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April 30, 2015 / Jett

Board Game Night Playlist: Superhero Games


Whether it be on the silver screen, Saturday morning cartoons, or lunchboxes, superheroes have existed outside of the comic book pages for almost as long as they’ve existed. I, for one, knew of Spider-Man and the X-Men first from their cartoon exploits, while my first real exposure to Batman was from the Michael Keaton movie back in 1989. Superheroes have also had a presence in the board game space for decades, though the vast majority of these efforts were shoddy cash grabs.

Some of the modern superhero games still are poor titles that are excuses to make a quick buck, though both DC and Marvel have made honest efforts to improve their board game portfolios to the point where they both have games that are great by any measure. If you’re in the mood to live the superhero experience in tabletop gaming form, try these ones out!


Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men

2 players
Ages 14 and up
15 minutes

This two-player dice dueling game is one of the smash hits from 2014. As rival masterminds, you’ll first assemble your own superhero teams to defend you. Once the game starts, you’ll use your generic sidekick dice to draft the heroes onto your team. Once you have them, you can bring them onto the battlefield to fight your opponent’s dice. Any attacking dice that aren’t blocked will inflict damage directly to the mastermind. The first person to dish out enough damage to the opposing mastermind is crowned the victor.

Dice Masters does a great job of giving you the sensation of an epic superhero battle. Each character comes with cards with great art, as well as custom dice that use unique colours and designs to evoke that character. Even though you’re basically rolling dice and positioning them on the table in different ways, you do get the sense of a big battle taking place with these characters fighting the way they would fight in the comics. The base set comes with a good selection of heroes to choose from, though you can also buy the Uncanny X-Men starter set for $15 or booster packs for only $1 each. Better yet, the DC Comics version of Dice Masters is on the way and fully compatible with this set, which means you can create your own battles between these two superhero comic book juggernauts.


Buy Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers VS X-Men Now From Amazon.com


DC Comics Deck-Building Game

2-5 players
Ages 15 and up
45 minutes

DC Comics Deck-Building Game puts you in the boots of Superman, Batman and the rest of their most recognizable characters as they face off against their toughest super villains. Taking inspiration from such deck-building games as Dominion and Ascension, you start out with a basic hand of cards that can’t do much, but you’ll use those cards to get better ones that will help you in the fight. By the end of the game, every player should be strong enough to pick these super villains off in their sleep.

The beauty of DC Comics Deck-Building Game comes from its simplicity. It’s easier to learn than other games in its genre, while still giving you some sense of being a superhero fighting bad guys. There are two expansions on the market for this game, including Heroes Unite, which is largely the same game with new cards and characters, while the Infinite Crisis expansion adds co-operative play. The first one suffers from a much weaker selection of superheroes, while the latter turns the fast-paced game into a frustrating slog. Skip both of those and go straight to the original.


Buy DC Comics Deck Building Game Now From Amazon.com


Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game

1-5 players
Ages 14 and up
45 minutes

An epic battle between good and evil awaits you in Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game. In this cooperative experience, you’ll command Marvel’s iconic heroes as they attempt to stop a Mastermind from achieving his or her devious plot. As you’re recruiting heroes to make your decks stronger, the Mastermind is constantly attacking you by sending villains to invade the city, kidnapping bystanders or making progress in their schemes, which negatively impacts everyone. This one is the most difficult to learn of the bunch, but I also think it does the best job of creating a conflict worthy of the comics.

Legendary now has a ton of different expansions that add more good guys, bad guys and schemes to experience. Heck, they even have a villains version where you play as the bad guys fighting the good guys. With all of the different options available to you, Legendary lets you create the Marvel battle of your dreams.

Buy Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game Now From Amazon.com

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