I remember the first time I played Sentinels of the Multiverse. It was at an event at my FLGS, The Crazy Squirrel, and my friend Mark Jackson was excited to share this cool new cooperative card game with a superhero theme designed by Christopher Badell, Paul Bender, and Adam Rebottaro. Mark didn’t actually say their names as he was describing the game. That is just my clumsy way of crediting the designers. If I remember correctly, I had recently purchased Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game. Sentinels had been out for a while already, and I missed the boat on it for some reason, so I went for Legendary, which featured an familiar group of heroes and villains. I remember feeling that Sentinels was a little clunky and difficult to learn, and I thought the art was not so great. Legendary on the other hand, was fancy and very well produced, with the promise of expansions featuring characters that I loved.
The only problem was that I eventually realized that I really didn’t like Legendary. The mechanics of deck building and the weird individual win condition eventually made me not want to play it at all. I was sad that I missed the Sentinels of the Multiverse boat, but so many expansions had been released by the time I realized I wanted it that I just couldn’t find an inexpensive entry point. Eventually, I started playing it online, which was quite enjoyable, especially for people like myself who enjoy earning online achievements that unlock new items in the game. I am lucky enough to have a friend who is part of just a handful of players who knows the game just about as well as its creators. He taught me all about the characters and helped me make sense of some of the more complicated card interactions.
So when I heard that Greater Than Games was releasing a revised version of the original game, I had two thoughts.
- Thought One: “Hmm, that really sucks for all those people who spent all that money buying the original game and all of its expansions.”
- Thought Two: “Sweet! I’m glad I didn’t buy anything the first time. Now I can get in on the new hotness!”
After a significant amount of Quatloos exchanged virtual hands, I was the proud owner of a big box of superhero card playing cooperative goodness. I’m happy to report that with one small exception, I was not disappointed in my purchase. Sentinels of the Multiverse: Definitive Edition is an improvement on what was already a good game.
Sentinels keeps much of the original version, but manages to streamline the flow of game and makes some of the more complex characters easier to understand. I was able to open up the box and get started playing a solo game in no time. Later, when I was able to sit down with my buddy John, the aforementioned friend who knows the Sentinels game really well, I learned a lot about how some of the characters had been streamlined in such a way that it made getting essential card combinations into play much faster.
Each aspect of the superhero story is represented by a deck of cards. There’s a deck for heroes, villains, and even the environment. All of these decks can be mixed and combined differently, which really helps with replayability. My software underlines that word to tell me that is a made up word, but gamers know it’s a word. Once you get used to a particular hero’s deck, you develop better strategies for using their abilities and how they interact with other heroes.
The Definitive Edition includes variant versions of heroes and villains, as well as event cards that allow you play through a series of important battles that are part of the detailed history and lore of the Sentinels Comic Universe. Successful completion of these events allow you to collect special abilities into what is cleverly called a “collection” which can be used to help complete future events. This creates a campaign style of play which also fits well with people who like earning achievements. John and I did manage to defeat Baron Blade and his minions, and I look forward to more world saving adventures. My one complaint with this Definitive Edition is the art. Funny thing, after a while I grew fond of the original game art. The quality of the art of the Definitive Edition is actually a lot better than the original, but I grew to love the old art, so the artist can’t catch a break from me.