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Subject: Sentinels, ASSEMBLE! rss

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Andy Harrison
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Greetings, true believers! Who hasn’t dreamt of battling the forces of evil with your crew of superhero friends? In Sentinels of the Multiverse, heroes like the valiant Legacy, the armor-clad Bunker, the shadowy Wraith, or the psychic Visionary work cooperatively to defeat villains like the nefarious Baron Blade, the giant robotic Omnitron, or the otherworldly Grand Warlord Voss in a variety of environments like Insula Primalis with its roving packs of velociraptors or the Wagner Mars Base with its threat of meteor storms.

Initial Thoughts
As a fan of comic books, the theme attracted me immediately. Initially, I was a bit skeptical regarding the “store brand” superheroes, but they actually work very well. Marvel and DC superheroes have their canon, their limitations, and their pre-existing strengths and weaknesses. The heroes in the Sentinels multiverse, while similar in many respects to their mainstream counterparts, don’t. The designers are free to go crazy with the character development. And they do: each character comes with a fully-developed back story complete with illustrations, stats, and a nemesis! The pantheon grows with each new expansion, too!

What’s In The Box?
10 Hero Character Cards that look like comic book covers (double plus theme points!)
10 40-card hero decks complete with action-packed comic art
4 villain character cards
4 25-card villain decks
4 15-card environment decks
36 divider cards, one for each hero, villain, and environment from the base game and a few expansions
Loads of fiddly bits for tracking health, damage, buffs, mods, and what not
20-page rulebook with clear, easy-to-follow directions and diagrams, a quick-start guide, and even bios of the heroes and villains

Gameplay
Each round starts with the villain’s turn. They have start-of-turn powers, they have abilities that come into play when a card is played, and they have end-of-turn effects that kick in after these which are sometimes worse than what has already gut-punched your heroes. Seriously, the AI in the game is ruthless and unforgiving.

Next comes the hero turn, and it follows three steps: Play, Power, Draw. In turn, each hero has a start-of-turn phase, a play phase (they/you play a card), a power phase (they/you use a power printed on a character card or another card of theirs already in play), and a draw phase (they/you draw a card from their personalized deck). Sometimes these card abilities can trigger more cards being played, more cards being drawn, or sometimes cards being destroyed.

But wait! Now the environment gets to throw down. There are start-of-turn abilities, then an environment card is played, and then there are end-of-turn abilities. What makes this turn interesting is that the environment doesn’t pick-and-choose between your heroes and the villain. Everybody gets swept up in the mayhem!

Play continues in this manner until all of the heroes are defeated. Their cards is flipped to show their once-majestic hero now beaten, but all is not lost! Defeated heroes can still affect the game with abilities listed on the back of the card. The only other way the game ends is when the villain is finally wiped out.

This leads to one of the major drawbacks: the sheer amount of mathy bookkeeping necessary. Yes, the heavy cardboard punchouts help to keep track, but it can become a bit overwhelming. One plus I’ve found to help with this (for you Android owners) is the Sentinels Sidekick (found at the Google Play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.handelabra...

Final Thoughts
This game is a terrific gateway game for those who are looking an immersive experience that has interaction and teamwork. There is no dice rolling or player movement, just turn upon turn and chance upon chance to explore how each hero contributes, how well your team works together, and how your players can stack combos. The defeats are crushing, and the victories are exhilarating. Sentinels, ASSEMBLE!
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Marco DeLaurentis
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I use dice instead of all the little health tokens, and that seems to clear up some of the fiddlyness, at least for me.
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trevor

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This game is alot of fun. There is legitimate criticism about all the bookkeeping but really after a few plays, i got it down without problem
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