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BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
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Go to the Marvel Champions: The Card Game page
Green Metal Box {Family Gamer} Mar 17th, 2020
“Ultron! We Would Have Words with Thee!”

If you’ve ever read Ultron Unlimited*, there is a scene where the ticked off Avengers, battle damaged and weary, confront Ultron for the last battle and Thor utters those words with a unified Avengers behind him. It’s a great moment in comic book history, and playing this game with 3 friends, you get that same feeling!

First and foremost, let’s talk about the LCG format, most of you are familiar with this concept, but for those that are not Living Card Game is unlike a collectible card game in that cards are released in fixed sets on a set schedule. This is great in that you do not have to rare hunt, pack chase or any of that craziness to play this game in its entirety.

The game is cooperative, having the ability to play it solo or with 2 to 3 friends. Everyone selects a hero identity from the core set which includes Iron Man, Spider-Man, She-Hulk, Black Widow and Captain Marvel. They do battle against the pre-constructed Villain scheme decks consisting of Rhino, Klaw and Ultron with various lesser villains (minions) and nemesis showing up for the fight like Vulture, Sandman, Whiplash, Killmonger, etc and it plays itself against your hero decks. The Villain is scheming to complete some dastardly and diabolical plan and it’s up to you to stop them! Deck building is streamlined to the point it’s not overwhelming, but still customizable enough to add variety. Each Hero gets a set of 15 cards that must be in the deck, you then pick one of 4 aspects, which each have a play style associated with them, Aggression, Protection, Leadership and Justice and then round out your 40-50 card deck with cards from the “Neutral” pool. This finds the balance between trying to build a deck from scratch, staring at a pile of cards to the rigidity of a completely pre-constructed deck. Using this method gives you some nice structure to build around while still having some lateral space to play some different strategies.

Game play is turn based with the heroes getting their chance play upgrades, allies and support cards to attack the villain as Superheroes, or recover from their injuries and thwart the Villain’s scheming while donning their secret identities (called Alter-Ego). If the Villain gets enough threat on their scheme card, they are successful and the heroes lose, if the Heroes knock out the Villain by doing enough damage to them before that time, the Heroes save the day!

Unlike the resource mechanic in Lord of the Rings LCG, in which you need to slowly build your pool one resource per turn, this one gives you access to bigger cards right out of the gate by letting you discard cards to pay for card plays at a 1 card = 1 resource exchange rate. This makes for a much more dynamic and strategic experience. As you now need to weigh the pros and cons of saving cards for long term plans or pitching them to pay for in the moment necessities.

It’s hard to cram all the nuance into a gaming review without it sounded like a text book, and you’re better off just reading the rules for that, but having played the game multiple times now, both with adult gamers and my kids alike, I feel this game has an excellent flow, easy enough to learn, provides plenty of challenge and with the sets releasing gives great customization options. Rhino is more of a training scenario, but when you start fighting Klaw and Ultron, you definitely feel like Thor and the Avengers in that panel… weary, battered and battle damaged… but with good resource management, smart teamwork and a little bit of luck, you’ll be ready for the final battle too! You would do well to add this to your gaming collection! Excelsior!!

*Ed. Note: READ Ultron Unlimited!!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
4 out of 4 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Gamer - Level 9
Explorer - Level 6
Guardian Angel
Go to the Azul: Summer Pavillion page
Marvin K. {Avid Gamer} Mar 3rd, 2020
“Most strategic version”

As the title says is version of Azul has the strongest element of play of all 3 versions of the game. The game is played over 6 rounds. You have 5 to 9 cardboard discs on the table and start by placing 4 tiles blind drawn from a bag on each disc. Each round 1 color of tile is designated as “wild” that is it can count as any other color when played. Each player has a designated score marker that starts on the score track at 5 points. On your turn you draw all of 1 color plus(if there are any) 1 wild tile from any disc or from the center of the game area if there are any there. Then, if you took from a disc place the unchosen tiles from that disc in the center area of play. Place the chosen tiles next to your playmat and the choice moves to the next player’s turn. Continue this process until all tiles have been chosen. The first player to choose from the center will score negative points(move the marker back but it can not go below 0). You then take turns placing 1 tile on your playmat. Each “flower” has 6 petals with a numeric value of 1-6. To place a tile on a matching petal requires that number of tiles 1 of which is placed on the playmat and the rest are discarded into a cardboard tower. You must have at least 1 of the color you want to play the rest of the needed tiles can be that color or the tiles designated wild for that turn. You will immediately score 1 point for the tile played and 1 for each tile that connects adjacent to it. i.e. if you place one on the 3 space it is 1 point. If you then on a future turn placed one on the 2 or 4 space it is 2 points, however if your 2nd placement was on the 6 space it would only score 1 point. If you maintain the adjacency when you place the 6th petal on a flower it would score 6 points. There is a dark blue flower in the center of the playmat which allows you to place 1 of each color tile as a petal. At the end of the round you may save 4 tiles as unplayed for the next round. At the end of the game any unplayed tiles are -1 point each. For final scoring you get points for each completed flower and for having all of the 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s which will be 7 of each. Additionally, there is a bonus tile board which has extra tiles on it. When you have played the 5s and 6s of a flower you will get to choose 3 tiles from the bonus board and those spaces are immediately refilled afterwards with blind draws from the bag. There are 2 other figures on your playmat-statues which are surrounded by a total of 4 petals from 2 flowers and when those petals are filled you get to draw 2 tiles; and circles that are also surrounded by 4 petals from 2 flowers and give you 1 bonus tile from the bonus board, but be careful because you can’t choose to refuse your bonuses you must take them and if you end up with unplayable tiles they will be negative points.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
3 out of 4 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Book Lover
Go to the Fantasy Realms page
kaju {Avid Gamer} Mar 1st, 2020
“Combos combos combos.”

This is a great little game with lot of depth. You’re basically trying to build up combos of cards to get the the most points by end of the game. Plays under 30 minutes and scales well at larger player counts. The 2 player variant is also included in the rules and works well.

The game is essentially 52 cards, a rulebook and a large scroresheet. The box would have been smaller had it not been for the large scoresheet.

Manual scoring can take longer than actual gameplay. The game publisher, WizKids has a companion app (available on both iOS and Android) that lets you quickly do the end game scoring.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
4 out of 4 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Gamer - Level 9
Explorer - Level 6
Guardian Angel
Go to the Chimera page
Marvin K. {Avid Gamer} Feb 26th, 2020
“Rarity-Balanced 3 player game”

This is a rarity. A game designed for 3 players that overcomes one of the main stumbling blocks for 3 player games-one player vs. 2 that leads to 1 being beat up the whole game or running away with the game. The game mechanisms deal with this problem. The game will be played at least 4 hands and usually 6 or 7 or occasionally longer. the play is as follows: Shuffle the deck and 1 of the players who is not the dealer(choose your own method of selection) cuts the deck and then flips the top card from the lower half face up and places it on top of the top 1/2 of the deck and then places bottom half on top 1/2 of deck. Then deal top 3 cards from deck into a pile face down and set them aside. This is the “Chimera’s Nest”. Deal out all remaining cards into 3 piles 1 for each player. After looking at your cards you can bid 20, 30 or 40 or pass. Passing does not eliminate your chance to bid on future rounds. If the bidding passes all players twice the cards are turned in and re-dealt. On this second round of bidding if everyone passes the dealer has to then make a mandatory 20 bid. The bid winner adds the “nest” cards to his hand and plays first. The object of the hand is to be the first person to get rid of all of his cards. If the player who made the bid goes out first he gets double his bid plus points for all 2s and 11s captured as well as certain special bonus points. If he doesn’t go out first he gets negative points for his bid but still gets 2s and 11s. There is a reference card for each player on what are legal plays and you must follow the type of trick played with a higher trick of that type. There are also traps-which are 4 of a kind are playing the 2 special cards in the deck together. The other 2 players win the round if one of them goes out first(doesn’t matter who) and both get 20 points for “setting” the bid winner and points for the 2s and 11s they capture, but none for the traps played.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
8 out of 8 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
Go to the Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig page
Maturemindedgamers {Avid Gamer} Feb 17th, 2020
“Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig - Played and Reviewed!”

Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig is published by Stonemaier Games as part of a collaboration with Bezier Games. It’s a fun cooperative tile placement game that seems daunting at first because of all the pieces, but isn’t that bad. Once all players get the hang of it, the game flows very well. I found the scoring at the end to be the slowest part, as with almost all tile based scoring it tends to take forever to figure out who actually wins.
We did a video review for it.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
6 out of 6 gamers thought this review was helpful

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