As this is a review for a game expansion, I thought I would make it an expansion review for the game!
Er, that is to say …
I will be following up on my review of the base game which can be found here: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/977463/7-out-10-definitely-w...
If you don't want to click on the link, here is a copy-and-paste of the summary of that review:
“A fast, simple and fun deck building game that can appeal to fans of either the comics or the game format or both. And if you’re only a fan of one, it might just convert you to the other in the process. It did for me!”
So what can the expansion add to what was already there?
This Crisis expansion has three main additions to the base game.
The first is a new lot of cards for the main deck. The second is a new lot of Heroes and Super-Villains to play with and against. The third is probably the biggest addition to the game in that it adds co-operative mode.
The new cards for the main deck offer little that is significantly different from what has gone before but that's not a bad thing. There doesn't need to be anything new, just more of what already worked. So we have new Heroes to buy, new Villains, new Super Powers and new Equipment. Fans of DC comics will recognise them and they play just like the ones in the base set.
The new Heroes and Super-Villains however, bring more notable changes to the game. The new Super-Villains are mostly upgraded versions of the base games Super-Villains but with stronger attacks and game text. They are labelled “Impossible Mode” and while they are not quite as hard as the name suggests, they are certainly not as easy as they are in the base game. The new Heroes fall in to two categories; new Heroes for the standard game and Heroes for the new co-operative mode. Like the cards for the main deck, the new Heroes don't offer anything radically new or different – just new abilities to use in the game. However the Heroes for co-operative mode are where things get interesting.
Indeed, pretty much all of what I have talked about so far has been “more of the same” which isn't necessarily a bad thing in an expansion. You don't need to reinvent the game, just expand on what's already there.
But co-operative mode is a completely different kettle of fish.
Instead of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman competing against each other, the Super-Villain threat is so great that they are now working together. Villains from the main deck can no longer be recruited, instead you pay their power cost to defeat them (place them in the destroyed pile). Once there are no Villains in the Line-Up, you can attempt the Crisis Card.
Crisis Cards are new to this expansion and offer a way for the game to challenge the players directly. For example, in the same way that Ra's Al Ghul always starts on top of the Super-Villain stack so Arkham Breakout always starts on top of the Crisis Stack, Arkham Breakout has game text that says when a Villain is added to the Line Up, it's “Attack” text immediately hits all players at once. No more playing Attacks against each other, suddenly the deck game plays them against everyone. I won't post spoilers about the other Crisis cards but they do nearly all manage to create a sense that all players are under the hammer and have until the final card is drawn from the main deck to defeat all the Crisis cards and all the Super-Villains. If the players cannot collectively achieve this goal, they all lose.
This new mechanic has been integrated very well with the existing components and has already become preferred way of playing for my gaming circle. Two of the complaints some (not me) made against the base game were to ask why Superman and Batman would be competing against each other and why they would be getting help from Lobo or Harley Quinn. Well this new co-operative mode solves both complaints in one. You can't Buy Villains any more, you Destroy them; you can't attempt to defeat a Crisis card while there are any Villains in the Line-Up; you can't defeat a Super-Villain while there is a Crisis card in play. Suddenly, team work is needed.
“You two take out the Villains, I'll defeat the Crisis and then she can take out the Super-Villain. Hopefully. Er, hang on, does she have the 13 power needed? Quick, use your new Heroes' powers to let other players draw cards!”
This expansion keeps up the same quality as the base game with, again, a lot of the artwork being lifted straight from the comics themselves.
The new co-operative mode is a must, as far as I'm concerned. It plays very well, can be very tricky (we won out first game on the last available opportunity), addresses the criticisms some had about the base game and has variable difficulty.
However, if you do not like co-operative games then there isn't much here that is essential. There are new Heroes to play with, new more powerful Super-Villains and new cards for the main deck; but none of it is anything you haven't seen before.
If you like co-op games, get this expansion. If you don't but are a big fan of the source material, I'd still recommend it. Otherwise, not so much.
7 out of 10.
Note: I have learned from bitter experience with this site that I need to stress that all reviews – including this one – are entirely matters of opinion. I am not claiming that anything I have said in this review is fact, it is all entirely my opinion and I am sure that many others have different opinions. If you wish to reply with yours, I welcome it. I enjoy discussion but will not respond kindly to aggressive replies.