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Subject: A Father's Review of Marvel Heroes rss

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Jason Tesser
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As I have done in a few other reviews I am going write this review from the perspective of a father. My wife and I believe that we can use boardgames not only for fun, relaxation, and family time but also to help our 3 boys to develop. Games can help a child's reading ability as well as their comprehension of what they are reading. Games also help young minds to develop a sense of logic and ability to reason; in other words it teaches your child to think outside of the box, no pun intended. As many of you already know, and have commented, my eldest boys name is Aristotle. I will also introduce my middle boy, Zane, in this review.

Aristotle is 8, almost 9, and Zane has just turned 4. Aristotle has played many games ranging from light Euros to medium weight Euros to wargames. Some of his favorites are Battlelore, Memoir '44, SoC, and War of the Ring (The theme and game are just so cool). Recently he has been enjoying Hammer of the Scots though.

Zane on the other hand is a bit younger and obviously is not able to play as much. We do let him help with games that we play though. We want him to be interested in them and even look forward to the day when he will be able to play on his own. He does like some kids games though. He enjoys some of the younger Cranium games and Kids of Catan.

Well needless to say we were all very excited about this game coming out. We were very excited last year around this same time when it was originally announced to come out but never did. We do understand though that the game will come out when it is done. We were so excited about this one that it didn't even make it under the tree. Once we got it in the house we opened it and prepared to play.

The Components
The bits of this game are fantastic. As usual FFG has published a game that is stunning to look at. When we opened the box and looked inside we could not wait to get these pieces on the board and play the game. The artwork of the cards is fantastic. There are 4 teams of super heroes each with their own set of player cards. These player cards are bright, colorful and pleasant to look at. For each of these teams there are 5 figures, 4 good heroes and a villain. The figures are some of the coolest components to a game that I have even seen. As for the board, I was a little disappointed. I had gotten one of the warped ones. I emailed FFG and they are mailing me a new one so no big deal. Aside from the warpage though the board is nice.

The Rulebook
The rule book is wonderfully laid out and illustrated. The rules themselves are pretty easy for a typical gamer to understand. I don't think Aristotle would be able to read and fully understand how to play on his own but with a little help he did just fine. I skimmed the rules and then read them to Desirae(my wife), Aristotle, and Zane. With the exception of a couple of things Aristotle caught right on. All in all the rules are not difficult but there are a bunch of little steps to remember. Once you get through a couple of rounds it goes real smooth. If you are going to have some difficulty with the rules it might be with the timing of certain cards or powers. If you look at the rulebook which has a small section on this at the end it should all make sense. Obviously Zane is not able to play on his own but Aristotle plays on his own and does good with very little help.

The Gameplay
Marvel Heroes gameplay is IMO unique. Sure it has some mechanics that other games have but it also has a feel of its own. Some have attacked the game because they say it is too repetitive, while you do some things multiple times I don't think this is true. The game has many different actions and things to do. If anything you never get to do all that you want to with your turns. Compared to a lot of games it has a plethora of options. On your turn you can do things like take a story action which allows you to draw helpful cards and get cards to turn in for power ups, you can try to solve a headline(mission) which usually ends in fighting, you can execute your heroes powers, etc.. I would actually say one of the nice things about the game is that you play the teams differently, or at least they should be played differently. The way you play with the Fantastic Four is different from the way you play with The Avengers. The premise is the same but the way you go about things is different enough to make it enjoyable and add replay value. One mechanic that I love is that you get to play the villain of an opponent's team. This is a great mechanic which adds a lot of fun. In many adventure games you draw a card from a deck to fight a bad guy or one person plays the bad guy but in Marvel Heroes all the players play a hero team and a villain. So the players get to decide what villain a team will face; many other games just leave this to the randomness of the cards.

So the questions are can a child play this game. YES!!!! As long as they can read.
Will a child enjoy this game YES!!!! It's Marvel.
What skills can this game help my child to develop

1.Reading and Comprehension - Your child will have to read and think through what different cards are saying.
2.Math – Arithmetic is required to play.
3.Logic – You need to figure out how to best utilize your turns. The game constantly forces you to make decisions on what card to play where to move to etc...
4.Patience – This is a much over looked virtue that games should develop in us :-)
5.Planning – You need to plan out your turn. As I tell Aristotle think before you move or speak or whatever you happen to do.
 
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Damon Thomas
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Nice review, I'm looking forward to playing this with my 8yr old son following the unwrapping at Christmas.
 
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Sascha Hoppe
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Thanks, cool review. My child is not born yet, but I'm looking forward to the day he will be old enough to play Marvel with me
 
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Justin Borges
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Very nice review, good to see it from this angle. I especially like the skills you list at the end (coming from a teacher who incorporates games into the classroom and school).

Also glad to see some more positive reviews of this game, which I think is a big winner.
 
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Joel Armstrong
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Great review. It makes me really excited about getting a chance to play this game.

Do have a question though, at what age did Zane start playing the kids version of Catan? My Reagan (4) is starting to really take an interest in game playing and was wondering if she's ready yet.
 
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Jason Tesser
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Zane has been playing Kids of Catan for about a year or so. It is very simple. Kids of Catan is a great game for the little little guys. Pieces are great for little ones and the mechanics are very simple. It is just a game of rolling dice but it does start to introduce some basic mechanics.
 
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Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Kids of Catan
My daughter started playing Kids of Catan shortly before she turned 3 and understands the game well enough to play with occasional prompting, but she tends to lose interest if it goes on for more than 10 minutes.

We also play that the die-roller gets to choose which way the board rotates just to add a bit of decision making. She loves to move to stick me with the robber (which she calls "Swiper", a la Dora the Explorer).

(Edited to clarify which game I was talking about)
 
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