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Villains and Vigilantes Card Game» Forums » Reviews

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Barry Zimmerman
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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A Long Love Affair With Superhero Games
My first hero game was the old Marvel Superhero game in the 80’s. All I remember were attributes like “Superhuman”, “Normal”, and “Excellent” all coolly color coded. It had great little stand up figures which made this DC fan like it over and above even the DC Roleplaying Game which was just a little too freeform for me. We got into it so much that at one point we we’re making our own figures out of sculpty clay!
My Superhero game playing days went away with College but the bug bit again upon the release of HeroClix. Here it was, what I thought would be the perfect Hero game. Miniatures of all my favorites with cool looking maps and no real role-playing involved. After no longer being able to afford ink to print off FAQ’s and being unable to teach it to my two young boys it was shelved. BGG kept my dream alive of finding a fairly easy and quick superhero fighting game that captured that comic feel when along came "Capes and Cowls". It was fantastic... and rare. I couldn't pass up selling it for an insane amount a few years back. Could it ever be replaced? Could anything scratch my superhero gaming itch? Sentinels Tactics tried but fell short. Then I found Villains and Vigilantes the Card Game. Whoo-hoo! Superhero gaming heaven!

Summary/Feel
VVCG feels right. In our most recent game the superstrong, super-tough and super-fast heroine Maxima (from the expansion) faced off against the criminal mastermind, Mocker, and the battle armored F.I.S.T. My first goal was to capture and give a good lecturing to the bad guys. As Maxima closed in on the Mocker, who was recruiting his evil minions, she lifted a nearby car and threw it a city block hitting Mocker hard! Before they could react, she delivered two quick blows knocking both of them unconscious. Extending herself a little too far she moved into a nearby neighborhood to try to take out one last minion but he was ready for her. The bug theme goon leveled an energy beam and knocked her to the pavement. Recovering quickly she followed him to an old amusement park outside of town and quickly incapacitated him.
Suddenly she saw an explosion on the horizon and realized that F.I.S.T had invaded her secret island headquarters and leveled a large area of it. By this time Mocker had recovered, recruited another minion, and now Maxima was getting overwhelmed on several fronts. As she took out one more minion, F.I.S.T had time to join Mocker in the center of the city. In a burst of superspeed she overcame Mocker and punched F.I.S.T a block away. Thinking the day was won she readied to take Mocker off to prison when F.I.S.T came blazing down the street knocking her through the cement wall of the train station. As they both laid on the rails trying to recover, F.I.S.T jumped up first, barely dodging the incoming train which smashed into Maxima defeating her. Then to add insult to injury the revived Mocker revealed her secret identity to the gathered news crews!?!
It's a rare game that provides that kind of narrative.

Pieces
The stand up figures harken back to simpler, pre-500 tons of plastic, gaming days. But, they work fine and provide for some easy homebrewed characters I see in my future. The cards used for all your various characters actions and powers feel "comic booky" and do a good job of drawing you in to the setting. The game board also does and excellent job of creating a superheroic setting but also making movement vital and tactical while eliminating the need for clunky line of site or terrain rules.

Game Play
The rules and rulebook is well done, with the few questions we had being quickly answered by the designer here on BGG. Refreshingly, by our second game we didn't need the rule book at all. Combine that with what is surprisingly deep and varied gameplay and you've got a real gem!
Questions I ask of a superhero boardgame ruleset:
1) Do the characters feel super? Do you feel like you're using super powers? The answer: A resounding yes! The Mercury Mercenary feels like he's zipping around the city at superspeed, the Mocker feels like he's masterminding a criminal takeover, Maxima hurling a car and leaping over buildings comes to life and you feel like you're dodging villainous energy blasts high above the ground as the winged Condor.
2) Does it tell a story? Once again a resounding yes. Hopefully my opening narrative shows that.
3) Is there lots of superheroic action? VVCG does this amazingly. Not only is there lots of punching and kicking but I love that at one point the villains set off a bomb in a building where my two heroes had been knocked out and to my oppenents dismay Condor woke up at the last second to whisk his partner away in the nick of time. It's the rare super-hero game that can pull off both fisticuffs and "save the day" heroics.

What Don’t I Like?
Hate to sound like a fan-boy but the only thing I'm not liking is having only one expansion available. This game is crying for more expansions. I'm afraid that without more expansions the replayabilty could wane. But that will happen no time soon with the amount of team customization that can be done through deck building. And as I said, customization possibilities are endless.

Conclusion
This game just “feels” right. And that's what I have found very few superhero boardgames have pulled off. Giving you that RPG narrative in a boardgame setting. Unlike HeroClix that looks right but ultimately just feels like I’m playing a game, VVCG makes me forget the game mechanics and just immerses me in making sound effects to go along with that car I just tossed down the block. My teenage son actually laughed maniacally as he exposed Maxima's secret identity to win the game after I'd spent the whole game knocking his villains silly.
This is most definitley our new go to superhero game. A real surprise find that I hope finds a well deserved audience! I no longer need wait for a "Capes and Cowls" reprint to get my hero on!
Stay vigilant!
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Kasper B. Hansen
Denmark
København
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Just tried this game today and I love it!

It is really fun although I hate the Art Direction!

I hope we will get even more expansions for this game!
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Barry Zimmerman
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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I've noticed a few people mention the art style. It doesn't bother me at all. Reminds me of non-DC/Marvel comics of the 80's.
 
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Dan Manning
United States
Bay City
Michigan
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Most of the art is straight out of the RPG manual and modules from the 80's game.
 
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Flying Arrow
United States
Pennsylvania
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Got the game. Rated 9 after 1 play. Thanks for the review.
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Corey Mayo
United States
Schertz
TX
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Have you paid your dues, Jack?
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Yes sir, the check is in the mail.
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Man, I used to play this game ALL THE TIME when I was a teen. This is going on my list...
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