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Subject: Will it Play? Sentinels of the Multiverse rss

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Josh
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Intent of this Review:To provide a context for the game, using comparisons to hopefully known games in the industry, helping people who allready understand how games work and if the game works decide if they will LIKE how the game works, while remaining a short and sweet review.

What it is:Sentinels if a card-based game that simulates a fight between a super villan and an ad-hoc team of heroes trying to stop them. The focus of the design is on the narrative, and not on what is under the hood(despite a large amount of text on cards)

How it feels to play the game:Sentinels is a struggle. I mean that(for me) in a good way. There is a sense of tension as the Villain pounds the tar out of heroes while the heroes are scrambling to gather their resources and combat the evil. You are not superman or green lantern or what have you in this. you are a lower-powered hero who HAS to work in a team and has imperfect control of their abilities. You may get your crowning moment of awesome, but more likely you're going to be reeling under a relentless assault and trying to make the most of opportunities.

Will it Play?
This is the part where I attempt to enumerate what to expect, and what not to expect from a game, hoping to help you decide if your money is well spent here.

*I've heard Sentinels called a Puzzle game by some, I think approaching it as one is a terrible idea. There isn't much to figure out in this game. It presents things up front and the heroes should be able to prioritize fairly easy. How to achieve your goals is the closest to a 'puzzle' I could see, but if you focus on 'solving' the puzzle too much I feel you'll be disappointed. I've seen people disheartened quickly as they waited for the cards to offer them their perfect combo, while others simply got into the struggle of the moment and enjoyed themselves much more. Consider approaching this game as resource management turn to turn. Who needs healed, can I hit the enemy, can I stop a minion with what I have right now. Leave long term deep-planning in the backseat.

*You are NOT a Grade A superhero in Sentinels. If you want a game that makes you feel powerful and on control, this isn't the game for you. The mechanic of randomly drawing elements of your heroes power set means you'll often be left off balance or without an optimal play. This reinforces the dominance of the Villain in the game, in what I find to be a good way, and simulates foibles of the moment and the chaos of a super battle(Why doesn't Superman or batman ALWAYS do X first? It's optimal! Yes, but it's a lame story)

*Does Text bother you? There are mountains of text in this game. Timing matters(though is clear) there are lots of things that need to be done especially on the environment and villain turns. I think the results are worth the effort, and the level of detail helps make things(target priority) very clear. If you're someone who doesn't like to read a lot of text in a game, or doesn't understand English very well I think you'll be very frustrated though.

* Are you OC in regards to your games? I'm not quite there myself, but close. You can't be with Sentinels. The cards will be shuffled, handled, sifted, flipped, and used relentlessly. In a game of super hero action it can take you right out of it having to treat the components with kid gloves. The components themselves are sturdy enough but wear will happen. If this bothers you I'd steer clear.


Summary:I think Sentinels really is what it says on the tin. It's a game about superheroes in a battle with a big bad guy. I think it encapsulates it well. I think if you approach it from that mindset, and enjoy that idea this game will Play for you. If you're looking for it to be an exercise in interesting mechanics, an intellectual challenge, or an optimization exercise I think you'll be wholly disappointed. But what can I say when the game has a host of knockoff supers and a Mad Scientist on the cover? If you go in expecting an apple to taste like a hamburger you really can't complain when it doesn't.
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James River
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Just wanted to say I love your reviews, all of them. I feel they are well spoken, funny, to the point, and full of good explanation and comparison. I have bought several games because of your recommendations.
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MC Crispy
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Shadrach wrote:
Leave long term deep-planning in the backseat.
In general, I agree that this is a game of tactics and not of strategy. I do however think that you need to learn what is in your Hero deck and have half an eye on building to using it. If you just play each card "as it comes" you are going to be under-playing your hero. While this may not be what you refer to as "deep-planning", it is strategy. (Some Heroes have less opportunity for this than others, I know.)
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Matthew M
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Also agreed that most of your play decisions will be tactical. Strategic considerations are in the form of planning for how hero decks might interact with one another and also with the environment and villain. Legacy will often boost team damage against most villains, but should plan on having other powers to use against Plague Rat, for example.

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