Tonight’s Tabletop Tuesday activity is Sentinels of the Multiverse. Sentinels is a cooperative card game where the players are super heroes trying to beat a super villain before he completes his diabolical plot. We were backers of this game way back when it was on Kickstarter. We have the Second Edition, plus the Rook City, Infernal Relics, and Shattered Timelines expansions because the game is so much fun and has a great replay value. The Second Edition box came with plenty of storage room for the expansions, but we have gradually completely filled it up. The game is set in a (mostly) fictional comic book universe. The cards are given flavor texts from “issues” of the comics, but those comics, for the most part, don’t exist. They have released a few issues with different characters’ back stories though, and they are fun reads.
((Editor’s note: I have no idea why, but our camera decided that we live on Krypton under the light of a red sun, so these pictures are not the accurate colors.))
Each game starts by choosing a villain to fight, an environment to fight in, and super heroes for the characters to play. You can randomize any of these for a more challenging game. For our game today, I played as The Mighty Ra, God of the Sun and Amanda chose The Inhuman Tempest. We had to foil Baron Blade’s attempt to crash the moon into the Earth from his secret base in Atlantis.
Ra’s theme is the Sun, so he is a pretty straight-forward fire damage nuker. All of his cards and abilities revolve around preventing and dealing fire damage, and more fire damage. Tempest is a hybrid damage and support character. His theme is storms, be they healing rains to help the players, violent floods to wipe away the environment, or brutal lightning to destroy his enemies. Together, they are a pretty strong team.
Baron Blade is attempting to use his mad science to drag the Moon into the Earth. Why, you ask? Does a mad scientist really need a reason? He has a lot of damage prevention mechanics, including force fields and floating defense stations. To simulate a timer for his plot to be complete, once 15 of his cards are in his discard pile, he succeeds. What the players have to do is reduce him to 0 HP before that happens. Because a villain is never really down and out, each boss has two different modes for every game. Once Baron Blade’s first plot is defeated, he hops in a mech suit and attempts to destroy the heroes. The players then have to drop him to zero health again before they all die. And the players have to do all of this while handling whatever the environment throws at them as well.
Since the game is cooperative, the villain plays automatically, as does the environment. It is really good game design. First, the villain takes his turn, simulating the villain doing something the heroes have to react to, in typical comic book fashion. The villains turn is accomplished by playing the top card of the villains deck and doing whatever the card says to do. Next, the players take their turn in order around the table. Each player turn consists of playing one card from the hand, using one of the character’s powers, and drawing one card. There are also cards that can affect what happens at the start and at the end of turns.
We actually got fairly unlucky this game. Baron Blade is ranked as one of the easiest bosses to defeat, and Atlantis isn’t usually that bad either, but the combination of the boss and the environment proved to be more than our heroes could manage. Since we chose to fight him in Atlantis, we had to deal with toxic seaweed, a kraken, and a few other of the worst hazards Atlantis had to offer in the first couple turns. We also got an environment card that allowed us to do double of everything every turn (play two cards, use two powers, and draw two cards), but the villain got to play at the start of every turn as well. That turned out to be our downfall. Our hands were not very good at the start, which is why we left the card in play to get through our decks a bit to find the cards we needed. However, we didn’t draw the cards we needed, so we didn’t have quite enough damage and cleanup to handle how fast Baron Blade built up from playing each turn. We finally got rid of that effect, but we were already too far behind the curve to recover.
The kraken killed me, and we only had one or two more turns before Baron Blade’s plan succeeded, and we knew we were going to lose. But heroes can’t lose, so, deus ex machina, we completely disregarded the rules and decided to have some fun (aka, cheated really, really hard). Since I was dead, Amanda used a power to heal all players, and due to a “clerical error”, instead of healing 2 HP, I healed 25. Then, we enacted the one-card-for-a-mulligan rule, where you can discard a card and search your deck for any four cards you want and put them into your hand, oh, and play two of those now, again due to “clerical errors”. Did I say two? I meant four. And draw two cards. Then, because the villain has no idea what’s going on, he skips a turn. And the environment skips its turn too, because it also has no idea what’s going on. After that, we declared the “I win” rule, so we automatically won and the Earth was saved!
Yeah, yeah. We lost. Blah, blah, blah. But it was a lot of fun being silly in that loss. It is definitely one of the most memorable games of Sentinels we’ve ever played, and since our goal for the year is making memories, I’m going to count this as a win.
Cooperative: 2 wins, 0 losses
Buy Sentinels of the Multiverse from Amazon