Updated: Mar 3, 2020
The Marvel IP, following the success of the phenomena that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is one of the hottest commodities for anyone trying to make a buck. So much so that for a time during its peak, my grocery store sold special packages of iceberg lettuce with Avengers printed on the plastic bag. That’s not a joke; you could go buy Iron Man themed lettuce. So naturally with such a saturation of Marvel anywhere and everywhere you turn, it’s easy to find yourself skeptical when you see the license pop up.
Enter Marvel Champions! Now at first glance, this was clearly something that was too good to be true. Marvel themed, but backed by the absolute powerhouse that is Fantasy Flight’s LCG (Living Card Game) formula. I felt like there had to be a downside. You know that old adage “Once Bitten Twice Shy”? I own and have played Marvel Legendary... (and this may be a controversial take), but that game is hot garbage. I decided that good or bad, I would follow this project as closely as possible.
Having experience from playing LCG's like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, has taught me that Fantasy Flight Games are masters of their craft. So it shouldn't have been as much of a shock that this game delivered on everything it promised and more. For the Marvel fan this game brings you the fluff of being able to really feel like you are playing a hero in a comic. From Iron Man literally building his suit to Captain America's "I can do this all day" ability allowing Cap to bounce back into the action after fighting or defending his team. The flavor and mechanics work seamlessly. For the serious gamer Champions allows you the ability to custom tailor almost every part of your gaming experience, from the villains you will face, to the mechanics of your deck. This was a huge draw for me, and running things like high energy and justice in my Captain Marvel deck brought all the joy I have come to know from other deck builders in a packaging that made me feel like I was writing my own comic.
"The flavor and mechanics work seamlessly."
The real winner here though is the casual gamer. I cut my teeth on the Lord of the Rings LCG and as much as I like that game, it is a nightmare to teach new players. Likewise, Star Wars LCG offers a little less to remember in rules, but you are ultimately facing off against one another which tends to be less fun for both involved if there is a major experience gap. Champions solves all of these issues and then some. The crunch level is low and manageable for new players, and the co-op aspect allows you to really get the feel of the game without worrying about messing up playing an opponent who is vastly stronger than you. Not to mention being able to sink your teeth into a character you love. For even the most die-hard LotR fans when I would bring out my decks, most of the characters and cards were unfamiliar to the person playing them. Champions allows me to ask my friends and family "Okay, now which hero do you like the most?" and from there they get to see their favorite heroes and allies jump into action. Not to mention the ingenious designs behind the heroes themselves and their pool of specific cards. Any hero can truly play with any aspect or play style without feeling like they are losing power level. This makes it so you can have a Black Panther playing as the great leader of Wakanda, as a fearsome warrior, a defender of those he loves, or as a master of espionage thwarting the villain at every turn.
Marvel Champions has quickly risen to the top as my favorite game of all time. The best part is that it's not even begun to show all that it is capable of. We've seen Champions completely flip everything we thought we knew about the game with the release of The Green Goblin Scenario Pack, as well as what is announced to come with heroes like Dr. Strange. Check out this game wherever possible and let us know what you think.
Marvel Champions: 6/6 Infinity Stones
Jarret Curtis is an avid lover of board and card games, and some would say an "elite" board gaming mind
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