Marvel Champions: Age of Apocalypse Exp

Marvel Champions: Age of Apocalypse Exp

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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Two fantastic new X-Men heroes
  • Tricky (but not too tricky) thematically interesting scenarios
  • Standard 3 really changes the game

Might Not Like

  • More drawn out games
  • One hero deck feels less synergistic than the other
  • VCS-P4READUIE46721
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Description

The end of the world has come. After defeating the likes of Magneto, Mister Sinister, and Stryfe, the X-Men and X-Force have returned home expecting some well-deserved rest. Instead, what they found is worse than anything they could have imagined: Professor X is dead, the world is in ruins, and a ruthless tyrant rules over what remains of humanity with an iron fist. Brace yourself, heroes, for the Age of Apocalypse has arrived!

Fantasy Flight Games is thrilled to announce Age of Apocalypse, the seventh campaign expansion for Marvel Champions: The Card Game!

As the conclusion of the “mutant trilogy” of expansions, this campaign expansion sees the X-Men and X-Force team up to take down one of the most powerful mutants in history, Apocalypse! Age of Apocalypse comes with five brand-new scenarios, and just like with all other campaign expansions, you can play each of these scenarios individually or sequentially as part of a larger campaign. This box also kicks off a new wave of playable X-Men heroes for the game, beginning with Bishop and Magik, both of whom come with fully pre-built and ready-to-play decks right out of the box. This foe is unlike anything our heroes have faced before, so you’ll need to pull out all the stops to take him down. Do you have what it takes to survive the Apocalypse?

What is Marvel Champions?

Marvel Champions is a co-operative living card game in which you build decks around your favourite Marvel heroes and take the fight to a variety of different villain scenarios you can further customise with modular sets. Your goal is to defeat the villain whilst thwarting their schemes, defeating minions, and keeping your hero alive. To do this, you have ally cards to aid your hero, event cards to perform actions, and upgrades and supports to give you bonuses. To play cards, you discard cards to generate resources so every card in your deck helps pay for others. Heroes have an alter ego side as well, which gives the heroes a chance to heal and perform other abilities, but you have to be careful not to give the villains too long to continue their schemes. The villain decks are played by revealing cards on their turn to perform different actions and pull in new threats for you to deal with.

Players build their decks around their hero specific cards and then pick one aspect to further change how that hero plays. Aggression cards focus on dealing damage, justice cards control the villain’s schemes, leadership focuses on boosting ally cards, and protection mitigates damage. The Marvel Champions Core Box is required to get you started, then expansion boxes provide two new heroes and a selection of villains to play in a campaign, hero packs give you a new hero and aspect cards to use, and scenario packs offer more villains to challenge you.

Scenarios

The third expansion box of the mutant waves comes with five new scenarios to test the mettle of any heroes trying to end the Age of Apocalypse. The overall difficulty of campaign mode was not particularly easy, but it was never as tricky as one campaign that is overly difficult by the end (I’m looking at you, Galaxy’s Most Wanted). One thing that the scenarios in this box have in common is the generally high threshold on the villain main schemes and this combined with the campaign’s special missions leads to some protracted battles. The higher threat thresholds mean that you are less likely to lose to an unlucky scheme by the villain which I found made the campaign a bit more forgiving.

Out of the five scenarios here, the one that I found to be the most enjoyable was the third, where you must dethrone Apocalypse. What sets this one apart from the others is that you must defeat Apocalypse’s lieutenants (the Prelates) and several side schemes that represent your heroes having to fight their way through to the heart of Apocalypse’s empire. Apocalypse himself cannot be fully defeated during this as he heals and progresses through his four villain cards whenever his main scheme is cleared. Once you have made your way through his obstacles, Apocalypse becomes unworthy and you are at least able to defeat him without him healing. As previously mentioned, I found the scenarios in this box to be quite long and this one felt the most satisfying to clear.

The most interesting scenario in the expansion was also the one that I lost most to and that is Dark Beast. This one reminded me of Mr Sinister from Next Evolution, the previous box, as he revolves around three different modular sets that are gradually brought in and this means you have to adapt to these new threats. Instead of Sinister’s superpower modular sets, Dark Beast has environmental ones that relate to different time periods significant to the X-Men. Each brings in new minions and a setting which gives the villain a passive effect and a new special effect that triggers periodically. One of these kept increasing the main scheme’s threat and every loss I had from the main scheme being completed. I really enjoy scenarios that have a great deal of variability as it makes each attempt feel different and that often draws me back to scenarios more than others.

Despite Dark Beast having the highest loss rate in the box, my least favourite was facing the Four Horseman. I often enjoy multi villain scenarios as they often offer more variety than others but this one only changes the order in which they activate against you. Each has a really nasty effect if they attack you with at least one health remaining, from discarding ten cards from your deck to blanking your heroes text box for a turn. To make this even harder, there are a number of cars that give them extra attacks or trigger their abilities even when you’ve knocked their health down. Your best bet here is stunning and targeting the worst of these to stop them from triggering whichever effects are the worst for your heroes and even then this is a troublesome scenario.

Campaign Missions

Each expansion has an additional campaign mode that adds an additional layer to the scenarios and Age of Apocalypse introduces ‘missions’, special side schemes that are separate to the main game to represent the global scale of Apocalypse’s reign. These are a bit too complex to explain in detail. The general idea is that allies are played to this area and only through attempting missions with a campaign support card can you use these allies to defeat the mission and the overseer minion guarding them. Defeating these gives you an immediate effect and then a lasting benefit for the campaign. My favourite is selecting from a pool of campaign allies who all have effects when they enter your hand, something that we haven’t seen before. As previously mentioned, these missions did extend the length of the games which is not necessarily a bad thing but it can make losing a game at the final hurdle that bit more devastating.

Standard 3

The other notable addition to this campaign box is the new Standard 3 modular set which you can replace the original version with. This hugely changes how the game can go as these new cards interact with a new setup card, Pursued By The Past. This accrues counters and once it hits a threshold, it brings in your nemesis set, just like the old Shadow Of The Past did. This means that the nemesis set is far more likely to be brought into play than it was before. This might not be for everyone but I think it adds an extra layer of replayability to the game as nemesis sets can really impact a game. In all my games with Standard 3, only one has not had the nemesis appear (although that was a game that ended with a quite speedy loss!).

The Mystic Mutant – Magik

Magik is one of my (many) favourite X-Men characters so I was very excited when I found out she was coming to Marvel Champions. Her play style revolves around playing with the top card of your deck face up and getting to play that with a resource discount once per phase. She also has several upgrades and events that gain bonus effects if the top card of your deck has the right printed resource. It took a few games to get to grips with fully but once you get the hang of manipulating that top card, you can pull off some satisfying combos. Since playing the campaign, I switched aspects to Protection to make more use of Magik’s top card discount during the villain phase and it really made a huge difference.

While I loved Magik’s hero kit, I found the aspect cards to be quite hit and miss, at least for her play style. The Basic cards are surprisingly the most interesting for Magik as they synergise with her Mystic trait and new ally Triage provides some healing for X-Men characters. The Aggression cards feel really at odds with Magik with upgrades rewarding playing lots of attack events or defeating minions, and a huge attack called Full Body Charge that rewards being on low health. These are all good cards, but they feel at odds with the rest of the deck. New ally Goldballs (yes, that is his actual name!) is the most interesting as he discards cards to buff his attack and that can help reset the top card of your deck and hopefully find something better.

Fully Charged – Bishop

The other hero facing Apocalypse is the temporal X-Man Bishop who has another new and interesting play style. When he is damaged by an attack, he discards cards from the top of the deck and gets to add any resource cards to his hand. He has upgrades that heal him and deal damage based on the number of resources in your hand and once you get these he can become an absolute powerhouse. He has some events that gain bonus effects if you spend a resource card on them so you have plenty to spend them on as well.

In contrast to the aspect cards in Magik’s deck, the Leadership cards here go together really well. The standout card is Sidekick which buffs an identity specific ally’s health and lets you play Side-By-Side for extra readies, healing, and buffs. New allies include Cable, X-23, Marrow, and Legion which really rounds out the deck and gives you a chance to get Bishop’s upgrades into play. The only downside I can really comment on is that there are more resource cards in the deck than most decks but this is to facilitate Bishop’s hero abilities.

Conclusion

Age of Apocalypse is another excellent expansion to Marvel Champions, adding two brilliant new heroes, five interesting scenarios, and adds new variation with the Standard 3 set. Both heroes are powerful with mechanics that you can really build around, although Magik’s pre-made deck feels less synergistic when compared to Bishop’s solid deck. The scenarios are not punishingly difficult, although they can require a fair amount of time to clear. I certainly look forward to testing more heroes against Apocalypse and his forces.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Two fantastic new X-Men heroes
  • Tricky (but not too tricky) thematically interesting scenarios
  • Standard 3 really changes the game

Might not like

  • More drawn out games
  • One hero deck feels less synergistic than the other
  • VCS-P4READUIE46721