Marvel Champions is a one to four player super hero game where players take on the role of one of five Marvel heroes to battle it out against one of three villains. Play as Captain Marvel, Spiderman, She Hulk, Black Panther or Iron Man and face off against Rhino, Klaw or Ultron. Each Hero is represented by a deck of cards made up of basic cards, hero specific cards and aspect cards (one of leadership, justice, aggression and protection). Each Villain is also represented by a deck of cards comprising villain specific cards, basic villain cards and a modular encounter set.
During a players turn they will play cards. (paying for the cost by discarding other cards from their hand). Then, activate cards and perform a number of actions all in attempt to defeat the “big bad” and to thwart his schemes. Players can also switch from alter ego to hero form once per turn. And activate their characters special ability as well the basic recovery, attack or defend actions. Once a player has performed all of their actions it passes to the next player. They repeat the process until all players have performed their actions.
Next is the villain phase. During the villain phase threat is added on the main scheme based on player count. Then the villain will either attack (if you are in hero form) or scheme (if you are in alter ego form). When they attack or scheme a boost card is revealed from the encounter deck and added to the Villian’s base attack/scheme value. Each player (in turn order) is then dealt an encounter card. Any minions in play will also attack or scheme.
Players will need to manage the amount of threat tokens that is placed on a scheme as if a certain quantity is reached the scheme advances to the next stage and eventually the Villain will win by completing his scheme. In addition to the threat/schemes players will also have to take out minions and deal damage to the Villain to reduce his health to zero and win the game. Marvel Champions is a living card game (LCG) and as such the publisher Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) are supporting the game with new Hero & Villain packs to further expand the game, the combinations and replayability. Check out a full review & final thoughts of the core game here.
One of these new Hero packs is The Hulk which I will talk about in more detail here
He is big, he is green and he is also a genius. Well, Hulk's alter ego, Bruce Banner is the genius, Hulk himself just likes to smash things. Hulk Smash! Bruce Banner was saturated with deadly gamma rays whilst saving his best friend from the detonation of an experimental bomb. The gamma radiation transformed Bruce Banner in to an angry and giant wall of muscle with unpredictable rage. A deadly combination. Bruce Banner, on the other hand, is a renowned scientist, has seven PhDs and is, for want of a better word, a genius.
The Hulk hero pack is a new playable hero that can be added in to the base game of Marvel Champions. Straight out of the pack is a pre-constructed deck with 15 Hulk cards, 17 aggression cards, 8 basic cards and the Hulk specific obligation and nemesis. As with previous Hero packs this pack also comes with additional cards to add in to the game for future deck building opportunities.
If Hulk is good at one thing it is damage, especially with the aggression aspect and the pre constructed deck straight out of the box. He is a powerhouse of damage and pain and will takes the fight to the villain. The Hero form has a zero thwart value but a three attack and three defense. The majority of his cards are all about dealing damage and the event "Hulk Smash" adds whopping +10 ATK for the next attack. It also gains overkill if paid using a certain resource. This type of damage output is massive and not seen in any other Hero pack to date. So is he over powered?
Not at all (in my opinion). Yes he is powerful, with huge attack and damage output as well as being able to withstand a lot of damage. But his many restrictions. He has to discard his hand at the end of his turn, he has a very small hand limit of only four cards and he is not the best at thwarting. Lets face it, would you expect anything other from The Hulk? Marvel Champions is not solely about pummeling your enemies until they are dead. You have to also make sure the schemes they are progressing don't pan come to fruition as this will trigger the end game.
He does have a smattering of thwart removing tools in his deck however. "To the rescue" can remove two threat from a scheme. Despite him being a damage dealing powerhouse he is not easy to play with, especially solo. Under certain circumstances he is in a race to deal damage whilst the threat builds up on the scheme. The "You'll Pay For That" card also helps with thwarting which removes threat after the villain attacks you for the damage you sustained. His thwarting attempts are more subtle and limited than a lot of other Heroes.
Despite the limiting hand size and thwarting capabilities I have a "smashing" (sorry couldn't resist) good time with the Hulk. He is just so much fun to play with and really fits the theme and personality of the character. Personally, I think playing him solo is a challenge but one that I enjoy. When he teams with another Hero who has some good thwarting possibilities you have a winning combination. It will be interesting to see how he plays with other aspects, something that I am looking forward to doing. A Justice based Hulk or a Hulk Leadership could be quite interesting.