environment card that steers a deck of five attachments. Each attachment has a trigger that potentially puts it into play, like playing a superpower card or an upgrade triggers Accessing: Iron Man. At the end of each villain phase, Super-Adaptoid gets a random attachment for the next turn, and the pool of random cards is each one that got triggered plus his current one. These attachments tend to give him attack or scheme bonuses, or trigger a stun or confuse effect on the first player. He also does a fair amount of self-healing, comparable to Klaw.

Normally Super-Adaptoid is paired with a very nice custom A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) modular set which tends to give him extra facedown boost cards and cheap mooks. But my custom randomizer instead served up the Inheritors, a daunting modular set of highly synergistic villains from the recent Web-Warrior cycle. Each Inheritor grants a trait to all Inheritors currently in play. These traits range from stalwart to retailiate to ATK bonuses. The worst of the bunch gives each Inheritor an acceleration icon.

It was an epic game. My ladies were very good at thwarting and attacking, but had to divert many attacks against the Inheritors, which made for a long game. A long game means more acceleration tokens, so near the end, Super-Adaptoid had five acceleration tokens on the main scheme. Fortunately, his single-stage main scheme has a target number of 11 per player.

There was a near death moment at one point, where a battered Thor was getting hit with some damage plus a mean boost effect involving indirect damage. It would have killed her, except that Spider-Woman played a 0-cost interrupt card Foiled, which reduced the total damage by one.

At the end, Spider-Woman went all in against S-A for 11 damage, which would have been 16 except that she had to waste a good attack card taking out a guard. Then Thor had to grasp at every straw to do the rest of the damage for the win. Lightning Storm for 6, 4 points of attacks from allies, then she threw her hammer twice (it's a cheaper effect than Thor's hammer toss) for 2 each.
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23 Feb 2023 10:12 #338435 by Ah_Pook
I bought one of those new 2p marvel game mats gamegenic put out. Gambit+Rogue should be here this weekend sometime. I'm curious about what's coming after them. In the meantime I think I'm going to take Colossus and Shadowcat up against expert Ronan and see how that goes. I haven't played that guy in a long time because of how he's anti fun.

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27 Feb 2023 10:54 #338473 by Ah_Pook
Tried out Rogue last night, she's fun and has lots of shenanigan potential since she can borrow other heroes cards and traits. The deck I played was leadership and had a lot of trait locked cards relying on you having specific traited allies in play... It was okay but kinda gimmicky. I think she'll play much better building around playing with known heroes (ie playing with Dr strange so you include mystic cards), but it was still a lot of fun.

We played her and Gambit vs expert Mutagen Formula+Symbiotic Strength+Sinister Assault. Gambit was an aggression deck with honed technique and melee and whatnot. GG killed us on the first turn the first game with a couple of big extra attacks with extra boost cards. Second game we got hammered by the starting 6 encounter cards, ending at 1 and 2hp respectively with a bunch of minions on board. But we dug out for the win. Gambit kept getting webbed up which put a damper on his damage output, but Rogue got out 7 resource generator cards on the first pass through the deck (xgene, xjet, helicarrier, deft focus, clarity of purpose, ingenuity) and basically played her whole hand the rest of game to great effect. Mutagen Formula is still one of the best scenarios I think, especially with other modulars than Goblin Gimmicks.
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27 Feb 2023 11:52 #338477 by Shellhead
I'm looking forward to Rogue due to her unique abilities, but may initially pass on Gambit. I liked the X-Men cartoon of the early '90s, but only found Gambit tolerable. I may eventually get him anyway, because he can accomplish a surprising amount of thwarting while in alter-ego.

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