Fantasy Flight's Marvel Champions! Excelsior, 'nuff said, clobberin' time, I can do this all day, etc., etc.!

Hmm, I might nominate Genius, Strength and Energy – the double-resource cards – as more universally useful. Their inclusion rate is over 90% if one relies on the decklist data at MarvelDCB. That data is not entirely reliable, since it’s merely a compilation of decklists, and some decks are just meme decks. Still, it has some usefulness. By contrast, Avengers Mansion is included only around 40% of the time. Helicarrier appears about 50% of the time. So it seems a lot of people balk at the tempo loss incurred by Avengers Mansion.

Personally, I always include the double-resource cards, but I don’t always include Avengers Mansion or Helicarrier, even though I agree with Tom that Avengers Mansion is a very strong card. It’s strong in true-solo play, and I imagine it’s even more powerful two-handed. I do wish there were more of a restriction on its use, and I might say the same of the double-resource cards. Like Tom, I want as varied a “metagame” as possible.

And that’s one reason I do sometimes exclude Avengers Mansion: for me, it’s more interesting to explore alternatives. Variety is more fun. Also, I like to roleplay.

Sinister Motives does not include Avengers Mansion, and the preconstructed decks therefore don’t include it either. (They do include all three double-resource dards). So for my first play of the campaign, I’m not using Avengers Mansion. So far I’m not missing it, but then I’m playing only on Standard.

I prefer Expert myself, but I’m not sure I agree that the “real game” begins only in Expert. The winrate difference between the two is only around 8.6%: 70.4% on Standard, 62.8% on Expert. The Standard success rate is about the same as that of a MLB pitcher, and having been a pitcher myself, I still think failing 30% of the time is enough to make a game interesting! That data is from the spreadsheet I linked earlier, which has logged almost 24,000 plays, so it’s a big sample size. Marvel Champions statistics - Google Sheets

Edit: Yes, the spreadsheet relies on user submissions, but social science tells us people are more likely to post their successes than their failures. So that 70% standard success rate might be significantly lower in reality. Humans are illogical. People Don’t Share Their Failures Often Enough | Psychology Today.

There were some wonderfully terrifying Jinteki decks toward the end (that were sort-of-but-not-really viable, though probably a solid pick as a punt in the very runner dominated phases).

There was also a great fun Criminal deck where you were never quite sure what your rig was going to look like by the time you ended the run, but you could usually figure out a way to break in. I had a lucky break and dodged all the fast advance decks with that deck, winning a pretty big tournament!

Amazing memories, and I can happily report I spent more on train tickets than the cards (which I sold on), but I’ll never go back.

Anyway, this Marvel thing does sound neat!

The Guardians of the Galaxy set felt like the perfect difficulty at standard in my opinion. Usually I agree standard feels… substandard (sometimes it feels like guaranteed wins!). I’m quite fond of the Standard 2 difficulty set for missions that aren’t from Guardians of the Galaxy.

Man, I really liked that Guardians run. Great character designs, weird and interesting missions, perfect difficulty…

Glad to hear it. I’ve read a lot of complaints that the Guardians campaign is too hard. I’m pretty interested in the theme, though; I loved the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and Rocket and Groot are wonderful characters. I’ll probably get it once I’ve gotten my fill of Sinister Motives.

So far, I’m absolutely loving Sinister Motives – terrific theme, interesting mechanics, plenty of challenge for me even on standard as I’m still learning the new cards. I’ll bump up to expert after my first campaign run.

I gotta play more sinister motives! I’ve only played the first mission, but quite enjoyed it. I love the smaller stakes in this set.

For me each Guardians mission took about 3 tries to get through, which feels perfect to me. But it’s a big jump up from the normal difficulty. I think it’s still lower than other missions on expert.

I know what you mean about smaller stakes. I don’t find end-of-the-universe stories as interesting as stories about a threat to a person, a family, a village, or a city. The smaller scale puts more focus on the human element. It’s also more believable.

I thought the first Diablo had a more interesting scale – a threat to that little village – than later iterations, which expanded the scope of the hazard. I think World of Warcraft’s smaller stories are more interesting than its titanic clashes. Of course, comics need super-villains to give super-heroes and super-powers a chance to strut their stuff, but I still like that Spider-Man often fights on a city block instead of some heavenly realm.

I’m on the second mission of the Sinister Motives campaign. Really fun! I will definitely want to replay on Expert.

After a few false starts, the kids and I finally got off a game of Marvel Champions (Spider-Man, Cp Marvel, and Black Panther) vs Rhino.

Defeated the (standard) villain with just three threat left to lose, so game felt like an appropriately close call. I saw afterwards that we did make quite a few mistakes (worst one probably being that we played with a 6 card hand size throughout, instead of a reduced hand size as the hero), but given that we were probably only about 1-2 turns away from defeat anyway, I’m not too bothered. Most important is that the kids had fun.

Never been impressed with FFG’s rules writing, and this one doesn’t change my mind. So much fiddliness, exceptions, and small print - I doubt very many play this the first time without making some mistakes. This is a game where you really need to pay attention to every word on the cards and in the rules.

Nicely thematic game, though, with lots of nods to both the comics and the MCU. Spiderman dealt a bunch of roundswing kicks, and Captain Marvel got to charge up and unleash her energy charge on the villain, and the satisfaction when they got to pull off their combos was palpable. Also I got to say “Wakanda Forever” a few times with an atrocious accent. Great fun.

Also really nice: while they needed a little help at the start and the occasional help to understand what the cards allowed, both were quite capable of working out the basic flow of the game after a few turns and taking their own decisions. It was really cool to see the younger (9 yrs old) working out on his own to exhaust Helicarrier + the Web shooters for two resources and then use a suitable card to deal the villain a swinging web kick… (yeah, I’m a proud dad). Probably not optimal play all the time, but a definitive strength with a game where they can they’re actually making their own choices most of the time.

So, a definitive success. We’re already planning to go up against Klaw soon.

Hey @strategy, I’m glad to hear you got Marvel Champions to the table with the kids! Sounds like you had fun. Yep, the rules can be finicky. I made that same hand-size mistake in my first game. And in my current campaign game, I belatedly realized that my temporary ally Venom has a hazard icon – I have to draw an extra encounter card during the villain phase thanks to him.

I just played the fourth mission in the Sinister Motives campaign, and in theory I won by the slimmest of margins. At one point threat on the final main scheme got to 1 less than game-over, and at game end Spidey had 2 hit points left. But, as I mentioned, I realized after 3 or 4 rounds that I wasn’t dealing myself Venom’s extra card. Then again, nor was I delivering the extra damage called for in his text box. For some reason, I completely ignored everything on his card. In my defense, he’s a rather unusual ally.

I could easily replay, and indeed I usually do play a setup two or three times when I’m not in a campaign. But I’m eager to see the final mission, so I think I’ll declare victory and move forward. Then I’ll replay the campaign on expert mode. It’s great fun, and I’m looking forward to trying it with Ghost Spider (Gwen Tracy), maybe alongside Miles Morales as a duo.

I picked up SP//DR and she’s very interesting! She has the lowest hand size of any hero, 4 in alter ego and 3 in hero (!!!) but she compensates by using her unique upgrades as dual purpose cards: they either help her out in some way or can act as resources to pay for cards she plays. This means that, like most of the powered armor heroes, she sort of levels up over time. She reminds me of Iron Man more than anything, but she lacks the pure helplessness of Tony’s start. She doesn’t get his enormous hand size, mind, but on the other hand she’s working with a whopping 14 hit points, giving her breathing room, and I think that she can recover before hopping into action again without tapping her battle suit, which is actually pretty unique among heroes.

Her secret weapon is her little spider friend: not only does she give Penni a free ready action every round, but her deck has lots of ways to ready her - and her upgrades - giving her the possibility of some pretty fantastic rounds.

I don’t think she feels overpowered, I’m still getting to grips with the way she plays. I’m just impressed that they’ve managed to iterate on the “powered armor” niche again, and still came up with something that feels fresh.

Also, Penni comes with Otto, the (obviously) Superior Spider Man!

Wow, SP//DR does sound fun! On my to-buy list for sure, as I love all things Spidey.

I’m at the beach this week, but last week I finished my first Sinister Motives campaign. Great fun! The last couple missions were more challenging than the first 3. I look forward to playing again on Hard.

One interesting thing about SP//DR, she’s actually a bit cooler than I realized. I was right that she can take a recover action and hop into her mech, being one of the only characters who can effectively recover without spending, but what I didn’t notice was that she herself counts as an interface card when she is in pilot mode. This means that if you didn’t use her to recover, she can be spent for a resource, meaning you need to think about a tradeoff, there!