Marvel United Review – The partnership of Marvel, CMON Games, and Spin Master Games packs a lot of fun into some Marvel Minis
We’ve been talking about Marvel United for awhile. It’s Marvel’s first crowdfunded tabletop game that was funded almost immediately. We got a chance to play it and… it’s a lot of fun! Marvel United is a cooperative strategy game that’s good for all ages. One-four players team up to prevent a villain from accomplishing their master plan. With the base game, players have the option of choosing 1 of 7 Marvel Heroes: Captain Marvel, Captain America, Ant-Man, Wasp, Iron Man, Hulk, and Black Widow. Each hero has their own unique style of attacking and moving. Villain-wise, players have a choice of 3: Red Skull, Taskmaster, and Ultron. Each villain has their own master plan and different ways of enacting their plans and hindering players. It allows for numerous combinations and hours of unique gameplay. This is all before the expansion packs come out, which will continue to increase the game’s variations and replay value. That’s the general information, now let me break down the main components:
Marvel United is hands down one of the easiest and most intuitive tabletop games that include minis. The rulebook itself is very well written and incredibly direct. There are some ambiguities in the rules, and there’s a pretty solid order of operations to prevent confusion. On the rare occurrence of events having equal priority, the rules clearly state it is up to the party. The game is incredibly intuitive as it follows a singular path and largely relies on icons to dictate actions. When it comes down to it, there are 3 possible actions a player can take, each with their own unique icon as well as a wild icon that lets players choose any of the actions. Each player also has special abilities unique to their players, that require very light reading. The game requires very little memorization and back-knowledge, which allows players to focus on strategizing. This also removes any hesitations on trying out new characters. Villain do require a noticeable amount of reading, but as their masterplans dictate the game so it makes perfect sense. It’s not overwhelming in the slightest. As long as one person know how to play, the other players will pick up the game within 3 turns.
The simple, yet highly applicable gameplay is engaging and fairly addicting. The villain’s master plan dictates how you want to use your character, and gives players plenty of opportunities to be creative and heroic. Though suitable for all ages, the game is not easy. It’s also a fairly paced game, with game times ranging from 20 minutes on. It hits that perfect spot where you don’t have to heavily commit or but you can definitely wind up playing the game all day if you wanted. I’ve played a few solo rounds and I’m about even with my win/loss record, but as a team, we lost both rounds. It requires players to plan ahead more than one would think. At its core, players play one card and perform the available actions on it and the previous hero card played. This gives the players up to around 6 moves a turn. The villain only plays one card a turn and takes a turn once for every 3 player turns. However, about a third of a way through a game, the villain begins taking a turn after every 2 player turns. This ramps up the pressure, and anxiety, on the players immediately. Players have to commit to working with each other and always be ready for the villain’s constant pressure. If you players don’t provide each other with support, they will quickly lose the game. It gets intense, as players simultaneously have to act, support, and defend at the same time. The 3-way balancing act is that perfect amount of stress and accomplishment if accomplished.
Marvel United has a lot of components. First-time setup will likely take around 30 minutes, but if you organize all the tokens, it should only take around 5 minutes per game. Breakdowns will take longer, as cards and tokens get mixed and displaced constantly throughout gameplay. That means you will have to separate each token type and player and villain cards after the game. Which does take awhile. My biggest critique of the game is the amount of space the game takes and the numerous tokens. Each game requires 6 locations, each location requires a villain scenario card, there also needs to be the villain tracker, then each player and the villain has a deck. Aside from all that, the biggest space taker is the storyline. Each card played stays in play as numerous cards allows you to interact with cards anywhere in the storyline. You can of course begin stacking the cards and turn the storyline into a deck which largely eliminates the problem. However, if you have the space, it does make gameplay smoother being able to see the entire storyline. It also acts as a makeshift comic book that details the events of the game, which is pretty cool. The numerous tokens are common and nothing new to tabletop. However, I think making turnstile counters would have been more efficient.
The make or break of a tabletop game is its replay value. Marvel United does incredibly well here. In the base game alone the multiple characters, villains, and locations provide numerous different experiences. A location can make a break both villains and players and that’s not even considering different location combinations. Plus with so many options, players can always randomize everything which always without ever feeling like they wouldn’t be able to play. If anything, it’s the opposite feeling. The simple yet deep gameplay keeps players engaged and ready for whatever comes their way. Then there are the NUMEROUS expansion packs coming, which again changes up the game, but also allows for players to recreate their favorite Marvel battles and team ups. The possibilities are endless and will keep the game fresh and fun for years to come.
Lastly, what I think is be the biggest drop for the more hardcore tabletop players are the miniatures. CMON stands for Cool Mini or Not, and these Minis are definitely cool. The unique chibi-ish design is incredibly appealing and the amount of detail that goes into each mini is magnificent. One thing I am particularly fond of is that even the bases are decorated and decorated well. Most minis tend to have plain bases for collectors to decorate themselves. While I do occasionally enjoy painting minis, I never do more than paint the base. Having such intricately detailed bases just completes the experience for me.
Marvel United is a fun and intuitive cooperative tabletop game that is easy to learn and fun to master. The game hits the sweet spot of fun and challenging that allows for quick games or marathon game nights. The game does take a noticeable amount of space to play and is populated with numerous tokens, however as long as you keep them organized setup and breakdown are not inhibative. Thought I would say, it is inhibitive for solo-play. While the game doesn’t delve quite as deep as say the AUGS system, the extremely polished and thought out gameplay, attractive character design, and being Marvel, has me betting Marvel United will continue to be a staple of Marvel and tabletop fandom for awhile. The base game alone has countless variations to keep the game fresh and players can look forward to a cornucopia of expansions to keep it new and exciting for years to come. My Marvel United review gets a 8.5/10
- Category Cooperative Card Game
- Players 1-4
- Play Time ~40min
- Age 14+
- Designer Andrea Chiarvesio, Eric M. Lang
- Artist Édouard Guiton
- Publisher CMON Limited, Spin Master Ltd.
Marvel United Review 34.99
Marvel United is a fun and intuitive cooperative tabletop game that is easy to learn and fun to master. The game hits the sweet spot of fun and challenging that allows for quick games or marathon game nights. The game does take a noticeable amount of space to play and is populated with numerous tokens, however as long as you keep them organized setup and breakdown are not inhibative. Thought I would say, it is inhibitive for solo-play. While the game doesn’t delve quite as deep as say the AUGS system, the extremely polished and thought out gameplay, attractive character design, and being Marvel, has me betting Marvel United will continue to be a staple of Marvel and tabletop fandom for awhile. The base game alone has countless variations to keep the game fresh and players can look forward to a cornucopia of expansions to keep it new and exciting for years to come.