Early 90’s there I was watching TV on a Saturday morning, cartoons began and … What is this? X-men, who are they? Professor Charles Xavier leads a group of super-power mutants to help save the world from a whole host of threats. Oh man I wanted super powers then - the healing factor of Wolverine, or the ability to shoot laser beams out my eyes, although not good for an eye exam. Now YOU can be part of this team and lead them against those threats………………. Marvel United X-men.
The box comes with a whole host of miniatures to play with and choose from for your team. Excellently sculpted, you have the choice of Professor X, Beast, Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Storm. The villains of this game are Sabretooth and Juggernaut. Then there are the anti-heroes who could play as either hero or villain - Magneto (my personal favourite) or Mystique.
Unlike the core game where you get to select an individual character, this time you get to pick an entire three-man team. Let’s start by shuffling the three decks together to comprise one deck and draw five cards instead of the usual three. It’s important to note that any starting cards are still placed at of the top of the deck which will be drawn first.
The villains’ health will start at a 3-player game level of health for the solo mode, to correspond with you three characters.
Now let’s turn to the nitty gritty of the game. Essentially it’s the same game play - three hero turns, followed by one villain turn. Changing once the first mission is completed to two hero turns, followed by one villain turn. The game continues until either the villain is a battered mess on the floor or you are.
It’s worth noted that you can play any hero you’d like from your hand. For example, you could play Wolverine 3 times in a row as long as you have the cards. You would still gain the bonuses from the previous cards, however not the special effects sadly. Another key note to mention is, that whichever character card you play, this will be the current target of any effect. For instance you couldn’t play Storm and let Beast get to move a couple of spaces.
In regard to damage, when you are hit and you have to discard a number of cards you may choose any cards that are in your hand, and you don’t have to be character specific for this part. If you are ever KO’d then you lose the game which is an added downside. You do have a choice of making it easier though, by saying one or two KO’s before losing the game, this is all depending on how difficult you want it to be. When your characters are revived, rather than four cards you draw up to six.
That’s about it for change of game play when compared to the standard rules.
Well to sum up, I’d say as a standalone box, Marvel United X-Men is a very good game that offers lots of varieties and a good amount of re-playability. I have enjoyed playing this with friends and on my own, both of which have their merits. When playing with friends, it’s all about team work and the thrill of bringing down the bad guy. Whilst on your own, you can think and strategise till your heart’s content, and there’s certainly enough content in the Marvel United range to expand your choices.
Overall it’s not a long game by any stretch, I’d say maximum it could take up to an hour or so. Personally I prefer playing with friends as it feels more like the cartoons with the team all together, but maybe that’s just me.