I’m quite fond of Sentinels of the Multiverse. I enjoy the cooperative card driven game-play, the superhero theme and the characters who give a wink and a nod to existing popular comic book characters while still managing to stand on their own. Sentinel Tactics takes many of those same characters and places them at the center of a skirmish battle game. If you are interested in the superhero theme, like dice chucking and head to head combat, then Sentinel Tactics will be right up your alley.
Sentinel Tactics gives players two different modes of play. Players just looking to fly, run and swing around the city while punching, shooting and freezing each other into oblivion can set the map tiles in any configuration they wish and begin skirmishing quickly. Players looking for a more focused experience have the option of playing one of the game’s included scenarios, which come in books that look just like comic books—a neat touch that really helps sell the theme of the game.
The skirmish game is fairly straightforward. Players choose heroes and then slug it out using their character’s various powers until a winner is declared. One of the greatest strengths of the skirmish matches in Sentinel Tactics is that they can be set up and ready to play in a heartbeat. Players simply need to set up a few tiles to be used as a battlefield, choose characters and begin chucking dice for supremacy. The skirmish mode can be spiced up with the addition of various different types of terrain and by playing in team games and free-for-alls, but for the most part it’s exactly what you’d expect out of a head to head skirmish game.
The scenarios in the game add a bit of meaning and focus for players who want more than just a knock down, drag out fight to the finish. Each of the three included books contains a few scenarios that follow a shared theme and storyline and can be played as a mini-campaign. The scenarios generally list at least one character that must be played and often play out in a hero versus villain setting in which the heroes and villains are tasked with accomplishing certain goals while competing against each other.
There are a few odd bits about the game, the most notable of which is the attack mechanic. Each attack shows how many dice can be used for that attack and lists which numbers are hits and which are automatic misses. This system is fine although it almost seems arbitrary as to which numbers were chosen to be misses for each attack. Ultimately that’s more of a personal nit-pick than a complaint though, as it doesn’t negatively affect the game other than feeling a bit odd. Overall, the combat rules are easy to understand and the different attacks and powers feel varied and interesting.
One of the best things about the game are the decks of power cards that each hero has. These decks give each hero access to a number of different powers to use but limit each character to only using a certain number at any given time. This mechanic adds a neat layer of strategy to Sentinel Tactics as players try to not only outmaneuver and outfight one another, but also try to anticipate which powers will be most effective at any given time. This also can lend the game a “move, counter move” feel as players try to adjust their active powers to best counteract the active powers of their opponents.
A note on player count: Sentinel Tactics plays 2 – 8 players fairly easily. The scenarios are limited in how many players can play each, but setting up a skirmish to play in teams of players or as an all out free for all is easy and fun and doesn’t bog the game down too badly as the game plays at a brisk pace.
A note on “chrome”: Sentinel Tactics takes an interesting approach to its components. In a genre that usually revolves around miniatures, Sentinels Tactics takes a different approach and provides tokens only. This is a great idea, as the price point is much lower than it would be if the box was full of miniatures and because the plastic miniatures are available as a separate purchase. Players who want to add the plastic to the game can do so while players who simply wish to play the game without having to worry about miniatures can do so with ease.
The components included in the game are well-done and the art is consistent and matches the Sentinels Comics universe perfectly. The boards themselves are a bit washed out but all of the other art is cartoony and excellent. The theme is consistent and strong throughout the components, especially with the scenario books that look just like comic books.
The bottom line:
Sentinel Tactics is a fun skirmish game. It makes good use of the existing characters established in Sentinels of the Multiverse and its various expansions, allowing players to pit their favorite characters from the Sentinel Comics universe against one another in straight skirmish battles or as part of pre-constructed scenarios.
The heroes look, feel and play differently, the rules are easy to understand and players can get a game set up and going with very little setup time. Having tokens in the game box instead of miniatures is a great idea and a good way to get players who don’t want to bother with miniatures playing the game quickly while keeping the price point down. Fans of the Sentinel Comics universe and gamers who want a fun skirmish game with a superhero theme should definitely give Sentinel Tactics a look.
Get this game if:
You like dice based combat.
You want to play as a superhero and duke it out with other super powered characters.
You love the idea of hobby skirmish games but don’t want to mess with the “hobby” aspect.
You like the Sentinel Comics universe.
Avoid this game if:
You prefer cooperative games.
You prefer Euro-style games where players compete indirectly for victory points.
Rules for Sentinel Tactics can be found here.
The copy of Sentinel Tactics used for this review was provided by Greater Than Games.
Sentinel Tactics is a fun skirmish game for players who want to duke it out using the superheroes from the Sentinel Comics universe.