I finally got to play the new Marvel game from Knight Models...twice! The first time was a three way affair at the weekend in which my Avengers were unfairly ganged up on by two lots of X-Men. The second game was yesterday against Wes. He was using my unofficial X-Men team, but was trying out the game as he was more than a little tempted by the Guardians of the Galaxy at Salute.
Rather than complicate matters with a scenario for the first game, we just played a smackdown, with the goal being to remove each other's models, with 1vp available for each model removed. We decided to have the game last 6 turns.
Here's the battlefield, an industrial area of some sort, with plenty of items strewn about ready to be thrown at each other. We ruled for simplicity's sake that the vehicles were all size 4, and everything else was size 2. We didn't think about throwing the buildings at each other until later.
The Avengers arrive. Tony Stark pulls up in his chauffeur-driven limo to find Black Widow has already infiltrated the complex an done a brief recce.
Captain America runs to meet Thor who has flown in. The God of Thunder stands atop a shed and shouts a challenge to battle.
Meanwhile. the X-Men pull up in some stolen Police vehicles, ready for a fight.
Wolverine runs forward around the building, only to be met by a barrage of homing missiles from Iron Man.
However, Iron Man's exposed position leave him vulnerable to a massive blast from Cyclops. Thor fails to bring the thunder down on the leader of the X-Men.
The Avengers assemble...
...whilst the X-Men advance, using cover.
The Avengers get the initiative, and with his armour damaged, Iron Man launches another barrage of missiles at Wolverine before heroically hiding behind a building.
Rogue swoops into action an lauches a taxi at Captain America, who fails to block it with his shield, but does manage to protect Black Widow from the yellow missile.
Wolverine also runs in to attack Cap, but is ambushed in turn by Thor, who hammers him through a window into the building behind.
Rogue finds herself the target of a bullet barrage from Black Widow and a hurled oil drum from Captain America.
In what would be a crucial turn of events, both Rogue and Wolverine fail their KO rolls and slump to the floor. What's more, the Avengers get the initiative again.
Cap and Black Widow withdraw from the advancing Cyclops and Colossus, and somewhat awkwardly for 'Earth's Mightiest Heroes' they hurl shields and bullets at the prone form of Rogue.
Thor finishes off the injured X-Man and flies up to the roof. Colossus, searching for away to 'avenge' his fallen comrade, climbs up to the chemical silo...
...and hurls it at Thor, injuring the Asgardian, whilst Cyclops fires a focussed beam at him as well!
In amongst the barrage, Iron Man pops up again to take a pot shot at Cyclops.
Cyclops and Iron Man trade ineffective shots, whilst Captain America and Thor advance on the outnumbered X-Men, only to be caught in the shock-waves of a titanic slam from Colossus. Black Widow, sneaks off a couple of shots at the momentarily isolated Cyclops.
Captain America finally succumbs to his injuries for a time whilst Thor makes a rush towards Colossus, trying to strip his defence of Cyclops.
Captain America gets back up, calls for the Avengers to assemble and leads Iron Man and Black Widow in an assault on Cyclops that leaves him with only two damage points left.
Wolverine finally gets back up as the Avengers again try to strip away Colossus' ability to defend Cyclops.
A combination of Wolverine's claws, Cyclops' blast and Colossus throwing Thor at her take out the fragile Black Widow to briefly even the score, but this leaves Cyclops vulnerable to a return hammer blow from Thor that gives victory to the Avengers.
This this a fast and fun game, with a real cinematic feel. Despite similarities in the mechanics, this is a very different game to BMG. The lack of the 'Raise the Plan' phase not only speeds up proceedings, but makes it much more accessible to new players. The rules being brief, with minimal special rules is similarly good for new players, along with special attacks being explained on the character cards. There are fun moments when people are knocked flying, or launch ridiculously large missiles at each other, and the characters all seem to behave as you'd imagine.
If I'm being critical, this feels a more casual and less strategic game than BMG, although the scenarios may help with this. There are minor gripes with the recovery system, as I got lucky and Wes didn't. so my characters got up quickly, whilst Wolverine was down for most of the game (ironically, his 'regeneration' ability stops working when he's knocked out...this seems wrong) which imbalanced things badly. Similarly, it seems that the best way to remove enemy models is for 'heroes' to gang up on them whilst they are down which is a bit out of character too - I wonder if this is something that needs to change as one of the conventions of comics is that even the bad guys tend not to rough up the unconscious.
However, minor gripes aside, I'll definitely be playing this again. I think Wes is sold too, so I should be able to go up against a variety of opponents, as he seems set on the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Overall, I'd recommend this game. The starter sets cost around £30, which gives you four models, the stat cards and the rulebook - enough to get playing. I'm sure KM will be adding characters to their range at their usual alarming rate, so before long. there will be plenty of choice in who to add.
I'll be definitely adding to my Avengers.