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Tabletop Game: Sentinels Of The Multiverse

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:

  • All There in the Manual: There's a rather extensive lore to the game for those who are interested, but it has little effect on the game itself.
  • 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, Captain Cosmic.
    • Debuffer: Nightmist, Visionary.
    • Pet Master: Unity, Captain Cosmic.
    • Crowd Control: Tempest, Visionary.
    • Jack of All Trades: Wraith, Mr. Fixer, Omnitron-X, The Sentinels, Guise, Sky-Scraper.
  • Alien Invasion: Grand Warlord Voss is trying to cause one. Should he have 10 minions out when he starts his turn, it's successful.
  • 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.)
  • Art Shift: The Enclave of the Endless takes its style from old sci-fi comics and the stylings of Jack Kirby, to whom the expansion the cards come in is dedicated to.
  • 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.
    • The Crackjaw crew is another example.
  • Bad Future: The Shattered Timelines expansion.
  • 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.
  • Central Theme: Each expansion has one:
    • Base Game: Comic Book super hero team
    • Rook City: Darker and Edgier
    • Infernal Relics: Supernatural
    • Shattered Timelines: Time Travel
    • Vengeance: Revenge
    • Wrath of the Cosmos: Space.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Legacy, with danger sense, flight, super strength, invulnerability, and three other unknown powers. His daughter adds an "atomic glare" to the mix.
  • 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.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Rook City expansion. Based on the more gritty, realistic side of comic books, it features an industrial complex and crime-riddled city as expansions, a one-woman-army and a Technical Pacifist Old Master Auto Mechanic for heroes, against such villains as a Vampiric Draining, drug-dependent serial killer, a Corrupt Corporate Executive crime boss and his Dragon, a mutated rat-man that lives in the sewers, and an emo poet girl that can control birds.
  • Discard and Draw: Shows up a bit, mostly for Tachyon. Ra, Horus of Two Horizons' base power Sunrise allows him to do this as well.
    • Naturalist and Parse also have variants of this trope.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Artwork on different cards will frequently feature characters from currently-unrelated expansions. Also, it's not uncommon for a hero or villain to share a nemesis icon with an unreleased deck.
  • Expy: Pretty much every character and environment is an Expy to one or more existing Marvel or DC characters. Not that this is a bad thing.
    • Also, the villainous team in the Vengeance expansion includes four new villains, all of whom are expies of their rivals on the Freedom Five to different extents.
  • 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.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Omnitron and Omnitron-X have quite a few of these.
  • 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.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Vengeant Baron Blade most definitely has an evil scar.
  • 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.
  • Heel-Face Turn: The villain Omnitron upgrades itself repeatedly, finally adding an empathy component. When it does this, it realizes the death and destruction it caused as a villain and travels back in time to join the heroes.
    • Also, in the Iron Legacy dark future, Fright Train has taken over the role of Bunker.
  • 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.
  • Hot Scientist: Tachyon.
  • Kid Hero: The Idealist.
  • 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.
    • Additionally, one of Captain Cosmic's cards is a sword made out of solid light.
  • 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.
  • Living Shadow: Writhe, due to a botched experiment.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: While dice aren't involved, the cards are shuffled often to randomize the game. Several heroes have abilities that let them either look at what their next card and optionally discard it, pick what card the villain will draw next, or allow another player to draw two cards and discard one outside of their normal turn order. These cards are usually tied to some kind of psychic or precognitive power.
  • Mad Scientist: Baron Blade. He becomes even madder in his promo card form "Mad Bomber". He already was trying to crash the moon into the planet, so one can imagine just how insane his new plan is.
  • The Mafia: The Organization, under the control of the Chairman. They combine a mixture of street thugs, hitmen, Dirty Cops, informants, thieves, and other lowlifes to make your life hell.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Gene-Bound Banshee.
  • Me's a Crowd: Proletariat can create clones of himself.
  • 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.
    • Amusingly, it is entirely possible for a game set in Megalopolis to end with some horrifying cosmic supervillain being finished off by the local police (possibly by being punched out by the cops if Cramped Quarters Combat is active).
  • Military Superhero: Bunker.
  • The Mole: Freedom Five secretary Amina Twain is secretly the villain Miss Information.
  • 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.
    • Elite Mooks: In addition, the Vengeful Five's decks feature nemeses of some heroes in the role of mooks. Most are much stronger than the minions in the other decks.
  • 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.
    • One of Bunker's cards makes all but explicit reference to it — it's called "Turret Mode," its effect is that you can only use powers (read: fire guns), and the Flavor Text? BUDDABUDDABUDDABUDDABUDDABUDDABUDDABUDDABUDDABUDDABUDDABUDDABUDDA.
  • 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.
    • The promo villain Wagermaster's whole shtick is alternate win and lose conditions.
    • Kagaara Warfang has Colosseum Favor. If the heroes get 20, they win instantly (And in fact cannot win any other way), while if the villains get 20, the heroes lose (and can most certainly still lose the normal way).
    • Deadline creates massive environmental catastrophes in order to destroy humanity. Should enough of these occur, cards from the environment deck are removed from play. If, at this point, the environment deck is gone, Deadline has destroyed the planet and the heroes lose.
  • One-Liner: The flavor text on a lot of the cards. Several of these are a Shout-Out of some sort.
  • Psychic Powers: Visionary, The Dreamer, and The Idealist.
  • Poisonous Person: Gene-Bound Bionaut. Naturally comes with a toxic immunity.
  • 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....
    • Omnitron's Technological Singularity card says "Assuming direct control...."
    • Ra's Excavation card says "This should be in a museum!"
    • In the online comic, The Wraith refers to Legacy as a "big damn hero", and the flavor text for one of Citizen Dawn's minions, who is wearing a top hat, is, "A man walks down the street in that hat, you know he's not afraid of anything."
    • Setback's Incapacitated side is a direct reference to Spider Man No More.
    • The art for the Rook City environment cards is mostly black and white, and the sign has a spray-painted red C on the name, changing it to "CRook City", clearly evoking the art of Sin City.
    • Omnitron and Omnitron X reference Mega Man, particularly with the font used for their names.
  • Signature Weapon: Ra's Staff of Ra.
    • Expatirette's twin pistols Pride and Prejudice.
  • Slave Mook: Voss's army has quite a few of these. He follows the typical format of enslaving beings that are useful to him, and killing off everyone else.
  • Soviet Superscience: How Proletariat got his powers.
  • 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.
  • Stealth Pun
  • Long Con
  • 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.
    • Similarly, Dr. Medico, who only gets an offhand mention of his husband in his text-dump backstory.
  • 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.
  • Throwing Your Staff Always Works: Ra can use the Staff of Ra's power to deal projectile damage. The staff is destroyed upon doing this, however.
  • Theme Naming: Present pretty much everywhere, but Citizen Dawn's deck takes the cake:
    • Citizen Winter, Citizen Spring, Citizen Summer, and Citizen Autumn.
    • Citizen Anvil and Citizen Hammer.
    • Citizen Blood, Citizen Sweat, and Citizen Tears.
    • Citizen Truth and Citizen Dare.
  • That One Boss: Referenced in game with a difficulty rating system. The hardest villains under this system (rated 4 out of 4) are The Chairman, Iron Legacy, The Matriarch, and Progeny.
  • The Wild West: The 'Silver Gulch, 1883' environment deck. It even has a wagon full of dynamite, which always blows up at the least opportune time.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Infinator, who, in addition to the powers his brother Captain Cosmic got, was also driven insane by the screams of voices from across the cosmos now in his head.
  • World of Snark and World of Ham: Somehow manages to have the characters be both incredibly over the top and hammy, and incredibly snarky, occasionally at the same time.
  • Wretched Hive: Rook City in general. Especially so if you're fighting The Organization there.
  • You Dirty Rat: Plague Rat.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Naturalist, though at first it wasn't voluntary.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • The Matriarch's entire style. Her individual birds do not hit very hard, but when there's twenty of them on the field at once, on her second turn, it doesn't matter.
    • The Organization does something similar. Give them a moment's rest and they can put out a small legion of minions, all of whom are buffed by bosses.