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Jason Beighel
United States
Pennsylvania
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The more I play around with this game the more I admire what the creators accomplished with it. It's pretty clear where all of the development energy went to in this game. The rulebook is a mess, the miniatures are lackluster, the campaigns are uninspired; but once you finally understand them mechanics and components are something special.

Inside the game box is a dungeon crawl board game, it's different in that you're playing super heroes instead of fantasy warriors or space marines, but it's still a dungeon crawler. What impresses me about it is how seamlessly the components fit together. You can almost randomly select and arrange tiles and using just the cards describing the traps and objectives on those tiles successfully created a working scenario for the heroes to go through. The same goes for choosing what foes to face as well as what characters the heroes use.

This turns if into more of a toolkit than just a game. You can carefully craft deadly super villain lairs, with tiles and effects that work together to not only crush the heroes but also show the villains mad plans. They game even includes a bunch of spare tokens that aren't used at all in the included campaign or scenarios.

This ability to easily create a new challenge is what continually gets it back on my table. After you've played through the elaborately detailed scenario, you can swap a few game tiles and have a brand new challenge to overcome. It can both fill some time as well as be a game night filling campaign.

Once you've built your campaign it's fun to play through. The mechanics wonderfully support the super hero theme. As you play power cards your hero gets less effective, like they're worn down from wading through mooks to get to the ring leader. Then suddenly you draw all the cards you've played and have this second wind where you sweep aside the last minions and face your nemesis with all your powers ready and waiting, it's the same ebb and flow that's built into comic book stories. Damage tokens can pile up on your character, but they don't slow you down. At the end of each turn some will be converted into wound cards, if you're ever holding 3 wound cards your hero is defeated. You can slip wound cards into your discard pile to stave off that defeat a few more turns, a punch drunk hero soldiering on. Eventually those wounds will come due and your out of the fight, but it screams superhero to shove aside those injuries because innocent people are depending on you to win the day.

As you might guess the theme in this game runs deep. All of the artwork brilliantly captures the comic super hero imagery, and it's carried through the rule and campaing books and all of the cards. The comic book theme is so strong that it doesn't feel right to win when you're playing the super villain, that's just not how these stories are supposed to go.

All of the art and game mechanics are excellently done to get your thinking about comic book adventures as you play. But to get to that point you need to know how to use them, and the rule book explaining this is the worst thing in the box. The information that you need is in there, somewhere, probably. Some things aren't stated, they're explained in a picture. Important details are tucked in a side bar 5 pages away from where you read the basic rules. Not only does this make it impossible to just read the book and feel ready to play, but looking up a rule during a game will grind things to a halt as you flip back and forth trying to work out how it should work.

While the game tiles include deathtraps and elaborate machines carrying out nefarious plans, complete with the railingless walkways that every secret lair must have, the art on those gets to be a little dull. All the tiles have the drab gray you'd expect in a bunker carved into a volcano, but when compared to the vibrant colors on every other piece of art they just look bland. Some glowing panels, pointless colored energy beams, or other pops of color would have really helped.

Really though the biggest source of complaints from me for this game is the miniatures. Nearly all of the figures are way to thin and frail feeling. Nothing catapults me out of the immersion quite like not being able stomp my figure up to the bad guy because it feels like it'll break, so I need to gingerly move him across the board then because it arrived bent when I let go my hero falls on his face at the villain's feet. I could go on, but it boils down to my disappointment at the miniature quality is extremely high.

There an amazingly fun and flexible game with immense replay value in this box. You just need to work around the rough spots. Bent minis can be straightened with the boiling water trick, or outright replaced with action figures. The rules will take a lot more patience, or maybe a fan made rule book. If you're after a fun super hero experience, this is absolutely wort ha look.
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Scott M.
United States
Winter Springs
Florida
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Love the review and agree 100% on the miniatures from the Base Season 1 game, But they serve thier purpose well.

Miniatures in all subsequent expansions and the new Season 2 have been improived.
 
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Guy
England
Chorleywood
Hertfordshire
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Good review, I totally agree with the less of a game more a tool kit point of view. Not an approach I like particularly but I can live with it and once you get that the game is worth persevering with

I bought the game UK retail and actually I think the minis are OK. Once Straightened the stank OK and apart from the faces are reasonably detailed.

They paint up OK too, and the androids can be done pretty quickly with grey and then a wash
 
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Jason Beighel
United States
Pennsylvania
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atraangelis wrote:
Miniatures in all subsequent expansions and the new Season 2 have been improived.


Yeah, that's definitely true. The female minis are still very thin, but the guys certainly have a much better feel to them.

Speaking of the expansions, I think this game also should get credit for having a box that's over-sized enough that all of the expansion content can be organized and stored in the core game box. That also has made things much easier.


PlanBee wrote:
They paint up OK too, and the androids can be done pretty quickly with grey and then a wash


I haven't tried painting them, I really should though. There's a lot of gray sculptures in there and some color on them would really help in telling who's who. I haven't done much plastic painting though, do they need primed first, or can you just go right to paint?
 
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Brian Torrens
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Nice review!

I wasn't overly impressed with the hero minis in the core set, but there was a marked improvement in the expansions. I backed the recent KS project so I hope they continue to improve their models.

I think more than anything, my biggest complaint about the minis is that they need a wider base. Even if your mini is thin, putting it on a small diameter base just makes them tip over easily. What they should do is have a more standard size base something along the minis for Zombicide and others like it.
 
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Jay Wrobel
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
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Great overview and review. The use of the Weakness and Wounds are a great mechanic. I think GC is a better Dungeon crawler than Descent or Imperial Assault. I do, however, think the skill tests are clunky (I have a post here that changes them to the same as combat tests) and also would like a more detailed move option when leaving a zone (something like use up 1 Move Point per enemy in zone/minion and 2 Move/Lt or maybe a combat-like Test with the outcome being the enemies you can evade, again 1 hit for minion and 2 for Lt) which would make the playing of high Move bonus cards meaningful. Right now when in a zone with enemies you spend a move (no matter if Move modifiers are in place) to go to the next zone (missed opportunity to use Move stat). Both are easy Houserules which we use.

Regarding minis, we use Heroclix minis (since most of the Heroes match existing Marvel/DC supers) which are bigger and pre-painted instead of the game's minis. Also because the Supers are known, they add more superhero feel when playing.
 
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Jason Beighel
United States
Pennsylvania
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ejwrobel wrote:
Great overview and review. The use of the Weakness and Wounds are a great mechanic. I think GC is a better Dungeon crawler than Descent or Imperial Assault. I do, however, think the skill tests are clunky (I have a post here that changes them to the same as combat tests) and also would like a more detailed move option when leaving a zone (something like use up 1 Move Point per enemy in zone/minion and 2 Move/Lt or maybe a combat-like Test with the outcome being the enemies you can evade, again 1 hit for minion and 2 for Lt) which would make the playing of high Move bonus cards meaningful. Right now when in a zone with enemies you spend a move (no matter if Move modifiers are in place) to go to the next zone (missed opportunity to use Move stat). Both are easy Houserules which we use.


I completely forgot to mention the Weakness cards, which I agree is a great mechanic. It's fantastic how they add a flaw into the hero, while still providing some benefits. Its carefully positioned between character building and penalty.

As for the movement, I never had a problem with it. I kind of liked how it lets you breeze through the empty corridors but get mired in all the battles going on. That said I can see how a richer use of the movement stat could be a lot of fun and really distinguish fast vs slow characters. Would you mind linking to the post where you've listed these house rules, I'd like to give them a try.
 
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Charles Silbernagel
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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We still play this from time to time and I enjoy what the designers did. The original rule book is a mess which I think stopped a lot of people from getting beyond their firs play or two. However, it's worth sticking with because the core game is very solid. I'm very much looking forward to the second set next year, which pits two hero teams against each other.
 
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