Knight Models have been known for a while now as the team who brought us the Batman Miniatures Game, now they have released the Marvel Universe Miniature Game and today we’re going to have a quick first impression review of the game that is fast becoming not only a favourite among wargamers but also serving as a gateway into the hobby for many Marvel and general comic book fans alike…
The Marvel Universe Miniature Game is a skirmish wargame in which you assemble teams of superheroes or Super villains (coming soon) and pit them against one another in one of the several different scenarios provided in the basic rule book along with extra scenarios included in the starter set boxes.
That’s the basic premise behind the game, so now let’s look at the game in a bit mechanics in a bit more detail:
- Players assemble a hero team worth a specified points amount, the basic rulebook states a points total of 50 points and this will easily build a team of 3-5 heroes.
- Each game round has a random first player, this starting player is determined by placing a token for each player into a bag and then drawing 1 out – the player token drawn will be the starting player for this round.
- Once the starting player has been decided each player then takes turns to activate a single hero from their team until each team has activated all their heroes, at this point the next round will commence with a new starting player selected.
- When a hero is activated, it has a number of Action Points equal to its power attribute, which can be spent on different actions such as moving, attacking etc, however they also have the option to bank their actions so they can be used outside they’re own activation. The more a character is hurt, the less power it has.
- While many actions use stats off of the character cards to determine their outcome actions like attacking use dice to determine the outcome, the Marvel Universe Miniature Game uses D8 die rather than the usual D6 many gamers know and love but the premise is the same the attacker rolls 2 D8 and adds it to the attack value on the character card, this is then compared to the defence stat on the defenders character card and the difference between the 2 values is the amount of damage done.
- Any rolls to attack etc that have a double result are considered ‘critical hits’ all attacks which result in a critical hit will gain +1 to the result and some characters will gain special attributes from a ‘critical hit’.
- To perform an attack you must first determine if the attacker has line of site to the target this is done by checking the size attribute on the character card for a hero’s height whilst the bar of the model determines the width of the model (this creates a cylinder representing the space the hero occupies) if a head sized portion of this area can be seen then the defender is deemed to be within the attacker’s line of site.
- Heroes can also interact with the environment in the form of throwing scenery – this is measured against your hero’s strength; the stronger he is the larger scenery you can throw.
Hopefully that quick summary gives you a basic grasp of how the rules work for the Marvel Universe Miniature Game now let’s look at the minis and what you need to get playing:
- 1 x 50 point team of heroes per player (a starter box is perfect though).
- 3 – 5 x D8 die per player.
- 1 x Tape measure.
- 1 x 3’ X 3’ playing area (36 inches X 36 inches or 92 cm X 92 cm).
- 1 x first player token per player (although one of each player’s die could be used instead if they are different colours).
- 1 x bag for player tokens.
- A LOT of scenery…
Now as you can see the majority of the items needed to play Marvel Universe Miniature Game are pretty much staples of any miniature wargamers arsenal of accessories. Scenery plays a big part in many wargames these days especially skirmish games so many gamers will already have mass amounts of terrain laying around, however if you don’t boxes of terrain laying around the good news is that terrain that can bought at very competitive prices these days from almost all retailers such as Nerdvana Gaming or if budget is a worry then it can be made at home very cheaply from items laying around the house.
Having addressed all the essentials of the game from rules to what you need to play let’s get to the meat & potatoes of this review…just how does this game play…well I can say I really enjoyed playing the Marvel Universe Miniature Game, it’s simple rules make it really easy to just pick up and play with anyone with very little teaching time.
The quality of the minis is really good and the starter sets make starting up a team (or 2!) really affordable, this aspect really appealed to the painter in me (no matter how bad I am) as there is something really cinematic about seeing a team of really well known superheroes painted to the best of your ability ready to duke it out with a worthy opponent. Which leads me onto the strongest point of playing the Marvel Universe Miniature Game – its cinematic nature, Knight Models really nailed the cinematic feel of the Marvel movies helping to bring it to the tabletop in the form of the Marvel Universe Miniature Game, to have Iron Man throwing a car at Cyclops downtown whilst Captain America and Wolverine trade blows down in the dock yard the game oozes theme making each game feel like one of the stunning set pieces in we all know and love from a summer superhero blockbuster!
The only real drawback to the Marvel Universe Miniature Game is that at the time of this review there are very few models available with starter sets only available for the Avengers, the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy with the planned upcoming release of the Brotherhood of Mutants. Also Knight Models have stated that the Brotherhood of Mutants will not be a starter set and so will not include a small form copy of the rules like the starter sets, however Knight Models have also announced that the rule book included in the starter sets will now be available as a free to download PDF from their website. I personally think that releasing the rules as a free to download PDF is a great idea to bring more new people to the game, also with a starter set costing just £27.99 from Nerdvana Gaming it’s not a terrible cost to get into this great little game.
I can honestly say that the Marvel Universe Miniature Game really is a great fun to play skirmish game with a solid yet easy to teach rule set, whilst it isn’t perhaps the most in depth skirmish game, for me it brings something different (quite literally) to the table and that is the cinematic atmosphere it generates, the fast paced game play and the ingenious implementation of scenery interaction when combined with some stunning minis and a great use of the Marvel I.P makes this great little pick up and play game something I strongly urge anyone to try.
Whilst I would say that the lack of minis at the moment could be concerning for anyone looking to get into the game I think it’s safe to say that Knight Models have proven that they stand behind their I.P products when you consider the size of the Batman Miniatures Game they have also released.
Finally all I can say in conclusion is get me some @%£&*€¥ Chimichangas coz I’ve got a Deadpool to paint for my X-Men team!