A lot of gamers enjoy the comic book superhero genre. the problem is that there are not a lot of games that really make you feel like a hero. There are plenty that have the them lightly painted on and there are some that really try to give you that feel but get so complicated that you are thinking so hard about the mechanics that you forget to be a superhero. Well my fellow mutants this might be the game you’ve been looking for.
The goal in the game is to make the real superhero team, The Champions of Zeta City! You do this by accomplishing more impressive feats than your fellow players/superhero wannabes. These feats include KO’ing Underlings or Henchmen, causing damage to or KO’ing the villain, completing headlines such as “Throwing Away a Piece of Litter” dropped by the nefarious villain or KO’ing a certain number of Minions (underlings and henchmen). The player with the most point makes the team and wins the game.
The game is card driven but the mechanics involved are rather original in my opinion. All players start with the same number of cards in hand (except in a few rare cases) and the hands will be very similar and only varied based on the type of character/hero you are (Vigilante, Cosmic, Mutant or Tech). Players have six cards in their hands that have numbers in upper left hand corner(0-7) that represent stamina. When the hero is damaged they must play cards to total the amount of damage they are receiving. For example if you are taking 6 point of damage you could discard a 3 and a 4 to cover all the damage. If you cannot discard enough to cover the damage you received you will discard all of your cards and take an injury, you will then be required to rest the for your next turn and your only action will be to take up all of your cards. The twist comes in because the cards that you discard to cover damage are the same cards you use to perform actions. This makes hand management crucial to success. You don’t want to play a card for the action only to need it during the villains turn to cover damage and you don’t want to use a card to cover damage that would give you the optimal offensive play during your turn. This results in sometimes playing more stamina than required to be able to play the best card for your next turn. Another fun twist is that players can also attack each other if so inclined. At least one of the maps/scenarios is spaced enough that without real intent it is unlikely you will run next to each other.
Another great creative part of this game is how your hero is created. You are dealt 3 Hero A cards and 3 Hero B cards. You first select your A or top half then look at and decide your B or lower half. Most of these are labeled with nouns or pronouns. The combination of names is usually hilarious I have been Dino Meteorite and Danger Worm, my daughter was Ever changing Unicorn and some of the combos are great like Leather is funny with anything. You will have a super power on your Hero A card that will activate when you play your Superpower card, mutants will have a mutant power that will activate when you play your Mutant card. You are also randomly given a Quirk card which gives you a characteristic you must act out or lose points. Some examples are Yoga Enthusiast where you must stretch before playing any superpower or Over Optimistic where you have to compliment any other player when the damage the villain. These add a lot of humor but are also optional if you don’t want to use them. The villain is also randomly drawn using Villain A and Villain B cards which again can be very funny and give a wide amount of unique playing conditions.
The production quality is very nice with tons of cards meeples of different types for the villain, underlings and henchmen and some nice player pieces. It comes with four boards which results in four scenarios available to play and with the variability of the heroes and villains this game has replay-ability out the wazoo. Oh, so you don’t want to beat each other up and would rather attack the villain together? Well purchase the Champions and Masterminds expansion and play as the Actual Champions of Zeta City in a cooperative setting against the worst villains the game can throw at you. There is also a solo option where you try to score as many points as possible and see where you rank on a predetermined scale.
I’ve played this with both my daughter and my wife and they really enjoyed it. The mechanics are simple enough that after a few rounds you are starting to use real strategy rather than just survive. The solo play is enjoyable and in either version you feel like a hero, albeit a odd amateur one. My recommendation is that if you want a hero game with little randomness (some heroes use dice for some abilities) this is one to get. If you don’t want to have to plan and only want to chuck some dice you might want to avoid this because there is real thought that goes into winning. From the production quality to the game play I think this is a winner. The company has been extremely responsive to all issues that were caused by the factory and are addressing rule questions on BGG for anyone that has encounter confusion in the game. In my opinion buy the game.
Suggested Movie: Mystery Men (this movie matches the theme of this game perfectly in my opinion. A bunch of wannabe super heroes with powers of questionable use)
What Movie do you suggest? Let me know in the comments below.
Game Type: Card Driven Euro Style
Ages: 10 and up
Size: standard square box (Heavy, tons of bits)
My Wife -8.0
AVERAGE SCORE – 8.6