Marvel Champions Card Game: A Game Of Strategy And Dedication

Marvel Champions Card Game - Cover Photo

Life wouldn’t be quite the same without Spider-man, Hulk, Iron man, Captain America, Black Panther, Thor, Agent Venom, and all the other Marvel champions! They bring to us great adventures, life-changing experiences, and powerful messages.    

This Marvel Champions card game is made for you to relive all the stories and enables you to be the main characters in your very favorite movies and series. If you wanna watch Marvel, but you also don’t wanna watch Marvel because you already know every single line by heart, play this card game instead. It takes a while to master, has very creative illustrations, and contains some catchy equipment. 

Let’s dive into the details, you marvelites!

  • Questions & answers;
  • The box & cards;
  • Instructions: how to play it;
  • My game experience;
  • Buying the game & competitors;
  • Extra packs;
  • Wind up;

Questions & Answers About The Game

  1. When was this game released?
  • The Marvel Champions card game was released on November 1st, 2019.
  1. Who makes the Marvel Champions card game?
  • The game is designed by Michael Boggs, Nate French & Caleb Grace, and it is published by Fantasy Flight Games.
  1. Out of curiosity, what are the box’s dimensions?
  • It is 3.15 x 9.84 x 11.42 inches, or 8 x 25 x 29 cm.
  1. How many cards are inside the box?
  • The base game contains over 350 cards, 100 tokens, and much more useful stuff.
  1. What is the appropriate age to play this card game?
  • Marvel Champions can be played by people over the age of 14.
  1. How many people can play at once?
  • It works best with 1 to 4 players.
  1. Does it have any extra packs?
  • Yes, there are around 30 other packs, editions, and expansions. We’ll get to that later!
  1. What is the point of the game?
  • The game, in simple words, is about living your favorite characters’ lives, fighting and battling malicious villains, always trying to stop them from carrying out their malevolent plans. 

The Box & The Cards

My guilty pleasure is judging card games boxes and their designs. Someone has to do it! Take a look at the Marvel Champions box:

Marvel Champions Box

I mean, isn’t it super pretty? It is artwork! You may find dozens of Marvel champions illustrated on the front side of the box, which tells a lot about who they represent. There’s the game name on top and some little details about the game and its designers on the bottom. We definitely adore each element… 

Shall we continue on the back? Yeah, we do!

Marvel Champions - Back Of The Box

Oh, all these beautiful things. Michael, Nate, Caleb, good job mates! Do you want me to explain them? Aight… There’s a short description of the game, Rise To The Challenge. It shows the most active heroes in the game, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Iron Man, She-Hulk, and Captain Marvel, even though there will be more characters mentioned during the game.

On that red box, you may read about the contents of the game in detail. Yes, there are a lot! There’s also information about the publisher, copyrights, and similar stuff. 

Once you open the box, you’ll see 2 rulebooks, which give me the feeling of comics…Let’s get to the other exciting part: the cards. The lovely, charming cards! Yes, you got it, there are over 350 cards. But, more in-depth, what cards? Well, first, a considerable number of cards are divided into 3 sections: tough, confused, and stunned. 

Marvel Champions - Sections Of Cards

Also, there are separate decks for all 5 heroes, so, there are different paths and challenges for each one of them. 

Marvel Champions - Cards

Close up, this is how cards look:

Marvel Champions - Cards 1

Look at that Iron Man card. That 2 THW is the thwart value, the 1 ATK is the attack value, and the 1 DEF is the defense value. On the other hand, the 3 REC on the Tony Stark card, stands for the recovery value. On some cards, you may also find the SCH value, which means scheming. 

Let me show you some more details: 

Marvel Champions - Cards 2

Are you analytical to know what these numbers on the upper left corner mean? It couldn’t be the order of the cards, right? Let me tell you, these are the cost numbers, meaning, that is the number of resources you need to pay. Take a look at the 0 cards, the Defender. Do you see that tiny symbol in the bottom left corner? Now, does it show something? 

Yes, of course! These are the resource icons. There are 4 of them in total: mental, physical, energy & wild. 

In short words, there are these types of cards: attachment, environment, identity (including hero & alter-ego), event, minion, obligation, main scheme, side scheme, resource, treachery, support, villain, and upgrade. 

As a matter of course, there is tons of other information to be mentioned about cards, but, why don’t we do that while we explain the instructions? Let’s go! 

Instructions: How To Play Marvel Champions?

After we talked about the cards, this card game may seem a bit labyrinthine. We get that. To be honest, it isn’t as simple as the other Marvel card games we’ve mentioned at one time. Do not worry, with our detailed instructions & tips, it won’t be knotty at all! 

First, make sure you choose your hero out of the 5 available. Check the hit points written on each hero card, which tell about the hit dial. Besides the hero, you’ll also need to select the villain and a specific main scheme. 

Villains do also have hit points, but it depends on the number of players. If there are 6 written, and there are two players, you multiply that number by 2, so that villain has 12 hit points. 

This was about the setup. To finish it, all the players draw hands depending on or equal to their given hand size shown on their identity card. Keep in mind that during the play you may discard and draw as many cards as you want. Setup instructions are written on each identity card as well. You just gotta follow them! 

After everyone gets their cards and their tokens, this is what the playing area might look like:

Marvel Champions - Playing Area

During the game, you may continue discarding cards. Play one card from your hand, and then pay resources for that card. As we mentioned previously, each card has its number on the upper corner, which tells the number of resources. Next, make sure you read the instructions on each card, which tell you what to do.

Depending on each card type, here’s what their function is: 

  • Attachment stands for attachment cards, which tell you should attach to another game element or card;
  • Environment cards create a set of rules for specific scenarios during the game;
  • Identity, as mentioned before, stands for cards that represent the character you’re playing;
  • Event cards are played for immediate effects;
  • Minion, specifically minion cards represent the enemies of the heroes or villains’ supporters;
  • Obligation cards tell the specific tasks, or simply, obligations, that identities alter-ego may have to face;
  • Main scheme stands for the villain’s main objectives.
  • Side scheme cards show further distractions and barriers the heroes are faced with during their missions.
  • Treachery cards constitute tricks, disasters, strategies, tactics, and more. 
  • Support cards show the behind-the-scenes support or elements the heroes need. They may be locations, supporters, friends, and so on.
  • Villain cards obviously represent villains, which are the heroes’ primary enemies. 
  • Upgrade cards are cards that show each identity’s strength, powers, equipment, attacks, and other assets related. 

The game explained simply goes through these main phases: The player phase, player turn & end of the player phase, villain phase, main scheme, activation, enemy attacks & schemes (for the villains and minions), deal (the encounter cards), reveal, pass the first player token, and end the round.

When the player’s phase ends, you have to complete these steps: discard as many cards as you want, but, if you have more cards than your hand size, discard your cards down to that size.If you have less cards, draw cards up to your character draw size. To end the phase, every player readies their cards. 

There are lots of details, aren’t there? The question is, how do we win Marvel Champions? That’s our goal! Well, all the players compete together against the villains. If the players reduce the villains’ hit points to zero, there starts the next villain stage. Once the players defeat the final villain stage, they win! 

The villain may also win the game, right? Yes. The villain wins the game in two scenarios: all the players are eliminated ( their hit points are reduced to zero), or the villain completes their scheme. The latter happens when the villain accumulates 7 threats per player. 

Now look, we would have enough to talk about the rules of this game for several hours, but, these were the most important pieces of information. You’ll find out details among the way. Anyhow, to make your life easier, here’s the pdf rulebook: Marvel Champions: The Card Game Rules Reference. It has everything on it!!!

My Game Experience: Was This Card Game As Complicated As It Seemed?

Okay, when I first read the rules I was a bit confused. My superpower is trying everything that looks complicated! This is why, I ordered the Marvel Champions card game, and decided to play it with my best friend (the only one I have, lol). Did we follow instructions? Duh, of course! 

First, we started the game by selecting our identity cards, our heroes. I chose She-Hulk, as a feminist I am, and he chose Spider-Man. Boys, the classics… Anyways, we placed them face-up so we could both see the alter-egos. Next, we took our point dials, and set the hit points, based on points written on the bottom of the cards.

Marvel Champions - She-Hulk Card
Marvel Champions - Spider-Man Card

Next, based on the rulebook, we had to set aside the obligation cards and the nemesis sets (which share a common label). Then, we shuffled our decks and placed them near the identity cards. We also selected a villain, the Rhino, and its hit points. Now we could finally start drawing cards, always based on the hand size written on our hero card. 

The game, as you know, consists of several rounds. Each round should contain one hero phase and one villain phase. It’s a cycle. Now, remember what we told you about the cards and their costs? So, we could play cards, as long as we had the requested resources. I started first, I played an ally card. I declared that that card was attacking an enemy, in our situation, Rhino.

Marvel Champions - She-Hulk Ally Card

Next, during my phase, I also triggered an action card ability in a card in play I controlled and asked my friend to do the same. When I played cards, I made sure I had enough resources to pay the cost of it. I wanted to play Ground Stomp, which had a 2 written on it. This means I had to have 2 resources. Yes, I did have them!

Marvel Champions - She-Hulk Event Card Resources

I continued drawing and playing cards, but always being careful about the damage caused by card abilities and attacks. Keep in mind that each damage on cards costs the played minus 1 hit point. On the other hand, damage dealt with another player or the villain lowers the hit points of that player, until it comes to zero, and as we mentioned in the rules, the villain advances. 

I did some more actions (let’s not dive into tiny details), and when there was nothing else left to do on my turn, I called it complete, so, my bestie started his turn. To end the phase, I discarded all the cards down my hand size and readied all my remaining cards. 

After he completed his phase, playing similar actions as mine, and also some brand new stuff, such as changing forms and some triggered actions, we proceeded to the villain’s phase. To start, we made sure we placed the threat in the main scheme. 

The villain’s goal is to attack all the players one by one. Once it attacks, the minion cards engaged with the players get activated as well. I was in alter-ego form, so, what I did was gave the villain a face-down card, which set his boost card. The villain and the minions schemed, as known already. 

We had to deal with the damage based on the SCH and ATK value. Somewhere at the end of the phase, I was the dealer, so I dealt 1 card to both of us, and next, we revealed them. I got a treachery card and based on the instructions, I had to resolve its effect and then placed it in our encounter discard pile. My friend had an attachment card, so it entered play attached to our villain.

We did these, and of course, many other actions, which would take days to mention them all, and managed to beat the villain! During the gameplay, we reduced its hit points to zero, so we went to the final villain stage, and beat Rhino again! Oh, and this is how Rhino looked, in case you’re curious:

Marvel Champions - Rhino Card

To be honest, the first time was a bit complicated. I mean, we had fun, like a lot of it, but we sweated trying to figure out what to do. I don’t remember clearly, but I don’t think we even played the game properly the first time. Anyways, after we had some ‘experience’, we started to master it. 

Our game lasted about 1 hour, but of course, the other times, we started playing faster. Just a little tip: I don’t think you should try playing it with kids. I know they love Marvel, but it’s too complex for them… 

Buying The Game & Marvel Champions’ Competition

We got it. People love it. People play it a lot. You’re probably wondering where to get the Marvel Champions card game. As always, we come up with a solution. Here’s a list of shops, and you get the game from you’re most trusted one:

Yes, it is a little pricey, but with all that equipment – and fun, it’s worth the money. Let’s continue with this card game’s competitors, shall we?

1. 5 Minute Marvel – $24.91

5 Minute Marvel

Here’s a fast-paced card game, which is also about choosing between heroes and fighting for them. 5 Minute Marvel includes 285 cards, which perform different actions. You may play this card game with 2 to 5 players, ages 8+. Has super-easy rules and doesn’t take long to understand. It also comes with a timer, this is why it can get a bit stressful while playing. It’s good stress though 🙂 Based on people’s experiences, it develops strategy & winning skills, and also encourages teamwork.

2. Cards Against Marvel – $9.95

Cards Against Marvel

Of course, CAH editions won’t miss! Cards Against Marvel is one of our favorites. Even though the game style isn’t that similar to Marvel Champions, yet, it is a big competitor, because of all the laughs it brings. It contains 944 cards inside, divided into 298 blue cards, and 644 white ones. All the content is related to Marvel, the characters, movies, scenes, and so on.  Let me tell you, the game isn’t as innocent as I made it sound. You better be prepared! 

3. Marvel Fluxx – $16.55

Marvel Fluxx

Cheers to another cool strategy game! Fluxx, especially this Marvel edition, is what brings the whole family together. It may be played by 2–6 players, starting from 8-year-old kids. There are 100 cards inside the box, and they’re both pretty unique from one another. The whole game you try to reach the goals, while making combinations of keepers, playing new rules, and adding new goals and actions. This time, you won’t play your favorite character. You’ll just have fun with them all… 

Extra Packs Of Marvel Champions Card Games

Besides the main game, the infinite fun one, there are some more packs to add some glitters! So, there are some more campaign expansions, hero packs, scenario packs, and some art sleeves & game mats. We’ll now mention what each collection contains:

Campaign Expansions

1. The Rise Of Red Skull – An expansion that adds 5 brand-new villains to the card game: Crossbones, Taskmaster, Red Skull, Zola, and Absorbing Man.

Marvel Champions - The Rise Of Red Skull

2. The Galaxy’s Most Wanted – Let the game happen in the galaxy. This expansion gives you five distinct scenarios to add to Marvel Champions.

3.  The Mad Titan’s Shadow – This is when you challenge the forces of the powerful Thanos. It includes another campaign of five scenarios, setting you against members of the Black Order.

4. Sinister Motives – Here’s when you and your fellas go down to New York City, and fight the villains together with their sinister schemes. 

* Remember that these 4 are expansion packs, meaning that to use them, you’ll need to have the base game. These packs should be added to the main pack. 

Hero Packs

1. Captain America;

Marvel Champions - Captain America

2. Ms. Marvel;

3. Thor;

4. Black Widow;

5. Doctor Strange;

6. Hulk;

7. Ant-Man; 

8. Wasp;

9. Quicksilver;

10. Scarlet Witch;

11. Star-Lord;

12. Gamora;

13. Drax;

14. Venom;

15. Nebula;

16. War Machine;

17. Valkyrie;

18. Vision;

19. Nova;

20. Ironheart;

21. Spider-Ham;

* Hero packs usually add a new hero to the Marvel Champions card game. They feature 40 new playable cards to the main game.

Scenario Packs

1. The Green Goblin;

Marvel Champions - Green Goblin

2. The Wrecking Crew;

3. The Once And Future Kang;

4. The Hood;

* The scenario packs introduce new scenarios and modular encounter sets, which will be used during the game. Can not be played as a stand-alone. 

We also mentioned art sleeves. These are simply some borderless printed sleeves to provide a great shuffle feel. Also, they’re optimized in size for Marvel Champions. There are also game mats, but, I bet you know what they are: just some protection for your cards, so they don’t get dirty. They feel like cushions… 

Tip: go to the official webpage (Fantasy Flight Games) and look for the Print-and-Play Cards, you may find some of the packs and play them without spending any money.  

A Wind-Up: Is Marvel Champions Loved By Marvel Fans? 

What we love most about the game, from our experiences, and what we heard from people, is that it creates pretty strong bonds between people playing. They all come together with one may goal: to beat the villain. It encourages teamwork and lets people develop their decision-making skills. 

We’d recommend you add other expansions to the game once you feel like getting bored from the core game. If you ever feel tired, or can’t concentrate, this game won’t help, since you need to be 100% into it. Well of course, if you don’t want the villain to beat you! 

In conclusion, here are the pros and cons of Marvel Champions:

What we likeWhat we don’t like
Creates stronger bonds between people;
Makes a great gift for all Marvelites;
Has dozens of extra packs that could be used;
You get the chance to fight for your favorite character;
Has a large number of cards;
You may play it a several times and not get bored of it;
Includes other equipment besides cards;
Develops teamwork and strategy skills.
The price is not affordable for all people;
It takes a while to understand the rules – some people think it’s very complicated.

Go get it for yourself. Or your Marvel-addicted bestie. I bet you need some fun!

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