For those of you familiar with this site and its contributing writers, this will come as little surprise. I have decided to begin posting more often (as my associate Siskipedia has already begun doing) with a new segment I’ll call Tabletop Spotlight.
I work in a board game store here in the greater Seattle area, so I am fairly close to the heart of what’s shiny and new in the board game world. While my tastes may differ from yours, I thought 8-Bit could use a little more perspective from the tabletop genre. We are gamers, after all.
Today’s spotlight shines on a game that is up-and-coming amongst board gamers and is one that I must admit I am totally hooked on: Sentinels of the Multiverse. This is a deeply thematic, fully cooperative card game for 2-5 players from Greater Than Games. Debuted in 2011, this game has already warranted one full expansion (with another in the works!) and was one of the top 10 board/card games funded on Kickstarter. The upcoming expansion, Infernal Relics, will have contributions from Richard Launius of Arkham Horror fame. Needless to say, it’s getting big.
What really attracted me to this game at first was the theme. I am an enormous comic book nerd, and I have already had a lot of personal success with other cooperative board games (e.g. Pandemic, Castle Panic, and Forbidden Island). When I saw this box, the art and theme immediately jumped out at me. One of our regular customers came in to play a game on a Friday night and I had a chance to sit down and watch the way it worked. It’s accessible to the point of learning how to play in five minutes.
Players select a deck of hero cards for one particular superhero. Once each player has taken a hero to fight with, the group selects a super-villain to battle against, and then an environment to serve as a backdrop to the action. All of the heroes have rich backstories, and echo one (or more) existing superheroes in our own pantheon of comic book heroes and heroines. You can choose Legacy (a Superman/Captain America type brawler), Tachyon (a female scientist version of the Flash), Tempest (think X-Men’s Storm combined with Aquaman), and many more.
Through play-testing this game, I have learned that some of the best parts of it are the epic moments where the heroes come together in a seamless motion and bring down their enemy. For example, a group of us played recently where we were fighting the Grand Warlord Voss, an alien conqueror posed to take over the planet. His minions faced us in Insula Primalis (a Jurassic Park -esque battlefield where dinosaurs and plant life could help or hinder us). At one point, our battle was interrupted by a huge volcanic eruption which threatened to kill two of our three heroes! My friend, controlling Ra (the Egyptian god of fire and badassery), played a card that made us all immune to fire damage for the next turn; the volcano blew its top, annihilating all of our enemy’s minions in one fell swoop as we stood by in the pyroclastic flow, happily immune to the destruction around us. And this is just a card game!
If you’re into cooperative games, or even if you just like superheroes and think it’d be cool to feel like you’re on a team of them, check out Sentinels of the Multiverse. You will not be disappointed. The upcoming expansion adds new heroes, villains, and mechanics to an already lush game of luck and strategy. I might be a little biased, but I definitely think this game deserves the buzz it’s receiving lately. It is really quite fantastic.
That’s all for this week’s Tabletop Spotlight! Stay tuned next week as we discover yet another boxed wonder!