The Story So Far...
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.
Manage the Threat
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 packs is The Wrecking Crew which I will talk about in more detail here.
The Wrecking Crew is a new scenario pack that comes with four villains that you face off against at the same time. The Wrecking Crew have broken out of prison and Thunderball, Piledriver, Bulldozer and their leader Wrecker, have joined forces to exert their revenge on the Heroes. Each of these four villains have their own encounter deck and depending on who is the active villain will determine which of the Wrecking Crew attacks and which encounter deck is drawn from.
This scenario pack feels very different to the base game and I love what FFG are doing with this game. In the base game you would typically face off against one enemy (level I/II or II/III) with one encounter deck and one main scheme. With The Wrecking Crew you have four enemies, four encounter decks and four schemes to deal with. Admittedly, the villains are slightly weaker but this change still makes for an interesting and thematic addition to the base game. On my first game, after set up, I looked at what I was facing and thought "Oh, this is going to be tough".
Each of the villains have their own scheme with threat being added to them at the beginning of the villain phase. The encounter deck to draw from is determined by the villain that has the most threat on its scheme so players can manipulate this by removing or allowing threat to build on a particular villain. Once a certain threat threshold has been reached the scheme activates forcing players to, for example, discard cards, take damage or add threat. A certain amount of threat is then removed from the Villain's scheme.
The villains don't progress from stage one and stage two when you defeat them as in the base game. But they do come with a advanced mode (level II) for added difficulty. Once the Villain is defeated they and their side scheme are removed from the game. As the player you can decide who you want to attack and defeat first. At first glance it seems that the odds are very much stacked against you, but with careful play and good use of your cards the scenario makes for an interesting challenge. The villains and their schemes feel like they are slow burners, building up to the threshold, then they hit you hard and the threat reduces.
If you can time your attacks right you can take out the villain just before that threshold is hit. This expansion pack does have a good arc to it but one that you would not expect. It very much feels like you are struggling to begin with and only making tiny amounts of progress as you handle four Villains. But as you start to defeat them it gets easier to deal with the remaining Villains and schemes.
The core system that FFG have established has a lot of potential to be expanded on. The Wrecking Crew is one example of just that. They have taken the basic core concepts and twisted it and turned it around for an interesting scenario pack. The Wrecking Crew will make a great addition to your Marvel Champions base game.