Before I begin, I was sent a copy of this game in exchange for an honest review. This is not a paid review. If you would like to watch a video of this review, check it out below. If you would like to get your own copy click here.
It is not often that I get sent a copy of a game that I already know I really like. In fact it has happened exactly once. Sentinels is that game. I have played so much of it over the past few years, it is almost mind boggling, and the release of a very good app version has allowed me to play even more. So there will not be many surprises in this review as to the things I like, but hopefully, it will help you decide if it is for you as well.
In Sentinels each player has a unique deck of cards that goes with their hero. These heroes are sometimes analagous to heroes that we are familiar with and in other cases seem to be completely unique. In all cases they are part of their own unique world.
In addition to selecting heroes you will also select a single villain deck and a single environment deck. Each turn the villain will play one or more cards to start. These cards may be minions or lasting powers, or cards that take effect immediately. Whatever it is pretty much all of them will do something horrible to the heroes at the end of the turn.
Once that happens the heroes get to strike back. Each one will get to play a card-again it might be a new power or an attack or a support card-then activate one of their powers, before passing on to the next hero. Once all heroes have played the environment will play a card. Again this might help the heroes or hinder them.
Rinse, repeat, until either the heroes have lost or the villain has been beaten down.
So what do I think?
Even though there is no established canon for SotM it sure feels like there is. This is because the artwork is delightful, and they have made each card seem to be from its own comic. The little bits of story you get from each one slowly develops character relationships and allows you to understand the world, without having to actually read anything about it. It is just awesomely done.
There is also an incredible amount of variety in play style of the characters, and villains. Each villain feels unique and attacks and defends differently, the same is true of each hero which varies wonderfully in complexity and style.
Because this game is a co-op the designers did not seem to mind creating partially unbalanced characters. I have played through almost all of the expansion characters, and some of them are just straight up less powerful than others, and that is ok, it just becomes part of the challenge of each game.
Player turns are quick to manage, and you rarely are sitting long doing nothing. Finally, as I have already alluded to, there is a TON of content available for this game. And when I say there is a ton, I am referring to official stuff, there is also a whole bunch of fan made characters, that I believe, have the blessing of Greater than Games.
I think the game variants introduced after the core game are hit or miss for various people. The villain team fights, I personally think are really great, but I know a lot of people that despise them. The final expansion is one that I have not yet gotten to play, but the overwhelming feedback I have gotten is that it is super thematic, but is a bit of a slog…that said, I can’t wait to try it myself!
The game can become quite fiddly on occasion. Some of the villains can really pile up the cards, and tracking health can start to become a little overwhelming, as can making sure you are properly tracking how cards interact. It is not uncommon in some games to have this exchange.
“Who has the most health? Ok you both are equal, so why don’t you (A) take the damage because you can reduce it by one. The next card deals everyone damage. OK. The next card does damage to the person with the most health so that should be you right (B)?”
“No, I was actually took extra damage from that second attack, because of this card attached to me, so I do not have the most health.”
It can get out of hand sometimes…though it sure it fun. In the same vein some of the characters can be equally fiddly to play, as you find yourself tracking all kinds of things in order to operate at peak efficiency.
Bringing it all together
Sentinels of the Multiverse is, in my opinion, the best super hero game out there. You can find a hero to match absolutely any play style you have, and there will always be combinations of villains and environments to make it as challenging as you like. The theme is spot on. The game can get a little fiddly with some combos of heroes and villains as tokens and effects can start to stack up, and the other play modes are hit or miss. This is a game that will never leave my collection.
No time to read! Fighting evil!
* Wonderful art and world creation
* There is a hero for everyone
* Almost limitless combinations of heroes, villains and environments
* Game play is simple, and player turns move quickly
* Building out your hero each game, and finding synergy between heroes is awesome
* The game can get a little fiddly with tokens and card effects
* An incredible amount of content to consume in this game.
* The best super hero game on the market