As you can read in my overview for Marvel Champions, I am fan of the game. Among the many reasons is that the game is complicated enough to challenge me on solo plays, but no so complicated that I become bogged down in rules.
However, despite the well-designed Learn to Play guide Fantasy Flight Guides provide, I still missed many things on my first few playthroughs. Only after a few games–often accompanied with a thought of there is no way this is right–did I begin to have confidence that I had the rules down. Or at least to the point where I don’t think I am cheating myself out of a good, challenging game.
Here is a list of some errors I made, as well as ones that I came close to missing:
1. Pay attention to the consequential damage on ally cards
First, make sure you understand the consequential damage rules. Each ally takes incidental damage when they attack or thwart. This part I knew.
And each ally has a set amount of consequential damage they incur, which I knew. But then forgot, because…
So many of the allies take only one consequential damage when attacking or thwarting. However, some of the allies take more:
2. Your cards only ready (un-exhaust) at the end of your turn.
Luckily I figured this one out at the end of my first game. Double-dipping (defending and thwarting/attacking) with your hero is definitely a bit OP (overpowered).
Remember: if you defend against an attack, you cannot use that hero on your turn unless you have a way to make the hero ready again.
3. Make sure you note whether your cards indicate an identity mode (hero or alter-ego) that you need to be in order to use.
This is a mistake I have seen happen in others games (e.g., streams on Youtube) and one I have had to backtrack myself after realizing what I have done. This is a constraint imposed by the game that makes for interesting during your turns. For example, it can dictate the sequencing of your plays.
4. Note the differences in hand size between your hero and alter ego.
Luckily I did not get this one wrong. The difference in hand size is a key element to balance staying in hero mode vs. alter ego mode. Heroes like She-Hulk have noticeably lower hand size (only 4!). Iron Man is another special case: hero hand size is entirely dependent on other cards in play.
5. Running out of cards in your deck will cost you an encounter card (but not until the end of the villain’s turn!)
When I read through the rules, I picked up on the penalty for needing to reshuffle your deck after running out of cards. However, I missed that the encounter card is not revealed until the standard time during the villain’s turn. Not immediately!
6. Card types matter
Pay attention to a card’s type: does it indicate it is an attack or thwart? If so, then a tough status card will stop it (attack) or it may be returned to hand by Ms. Marvel’s hero ability.
7. Villains maintain changes when moving up a level
During my first few playthroughs, I avoided moving the villain up a stage if they were stunned because for some reason I thought changing stage reset the villain. Somehow I did not apply this favorably (i.e., I would leave upgrades in place).
To be clear: villains retain status (stunned, tough, confused) and all upgrades if you defeat them and they move up to the next stage.
8. Make sure to boost any attack/scheme by the villain.
Villains attacks/schemes are boosted no matter when that attack or scheme occurs.
9. When Revealed actions are not taken when revealed for boost
The When Revealed action on encounter cards is not applied when the card is being revealed for boost effects. Instead, you must look at the card to see if there is an additional boost effect when revealed (i.e., not only the icons in the bottom right hand corner, but also in the card text).
10. Slow down and do all actions
Not so much rule mistake, but just a reminder that enforcing all game rules is on you (and your teammates if playing cooperative). Just take your time and enjoy the game.
Make sure to scheme. Boost your villain’s attacks/schemes. Perform the action of the side scheme, or take into account crisis mode.
Nothing ruins a good game session like realizing you didn’t do something right!