Sentinels of the Multiverse, according to its rulebook, is the World's Greatest Cooperative, Comic-Book Based, Fixed-Deck Card Game. Created in 2011 by Christopher Badell, Paul Bender, and Adam Rebottaro, under the moniker of Greater Than Games, Sentinels pits three to five heroes—each represented by a unique deck of cards—against one of several varied and interesting villains, each represented by their own unique deck. One of several environments (also represented by a deck of cards) plays cards throughout the fight, hindering or helping both sides of the battle and creating a dynamic flow to the game.One of the coolest things about the game is the variety of the villains and environments. It doesn't just feel like several alternate skins; each villain's character and rules card are double-sided, representing multiple phases of the fight. Each of them has a completely unique "flipping" mechanic (a trigger that makes them flip to the opposite side of their card) and drastically different effects based off of which side they are on. They also have an optional, advanced rule on each side that further empowers them and complicates victory for the heroes.The game also employs Loads and Loads of Characters: Visit the (currently in progress) Character sheet for more information on the cast.
Tropes represented in Sentinels:
An Adventurer Is You: Since the game is built around team gameplay, these archetypes come up frequently, though most characters fit into two or even three:
Tank: Legacy, Haka, Bunker, The Scholar, and Rhino Naturalist(though anyone with an Armor ability will do in a pinch.)
Healer: Tempest, Legacy (1940's), Argent Adept, The Scholar.
DPS: Ra, Haka, Fanatic, Chrono Ranger.
Nuker: Tachyon, Bunker, Absolute Zero, Expatriette, Mr. Fixer, Nightmist (all of whom require some time to get out combinations of cards which then trigger For Massive Damage.)
Buffer: Legacy, Argent Adept.
Debuffer: Nightmist, Visionary.
Pet Master: Unity.
Crowd Control: Tempest, Visionary.
Jack of All Trades: Wraith, Mr. Fixer, Omnitron-X, and The Sentinels.
Arch-Enemy: Each hero has a specific villain that is marked as their archnemesis. This means that all damage inflicted by these two is increased by one. In some cases this is detrimental to the hero (i.e. Argent Adept and Akash'Bhuta) and in others it results in a mutual barrage of destruction (i.e. Ra and the Ennead).
In Vengeance, some of the nemeses have extra effects should their hero be active.(Such as The Hippo redirecting all damage Friction would take to himself, but only if his nemesis Haka is active.)
Attack Deflector: Iron Legacy's Superhuman Reflection, Wraiths' Smoke Bombs, Tachyon's Synaptic Interruption, Mr. Fixer's Driving Mantis Style, and Kismet's Inexplicable Obstruction.
Badass Crew: La Capitan has taken advantage of her ability to travel through time to amass the most bad-ass crewmen she can find from across time, resulting in a team consisting of World War One flying aces, superpowered samurai, power-armored demolitions specialists, and more.
Boss Game: The game is always a battle between a team of heroes and a powerful villain. With few exceptions, the heroes' sole win condition is to incapacitate that one being. Many of the bosses have a substantial number of minions that they can deploy, Baron Blade, The Organization, Grand Warlord Voss, and the Matriarch being the biggest offenders.
The Brute: Fright Train. He is a walking mountain of muscles and is just as subtle as his namesake.
Cast from Hit Points: Several cards like Solar Flare, Pushing the Limits, and Golem Unity's base power deal the user damage as a way of paying for the cost of the effect they grant (and they must deal at least some of that damage to themselves, otherwise the card is destroyed). Most of these are for the heroes, but Citizen Dawn has one for her self (Channel the Eclipse).
Catastrophic Countdown: A couple villains (and two of the environments) feature this as their main threat to the heroes. Of course, each of them is a completely different mechanic to fit the theme of the fight.
Cardboard Prison: Implied. You can beat the supervillains again and again, but they just keep on menacing the world. And all but outright stated with Omnitron, who, according to Omnitron-X's bio, has been destroyed and rebuilt ten separate times before X came along.
Cool Ship: La Capitans' ship, La Paradoja Magnifica.
And the TCF Conqueror and TCF Stalwart, both which belong to Grand Warlord Voss.
Counter Attack: Several cards enable this, but the most notable would probably be Wraith's Combat Stance.
Which can lead to the hilarious situation in which Wraith would hurt herself, and if she was hurt for the first time that turn, that would result in triggering Combat Stance and causing Wraith to hit herself.
Continuity Snarl: Unavoidable by the modular means the game is established. It is far from uncommon to see players choose the Bad Future versions of characters fighting alongside past incarnations to fight opponents in environments they really have no business in. Of course, the players will also only have a very vague sense of what happened where, as the events referenced to in the cards' quotes were obviously never published, so the players are free to Hand Wave it however they like.
Creepy Child: The Dreamer, who is an alternate timeline version of the visionary. Unlike other villains, the goal with the Dreamer is to not hurt her, as she is an innocent child. Instead the goal is to defeat the psychic apparitions she unintentionally brings into the world.
Five-Man Band: Due to the nature of the game, each game will have a different set of 3-5 heroes, so multiple different versions of this can and will exist, but the Freedom Five (the universe's Avengers or Justice League) fits this to a T.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: The powers and abilities of each character in their backstories vary from the way the characters work in the game, the most obvious being Legacy, who despite being a Flying Brick, has a deck mostly focused on healing and protecting his allies.
Health/Damage Asymmetry: To an extent. Heroes mostly have HP in the 25-30 range, while a typical boss villain will have more like 90. Villains very rarely do more than 5 damage in a hit, while sufficiently prepared heroes can occasionally throw out attacks that do 10 or 20.
Hostage Situation: The Dreamer's battle plays out like one. If the heroes kill the Dreamer, they lose. In order to win, they must defeat her "captors": the projections from her nightmare.
There's a rather annoying card in the Megopolis Environment deck where one of these plays out. It prevents the heroes playing cards.
Interface Screw: As previously mentioned, each villain has 2 forms that they take during the fight; how you get them to change forms is completely different for each of them, as is what happens after they are flipped, how often they flip, and whether or not you actually WANT them to.
Laser Blade: Gene-Bound Ion-Lancer and L'Epeiste each wield one.
K.N.Y.F.E also has these, mixing them with Knife Nut.
Legacy Character: Ignoring the pun, this is Legacy's schtick. Every Legacy gains all the powers of the previous Legacy, while adding new powers to the mix.
Light 'em Up: Fanatic can deal quite a bit of radiant damage.
Militaries Are Useless: Regular militarizes are unable to do anything to stop the more powerful, overt villains like Baron Blade, Citizen Dawn, or Grand Warlord Voss, so it falls to the heroes to defeat them. In the case of Warlord Voss, if he has more than ten minions on the field by the start of his turn, he wins automatically as his armies overrun Earth.
Though this is not always the case. Bunker is a Military Superhero, so the military does lend a hand when they can.
Mooks: Many of the villains can summon characters from their villain decks have these. Baron Blade's Blade Battalion, Voss's alien army, Matriach's birds, Omnitron's drones, the Chairman's Thugs, and La Captians' crew all come to mind.
More Dakka: Bunker and Expatriette use guns. Lots and lots of guns. Bunker also has his OmniCannon, and Expatriette can fire two pistols, a shotgun, and an SMG simultaneously, with the right setup.
Wraith counts, to an extent. Her Inventory Barrage lets her chuck her Equipment cards for 2 projectile damage each. The downside? All of the cool toys Wraith relies on to deal, redirect, and mitigate damage are now in her trash.
Non-Standard Game Over: Where to begin? A good handful of villains have different ways to cause the heroes to lose.
Baron Blade will cause a Colony Drop should he have 15 cards in his trash.
Grand Warlord Voss overruns the planet with minions if he has 10 of them in play at the start of his turn.
The Dreamer turns the standard win condition of reducing the Villain to 0 HP into the lose condition: for the heroes to win the Dreamer must flip and then a certain number of her Projections must be killed.
An environment even has one. Silver Gulch 1883's Lost in the Past card causes the heroes to be lost in time (i.e., Game Over) should the environment end its turn with no cards in the trash. And can put a card back into the environment deck at the start of the turn.
The Wagner Mars Base unsurprisingly has a self-destruct device, and the heroes have to forgo fighting the villain to deactivate it.
Inverted with Gloomweaver; if the heroes can trash three Relics, they win instantly.
If the Propulsion Systems in the Mobile Defense Platform get reduced to 0 HP, the platform blows up and everyone dies.
One-Liner: The flavor text on a lot of the cards. Several of these are a Shout-Out of some sort.
Reed Richards Is Useless: Inverted. Tachyon's bio shows that she is directly responsible for countless technological innovations, including developing cars that can reach sixty miles to the gallon, a cure for cancer, and establishing a fully-functional base on Mars.
Robot Master: Omnitron's deck is capable or siccing Drones on the heroes, and can rebuild them from the trash should the heroes destroy them.
Unity's deck is focused on this as well.
Rouge Angles of Satin: Being the first edition of the game, there are naturally a fairly large amount of typos. Only one actually fits this, though; In the Rook City environment, the card Scum and Villany. It should, of course, be Villainy, but as it turns out, Villany is a place.
Shock and Awe: Tempest's entire race is capable of using lightning.
Shooting Legacy: Lampshaded in one of Legacy's damage reduction cards. Getting shot at by Mooks is apparently a perfect moment for Legacy to think about what's for dinner.
Shout-Out: The entire game is pretty much a massive shout out to comic books. And it is glorious. Some more specific ones include....
Status Quo Is God: A solid effort at aversion, rare among board games. The expansions flow in chronological order, and new promo cards show character growth for heroes like Ra and Fanatic, Haka being the last surviving human, and a Villainous Breakdown for Baron Blade. Teasers for upcoming sets hint at greater changes to come, including the death of Legacy.
Straight Gay: Tachyon. The only references to her sexuality are in one of her giant dumps of random bits of info, where she mentions spending weekends "with the wife", and in the Freedom Four #1 comic.
Tall, Dark and Snarky: Tachyon. Okay, she's blonde. But, with a great sense of humor (she memorably described her lab team as "only the top scientific badasses") and standing at a full six feet tall, she fulfills most of the name, and certainly fits the archetype.