You can’t have a superhero movie without a sequel, now can you? And you can’t have a superhero article without one either, it seems!
So this Marvel Monday, we’re looking at some of the expansion sets that the fine folk at Asmodee kindly provided us with for Marvel Crisis Protocol, as well as some other options that are out there to expand your game.
Remember to keep those comments coming in to get added into our end-of-super-summer giveaway… more details on that to follow!
The first and most important thing to remember with Crisis Protocol is you really can team up any characters you want to. Whilst you do need to bring a mix of power levels and abilities to the table, if you want to have She-Hulk, the Lizard and Deadpool then go for it.
As mentioned in the previous article, some characters are Leaders and if so if more than half your characters are from the same faction, you get their leader benefit. So continuing our previous example, you want a couple more characters from A-Force (She-Hulk’s faction that she leads) – probably Black Widow and Okoye as that means you have 14 points of characters, which is the lowest point game.
The list building side of the game is really interesting, as you need to be prepared for a game of 14-18 points so can’t risk investing everything in one powerhouse (at 6, She-Hulk’s one of the most expensive characters). Adding a couple of expansion packs gives you great options whilst not forcing you to go outside of the characters you know and love.
The various 2-cost characters are the backbone of the game and ensure it retains that all-important comic-book feel. There’s nothing to stop you just taking nothing but a couple of heavy hitters, of course (Dormammu rocks in at a mighty 8!) but in a game of alternating activations you will often find yourself outmaneuvered. Whilst cheap character “swarm” tactics also exist (Guardians of the Galaxy essentially work this way), most people tend to go for a mixed bag of character costs.
Before we go any further though, we have to address two recurrent concerns about MCP: Price point and Power creep. Firstly, there’s no getting away from the fact that, even in a hobby that’s famously expensive, MCP figures are not cheap: you will typically find yourself paying £15-20 per figure. Now that’s not necessarily much more than, say, a Games Workshop character model but I do understand why some baulk at that.
Like GW, these are hard plastic figures and they are incredibly highly detailed, dynamic models. Also, it is worth remembering that they are just plain bigger than most, which itself is a factor. Finally, you’re going to be focusing on a few characters you like – this isn’t Pokémon – unless you’re some kind of crazy completist (*ducks, looks elsewhere shiftily*).
Power creep is another matter: whilst there is a legitimate argument that some earlier characters are a bit underwhelming (Hulk, Winter Soldier, Ebony Maw) and some more recent ones are certainly very nasty (Beast, Scarlet Witch, Magneto), there are plenty of early characters still seeing regular play and again, you can just about whatever you want really. It’ll be interesting to see if this shifts with the arrival of magic users… and the mighty Dormammu!
A good way of expanding the base game is to look at a faction you like and go from there. So, for instance, my kids are big fans of Black Panther and Thor, so looking at the Wakandan and Asgardian factions made sense to me. Wakandans have 2 boxes at the moment, Black Panther/Killmonger and Shuri/Okoye (granted they also have access to Storm, who comes from the recent box set with Cyclops).
As well as being an Avenger, Black Panther is the leader for Wakanda (obviously), granting his team rerolls – a very potent ability. He’s a great sculpt too, defying gravity in much the same way as Spider-Man from the core box. Killmonger is a more conventional pose, standing on a tactical rock (well, leopard), but is still a good looking fig even with multipart head and hair (and he’s by no means the worst). His abilities are strong, powering up as he does damage and hyper-mobile (a common theme for Wakanda).
Of Shuri and Okoye, it’s Okoye that really stands out, with multiple reroll abilities and the ability to Bodyguard (of course), jumping in the way of damage – and at only 2 points, she is a mainstay of main Crisis Teams. Shuri is a bit more nuanced, and there’s an awful lot of competition in the 3 point slot, but she can boost her team’s dice and the ability to push enemies off objectives isn’t to be underestimated; she is, however, one of the most preposterously difficult figures you’ll ever build.
Asgardians have several sets to choose from, though their characters are pricey in-game thanks to their inherent ability to generate not 1 but 2 power per turn. Though they count Angela and Enchantress in their number, for the purposes of this we’ll look at the two earlier releases, Thor / Valkyrie and Loki / Hela.
Thor’s innate Leader ability allows his team to heal, which is potent but not as strong as some, which balances with the Asgardian ability well. He’s a very Throw-y character, quite rightly, which leads to lots of comedy moments in game (especially with the Sibling Rivalry tactic card enabling him to throw Loki at a target for extra damage!), and the model is simply stunning – which is just as well, as the instructions are by far the worst of any figure I’ve built ever: no parts numbering, awkward angles and even missing steps.
Valkyrie, with multipart braids and head (yup) is only slightly less challenging, but again looks great once built. Her ability to move and attack for a single action is very potent, and at a (relatively) cheap 3 points she is the backbone of any Asgardian team. Hela is another magnificent, dynamic, flowing sculpt and was surprisingly easy to build: she requires patience, especially her helm, but isn’t necessarily difficult.
Hela’s shtick is about capturing souls, doing damage and turning into Bleed tokens, so characters continue to take damage. She has the potential to become a continuous damage engine: very, very potent (even at a cost of 4) but as a result she’s always going to be a high-priority target for your opponent.
Loki isn’t too bad to build, although the sprue placement of the horns is awkward and there’s a wee bit of gap filling to be done. In game, he is all about the shenanigans, using his Trickster ability to not be where he seems God of Mischief to mess with other people’s dice rolls.
The model, in addition, is a Gem Bearer: he can wield the Space or Mind Gem (he comes with the latter). Infinity Gems are interesting as they grant your character extra power whilst counting as part of your roster of ten characters. In some ways, they limit your choices but, equally, they can fill out awkward 1 or 2 point gaps in a Crisis.
So there’s some initial thoughts on starting out on other factions, we’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, and to know what you’d like us to review next: Web-Warriors? X-Men? Something else entirely? Tell us below and get another entry into the summer giveaway contest… more on that next time! Excelsior!