And we’re back again! So soon? Well, there’s a veritable gamut of Marvel goodness coming at ya, as we gear up for the Madness of the Movie Multiverse season. So let’s look at what’s new for Marvel Crisis Protocol, with the arrival on the scene of AGENTS OF SHIELD and THE HAND, and the web-heads swinging into action with SINISTER MOTIVES (and more) for Marvel Champions.
And in keeping with the NYC theme, as everybody loves a giveaway, we have an absolute cracker of a Marvel Crisis Protocol prize for you that will take pride of place on any display shelf, no matter if you’re a gamer, a comic fan or a movie nut: Spider-Man Vs Doc Ock ! Read on to find out how you can win (and of course, discover if you won our Harry Potter giveaway!).
Huge thanks as always to our Marvel-ous sponsors, Asmodee UK!
MARVEL CRISIS PROTOCOL
SHADOWLAND DAREDEVIL AND ELEKTRA (RRP £54.99)
The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen returns, and this time, he’s brought along a helping Hand, or two, or three! Yes, this month sees the introduction of Grunts, who activate alongside their named character to give them benefits and bonuses – but we’ll get to them in a sec.
The new version Daredevil is an absolute beast (geddit? No? I’m wasted on you people…) with high manoeuvrability, rerolls for his team (and it’s great to have a new choice of leader for Syndicate), the ability to hurl ninjas into combat from the shadows (yup, there’s the grunts) and a buffed Mystic defense on the flip-side, which is extra useful given the amount of magic that the presence of the Convocation has brought to the game. Oh, and did I mention that he’s only 4 points? He’s only 4 points. He really is superb; at that price, he’ll pop up in all sorts of teams.
Speaking of 4 cost characters, let’s not forget Elektra. She is extra-stabby, with reactive damage output, a massive 8 STR attack that can ignore crits (say goodbye, Venom!) – oh, and more ninjas. She’s not subtle, she’s not cheap, but she’s absolutely brutal. She’s also fairly mobile, so coupled with her stealth she’ll be aiming to outflank any problematic back-field dawdlers. And it’s worth saying, of course, that they’re all tremendous sculpts (though I may well be doing that Matt Murdock as Daredevil Yellow for my own collection).
NICK FURY, JR & AGENTS OF SHIELD (RRP £44.99)
We’re not just in a New York state of mind this month, however, as the other new set of Grunts that comes into play is S.H.I.E.L.D. Now I’m less convinced by the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents if I’m being honest: though their ability to interact with Civilians and Assets for free is neat, I’m not sure that I’d be using Director Fury to get that close to the action. That being said, this is a game of objectives rather than outright combat, so perhaps over time they’ll prove their utility. Certainly, the sculpt is absolutely stunning.
As for Nick Fury himself, he’s definitely a finesse piece, adding boosts and rerolls, scoring VPs whilst you’re the underdog and giving you extra power when ahead. Plus, the cards he comes with are fascinating, practically a full set of ten tactics for Shield, giving you access to everything from Coulson’s car to a bombardment from a Helicarrier. I’m a little wary, but the tactical options are really interesting – with She-Hulk as my in-faction heavy hitter, I think, and Taskmaster, classic Black Widow and Hawkeye as the rest of the core team – so I’ll certainly pick him and give him a try.
OMEGA RED (RRP £29.99)
What has Omega Red got to do with New York? Well, no, not much, I just forgot to do him last time around :# It’s very remiss of me, actually, as I love the sculpt with its bonkers 90s wrestler look. With hefty range and the ability to turn damage dealt into healing, he’s a nasty piece of work that doesn’t mind getting stuck in the middle of the action. His ability to your opponent’s defences to fails on wilds is seriously unpleasant. Plus, he pairs brilliantly with my favourite underrated character, Baron Mordo.
Omega deals poison damage, which is ok but generally seen as a bit meh, but Mordo can spread that on with his Soul Barb (never mind dishing out more poison himself)… and that means that if your opponent doesn’t deal with all that poison, Omega Red can do a further two damage to everything that’s got a poison marker. That there is a serious headache. Now if I can just find space in my Convocation list for him too…
X-23 & HONEY BADGER (RRP £29.99)
Speaking of my general forgetfulness, how could I forget Logan’s daughters? X-23 is very fast and very, very stabby; once she gets moving, she can tear through multiple opponents in a turn with extra moves and attacks. She’s difficult for opponents to throw also, but lob her up the field with a Hulk and let the slicing and dicing commence. Rerolls and regeneration certainly don’t hurt either. Well, hurt her.
And as for Honey Badger, well, who doesn’t love a 2-cost character? She fits a similar niche to Nebula, as she can’t contest or carry objectives, but allows for some fun reactive chaining with X-23: let Honey Badger take a hit intended for someone else, then bounce to X-23 (big sister powers) and you’ve suddenly got a whole lot of claw coming down your throat fast.
NYC APARTMENT BUILDING (RRP £79.99)
I freely admit that I thought this was overpriced when I first saw it – but oh, how wrong I was. It’s a massive, imposing set which can be quickly built in one of two (main) different ways, as Nelson & Murdock’s or Josie’s Bar, giving you the iconic location of your preference; also, the upper floors can be build in a number of window/windowless permutations, allowing the whole block to be anything from a bustling downtown residence to a sinister, faceless warehouse.
The roof decor is separate, so can be used as scatter for other buildings, or thrown and destroyed as you see fit. The huge Stark Industries billboard clips to any side (though a freestanding base option would’ve been nice, I guess) and the glossy poster comes as a self-adhesive sticker, making it easy for even the inexperienced hobbyist to make a stunning piece.
With extra roadside scatter, modular fire escapes, a/c units and even tiny pigeons, this is an amazing set which truly deserves the price tag; a fitting centre-piece to any Marvel, or indeed other modern urban, board.
SINISTER MOTIVES (RRP £44.99)
Still with the Spider-fam, let’s start with the latest big box outing for the LCG, Sinister Motives. And oh my, what an outing it is. Bringing two fan-favourite characters to the table, we get Miles Morales and Spider-Gwen facing off against the collective might of the Sinister Six.
Before we get over-excited about the villains (hey, I’m still sweating from Hela in Mad Titan’s Shadow) let’s talk about the Spiderlings.
Miles Morales – he’s the Ultimate! A classic Justice deck dialled up a notch, Miles definitely is a continuation of the trend we’ve seen lately, revisiting an early-cycle character (Peter, in this case) and making them even more potent. He’s a bit low on HP but with excellent recovery, and he’s loaded for bear (rhino?) with plenty of SHIELD support shenanigans as well. Justice has a lot of competition but he’s definitely a solid option; I like that he’s going to have you going back into the unused heap of overlooked cards to create something new.
Gwen Stacey is the most interesting Protection character out of the box in an age: she’s incredibly potent and versatile, with quite a Ms Marvel feel to her with her “Save the Citizen” vibe. As well as having plenty of ways to ready herself, enabling her to do multiple actions per turn, Her Ticket to the Multiverse is like an etch-a-sketch reset of your turn, she can pull Spider-chums from across the Loom, and she’s got damage prevention that removes threat? She’s a beast, perhaps the most innovative Protection character since Dr Strange.
The Sinister Six pose a huge threat to heroes, and again, this is about refining mechanics we’ve seen before – the Encounter sets from Goblin, the synergy from Wrecking Crew – making it a completely new, streamlined experience. And that’s before we talk about the likes of Sandman, Mysterio, Venom and REDACTED.
In many ways, this feels like a starter-lite: SINISTER MOTIVES is a great way into the game, and probably the most coherent and accessible Campaign expansion yet. It’s not as brutal as Mad Titan’s Shadow or as (at times) arbitrary as Guardians; if you’re starting out in the game, then right now this is the best thing to get post core-set – and I’m including hero packs and scenario packs in that selection process.
HERO PACKS VISION / WAR MACHINE (RRP £14.99 each)
But let’s not forget what else is new, or at least new-ish. The last of the previous wave of releases (from MTS) was Vision, and he’s a complex but fascinating character, as befits the Android Avenger. Similarly to Spectrum, he uses the new multi-form mechanic, with different cards for his states. Having a hero that is functionally immune to damage is really interesting and makes him an unlikely, but effective, choice for solo play – a bit slower, so very fast schemers could be a worry out of the box, but viable and highly tactical nonetheless. That being said, my instinct would be to switch him from Protection to Justice for that reason, as he’s solid (ha) enough to dish out damage but with the added Threat removal that Justice brings.
The UK release of War Machine was delayed due to various Covid shenanigans, but he’s now here and ready to serve – and boy does he deliver. He’s everything that core set Iron Man should’ve been, with an ammo management system that makes you plan and organise your tech resources far more strategically (albeit with slightly more complexity) than Mr Stark allows. Also, running off Leadership allows for far more versatility than limiting him with Aggression: pair him up with Spectrum (from Mad Titan’s Shadow) for a double-leadership throwdown that can swarm the enemy with potent allies and double-buffs. It’s really interesting to see synergy designed within the same aspect, and points to the continued evolution and development of the game.
That being said, he also pairs really well with out of the box Justice decks – particularly Spider-Man, which has to be deliberate in light of Sinister Motives – so it’s good to see that the core game still provides a great gameplay experience this far down the line. Alternatively, and not that surprising, he works really well alongside Rocket (Shoulder-Mounted Rocket!) stick the Guardians/Avengers team-up cards in (including the new Aggression card As One, which comes in this pack) and you’ve got a truly terrific two-hero team-up. There’s also interesting potential for a Gamora or Adam Warlock line up with the new Protection team-up cards, but War Machine / Rocket / Spectrum is likely to be our Triple Threat for the foreseeable (at least till Nova and Ironheart come out later this year…)
SCENARIO PACK: THE HOOD (RRP £19.99)
And what better to test this against that the latest Scenario pack, the supernatural menace that is… The Hood?!
Probably the most challenging Scenario pack to date, as complex as Kang and as infuriating as Green Goblin (in a good way). Not to be contentious, but it SHOULD feel almost impossible to beat a scenario on the first attempt – after all, this IS a deck-building game, and at this point in the game’s life-cycle you really want to feel challenged.
So, it’s definitely not an entry-level scenario (for that, check out classic The Wrecking Crew), but rather one that’s really going to push experienced LCG players – much like how the difficulty ramps up through a campaign. That’s not to say this is Mad Titan levels of nigh-indestructible; perhaps a better analogy is base-set Ultron (or, as mentioned, Green Goblin): it’s a proper, brain-twisting challenge that’s as much a resource-management puzzle as it is straight-up fight – in a lot of ways, almost more like wrestling with an Arkham Horror scenario.
It also comes with new generic scalable difficulty packs to mix up both Standard and Expert pay and a full 9 Modular Encounter sets, including minion versions of the Sinister Syndicate and Wrecking Crew, which grow in power as Hood extends his influence.
It’s great that it’s finally hit the UK, and its relative difficulty means that it has plenty of replayability as you try to deduce the optimum set of heroes to defeat the red menace and his many, many minions.
So, as mentioned, you can win this simply stunning – and let’s remember fully game legal – display version of Spider-Man and Doc Ock, simply by telling us which of this week’s items reviewed above has got you most excited! And remember to Like, Comment and Share across your socials (FB, Insta and/or Twitter) tagging us @bigcomicpage & @sam.graven to bag yourself a bonus entry!
UK only unless you’re willing to fork out the postage, alas.
And the winner of our Harry Potter Giveaway is… Ian Woods!
Congratulations! Remember to get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org within 30 days to claim your prize!
Next time, what with it being the holidays, we’ll be looking at Easter Board Game fun for the whole family – and of course, more giveaways galore, so tune in soon!