by Christopher Badell, Paul Bender, Adam Rebottaro
No. of players: 1-5 Play Time: 30-60 mins Age: 8+
Have you ever wanted to be a comic-book-super-hero, battling incredible odds, punching bad guys in the face and having that warm glow of satisfaction after a hard-fought victory? It’s possible. It’s the mythology of the 20th century. How about I tell you that it’s within your grasp…
I’m talking about a great little card game from Greater-Than Games, totally crowd-funded, but available to everybody, from John Smith to Jameson Smythe.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s…
Sentinels of the Multiverse!
It’s a hard-hitting, smash-talking, easy to understand but difficult to master co-operative card game set in the four-colour world of comics, where your every play could bring glory or disaster to your team of friends, against a maddened villain and a harsh backdrop. Let me explain…
Like most good co-operative games, this game has you working against the game itself, and not your fellow players.
Each player has their deck of cards, their resources and super-powers to call forth, which can be a great boon in many situations.
However, before the game, you must pick a Villain to battle, and an Environment in which to have said epic battle.
Here’s where the rules come in: First off, the villain gets to act, first by doing their start of turn stuff. Then, they play a card, which could spell disaster for the game-plan you and your buddies have hammered out. Finally, their end of turn effects come into play, which is sometimes worse than what has already gone before.
Did I mention that the Villain him/herself has abilities to make your life miserable? Well, they do, and it all takes place in their turn.
As it follows:
Villain start > Villain plays > Villain end.
Then come our heroes, the players, to kick some butt and take some names.
The mantra that is always done with Sentinels games is “play, power, draw”. That’s the turn! Each hero in turn has a start-of-turn phase followed by a play phase (in which they may play a card). A power phase (in which they may use a power printed on their character card or another card in front of them), and a draw phase (where they draw a card from their personalised deck)
To summarise, each hero has:
Start > Play a card > Use a power > Draw a card > End of turn.
Pretty easy, eh? And each hero takes a turn for themselves, so Legacy will follow the Wraith, who will follow Tachyon.
Then (to make matters worse) the Environment could change! This functions exactly like how the villain works, but it has no favourite targets, and no extra rules because of the villain in play. Let’s say you’re fighting Baron Blade (a villain) in the Insula Primalis (an environment), the dinosaurs in the Insula Primalis won’t care whether you’re a good guy or bad guy, they’ll hit whoever meets their criteria.
And, from that, wash and repeat.
Plus, to all you deck-worriers out there, once your deck (or any other deck, for that matter) runs out, just reshuffle unless the particular villain or environment says otherwise. The inventors of the game don’t want you to lose for such arbitrary reasons as running out of cards. They want you to lose because the mad scientist pulled the Moon into the Earth, or because the rampaging robot flattened your team!
I’ll admit, this is one of my favourite games, and it did make a top 10 list of games to make/break friendships. With the players mostly at the mercy of the game mechanics and what’s on the cards, it brings the players together to figure out how to win. It also brings together beautiful graphics, a strong background, and elegantly simple rules to create a juggernaut of co-operative gaming. Play this with your friends, your family, anyone who has ever wanted to be their own Superman.