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A Look at 3 Superheroic Marvel Themed Board Games

I always have something on the calendar. So, when someone cancels one of those plans, I offer an obligatory, “Oh, that’s too bad. We’ll have to reschedule really soon.”

Then I immediately hoot out a Woot WOOOOT and jump into my jammie britches, because heck yes, I suddenly have myself an evening where I don’t have plans!!

What do I like to do in those bonus evenings in my jammie britches? Well, I like to do nerdy things like organize my comic books or play board games! And my go-to board games are often Marvel-themed.

So, what follows are thoughts on three of those Marvel boards games and why they are great to play in your jammie britches.

Marvel Dice Throne: Yahtzee!

Marvel Dice Throne is a great player vs. player pick up game. Both players select a character that is wholly contained in a meticulously designed plastic tray. Players fold out their play boards and pick up their dice, and there isn’t that much more to it.

Dice Throne is pretty much playing Yahtzee in that you roll 5 dice, keep the ones you want, then do two rounds of re-rolls. Like Yahtzee, three of a kind or whatever get you something, and in the case of Marvel Dice Throne, that something is a cleverly designed power up.

It’s a slickly designed game. I have the full 8 hero box but you can try before you buy at under $30 with a small box that pits Black Widow versus Doctor Strange. Get that here.

Every character comes designed with the same care toward balance, so mix and match Marvel sets with vanilla sets and you can have loads of fun that literally takes merely a few seconds to put playing. Again, start with a little two pack. If you enjoy that, you can jump into the rabbit hole that is Dice Throne.

Marvel United: Follow the Circle

Marvel United from Spinmaster / CMON is a light game that the entire family will enjoy. You can get a fine starter box relatively inexpensively here but the base game is sold at big box stores like Wall-Mart. If you enjoy that, my guess is you’ll be buying expansions or backing the next big Kickstarter before you know it.

Marvel United is a simple game but it is nicely designed. Each player chooses a hero and plays cards in a circular manner. Every three hero turns forces a villain card to be deployed which causes the heroes to scramble. It’s quick to learn and plays fast.

The second Kickstarter was a X-Men themed version and that was an even better experience. it’s not a thinky game, it’s a hoot and holler game that is fun for the entire family.

(Here are my favorite Marvel United X-Men villain scenarios and my favorite heroes.)

Marvel Champions: A Living Card Game

Sometimes Marvel Champions hands your butt to you.

Last is my favorite game on this list, so let’s spend a little more time on it. Marvel Champions from Fantasy Flight Games is a cooperative Living Card Game (LCG) set in the Marvel Comics universe. Players choose a Marvel hero that battles a villain who is controlled by the game. Marvel Champions is supported with regular releases of new hero decks as well as new villain scenarios and their current releases are X-Men themed.

Each hero is played via a deck of cards. The cards outline powers, abilities, and upgrades, which are masterfully drawn from comic book material. The game controls the villain, who schemes, attacks, and deploys minions in an attempt to thwart the players.

Each hero deck has a typical aspect but they can be mix and matched with one of four different aspects: Leadership, Aggression, Justice, and Protection. Captain America’s go-to is Leadership, of course, but you can also swap in the Aggression deck with his core cards when he’s just looking to avenge. The system works incredibly well.

But the most interesting thing of the game is that play switches back and forth between their alter ego and superhero identity.

While all that might feel overwhelming, Marvel Champions is so well designed that it all goes down smooth and is a delight to play. The first thing you want to do after losing a game of Marvel Champions is to immediately play another game of Marvel Champions.

Some players will appreciate the puzzle of it all, which is trying to maximum card values to achieve the greatest possible combos. But most players will simply enjoy that this is a turn and burn game. Hands are played quickly, then drawn up again immediately. It plays fast. So fast, in fact, that a solo player can get in a couple games in an hour once they have the hang of it.

Marvel Champions has rocketed to the top of the charts of my favorite solo board games.

You can get Marvel Champions here, direct from Fantasy Flight Games, or, better yet, ask for it at your Friendly Local Game Shop (FLGS).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a game of Marvel Champions to play. Spider-Man is battling the Green Goblin tonight.


[Disclosure: Nerds on Earth received a copy of Marvel Champions from Asmodee in exchange for a honest commentary.]