Blood Rage creator Eric Lang is adapting the world of comic books for the second time with co-op board game Marvel United, which is currently live on Kickstarter.
Marvel United is a board game for two to four players about classic superheroes such as Captain America, The Hulk, Captain Marvel, Black Widow and Iron Man fighting to overcome a nefarious villain. This villain could be Red Skull, The Taskmaster or Ultron, and players will have to work together to thwart their master plans and save the day.
The main focus of Marvel United is clearing threats on different locations by fighting henchpeople and rescuing civilians. Players must successfully complete two missions before they can directly attack the game’s villain, whom they must defeat in order to win the game. Every villain has a threat track that will increase when certain cards are drawn from their deck, or whenever a player character is knocked out during the villain’s turn.
The game begins with the players drawing three cards from their deck and the topmost card from the villain deck, before resolving whatever effects are shown on the villain card - such as moving the villain, increasing the threat track, dealing damage to hero characters or placing henchpeople and civilians on select locations. Should players ever run out of henchpeople or civilian tokens to place, then a negative villain effect is activated. For every point of damage they take players must choose to discard a card - if they ever run out of cards on the villain’s turn they are knocked out until their next turn.
Once the villain has completed their turn, the hero phase begins and players decide who goes first, with the starting player drawing one card. That player then decides which card to play, places it next to the villain card and resolves the effect - with each following player able to perform both the actions listed on their card and those shown on the cards laid before it.
This is where the co-operative element really comes into play, as players will have to carefully consider which actions are going to benefit everyone after them as well as themselves. These actions could be to move a hero, attack a henchperson, rescue a civilian, further a hero mission or - with a wild symbol - doing any of the above.
Some hero cards have unique effects listed on them, such as giving another player a wild symbol to use, whilst some locations allow players to perform certain actions if they end their turn there.
Players lose the game if the villain’s threat track reaches its max, if the villain’s hand is depleted or if a hero’s hand is depleted on their turn.
According to a comicbook.com interview with co-designer Eric Lang the game has been in development for two years and was intentionally designed to allow for plenty of future expansions, saying: “You bet there will be extra characters. [...] One of our design mantras is fan service to the max, sometimes with a few twists maybe you didn’t see coming.”
Lang previously created collectible dice game Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men with Quarriors! co-designer Mike Elliott, making Marvel United the next major comic book project from the designer.
Marvel United was co-designed by Andrea Chiarvesio, who was responsible for creating resource-collecting title Kingsburg and historical Renaissance board game Signorie.
The Kickstarter campaign for Marvel United will run until March 5th, with a pledge of $60 (around £47) getting a copy of the core game. Marvel United is estimated to arrive sometime in March 2021.