As Uncle Ben once wisely said: “with great power comes great responsibility.” It’s a piece of advice that publishers of the past unfortunately didn’t always pay attention to when releasing Marvel board games. Avoiding the shallow cash-grabs lurking amongst the piles and piles of board games featuring Captain America, Black Widow, The Hulk and more heroes from the MCU and comics may require a heroic feat, but luckily enough, Dicebreaker is here to help.
We’ve created a list of the best Marvel board games on the market so that you can spend more time playing great games containing the superheroes you love, rather than wishing that you were watching Spider-Man 3 instead of experiencing some terrible licensed title. From co-op board games featuring the likes of Storm and Wolverine, to quick card games containing Captain Marvel, this list of the greatest board games for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will set you on the right path
Best Marvel board games
- Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
- Marvel Dice Masters
- Marvel United
- Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power
- 5-Minute Marvel
- Marvel: Strike Teams
- Love Letter: Infinity Gauntlet
- Marvel Champions: The Card Game
- Thanos Rising: Avengers Infinity War
- X-Men: Mutant Insurrection
With Marvel being more popular than it’s ever been before, now’s the time to lure your friends into playing board games with you via the appeal of their favourite MCU characters. How could they resist a board game with Captain America and The Hulk, that also happens to be really great, too? To give you some ideas to indulge your love of the comics, films and TV shows, here’s our list of the best Marvel board games.
1. Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
Build a deck of Marvel’s greatest heroes to fight its meanest villains
We’re starting this list with an absolute classic, Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game. Players begin the deckbuilding game by choosing a mastermind from a selection of well-known villains, such as Magneto and Loki. Each antagonist has their own collection of attack cards and henchpeople whom the players will need to work together to defeat, before the mastermind’s scheme can come to full fruition.
Luckily for the players, they’ll have the help of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on their side, with the option to recruit characters like Spider-Man, The Hulk and Wolverine to their side. Over the course of the game, players will be creating their own decks by purchasing cards from a shared marketplace that’s made up of the hero decks they selected at the start. Players may start with some unimpressive cards, but they’ll gradually accrue a collection of powerful allies to utilise against the mastermind’s cronies.
There are several ways for the players to lose Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game, including letting too many villains escape or taking too many wounds, so they’ll have to gather enough fighting power to take the mastermind down quickly. The tension created by this ticking clock is what makes Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game work so well, because it captures the players’ attention in a similar fashion to Avengers: Infinity War’s desperate race to stop Thanos.
2. Marvel Dice Masters
Roll the bones to kick some ass in this extensive series of dice games
Marvel Dice Masters is a series of dice-rolling games in which various superheroes from the comics universe have been shrunken down into an adorable little die. All joking aside, Marvel Dice Masters comes from the minds of the co-designers of Quarriors!, which is a great dice game in its own right, and offers a surprising amount of depth.
Beginning with the release of Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men, the two-player game has its combatants going head-to-head with their chosen teams of superheroes. Each team, which consists of 20 dice, will have strengths and weaknesses based on the types of dice they contain. Players might want to purchase certain dice from their team in order to increase the probability of getting certain symbols. What these dice do is shown on each hero’s reference card, with every symbol resulting in a different ability being activated.
Whichever player manages to reduce the health of their opponent’s team to zero is named the winner of the game. Marvel Dice Masters is a great series for players who want a straightforward game that allows them to use some of their favourite characters from the comics.
3. Marvel United
A co-op game with a striking artstyle that pits players against the like of Ultron and the Red Skull
There are quite a number of co-op board games on this list - considering the themes of working together against a great evil is a common one in Marvel stories - so how does Marvel United manage to stand out? Besides its striking chibi art-style, which manages to make the stoic Captain America look positively adorable, it’s Marvel United’s gameplay that makes it so special.
The setup for the game is very straightforward - the players each choose from a selection of different classic Marvel characters, from Captain Marvel to Iron Man, and must collaborate to thwart the evil schemes of a particular villain. How they go about this is interesting, as player placement and turns happen in a very particular way. Players are able to lay down a card from their hand in order to perform an action, such as attacking a henchperson, but will also be able to use certain actions from the card the person before them played.
Deciding what card to play isn’t only determined by what the player wants to do on their turn, but also what the players after them might want to do. This mechanic - alongside the need to stay on top of the villains’ various schemes - is what makes Marvel United such a good co-op game, as it forces players to be very vocal about their plans and strategise together, just like the real Avengers might.
4. Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power
Become the baddie in this board game about seizing power before anyone else
Based on the formula laid down by Disney Villainous, Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power ditches animated antagonists in favour of the baddies found across the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With almost every other entry on this list being about playing the hero, it makes a nice change of pace to be able to indulge your darker side.
Featuring the likes of Thanos, Hela, Ultron, Kilmonger and Taskmaster, this asymmetrical game - meaning that players have different objectives and abilities depending on which character they play as - encourages players to use their wits to oust their opponents and defeat those pesky heroes. Each villain has their own player board containing different locations that enable them to perform different actions, from playing enemies to defeat or speciality cards to help further their evil plans.
With every component for each villain carefully themed to fit their aesthetic - from the player pieces to the player boards - and the mechanics shifting to align with their tactical approach, the amount of care that’s been put into Marvel Villainous is really impressive and wonderful to see.
5. 5-Minute Marvel
Throw down the right cards as quickly as you can in this fast-paced co-op game
If you’re looking for a Marvel board game that’s a little lighter on the brain, but heavier on the laughs, then 5-Minute Marvel is a great pick. The clue for this one is in the name; it’s a game which entirely takes place over the span of just five minutes. Players take on the roles of different superheroes from the Marvel universe - including Spider-Gwen and Groot & Rocket Raccoon - who each have their own unique decks.
Choosing a character won’t just be based on whether you like Captain America more than Iron Man, but on your team composition. Each villain that players come up against will have their own decks filled with enemies that require a certain number of symbols to be defeated. Players will need to ensure that their team has plenty of access to the various symbols they require to get through this gauntlet of enemies. To overcome a baddie, players will need to simply produce the necessary symbol cards, but this is obviously complicated by the time limit imposed by the game.
Things inevitably become extremely chaotic as the timer ticks down to zero, with players frantically scrabbling for whatever cards they may have to get them closer to the villain. Defeating the villain in time means that players are able to move onto their next target, whilst failure will see them attempting to win against the same antagonist again and again. This may sound frustrating, but thanks to the short playtime, it’s actually really fun - a great quick game for a lighter games night for family get-together.
6. Marvel: Strike Teams
A dungeon-crawler game where players can recreate some classic Marvel battles
It’s an undeniable fact that one of the most popular aspects of the Marvel comics and films are the epic battles between the superheroes and their dreaded nemesis. There’s a reason why, love it or hate it, pretty much every entry in the MCU has to end with a CGI-filled action scene, and Marvel: Strike Teams knows that too. A dungeon-crawling game for two people, Marvel: Strike Teams enables players to recreate or envision big Marvel battles of their own.
Part of the beloved HeroClix line of games, Marvel: Strike Teams features the likes of Captain America and Iron - alongside lesser known characters such as Quake and Agent May - as well as a selection of villains such as the Winter Soldier and Baron Strucker, in a title that encourages players to think carefully about where they place their units. Not only can characters attack using their own unique abilities, but they can also use the environment to their advantage by picking up and throwing pieces of it at their enemies.
Players can choose to play either standalone battles against one another or in an overarching campaign that’s made up of multiple sessions. Choosing the campaign will allow players to improve their heroes and villains’ abilities between battles, imbuing the whole experience with a sense of progression. For a dungeon-crawler with great Marvel characters and fun gameplay mechanics, you could do worse than Marvel: Strike Teams.
7. Love Letter: Infinity Gauntlet
A twist on the beloved deduction card game that’s more than just a different theme
Due to the popularity of the original game, there are many, many different versions of Love Letter out there, including one featuring Batman characters from Marvel’s rival comics company: DC. Most of these are simple re-themes that keep most of the gameplay mechanics from the base game, but with one or two extra elements like characters from a known property or roles with abilities unique to that version.
However, Love Letter: Infinity War does more than just add a Marvel-coloured coat of paint to the traditional formula. Rather than attempting to secure the affections of a princess, players in this quick card game will be working together against one other player who takes the role of Thanos. Whilst the player controlling Thanos will be trying to gather all of the Infinity Stone cards or defeat every one of their opponents, the other players will be trying to steadily whittle down Thanos’ life-energy by playing particular cards against them. As in the original game, certain cards will have certain effects - for example, some of which will force a player to discard cards - which the heroes will have to use against Thanos.
This presents a very interesting way to play a game like Love Letter, as players will need to coordinate their efforts against a single opponent, rather than trying to gradually pick their rivals off. It’s certainly very different from the usual Love Letter experience, but that’s almost a point in Infinity Gauntlet’s favour - as there’s nothing else quite like it out there.
8. Marvel Champions: The Card Game
Team up as iconic superheroes in a race against time to save the world
Marvel Champions: The Card Game takes the very well-worn formula of players coming together as a band of heroes to fight a classic villain, and mixes things up with its clever approach to card gameplay and challenge. A living card game from the publisher behind Arkham Horror: The Card Game, Marvel Champions manages to provide a unique experience that rewards and punishes its players in equal measure.
Players take control of one of several available superheroes - including She-Hulk and Spider-Man - and must defeat their chosen villain before it’s too late. Each villain offers a very different level of difficulty, ranging from the tricky Rhino to an undeniably hard challenge with Ultron. Herein lies the beauty of Marvel Champions; the players are able to alter their experience by selecting a particular villain, mode of play and creating a character deck that’s going to enable them to have the best possible fighting chance.
Though character decks can be easily created using the game’s guide, with different superheroes having different strengths, players can decide to customise things further if they want to. This customisation leads into the game itself, as players are free to use the cards in their hand to perform whatever actions they want on their turn, whether that’s powering their character up or switching to their alter-ego form to regain their health. Regardless, they’d better be prepared to take a beating, because Marvel Champions does not pull its punches - and is all the better for it.
9. Thanos Rising: Avengers Infinity War
Save the galaxy from the threat of the Mad Titan in this intense board game
If you’ve ever fancied having a small plastic figure of Thanos to play a tabletop game around - that isn’t one of the many, many Funko Pops - then this one is definitely for you. Thanos Rising: Avengers Infinity War is a co-op game centred around the Mad Titan himself and, more specifically, about the need to stop him before he’s able to enact his master plan of collecting all the Infinity Stones and performing that dreaded finger-snap.
As members of the Avengers, the players will need to work together to travel across the galaxy in an effort to foil Thanos’ plans, gradually neutralising his various threats using the heroes and equipment they have at their disposal. From the formidable Captain Marvel to the smashingly good Hulk-Buster suit, the players will have to gather the cards they need to stand a chance against Thanos and his forces.
The cards that players activate at different locations will enable them to roll a collection dice, whose results will determine whether they are successful in their endeavours to remove Thanos’ minions. Get the right number of symbols required, and the enemy is defeated. Fail, and the players risk taking damage and losing their allies. This may look like a very by-the-numbers licensed game, with its plastic figure and movie-inspired artwork, but Thanos Rising: Avengers Infinity War is absolutely no joke when it comes to challenge. For an easy-to-learn but tricky-to-win board game, give Thanos Rising a try.
10. X-Men: Mutant Insurrection
A co-op board game that has players protecting humanity as a team of mutant characters
A board game themed specifically around those incredible mutants, X-Men: Mutant Insurrection has players experiencing a series of scenarios inspired by classic storylines from the comics, including the Dark Phoenix saga and Hellfire Club. Featuring a gathering of all the usual mutant suspects, such as Wolverine and Rogue, as well as some more unlikely characters like Jubilee and Domino, Mutant Insurrection is based on the formula established by Elder Sign, but injects things with a distinctly Marvel twist.
During the game, players work together to roll dice and complete different tasks within a greater mission, gradually doing enough to win the day and defeat the bad guys. Each mutant has access to a different selection of dice, with the various tasks requiring the players attempting to complete them to roll a certain result to be successful. Players can try to tackle tasks together to increase their chances of getting the right rolls, but failure can sometimes lead to negative outcomes for characters - meaning that every attempt is a risk.
However, players can develop strong bonds between their characters by having them work closely together, thereby acquiring benefits and improving their abilities. Mutants can also be upgraded with new dice, which will also increase their odds when going up against new challenges. Coordinate their efforts well, and players can seize victory for Professor X and his crew, but Mutant Insurrection is certainly no challenge for the faint of heart. As Samantha said in their review of the game: "The clever marriage of tactical gameplay, flavour and comic-book lore makes X-Men: Mutant Insurrection an adventure worth sharing".