Marvel United X Men, the second instalment in the Marvel United saga following on from the highly successful Marvel United Kickstarter and the predecessor to the recently funded Marvel United Multiverse Kickstarter. CMON have developed (another) popular game that is very well supported on a global scale.
How Does It Play?
Very little change in basic rules from Marvel United which is great and from what I have seen, fully intertwines with everything from the original set, which is very cool. So, you can mix it up and use Ironman and Wolverine side by side.
After getting the game set, pick a villain (which plays itself) and pick 2 to 4 heroes to take them on. Each villain and hero have their own set of cards, for a villain these are the masterplan cards and simply action cards for the heroes. Place your villain on a starting base, then heroes line up on the opposite base. The 6 bases are laid in a circle, so if the villain is on the 12 o’clock spot, heroes start on the 6 o’clock positioned base.
The villain goes first, every time. Then after their sequence is worked through, the heroes decide who is going first and then get 3 actions. Each hero plays one of their action cards, then play passes until 3 hero cards have been taken. In a 4-player game, this will mean player 4 does not get a turn until after the villain’s masterplan action. In a 2-player game, player 1 will go twice before the villain’s next master plan action.
The heroes have to work towards, saving civilians, defeating thugs, completing base objectives before they can then have a crack at taking the villain out. Heroes win if they defeat the villain. The villain wins if it plays all 12 of their masterplan cards, or completes another victory condition, unique to that individual villain.
I was genuinely unimpressed with Marvel United mechanics on first reading the rules, prior to playing the game. It all felt a bit basic and unchallenging. There really didn’t seem much to the game. So, when we lined our heroes up against the Red Skull, I was somewhat aggrieved to have played 3 games against him and not got one single win, that elusive W is still outstanding against this villain to date of writing this. The game is a lot more challenging than I gave it credit for and the X Men continues to be as challenging as the original set. Overall, we have more losses on our table top than victories. So, when those victories come around they are absolutely something to be savoured. The game is tense and challenging, timing of hero actions being everything in trying to secure a victory in the time required before that villain completes their masterplan.
The critics still believe the game is too simple. Not challenging enough in its core and therefore unappealing. This somewhat makes me think I must be too simple. I haven’t even upped the difficulty in the game yet and I find it a challenge to achieve victory. For me, how are these people achieving these “simple” victories? Fair play to them.
What’s New With The X Men
We have new heroes with different abilities. Wolverine, Beast, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm and Professor X, your classic core X Men. I love Wolverine and he is such a huge asset in a battle against the villains with regenerative abilities and a lot of combat actions. The Beast is also a bit of a tyrant and highly useful.
As well as new heroes, there are some new villains as well and this set includes Sabretooth and Juggernaut for starters. Both are hard work from the off, particularly the Juggernaut.
One of the big introductions to this set is the inclusion of the anti-hero. We all know from the MCU and comics that some of our beloved characters go back and forth on their allegiance, a good guy or a bad guy. It’s something we all love in the stories and quite rightly, CMON, have recognised this and for those characters they have introduced both a hero deck and villain Masterplan deck. So, Magneto and Mystique are introduced in this set as our anti-heroes.
The X Men additional box sets bring a lot of other quality to the and new features to the game. That’s for another blog though.
The X Men under Professor Xavier are a team and cooperation is what it is all about. This game is cooperative to defeat the game, the villain here. You need to work with your fellow players in this one, drawing on each mutant’s individual qualities to complete the missions and take down the Villain, before the Masterplan comes into full effect. However, even the best strategies and cooperation is still, sometimes, not quite enough and I have enjoyed that challenge in this game. Especially when the result is in, the game is over, if you haven’t won you can usually work back to see the decisions taken where you fell and if another route taken, victory could well have occurred. This is quite cool.
I also think this is a brilliant family game where you can all work together to take a villain down. The rules are challenging but not so complicated that children of late primary school age won’t understand what to do, with parents supporting. Maybe even mid-way through Primary school pending on the child’s ability. If they love Marvel this will be a win. The further bonus here is the game will teach winning in losing, but without a sibling gloating to another. Everyone wins, or everyone loses, but everyone does that together.
Just Like Quicksilver
The game is fast! There is no sitting back in this one. With the villain going first you may find your heroes have taken a battering, without even having made a play. This can instantly rack up the intensity and put the heroes on the back foot. The pace just doesn’t drop either, as you get closer to victory, the villain’s master plan cards start being played that little bit quicker also. With a guaranteed end point of the last Masterplan card, you will be through this game in about 45 minutes with everyone’s cooperation. Which is great, because you can fit a few games into a single gaming session. Or if you are playing with children, it will hold their focus with it not being too long to play and they lose their interest.
The Most Expensive Game I Have Ever Bought
I backed this as a Kickstarter. I had already invested in so much content from the original Marvel United. All I really wanted was a play mat for what I already had (not essential equipment). When the X Men Kickstarter came out I had the opportunity, however, I had to back the base game as a minimum to get the mat. No problem I thought but CMON do their Kickstarter thing and before I knew it I was all in again… I have an unbelievable amount of X men content now which I am still working my way through, but it is not essential. The base game I am talking about today is only about £40, but the wonderful people at Zatu are selling for £32.69 (on day of writing this blog). Which is a decent price for any board game, particularly with the replayability this game offers. My main reason for backing the first two seasons is I hope when my lads are older that we will play and enjoy this game as a family as I can see it’s potential here for working together, as a family, to achieve a common goal, I really like this idea. If you buy and enjoy it, Zatu are also selling some of those expansion sets as well, adding new heroes, villains, and different ways of playing and enjoying the game.
I love the X Men so the opportunity to play a game using some of my favourite characters is an absolute joy. Marvel United X Men is a great follow up from CMON in the Marvel United range. A simple set of rules with endless possibilities in hero and villain combinations. Not to mention the different bases that impact the situation. It’s a lot of fun with something that everyone can enjoy, with plenty of potential and additional content to add to it as well if you waned. Not to mention that it stands on its own, but blends beautifully with all other Marvel United content.