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Tabletop Game / Marvel Champions

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"What do you mean half these people aren't in the base box?"

Marvel Champions (full name: Marvel Champions: the Card Game) is a living card game by Michael Boggs, Nate French and Caleb Grace, published by Fantasy Flight Games.

In this co-operative card game, players take the role of Marvel Heroes and fight together against one of several villains. They do so by playing cards, whose types include Events, Allies and Supports; cards are paid for by discarding other cards, which generates resources, and the choice of which cards to play and which ones to spend is extremely important. The game is very tactical and requires coordination for the heroes to win.

Marvel Champions revolves around a simple round structure: each hero, starting from the first player, takes a turn. Then the villain goes. Villains have a main Scheme that, if completed, will result in the players losing, and can and will attack the heroes, possibly knocking some of them out of the game. Villains also have an encounter deck, made from villain-specific cards and generic ones, from which cards will be drawn that will do bad things to the heroes.


The basic set for the game was published in 2019. Several expansion packs, including new heroes and scenarios and two major expansions (Rise of the Red Skull and Galaxy's Most Wanted) have been released.

The game contains examples of following tropes:

  • Art Shift: Hawkeye as an ally from the base set sports his old costume with the "pointy eyes" mask, while Hawkeye as a full-fledge hero from the Rise of the Red Skull expansion wears his more recent costume with the face uncovered.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Ronan the Accuser, part of an encounter set that FFG digitally released for free. He is technically just a minion... a minion with a truckload of hp, who hits like a ton of bricks, schemes like there's no tomorrow, starts out Tough (which essentially makes him ignore the first instance of damage he takes) and cannot be stunned. Some people online speculate he's FFG's answer to people who deem the game "too easy."
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  • Game Mod: The game has a very active online community, producing custom content at a steady pace. A lot of said content, including new heroes, scenarios and variant rules, can be found at the Hall of Heroes website.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Theme is the strong suit of the game. Examples include:
    • Thor's Nemesis, Loki, can "come back from the dead" (implied to be just one of his illusions) if you discard a specific type of card from the encounter deck. Heimdall, a Basic card, allows you to look at the top cards of the encounter deck... because Heimdall sees through illusions.
    • In the comics, Captain Marvel has the ability to absorb and redirect energy; in the game, this is represented by her ability to spend Energy resources to heal and draw cards.
    • Spider-Man is all about dodging attacks, sensing danger (ie. Treachery cards) before it happens, and occasionally deliver a knockout blow... just like he is in the comics.
    • Why can Captain Marvel's triple resource card be used in any mode, while Hulk's only works in hero mode? Because Carol always has access to her powers, while Bruce is only super-strong as the Hulk.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: A number of characters (playable and not) had their power levels tweaked in order to be balanced or, in the case of villains and minions, to provide a suitable challenge. If the game was truer to the comics, for example, the Scorpion (a tough minion from the Green Goblin scenario pack) wouldn't be nearly in the same tier as people like Captain Marvel.
    • The Beat Cop card can be exhausted to move threat from a scheme to the card, or to discard the card and defeat a minion whose health is equal or lower than the amount of threat on Beat Cop. Most likely, the latter represents the police arresting the minion... which could be conceivable in the case of lower-level mooks such as the Vulture or even the Scorpion, but is highly unlikely if the minion in question is M.O.D.O.K or an Ultron drone, for example.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Given the IP, it was to be expected. So far, the game includes over 20 heroes, with more announcd.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Captain America's Shield Block can be used to block the damage from a single attack, no matter how high.
  • More Dakka: Crossbones from the Rise of the Red Skull. His Crossbones' Machine Gun card shows him twin-firing assault rifles.
  • Stop Hitting Yourself: Characters with retaliate deal damage (usually one point) whenever they are attacked. The Energy Barrier card also does that, on top of reducing damage taken. A character staking several of these effect (say, Black Panther with x3 Energy Barrier) can deal back more damage than they take from any given attack.
  • The Minion Master:
    • Ultron's main shtick is to take cards from the heroes' decks and turn them into drones: weak, but annoying minion that make him more powerful. This is also what makes him That One Boss.
    • On the heroic side, the Leadership aspect is all about playing, boosting and doing things with allies.