Like capes, spandex, and of course, powers. Teamwork is a core fundamental demonstrated by superheroes. Whether it’s the Avengers or the BRPD, heroes forming a team is celebrated and formulaic to the point of being a trope. Greater Than Games’ board game, Sentinels of the Multiverse, brings this idea to the table for you and your friends to explore.
Sentinels of the Multiverse - Gameplay
Sentinels of the Multiverse is a cooperative card game where players take the roles of different heroes and battle against a deck representing the villain and a deck representing the environment where the battle is taking place. Within the core box of Sentinels of the Multiverse, you’ll find a whopping 578 cards. These are broken down into ten heroes, four villains, and four environments, each with their respective decks.
On top of that, there is a slew of tokens to use for tracking health and other in-game effects that occur. There are also oversized plastic dividers to help keep your collection separated and neat. The rulebook included is very simple to follow and even has a breakdown of the different rounds printed on the back as to help everyone know what to do and when. Overall, these are well produced, but the challenge of sleeving nearly 600 cards for a base set is daunting. The artwork for this game is done by in-house artist Adam Rebottaro, who does an excellent job of capturing the style of many comic book heroes. All of the cards have unique portraits that help to really show you what exactly is going on with the ability.
Setting up the game is simple. There is no proper game setup. Players may find themselves stuck deciding which heroes, villains, and environments to play with. There are several ways to resolve this; players can simply decide or there are a variety of randomization programs out there, including an official application from publisher Greater Than Games. Villains will have separate rules for their starting position. These tell you which various devices or minions they have in play when the confrontation starts. A few of the heroes in later expansions have special setups, but for the most part, the pregame staging is limited to just the villains.
Sentinels of the Multiverse - Setup
After the game has been set up, Sentinels of the Multiverse’s gameplay is very straightforward. The game breaks down into three phases: the Villain's turn, the Heroes turn, and then the Environment's turn. These phases are all very similar, with cards triggering at the start, then allowing cards to be played, powers used, and other phase-specific abilities. Occasionally, some of the cards’ effects can be problematic when it’s not clear how certain actions interact. The timing isn’t always incredibly well defined, which in itself is both a weakness and a strength as it allows the players to discuss the order of events in a lot of cases. While this doesn’t directly draw away from the game, it can allow players to choose the lesser of two evils in a lot of cases and take away some of the game's intended challenge. Sentinels of the Multiverse is a cooperative game and simply winning isn’t the point; the game should have teeth and be challenging. The game does seem to suffer at times when the player maximum is reached, as, in a lot of cases, the difficulty is seemingly erased regardless of the villain's toughness. Certain fights don’t seem to be fully balanced with a full suite of five heroes in them, while others seem only manageable at full capacity. This isn’t a weakness, but it does hamper its ability to be a party game.
The game, even in its core set, brings with it a wealth of replayability. The configurations for this game are seemingly endless. Between the number of villains, heroes, and environments, you can play a different game every time. With every deck in Sentinels being unique, even repeat games can prove to be different. The added element of randomness does a lot to alter the difficulty of everything. Sometimes the lower-difficulty villains are seemingly unkillable whilst the harder-difficulty villains have been brushed aside. This game can truly be a unique experience every time, even with the same decks in play.
Sentinels of the Multiverse -
One of the other great draws of this game is simply the fact that it truly does make you feel as though you are a Sentinel of the Multiverse. Coordination between players is an absolute must, and whether you are planning to deliver a massive blow to your villain or simply mitigate the environment, this is a great example of a cooperative game. Cooperation is not the only way things are done, however, and individual players are still able to shine on their own. Whether you’re facing down evil genius Baron Blade on the Wagner Mars Base before he can drop the moon into Earth or squaring off against Citizen Dawn in downtown Megalopolis, the game does a great job of delivering the promise of a superpowered beatdown.
Greater Than Games has done a magnificent job with Sentinels of the Multiverse. The core set alone is enough to sate any superhuman appetite for board games. From it’s almost campy and very much stylized artwork to its straightforward rules, this game truly is a home run for the publisher. Its only true weaknesses are the dumbing down at five players and the sometimes vague quality of a few rules interactions. For any fans of cooperative board games and/or superheroes, I very highly recommend this game to you. Go ahead and bolt down to your local game store for a copy today!
TechRaptor reviewed Sentinels of the Multiverse with a copy provided by the publishers. This review was originally published on 08-08-2014. While care has been taken to update the piece to reflect our modern style guidelines, some of the information may be out of date. We've left pieces like this as they were to reflect the original authors' opinions, and for historical context.