Sun

21

Oct

2012

Critical Review - Sentinels of the Multiverse

Sentinels of the Multiverse is a cooperative comic book card game from Greater Than Games.  It has seen an initial release, two expansions, Rook City and Infernal Relics, and an Enhanced Second Edition printing.  It is a game the puts you in the role of playing a specific super hero, and through the use of pre-constructed decks, you and your friends in your super group, have to take down a mighty boss villain, while withstanding the devastating environments that host these epic battles!

 

It’s a great time to be a Super Hero fan, between all the great movies, collectibles, and now of course, the games!  This year alone, both DC and Marvel have deck builders hitting the tables, and Sentinels offers a divergence from the mainstream, to those who like to don capes and conceal their identities through masks.  Does the unique universe, or multiverse, hold up though?  Can it entertain as well as provide great gameplay?  We’ll find out in our review!

 

SoTM says it is for 2 to 5 players, but we have found that you can enjoy this game with as many as 6, although it is usually very easy with that mean, or conversely, you can play it solo.  It is hard to play it solo, as you’ll have to play multiple decks of heroes at once, and even in a 2 player game, they suggest you each play 2 heroes, so optimally, we find 3-4 players is best.  It plays in about 30 to 60 minutes, and is rated for 13+ years old.  This is definitely not a game NinjaZach has enjoyed as it is a bit more complex than normal card games, and is very challenging, but I think a “smarter than the average bear” 11 or 12 year old could enjoy it very much!

 

The gameplay is fairly simple, but it’s the cards and their affects that will drive you bonkers, intensify the situation, and make victories extremely sweet!  Each player chooses a hero and their 40 card deck.  Each deck has a similar background in art on the back, but their hero logo on it to differentiate it should cards get mixed up during play.  

 

Once everyone has a hero, a boss villain is chosen, who also has a set deck, and then finally an environment is chosen.  If you include the two expansions, Rook City and Infernal Relics, there is a ridiculous amount of cards here.  Each expansion adds 2 heroes, 4 Villains, and 2 Environments each, so while you can find a hero you like quickly, there are a LOT of options!

 

Once all the heroes, boss, and the environment are selected, play proceeds in the following turn order:

  • Villain turn
  • Heroes Turn
  • Environment Turn

 

During each turn, there are “start of” and “end of” turn affects that will impact the game, as well as new cards coming out (usually one per each villain and environment turn, but there can be more).  Each Hero takes their turn, playing one card from their hand and one power from among those listed on the cards in play.

 

As Heroes play more cards, they gain access to more powers.  The true fun of SoTM though is how each hero interacts with others to bolster, increase damage and/or healing, and generally combine to make some super cool “fastball specials” if you would.  With so many to choose from, even after 20+ plays of the game, we’re still finding new combos and still enjoying all the options and the discovery! 

 

Game play continues until either the Boss is reduced to 0 Hit Points or all the Heroes are Incapacitated.  If a Hero is incapacitated, it is flipped over, has all their cards removed from the game, and on their future turns, can select from 1 of 3 available powers to use to increase their remaining party members.  This is a tremendous idea!  While you may lose and get knocked out, you are still a valuable and important part of the strategy at this point, so it’s not like it’s “time to wait for everyone else to finish!”

 

Because of all of the combination options, no game feels the same.  Sentinels shines in how all these pre=son decks work together, and it is, at times, amazing to think about all the play testing that must go into just creating a new hero, let alone their decks!  That being said, even with a multitude of Heroes, there is a wide variance of play style and design, that makes each one very unique and enjoyable.  I have yet, no matter the “class” of a Hero, to be bored playing one.  Each one has its own advantages and challenges, and there is even a “Nemesis” factor built in, where your arch nemesis will deal extra damage to you, while you do extra to them!

 

I’ve personally never been a fan of independent comics, but after one play of Sentinels, I was hooked!  I wanted to know more, and more I found!  There is a great main web site and community we’ll link to below in the resources, but additionally, each Hero has an excellent bio in the rule books, explaining where they came from and what their background is… Villains too!

 

The gameplay in SoTM is crisp, fast, highly strategic and very deep!  The Heroes have to truthfully work together to make the most of the situation or they can easily be wiped out.  Additionally, the style of the Villain first, Heroes next, and the Environment getting “last licks” on a turn makes it very fun.  You can react to the Villain while having to know well enough to play for the tricks the Environment deck will throw at you.  These are not always bad, but are not always good either!

 

Even with all this, it’s a smooth experience playing SoTM and once I highly recommend to try if you get the opportunity!  It is a beautifully designed game in terms of mechanics and simplicity, that utilizes card affects to impact the game in optimal fashion, resulting in a super (pardon the pun) good time!

 

A lot of people have compared Marvel Legendary to this game, which I think is a bit unfair to both games.  They are diametrically opposite and could both appeal or not appeal to many players.  While Legendary is a deck building game based on mainstream heroes, SoTM utilizes pre-con decks, and independent heroes, while relying on the varying combinations of those pre-cons to deliver a fun time.  Both do deliver, but just in completely different fashions.

 

One major thing to know going into Sentinels, is that it is VERY challenging!  This is not an easy game to beat, nor an engine that is predictable!  In many of our games, one full round could easily swing the entire outcome of the game, if played poorly by the heroes, or played well... and even then, with all the planning, the Villain or Environment cards could still wreak havoc on you!  It is though, the most fun you will ever have getting beat down!

 

Overall, Greater Than Games has done an excellent job with Sentinels!  So well, it’s getting our highest honor, the Crit rating!  Deep strategy that’s easy to learn, wrapped around beautiful artwork and a well-designed game that provides a fun, engaging, and collaborative experience gets our capes in a flurry and has our x-ray vision seeking out more!

 

Critical Review Score (Crit, Hit or Miss):

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Comments: 14
  • #1

    Patrick C. Connor Jr. (Sunday, 21 October 2012 19:53)

    Thanks for the review Tox! I had the great fortune of playing SOTM at Gen Con with my good friends and colleagues from Arcane Wonders, and I wholeheartedly agree, this is a CRIT!!!

  • #2

    critshappen (Sunday, 21 October 2012 20:27)

    Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! So a Priestess, a Beastmaster, Fanatic and Bunker walk into a bar... :)

  • #3

    Timothy O'Shea (Sunday, 21 October 2012 22:01)

    Would you please consider doing a walk-through of this game? It would be fun to watch and help those of us who haven't yet played the game. Thank you.

  • #4

    critshappen (Monday, 22 October 2012 22:45)

    Sounds good Timothy, I'll see what we can put together. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • #5

    MSBQ (Tuesday, 23 October 2012 15:39)

    Glad you guys finally did a review on this one, Sentinels is one of my top three games hands down. Excellent job.

    Also: favorite four-player hero team is Ra, Fanatic, Mr. Fixer, and Legacy. That particular team has won every game I've thrown at them, no joke. :)

  • #6

    critshappen (Tuesday, 23 October 2012 20:31)

    Nice, thanks MSBQ, that's awesome and I'm glad you liked it. I haven't played with Mr. Fixer AND Legacy, but that may be good! I'll have to give it a try! Thanks for watching and commenting!

  • #7

    broccoli (Tuesday, 23 October 2012 23:14)

    I definitely agree, this game is totally a Crit. For me, it's all about Argent Adept, I LOVE him. I play him easily 2-3x as much as any other hero.

  • #8

    critshappen (Tuesday, 23 October 2012)

    Thanks Broccoli, glad you liked it. Argent is pretty dang cool! Thanks for watching and commenting.

  • #9

    Rob (Tuesday, 30 October 2012 19:00)

    I agree wholeheartedly with you. Definite crit! Great review!

    I don't get to play it as much as I'd like but it's great whenever I do get to play it's great fun. Keep up the good work!

  • #10

    critshappen (Tuesday, 30 October 2012 21:01)

    Thanks Rob, glad you liked the review, and the game :) I have found it hard to play sol, but possible. It just takes a lot of organization and patience to play 3 to 4 decks at once. Still, it's a great game!

  • #11

    Jesta (Tuesday, 26 February 2013 13:02)

    Bought this on your recommendation Tox :)

    Played two 4 player games, Once as Tachyon where I felt the 'speed' of the character, drawing and playing more cards than anyone else.

    The second time as The Wraith, who had that real Batman feel. Lots of equipment.

    It had a real 'team effort' feel about it but it wasn't slowed done with too much tactical conversation.

    Quality game, definite Crit.

  • #12

    critshappen (Tuesday, 26 February 2013 18:23)

    Awesome Jesta, glad you are enjoying it! It's a great game. Had Hoplomachus not captured our attention the way it did, this would have gotten the best crowdfunded game of the year last year. It's a lot of fun!

  • #13

    teachermook (Thursday, 04 April 2013 00:28)

    This game sure has me won over. But here is the thing. I work with younger kids (upper elementary), and am not sure if this will work. The game SAYS 8 and up, but I have played games that said that before and lost the group (admittedly, we also do a couple games meant for teens). In your opinion, where kids are concerned, is this still a crit, a hit, or a miss?

  • #14

    critshappen (Thursday, 04 April 2013 07:29)

    Hi teachermook. My 7 yr old has some challenges with this, seeing the combos, and keeping track of everything etc. He's a good gamer too, but this one hasn't clicked yet. It's getting there, but it takes some help. For him, while it's a hit in terms of theme, which it's dripping with, he still prefers to play the DC deckbuilding game for a super hero game. We have twin teens who are 15 in our playgroup as well and they love Sentinels. No issues with them grasping the combos or effect tracking at all. Hope that helps.


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