Kickstart This! #182: Marvel United
Designers: Andrea Chiarvesio (Hyperborea, Kingsburg, Signorie), Eric M. Lang (Arcadia Quest, Arcadia Quest: Inferno, Blood Rage, Chaos in the Old World, Cthulhu: Death May Die, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game 2nd Edition, The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire, Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation, Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men, Marvel Dice Masters: Uncanny X-Men, The Others, Quarriors!, Rising Sun, Star Wars: The Card Game, Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, Warhammer: Invasion, XCOM: The Board Game)
Artist: Edouard Guiton (Council of 4, Massive Darkness, Zombicide, Zombicide Season 2: Prison Break, Zombicide Season 3: Rue Morgue)
Publisher: CMON Limited (Arcadia Quest, Arcadia Quest: Inferno, Blood Rage, Blue Moon City, Council of 4, Cthulhu: Death May Die, Dogs of War, Dragon Castle, Ethnos, Gizmos, The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire, The Grizzled, Lorenzo il Magnifico, Massive Darkness, Modern Art, Newton, The Others, Potion Explosion, Railroad Ink: Blazing Red Edition, Railroad Ink: Deep Blue Edition, Rising Sun, Unfair, Xenoshyft: Onslaught, Zombicide, Zombicide: Black Plague, Zombicide: Green Horde, Zombicide Season 2: Prison Break, Zombicide Season 3: Rue Morgue)
Genre/Mechanisms: cooperative game, fighting, miniatures
Funding Status: At the time of this posting, Marvel United is already fully-funded. Pledges currently total almost 17x the initial funding goal, with less than 8 hours left to go on the campaign (we’ve held off posting until all of the expansions were included, and to try to include as many stretch goal figures as possible, which are still rolling out, even at this late hour)!
Player Count: 1-4
Solo Mode: yes
What It’s About: “A chibi-style, card-driven, fast-paced, cooperative miniatures game where players take control of Marvel Super Heroes and band together to thwart the master plans of the most dangerous Villains in the universe.”
How It Works: Players place 3 Mission Cards, and randomly select (or not) a Villain and 6 Locations as well as their player characters. Each player starts with 3 cards; together the Heroes must successfully defeat the game’s Villain, but to do that, they must first accomplish at least 2 of the 3 Missions (which include Rescuing Civilians, Defeating Thugs, and Resolving Threats).
Heroes take turns in clockwise turn order, performing the following actions in order each turn: 1) Draw a Card, 2) Play a Card, 3) Resolve Actions, 4) Resolve Location Effect. Resolving Actions are how Heroes Move, Attack, and take Special Actions. Wild icons allow players to spend them to accomplish any of the three Actions, and players can also use previously acquired Action Tokens for additional Movement, Attacks, and Special Actions. The goal of the game is for players to damage the Villain and defeat them, which as mentioned above, can only happen after the Heroes accomplish at least 2 Missions. Also, the Villain will move around the various Locations each turn, necessitating the Heroes movement and preventing them from simply remaining in a single location while they Attack.
The Hero players win once the Villain is defeated; they lose if the Villain completes their Master Plan. Completing their Master Plan happens if any of the following 3 conditions are fulfilled: 1) the Villain achieves the victory condition on its Dashboard, 2) the Villain must draw a Master Plan card but its deck is empty, or 3) any Hero starts their turn with no cards in either their hand or deck.
Comparisons: There are already several Marvel co-op games where the heroes face off against Villains together, from Legendary: A Marvel Deck-Building Game to Marvel Champions: The Card Game to Thanos Rising, with Marvel Villainous on its way. Of those, Thanos Rising and Marvel Villainous are probably the most direct comparisons because of their light complexity and use of card/icon actions. Another good comparison is the upcoming Dice Throne Adventures, which features similar gameplay and miniatures. However, both Thanos Rising and the Dice Throne series are heavily dependent on dice rolling, a mechanic not featured in Marvel United.
What Should I Pledge?:
$60 United Pledge: includes the Marvel United core box, the Nick Fury & Hawkeye Exclusive Heroes, the Corvus Glaive Exclusive Villain, and all applicable stretch goals (see the KS Exclusive section for a list of characters included in the stretch goals).
$90 Infinity Pledge: includes everything in the United Pledge, plus the Infinity Gauntlet and Rise of the Black Panther expansions.
$190 Ultimate Pledge: includes everything in the Infinity Pledge, plus the Return of the Sinister Six Expansion, Tales of Asgard Expansion (including Beta-Ray Bill), Guardians of the Galaxy Remix Expansion (including Gamora), and the Enter the Spider-verse Expansion (including Spider-Ham).
$35 Return of the Sinister Six Expansion: includes Doctor Octopus, Electro, Kraven, Mysterio, Sandman, and Vulture (all Villains).
$30 Infinity Gauntlet Expansion: includes Black Dwarf, Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight, Thanos, and Vacuform Gauntlet with 6 Plastic Stones.
$25 Enter the Spider-Verse Expansion: includes Ghost Spider, Miles Morales, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man, and Green Goblin (Villain)
$25 Rise of the Black Panther Expansion: includes Black Panther, Shuri, Winter Soldier, and Killmonger (Villain).
$25 Guardians of the Galaxy Remix Expansion: includes Gamora, Groot, Rocket, Star-Lord, and Ronan (Villain).
$25 Tales of Asgard Expansion: includes Beta-Ray Bill, Korg, Thor, Valkyrie, and Loki (Villain).
$20 Cardboard Locations: includes 44 cardboard tiles.
The Infinity Gauntlet Expansion and Return of the Sinister Six are KS-Exclusives. So while the other 4 expansions will probably go to retail, Infinity Gauntlet and Return of the Sinister Six will not. Gamora is a KS-Exclusive in the Guardians of the Galaxy Expansion, as is Beta-Ray Bill in the Tales of Asgard Expansion and Spider-Ham in Enter the Spider-Verse. While those three expansions will probably go to retail, they’ll do it with 4 figures each instead of 5. Rise of the Black Panther is the only expansion likely to go to retail in the same state it appears on Kickstarter. The Playmat is also a KS-Exclusive. Nick Fury, Hawkeye, and Corvus Glaive are all KS-Exclusive figures, but so is the following list of stretch goal figures that will be included in all pledge levels, but won’t be included in retail versions: Heroes America Chavez, Black Cat, Drax, Elektra, Ghost Rider, Howard the Duck, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Mantis, Mockingbird, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, Nova, Okoye, She-Hulk, Spider-Man 2099, Spider Woman, Squirrel Girl, and War Machine; and Villains Bullseye, Carnage, Hela, Kingpin, Rhino, and M.O.D.O.K.
So what figures aren’t KS-Exclusive? Well, the 5 Heroes in the regular box, Black Widow, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Hulk, and Iron Man; as well as the 3 Villains, Red Skull, Taskmaster, and Ultron. Also, Black Panther, Shuri, Winter Soldier, & Killmonger in the Rise of the Black Panther Expansion; Groot, Rocket, Star-Lord, and Ronan in the Guardians Expansion; Korg, Thor, Valkyrie, and Loki in the Tales of Asgard Expansion; and Ghost-Spider, Green Goblin, Miles Morales, and Spider-Man in the Enter the Spider-Verse Expansion. But remember, Gamora, Beta-Ray Bill, and Spider-Ham will be left out of their respective expansions in their retail editions. Also, each of these four expansions will sell separately at retail. And finally, this list of non-KS-Exclusive stretch goal figures will likely make it to retail in some form, perhaps in collections or sold individually: Ant-Man, Blade, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Dormammu (Villain) Falcon, Punisher, Scarlet Witch, Shang Chi, Venom, Vision, and Wasp.
All-In Total: In the continental U.S., you’re looking at $190 for the Ultimate pledge, $25 for the Playmat, $20 for the Cardboard Locations, and an estimated $45 in shipping (the campaign estimates shipping at $15, but for the base game only) for a total of $280.
Marvel United completes its Kickstarter on Wednesday, March 4th and tentatively ships in March 2021.