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Subject: Honest Review of Sentinels of the Multiverse rss

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Ben Goodman
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I got this game for a gift and never even heard of it before. I did not even know about coop games before I had played this one. I have beaten all of the villains in the base game as well as the rook city and infernal relics expansions. As such, I will review those a bit as well. I will break up my review into sections.



Game Breakdown/Overview

Each player picks a superhero to fight as, the group picks a supervillain to fight against and an environment to fight in. You get the deck of cards associated with your hero, and you set up the corresponding the villain and environment decks.

Your mission is to work as a team to defeat the villain. On your turn, you get to play a card, use a power, then draw a card. The villain and environment play automatically (no player plays as either of them, the game is set up so that it is like you are facing a computer with a randomized deck of cards that it is drawing).

You win when you have defeated the villain or some other victory condition which will be given on the villain card is satisfied. You lose if a victory condition on the villain card is satisfied or if all the heroes go to 0 health and are thus incapacitated.

If you go to 0 health and others are still fighting, you are not out of the game. Your hero card flips over, and you lose all the cards you have, you can no longer play cards, you only have 3 things you can do each turn of which you must choose 1, these are given on the back of hero character cards.

You can fight with 3-5 heroes versus the villain. The game is 2-5 players technically although you can play it solo. My main experience with the game is playing 2 players (with my girlfriend), where both of us play as 2 heroes so that we go over the 3 hero lower bound.

Theme

The most fantastic thing about this game is the theme.

Each hero is unique, and their card abilities make sense with the game. Tachyon, the fastest woman on earth, has cards that allows her to do many things on a turn, play more cards, do damage to many non-hero cards and draw more cards. Legacy, the equivalent of Superman in the Sentinels universe is like a tank, and can redirect damage from other heroes to himself and has the power to make himself immune to any type of damage for a turn, he can also boost the damage everyone does (kind of like a morale boost, wouldn't you fight harder and feel like you could win if you had Superman fighting with you?) and various other things. I could go on, but there is too much to say about how neat and different all of the heroes are.

The villains are equally unique with varying difficulty which is given in the instruction booklet (WHICH IS AMAZING! I will have to devote an entire paragraph to that later). The environments are cool too.

When fighting villains, sometimes something happens that pushes them over the EDGE and turns the card over. This is usually a bad thing for you and the villain becomes enraged and more dangerous, but can sometimes make themselves more vulnerable. The theme of this and this part of the game is fantastic.

The main thing though is that you feel the theme of this game in every card, on every turn. You feel the ups and downs of battle as you either destroy a helpless villain against the might of your well put together team or struggle as you are pushed against a wall of supervillain might. I feel like this game captures comic book fighting so well, you really do feel like you are in a comic book, playing your part (which is not always so effective, but that is part of the point).

People dislike the artwork in this game, and I can understand why. It is pretty simplistic and rudimentary. But I think that it goes along with the theme well, and I like it. it is still by far my favourite cover for a board game because the colour is so darned amazing, it just pops.

Game Mechanics

This game is very well balanced. Within the game there is a built in balancer that villains do "H" minus or plus some damage, where "H" is the number of heroes fighting. So despite that you would think more heroes would give you an advantage, this counters it since the villains will deal more damage to you.

The coop aspect of this game is very good. You need to work well together in certain situations if you want to win, and being that it is a card game it is great to be able to show other people your cards and ask what they mean. This makes this game amazing for bringing new players into the mix of the hobby.

The complexity in this game as the instruction booklet will explain is in the cards and not in the gameplay itself. The game is super easy to pick up for anyone. But I have seen people get overwhelmed with choosing between cards in their hand because of the different things that they do and they get confused about what they actually do, and they sometimes miss small things on the card (me included). But the great thing about this is that because of the coop aspect, it takes the tension out of the situation of the confusion and you can talk to people and tell them what the cards do.

Variety

Yeah... if you are looking for a game with practically infinite variety, this is one to put in your books. I calculated the number of combinations for my game right now with the expansions I own and there are 323,232 combinations of heroes with villains with environments, and that does not even include the permutations of the order in which you play the heroes. That number is just huge... and fantastic. There is no way you can possibly go through them all.

The variety works great because certain heroes do not work as well as other heroes against certain villains. You will find that with certain game setups that it is very difficult to beat a certain villain, or nigh impossible, whereas other times you will blow through the villain so easily you will pride yourself on how well you picked your team of heroes.

There is an app you can get on your phones that is a Sentinels randomizer and chance of winning approximator. I only use it to record my wins and losses, but you can also use it to randomly generate a game of a set difficulty (percentage wise). I really enjoy it and suggest using it, but for newcomers I would suggest using the app only to put in game history because I think that putting in easy difficulty for a villain and generating is kind of cheating. The game is much more rewarding if you have to think about what heroes should work well against the more difficult villains.

The Instruction Booklet



The instruction booklet is so amazing for this game that it deserves its own section. First of all it is designed to look and feel like a comic book (HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT?!!!). Plus not only are all of the rules explained really well, but it gives you a number of other really important things as well. It tells you the complexity level of heroes, so those less experienced with games should definitely play with lower level complexity (do not play as Absolute Zero the first time though no matter how experienced you think you are), it gives the difficulty level of villains so you can start against an easier one to get used to the game (I suggest new players always fight Baron Blade first, a win always feels good), then the instruction booklet gives background stories on each villain and superhero which is cool. And lastly one of my favourite parts is that it has a sort of index at the back where it defines terms you will see used in cards in the game. This is one of the most complete and awesome instruction booklets you can get for a game.

The Expansions: Rook City and Infernal Relics

So I looked up the ratings on all the reviews for this game, and watched some reviews on youtube. The only expansions which seem to be worth your while to pick up are Rook City, Infernal Relics and Shattered Timelines (the last of which I do not have at the moment). You can get Rook City and Infernal Relics together in the same box which is what I did. The box for the base game though has been made large enough to fit all the cards in the expansions I have with the base game and I still have room to spare.

I love the expansions. For me they were a must because the variety of only 4 villains to start was not enough. With these 2 expansions you get an additional 8 villains, 4 heroes and 4 environments. The base game has 10 heroes and 4 environments.

The villains in these expansions are tough (particularly The Chairman and The Matriarch, being the toughest in the game I have up until I take on Iron Legacy from Shattered Timelines) and add a lot to the main game.

I strongly suggest both of these expansions.

Minor Issues

I have found the game can sometimes extend into the 2-3 hour range depending on who you are playing with and who you are fighting. Most games though are about 1.5 hours which is moderate (I like my games to last about 1.5 hours).

It can be very difficult to keep track of all the things that all the cards are doing at different times. I have skipped a rule from time to time by accident simply because we forgot an effect a card did. This is rare, but it does happen and I have heard others complain of the same thing. The game gives you stuff to help keep track of everything, but even with this, things can still be forgotten.

Final Verdict

This game is a lot of fun. 2-5 players, you will have a good time. It is a great introductory game.

I have seen a number of people talk online about how they keep getting sucked into buying the expansions. My suggestion is to stick to the 3 expansions I suggested above if you are going to buy any unless you have a ton of cash to blow on games.

This game continually finds its way onto my table, whether it be with my girlfriend or with friends. The coop and variety aspects of this game are excellent.

[This last paragraph has been edited so my current rating is shown.]
I gave this game a 8.8 out of 10, as well as the expansions. This one for me is pretty darned close to being perfect for me. So I definitely suggest people go out and buy this one if you have not done so already.
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They call me Mister...
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AnalyticGamer wrote:
I have seen a number of people talk online about how they keep getting sucked into buying the expansions. My suggestion is to stick to the 3 expansions I suggested above if you are going to buy any unless you have a ton of cash to blow on games.


Thanks for a great review. I agree with the above, I decided to stop after my base game box was basically full with the first two expansions. No spill over for me. Although each expansion was providing more interesting heroes....I shall resist.
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Chris Gallo
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I own all things Sentinels and everything fits in the base box and the Vengance box so it's not that bad. They are pretty heavy though lol.
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Luke Hector
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I couldn't agree more! This is my favourite game of all time and I've mentioned it on the podcast and my Top 10 Favourite Co-Ops and Top 10 Favourite Games.

I agree it can get fiddly but use the Sentinels Sidekick app - that helps a TON with HP tracking on multiple cards especially if you're using people like the Sentinels or Captain Cosmic's constructs or villains with a ton of minions.

This is one out of two games I've ever given a perfect 10 rating for. I own every expansion as well as all the official released promos and even a few unofficial ones from pre-orders etc. Sadly I don't have the promos that were only sold at USA conventions and the like but if someone puts up an easy to print PDF of them all (I've seen one but the layout is weird and doesn't work when printing double sided), I'll be adding them too.
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Charles Schexnayder
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Great review. Sentinels has been my favorite game for a while. On the expansions, while the first 3 you mentioned are all strong Vengeance adds some of the best heroes in the game (Naturalist, The Sentinels, Setback) plus the two new environments even if you are not as big a fan of the Vengeance villain format. Wrath of the Cosmos, in my opinion, is the single best expansion they've released yet between the cool heroes (especially Sky Scraper), the difficult and mechanically interesting villains and strong environments. Also, while the mini expansion villains are a bit hit and miss for me, the heroes (Unity, Scholar, Guise) and environments (Silver Gulch, Final Wasteland, Omnitron IV) are all excellent additions.
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Kevin Erskine
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Love this game. Add in the Sidekick app and it's even better.
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GeekInsight
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AnalyticGamer wrote:
I have found the game can sometimes extend into the 2-3 hour range depending on who you are playing with and who you are fighting. Most games though are about 1.5 hours which is moderate (I like my games to last about 1.5 hours).


Whoa. My games never go that long. Maybe they did when I first started playing and I just can't remember that far back. But with over 100 logged plays (101!), my games tend to be 45 minutes to an hour with rare exception. And I don't ever remember a game going over two hours.
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I agree that Sentinels is awesome, however. One of my few 10's.
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Luke Hector
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I had one go over two hours, but that was Captain Cosmic + Sentinels + Absolute Zero vs one of the ladies from Shattered Timelines I think. There was so much to keep track of, even with the app it was dragging things on a bit - plus she was putting up a solid defence in conjunction with the environment "Time Cataclysm" which wasn't helping.

Usually 60-90 minutes is the time.
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Rob Rob
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Fenderbass124 wrote:
I own all things Sentinels and everything fits in the base box and the Vengance box so it's not that bad. They are pretty heavy though lol.

Same here. Unsleeved they fit in the two boxes with a liiiiitle bit of room to spare. Two nearly solid cubes of processed lumber!
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David Hammel
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I really like this game, but I sold my stuff to my friend (who is also in my gaming group) so he can cough up the money for the expansions and I have the Tactics game, which I admit I like more. He brings it to group anyways, so I'm not really missing out. Win-win.

Anyways, great review.
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Bern Harkins
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Nice review. Thanks for taking the time to share it.

The only point I take exception with is the desirability of expansions.

Given their low price and great content, I feel every expansion is worth having.

Vengeance has the "team style villains", rather than the standard stand-alones, and some players may not like that style...but the set still includes five excellent heroes and two (ok, not the best) environments. But you WANT the Naturalist. And Setback. And the Sentinels. And Parse and KNYFE.

Wrath of the Cosmos has two unique heroes and four interesting villains, including the most complex yet. The environments are very good. It's a close call, but it is probably my favorite expansion so far.

And the mini expansions? Eat them up like candy; every deck is a winner.
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Craig Hallstrom
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Speaking of expansions: there is a pair of fan made expansions named Cauldron and Cauldron: Experimental. They are truly excellent and have a similar appearance to the base game with high quality art work. The best part of them is that they add some very well playtested heroes, villians and environments. In the Variants tab of the forums for Sentinels you will see the Cauldron tracking link (https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1104083/tosxs-sotm-caul...) - there it will show you all the options and has links to PrinterStudio.com decks you can print out for yourself!

Total that Cauldron adds:
14 Heroes
8 Villians
7 Environments - the Halberd Experimental Research Center is my favorite environment of all time!

They also have dividers so you can put all your Cauldron stuff in the base game boxes.
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Ben Goodman
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As per my comment about the expansions. I am a student, so it can be tough for me to justify going out and buying games. So as someone who is trying to optimize my game playing experience, I just figure that I would rather get a new cool game that is supposed to also be really good than expand upon Sentinels. This being said my judgments on the expansions I have not played are based on comments I have read from the forums on this site.

I was not saying the other expansions are poor though, only that if you look at the ratings given on BGG, those 3 are particularly better than the other ones.
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