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Subject: An Every-Gamer's Tour of the Multiverse rss

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Matt Smith

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Hey all! I’m a little new to reviewing, but I decided to try my hand at it, mostly because I noticed a hole in reviews that I want to read when I’m looking for new games. That hole comes down to one thing: If I had to explain this game to several different types of gaming backgrounds (nongamer, gatewayer, gamer) how would that go? If a game is too difficult to explain the basics to a nongamer, it won’t see the light of day much since I myself don’t have a regular gaming group and mostly rely on newcomers. The most questions also seem to come primarily from gatewayers, as they have experience with several types of games, but no real grasp on gaming overall. Lastly, I will present the game as if I could use advanced jargon and mumbo jumbo to fully convey what it is the game does. I never see layered reviews like this and I think communicating games in this sort of fashion can give a great deal of insight on many levels. To begin this new technique, I will apply it to Sentinels of the Multiverse, the pride and joy of my collection.

Non-Gamers

This game is pretty much what it would feel like to be a super hero. You use powers, punch and kick your way to the main bad guy and then try to sock him into next week before he takes over the world. It feels just like you are moving through a comic! Basically, you pick a hero that you think sounds cool. A lot of them are very similar to ones you know and love. Wraith is kinda like Batman, Tachyon is kinda like Flash, Legacy is kinda like Captain America, and so on. Then, when you pick your hero, you get a deck of cards that has a bunch of their abilities and powers in it, so that during the game, you draw these cards and can put them into play to fight the bad guy. We each are getting one of these decks and we are all fighting together. But the villain gets one too, and we have to draw cards from his deck and put them into play, just as if his plan is unfurling before us. Then we can choose where we want to fight him with these environments, like downtown megalopolis or on Mars. The villain will go, each of us will take a turn where we play a card, use the power on our character or one we played, and then draw a card, and then the environment takes a turn. We keep going until he beats us all down to 0 or we get him to 0. Pretty straightforward, right? I know, a co-op board game sounds weird, but it’s totally a blast. If you didn’t catch some of the stuff I said, I’ll walk you through it as we go.

Gatewayers

Alright, so I know you’ve played Pandemic. You get how co-op can work on a board game right? Well this game takes it to another level. This game is awesome! You feel like you’re moving right through a comic strip playing as your hero. We each get one of these guys, and just like in Pandemic, we have a deck that is working against us, except this time it’s a villain we are trying to beat the crap out of. When you were trying to rid the world of disease, you remember you had your own little ability associated with your character? Well, take that and multiply it by 40. That’s right, you my friend are getting this whole deck of cards. THIS is your hero. Look through it. You’ll see different abilities that you can perform instantly called One-Shots and cards that stay out and make you stronger called Ongoing and Equipment cards. In a round, we will draw a card and play it from the villain deck, then each of us will go in turn, and then, and this is a cool little addition, the PLACE we are fighting in gets a chance to react. You know in cartoons and comics how self destruct sequences start going off or volcanoes blow up and stuff? That totally happens in this game. On your turn, you play one of those cards in your hand, either a One-Shot that just does what it says and goes straight to your discard pile, or an Ongoing/Equipment card that stays in front of you and adds to your abilities and available powers. Immediately after that, you activate a power that you have either on your character card or in play from a card you played, and then you draw a card. Super simple. The neat part about the game is how deep each character goes. The rules are simple, but the heroes are soooo cool and complex. This will open your eyes to the world of Co-op like Pandemic never could.

Gamers

What? You’ve never played Sentinels? Come on, meow! Alright, alright. Let me break it down like this. It’s a cooperative fixed-deck, hand management card game where you take on the role of a hero from a newly created universe, not marvel or DC, and fight a villain deck while managing your location through the environment deck. This game is dripping with theme. I mean, every single character feels completely different and their abilities make sense within the mechanics. They even keep releasing expansions with more heroes that still feel completely different from all the other ones they’ve done. It’s fantastic. The game is admittedly a little fiddly, and that can affect the flow a bit. You only do three things on your turn, play a card, use a power, and draw a card, but the effects of certain ongoings and additional abilities add up fast and the book keeping gets a little much, especially when you have to track your HP and who has the highest and lowest as well. But check it, I got this Sidekick app that tracks most of that crap, so the fiddliness is a non-issue. Everyone complains about it online, but it’s really a cinch to keep up with when you have the app. The first thing you’re going to want to do is compare it to the other supe card games out there, but don’t. You may think you want deck building in this game, but you don’t. The charm in this game, and what really sucks you in, is how you manage the powers you were given. That’s what makes it so thematic. Now stop reaching for Legendary and let’s play THIS already! You won’t regret it.

Why I love this game

If these descriptions don’t make it clear, I can’t get enough of this game, all other super hero games be darned. I LOVE the different heroes, even out of the base game. You get so many options. So many, in fact, that you can run 2 complete and full games simultaneously with all of the options they give you. And they will be COMPLETLEY different in every way, shape, and form. You want to play fast and loose, sign up as Tachyon and burn through that deck. You like controlling the elements like Storm, grab Tempest and be the team’s jack-of-all-trades. Fantastic. The game makes sense. The turns and order are so simple, they can print it in freakin 30 font or something on the back of the rule book. You get sucked so deep into the stories that you have never heard, the characters you have never seen, that it’s like discovering superheroes for the first time. Not only that, but you get to be one right out of the gate! Don’t trust the naysayers with their “fiddly” this and “book keeping” that. The app fixes all of it. I cannot recommend this game highly enough, whether you’re new to gaming, digging a little deeper, or have 300 games in the closet. Well, maybe try something else first if you’re new… But keep this on your short list of things to get in the future.
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