Marvel Champions AMA Recap (5/14/2020)

FFG representatives: Michael Boggs, Designer | Evan Johnson, FFG Marketing

Link to the original AMA source
Start time: 2PM ET – 5/14/2020
FFG Live Twitch Link



What are the release plans for upcoming hero packs?

Evan: Our current plan and this is subject to change….but, the current plan is that in the United States Black Widow will release on June 5, that Friday. Doctor Strange in July. Then Hulk in August.

So basically we’re returning to one hero pack per month. With Hulk in August, we will be returning to global releases. Our current directive and strategy is to have no other country release the Hulk hero pack until August. And we’ll all get this at the same time.

“The seven Marvel releases in June” rumor includes Crisis Protocol from Atomic Games. They are not Marvel Champions products, just the Black Widow pack.

For Hawkeye’s quiver, are you supposed to shuffle the top five cards into your deck?

Boggs: No, we decided to introduce a new language with this into the game, this language will become more common. You look at the top five cards, pick the one you need then put the rest back in the same order.

Of all the cards you designed for Champions, what’s your favorite?

Boggs: It’s in the upcoming Hulk pack, it’s Toe-to-Toe. I like the playstyle and the story it brings about. I like cheesing it too as it’s not a cost but an effect. You can stun them or have tough on your character, or still defend.

Is there a card that you wish you would have designed or released differently?

Boggs: I think in retrospect the card “Great Responsibility.”

I see a lot of people overlook that card. It’s a powerful card especially in multiplayer. In retrospect we should have done a simpler effect in its place, then saved that effect for later once the playerbase understood its functionality.

Will there be reprints for errata-ed cards?

Boggs: Yes if we’ve errata-ed something we issue a reprint change with our production team, it should be fixed in reprints later.

Do allies foreshadow how future heroes will work?

Boggs: That’s an interesting question. Not necessarily.

I think it’s cool when they’re somewhat parallel. The She-Hulk ally was just spoiled. That’s something I enjoyed in testing. But that’s not a rule. We want to show the hero the best way we can. Sometimes there will be similarities, but not every time.

How do you decide how to represent each hero? Which personality, or ally versus hero?

Boggs: Generally speaking we try to represent heroes the way we feel has the broadest appeal. So we pull from multiple versions of the hero, we pull from multiple comics. It’s hard to have that greater scope but we try the best we can.

In competitive card games we often see keywords pull the game forward. How do keywords inform your design for our present mechanics and card types?

Boggs: We definitely want to introduce new keywords into the game as time goes on. But we are in a fortunate situation where we can push the boundaries of the mechanics in those current kits.

We’ll see that going forward, there are kits for each hero that help them stand out. We don’t have to rely as heavily on keywords as other games. We won’t be pushing as hard on it as some other games do.

What Marvel comics are you reading right now?

Boggs: Immortal Hulk for sure when I was doing design work on him. Every now and then I’ll try to keep updated on Ms. Marvel, as she was a character I discovered when designing her kit. There’s a whole host of comics I can’t talk about right now.

Who is your favorite villain of the new campaign box?

Boggs: I’m partial to Absorbing Man. He was one I really had to discover. Any material he touches he can turn into that, wood or whatever it is.

But when I’m playing the box, Red Skull is the villain to have at the end of the box, Caleb Grace did a great job with him. Mechanically I love Red Skull, thematically I love Absorbing Man.

If you had to open the Red Skull campaign box who would you choose as a hero?

Boggs: I would choose Spider-Woman. She’s more intricate than Hawkeye. That’s intended and I like that playstyle.

Getting boosted up on all her stats based on the number of aspect cards she’s played, that’s like a new puzzle to solve. You can do some really cool combos you can’t pull off with other characters.

Is there a mechanic from another LCG you can think of that you’d want to add?

Boggs: From Netrunner, not really. From Arkham maybe, Matt is always there to help us and has inspired a lot of our designs. Not really any I can think off of the top of my head.

A lot of people were making comparisons to Red Skull’s campaign and expected it to be Arkham Horror-esque. It’s a bit different but there is that sort of “want” there so maybe we can take some lessons down the line from Matt.

When assigning heroes to their starting aspect in their pre-built decks is it more about mechanics or theme?

Boggs: A lot of times we’ll establish the hero’s 15 cards first before we put them into an aspect. But we knew with Captain America he was going to be Leadership. We knew Hulk was going to be Aggression. For Ms. Marvel we debated for a long time between Justice and Protection.

Black Widow went Justice so Ms. Marvel was the Protection pick. We try to make sure those cards work well with the hero they come with, and that there isn’t anything too wonky.

What’s the highest Heroic level that someone from FFG has achieved?

Boggs: To my knowledge Heroic level 2. I personally haven’t seen above that. I also haven’t seen anyone beat the Klaw challenge I put in the article defeat [Klaw on Heroic level 3 while using The Doomsday Chair as the modular encounter set].

When I first wrote that article I thought about Heroic 2, but I wanted something more that people had to reach for. If it takes a few times it’s worth it, it’s nice to have that achievement.

With all the heroes, aspects and modular sets the game has a lot of replayability. But the game has the same arc to it, beating the villain down at the end with building tempo and tempo hits. Do you have plans for more encounter cards for variance?

Boggs: Oh yeah definitely. Early on in the core set and the early scenarios we didn’t want to overwhelm players with new mechanics. So we really wanted to keep things introductory and straight-forward.

Going forward we can start playing with new challenges and new mechanics that throw curveballs at players with things they haven’t seen before.

Are there plans to reblance the four aspects in the future to have identical card counts?

Boggs: We’re not necessarily striving to have identical card counts but we try to strive for balance in general. Spider-Woman we knew would upset that balance a little bit, but we keep them as close as we can.

A lot of people are going to be drawn to Aggression and Justice because they are really simple in their gameplan. There’s not a whole lot more to them in the core set and even going forward that’s our focus.

Many of the game’s side schemes are simply a combination of a regular side scheme icon or a similar effect and feel the same. Are you adding more flavor to them over time?

Boggs: Yeah for a long time in the core set we had more varied side schemes. We had forced interrupts and triggers there. But as time went on we found that it was easy to miss those things.

You’re sitting there in a two player game and looking at your stuff, sometimes it’s easier to forget things, especially with inexperienced gamers. Using those big symbols was the way to do it. Going forward there is room to spice things up and create new challenges.

If you were to make a fifth aspect what would it revolve around?

Boggs: If we did do it we’d go back to the core set development aspect that was cut. Determination’s color was purple, we had that as a fifth aspect. The idea was to deal yourself encounter cards, put threat on the main scheme or deal yourself damage to knock out the villain. That aspect didn’t stand on its own.

Some of those could be ported into other aspects. Toe-to-Toe was even a Determination card, but we changed it to Aggression and it was just as thematic. I don’t know if we’ll go back to a fifth aspect but it would be a good start and that’s where we’d go.

Will there be additional statuses or conditions added?

Boggs: Yeah we could maybe do that. If we introduced that it would have to be in a box. Though, if we wanted to play with that in the future, it would be unfair to introduce them in the Red Skull box then ask players to do different mechanics if they just bought a hero pack.

It would have to be a very thought out…planned out way. But it’s not off the table.

How much do you value balance? Is the focus on balancing all the heroes or making them more fun and unique?

Boggs: Yeah we try to make sure the cards are balanced and won’t break the game. But because we want players to feel as heroic as possible we do push the power on players a bit. As long at the end of the day those characters feel like they should and have those strong storytelling moments, that’s fine. If we do miss that mark it won’t destroy any meta or anything like that.

Evan: By the way, we aren’t pulling too many rules questions. Boggs would have to read cards and it would slow down the AMA. You can submit questions on our rules form.

Was there another name for Marvel Champions at one point?

Boggs: At the time I really liked the name Marvel Crisis. This is before we knew about Crisis Protocol. I pushed for that and there was a reason for not going that way.

Nate French actually pitched “Marvel Champions” and Andrew Navarro, who was head of the studio at the time, he completely agreed. And I think it’s fitting, I think you feel like a champion while playing the game.

Is there an ability you’ve changed on a hero, or have you ever bumped up heroes at one point, ability-wise?

Boggs: I don’t know about that, but we definitely saved ideas for later. Spider-Woman’s dual aspect mechanic was something we tried out in Hulk, because of his split personality. But it made Hulk way too thoughtful.

There should be more smashing, there’s not a lot of brain power behind that. But Spider-Woman’s double-agent spy thing allowed for that split down the middle. We ended up saving for that her, and we do that all the time and think of mechanics that are really cool and save it for another hero then come up with something different.

I want an equal number of scenarios to hero packs. What are the ratios of hero and villain packs going to be in the future?

Boggs: We talked about this early on, how we were going to release packs. We’ve explored these systems with other LCGs. There are pros and cons to both. Right now it feels like there aren’t enough scenarios to play against, but with the release of Rise of Red Skull there’s five more, which will double them and there’s more modular sets.

Going forward that number will get even bigger. In the future getting more heroes will be more exciting because you can customize those sets to your liking.

A lot of the game seems to be focused around deckbuilding for solo play. What are your plans for group play?

Boggs: So when we want to support single-player but this is a co-op game. And most of the aspects shine in that co-op aspect. We tried to create varieties for settings like single-player and vice-versa, but as far as team-ups are concerned, Black Widow and Hulk really compliment each other: smashing and controlling.

In the core set I like Iron Man and Spider-Man: Iron Man swings at the villain and Spider-Man locks down the board.

Will we see characters that work similarly? Like Scarlet Spider to Spider-Man?

Boggs: I think we’ll do it similarly to She-Hulk and Hulk. Those two are functionally the same with gamma and rage. But both She-Hulk and Hulk do things differently.
Nate French believes that there are 100s of different ways to do each character, with each iteration feeling different but still like that character. There’s a lot of ways to do that.

Is there a PVP plan? Maybe tying it to Civil War?

Boggs: We’ve talked about it. It’s been mentioned. It’s something we can maybe see it one day. I’ve heard quite a few of the same sentiments. Maybe something we’ll see down the line.

Some aspects lack enough versatility and thwart potential, especially on Heroic. We have to pick Leadership and Justice to win. Are you going to add more flexible cards to Aggression and Protection?

Boggs: Yeah we’ll see more versatility for each aspect. Each aspect should be able to succeed in their own right.

How many comics do you think you’ve read when designing characters?

Boggs: Easily over 100. Maybe 200. For the core set I wanted to delve as much as possible for the hero and villain backstories. Especially crossovers, and Ms. Marvel. For each character I want to read an entire series for sure.

Did you have a superhero you pretended to be and why?

Boggs: I have a younger brother. He’s three and a half years younger and my cousin is two years younger. I picked Spider-Man. But when I was on the playground I got stuck with Colossus as the biggest kid in my class. Colossus was cool but I secretly wanted to be Wolverine or Iceman. But I couldn’t be those, I was too tall. I still play Spider-Man today in my house though.

If you could have a beer or drink with anyone in the Marvel universe who would it be?

Boggs: Probably Peter Parker. That’s a default answer but he seems like a cool guy who has seen a lot.

Do you follow any of the custom fanmade decks? Have there been any you’ve wanted to produce?

Boggs: Honestly we don’t look at the fan made content too much. Caleb and I agree that we don’t want to cloud our vision. We don’t want to look at content and have someone say we ripped them off. Not that we would do that but we want to go in fresh.

Are X-Men a possibility based on the licenses you currently have?

Boggs: Potentially. We’re still exploring things. Both Caleb and I are huge X-Men fans. We want to do it. I hope we can down the line.

For X-Men I want to design Iceman. For Fantastic Four I’m a little less familiar with them, I’ve never really read their comics much. I saw the movie in 2005, I think that’s when it came out, but I’m not super familiar. But I would pick Sue Storm, I like her force bubbles. I don’t know how we’d represent invisibility mechanically but I’m sure we’d find a way.

How soon before we see repeating heroes with a different alter-ego?

Boggs: It would probably be a long time, if ever.

There’s a lot of new heroes we want to do but it is a possibility, if we felt it was appropriate.

How much new content is in the pipleline or designed?

Boggs: More than three waves or four waves worth. Over 20 packs are waiting.

Evan: So that’s….two years worth of releases.

How do you choose what heroes to work on for each cycle?

Boggs: We created a line plan. We have a skeleton in place kind of like how the MCU structured their movies. We have that in place for a long term plan.

For heroes that have become villains or vice-versa in the comics, will we see both sides of them in the game?

Boggs: Yeah there’s nothing stopping us from doing that.

I want to see Ghost Rider. What’s up with him?

Boggs: I don’t know a lot about him but he’s one we could see for sure.

What other lesser known characters are you thinking about?

Boggs: The big names draw people in. But lesser characters are equally important because they show that the Marvel universe is much greater than the big characters. But a lot of people are also fanatical about smaller characters like Moon Knight.

I don’t know a lot about him and haven’t read a lot of his stuff but the miniature side of the office even talks about him. We want to release as many of those characters as possible even if they haven’t made it to the big screen yet.

If someone came up to you and asked to have you sign a card for them, what would it be?

Boggs: One of Ms. Marvel’s cards or the hero card. I’m proud of her. She has a special place in my heart because she pulled me into the comics.

Is there a question you’d like to be asked?

Boggs: “How’s my day?”

Will Marvel Champions be the only Marvel game published by FFG?

Evan: I can answer that. No. And that’s all we’re going to be saying about that today.

Similar to Arkham’s “Return to” series, is there a chance to revisit old scenarios with new twists?

Boggs: Yeah we’ve talked about that. It’s something that could maybe happen down the line. We’d prefer to do new scenarios. There’s so many characters and so many situations that it would be exciting to make new content.

Are you happy with how the standard and expert sets work?

Boggs: We did that intentionally. Early on in the core set we wanted to make each villain act differently in their base activation cards.

Over time we realized that having a standard and expert set allowed us to not create the same effects over and over. Maybe down the line we’ll see an expansion or tweak on that.

If you could design any villain what would it be?

Boggs: Venom. I love Spider-Man. Venom was so big in the ’90s and he’s just a fun villain. He’d be fun to design.

Are we going to see more gameplay streams?

Evan: As soon as we can get back in the office we’ll be doing more of that. You can see something showcasing Strange, Widow and Hulk playing together. We’re looking forward to it.

Would you say Namor is a hero or villain?

Boggs: I’ll admit I’m not really knowledgeable about him, but a bit of both? Going back to the earlier villain or hero question, he could be both.

Is it hard to recall the public meta and your private design meta at the same time?

Boggs: Yes! In my head I’ll think “why don’t they like this combo?” but it hasn’t been released yet. It is a bit of a juggling act.

When will Thanos come?

Evan: It’s safe to say he will come at some point.

Boggs: Yeah it would be a missed opportunity to not do him eventually.

How has remote work impacted the design process?

Boggs: It’s made some things easier, some harder. When it’s me by myself it’s easier to get into the zone and focus. But at the same time there’s a lot of things I need to communicate with Caleb on or the art team. It’s been an adjustment but it hasn’t slowed things down and in some ways it’s sped things up and made it more streamlined.

Are there going to be street-level heroes or villains soon?

Boggs: Yeah potentially, I love Daredevil and Kingpin. Those are very fun heroes and I know Caleb likes them as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them eventually.

It sounds like the Rise of Red Skull box includes the Reality Stone. More to come?

Boggs: Maybe.

Evan: Thank you for joining us. Again, the plan is to have global releases in August again, but plans can change, things are crazy.

Marvel Champions LCG storage solutions

We’re looking to add to this list over time, so if you have a storage solution, contact us at hallofheroescontact(at)gmail.com! Not all entries will be accepted.

Your first step should be searching for Marvel Champions LCG on Etsy.

Our beginner blog also has a few storage tips and covers more topics like sleeves.


Hall of Heroes’ solutions

Hall of Heroes’ approach to storage is multi-faceted: a 3-inch binder for player cards, individual deck boxes for heroes and wooden storage boxes for encounter cards/scenarios. This is the approach we use for every single LCG.

A 3-inch binder holds all player cards for Lord of the Rings LCG, which is an eight year old game. All Arkham Horror LCG player cards to date are also comfortably stored in a 3-inch binder. Odds are, Marvel LCG’s entire lifetime will be stored here too. Dividers are used to separate each aspect (this set gets you every single aspect color, with white used for basic cards). A note: you may want to go 4-inch just in case.

As for the deck boxes, each box is catered to a specific hero, usually corresponding to the logo/color (Black Widow is on the left, Thor is on the right). All contain a pre-built deck for every hero (perfect for get-togethers pre-and-post-pandemic), obtained through multiple core sets and buying two of every hero pack.

They have a card divider in them to separate obligation/nemesis sets. These specific high quality boxes are designed for Magic: The Gathering and will run you $15-25, but you can re-use them as needed for other card games.

Hero cards are stored inside of Ultra Pro “Mini Snap” card holders for extra effect. It adds a cool little weight to slamming the card down on either side when you’re flipping between alter-ego and hero form.

The tokens and the hero board are from Buy the Same Token, which is highlighted below.

Encounter cards can be stored in the “Artist’s Case” from Hobby Lobby, which will run you $24.99 on sale (it’s almost always on sale). You can also look for coupons, which work online.

The next step is to pick up a Broken Token insert (or any insert) for the case. As you can see with the above image that has all of Arkham Horror’s encounter sets (all deluxes and mythos packs), as well as standalone scenarios stored, there is plenty of room to grow.


Spice up the original box

Michael Lorenzo took the most economical route and used the original storage box, with dividers, to separate all of their cards. It’s almost full, but a viable option!

You can find the horizontal dividers in the image above here. More dividers will be added to the top of this page as permission is granted.

Stephanie Richards, directly above, used the Folded Space insert, which will run you 13,50 €. The Broken Token insert for the core box can be found here.

You can also get really creative like Make Your Piece Games did with this custom box (instructions here).


Gamegenic Dungeon

Philip van Niekerk uses the Gamegenic Dungeon 1110+ convertible box, which will run you $59.99.

As you can see in the image above there is some dead space, but it fits Marvel LCG cards nicely.


Plain old plano or card boxes

The perfect Gloomhaven storage solution! As seen in this image from Hugo Neves (in the lower-right hand corner), Plano Boxes will do the trick for storing tokens and bits.

You can go even cheaper for card storage and buy cardboard boxes for a few bucks.

StoneMaier Games sells cheap plastic resource containers specifically made for tabletop games.

Hugo also uses homemade stands to make the villain and schemes more visible. Which leads me to another solution…


Uberstax

Alex van Vloten uses the colorful Uberstax holders to prop up their cards, and they look great! The multi-tier and modular setup is perfect for people who want to customize their board state.

You can find these universal game piece holders here at the Uberstax website.


Token options

Buy the Same Token

There’s no coincidence they are listed first: Buy the Same Token is by far my favorite token shop for Marvel Champions.

Not only do they provide multiple flavor-specific tokens like Enterprise/Madness Counters for Risky Business (double-sided), but also tokens like arrow counters for Hawkeye, which flip into “two damage.”

One of the reasons everyone in my playgroup loves these tokens is because of how clear they are. A few other tokens solutions are a little smaller and less clear, which leads to confusion across the table. Many of these are double-sided with different counts (which allows you to buy less for more utility). They’re amazing. The outfit also sells easels.

You can find Buy the Same Token on Etsy.

Aurbits

Aurbits are high quality fiberglass tokens and some of the most decadent things you can purchase for Marvel Champions.

You can find Aurbits tokens here. They come in prices of $6.99 through $15.99 for individual sets, with a “full set” (Stunned, Confused, Tough, Counter, Acceleration, and First Player Tokens) costing you $69.99. You can also get a “full pack” of Damage and Threat tokens for an additional $46.40.

Burger Tokens

Burger Tokens is a beloved staple of the Marvel Champions LCG community. Not only are the folks over there very communication-oriented, but the price is right, as you’re partially making the tokens yourself with coins.

You can find a large pack of Burger Tokens for Marvel Champions here for $20.00.

Burger Tokens also sells sleek (and cheap) deckboxes.

Daydream Gaming tokens

Daydream Gaming was one of the first suppliers to provide Marvel Champions tokens during its launch, and the company is still going strong.

You can find a full set here for $49.99, or opt for piecemeal token purchases.

3D-printed tokens

There are several options for 3D-printed tokens. You can make your own! Or try this Etsy store JeffsGamingStuff.

Or, eBay regularly has them on sale.

Team Covenant Cosmic tokens

Team Covenant is known throughout the Marvel Champions community, most notably for streaming the game before it was released and bringing awareness to it pre-launch.

In addition to offering LCG monthly subscriptions, they also sell “Cosmic Tokens.” They’re a bit on the pricey side (options usually clock in at $20 or $50, with $20 covering each hero), but you can find their high quality tokens and boards here.

Make your own

Make Your Piece Games has a great blog on how to craft your own professional looking tokens.

Marvel Champions LCG beginner’s guide


So you just picked up the core set for Marvel Champions (and maybe some more hero or villain packs): welcome! This guide will serve as a staging ground for newcomers and help direct you on where to go next.

You can find more in-depth storage solutions from the community here.


Step 1: Storage Solutions

A lot of folks refer to this as “the game away from the game.” Storage! It’s always a pain and can be very overwhelming at first. Here are a few tips from someone who has every current LCG product in various storage solutions.

Just roll with the insert in the core set

Unlike other LCGs, Marvel Champions contains an insert by default. Grab some toploaders to section each hero and villain off for the cheapest possible solution. Toploaders are long enough to serve as dividers into the grooves of the insert.

Or, use these dividers from Scott Plays found on this page. Etsy also has no shortage of cheap Marvel Champions storage products.

Broken Token

Broken Token is known as one of the biggest insert providers in the tabletop industry. Their stuff is a little pricey, but the company itself is very reliable. You can grab the wooden insert for $29.99 here, or on sites like Amazon.

Note that most of the inserts are a very tight fit, and you may need to “hammer” them into the box.

Artist’s Supply Box

One of the most popular storage solutions for any LCG is the “Artist’s Supply Box” from Hobby Lobby. The MSRP is $49.99, but it is frequently on sale for $24.99 and there are countless coupons available on the site.

Broken Token also sells an Artist’s Supply Box insert. It’s a pricey combo ($24.99 + $28.99) but one of the most “complete” ways to store a collection.

Consider binders for player cards

A 3-inch binder should fit the lifetime of Marvel Champions’ player cards.

It sounds hyperbolic, but note that a 3-inch binder comfortably fits all of Arkham Horror LCG’s player cards, and all of Lord of the Rings LCG’s player cards: and the latter game has been out for eight years.

Grab some binder card pages and these dividers. Use the red, blue, green and yellow dividers for Aggression, Leadership, Protection and Justice respectively, using white for basic cards.

Even if you’re against the idea of binders, knowing that you’ll likely be able to store every single Marvel Champions player card ever in them is comforting.

Sleeves

Sleeves are an eternal debate for any card game community, but I’ll just link a few here (no affiliation):

TitanShield (150 sleeves for $9.99)

Dragon Shield (100 sleeves for $10.99)

Ultimate Guard Katana (100 sleeves for $9.99)

Gamegenic (the new FFG standard is GGS10047ML – varying prices)

Sleeve Kings (100 sleeves for $2.50)

Step 2: Play an intro game

Marvel Champions makes things very easy for you from the start.

Grab the Rhino scenario (21 cards), as well as the Bomb Scare modular set (6 cards) and the “standard” set (7 cards). All of those cards will serve as your encounter deck. Place Rhino Stage I on the table and put Rhino Stage II under him.

If you’re playing solo, either choose Captain Marvel or Spider-Man (the latter is perfect, as Justice works great solo). If you’re playing with two people, grab the Spider-Man and Captain Marvel starter decks, which are separate from the rest of the box. You can find the full starter deck lists for Captain Marvel and Spider-Man here if you lost those inserts or accidentally broke their decks apart. Give the Learn to Play booklets and Rules Reference Guide a once-over!

If you have any rules questions, odds are you’ll find it here (this list is updated on a weekly basis). You’ll also be able to consult the current rules reference guide at that link. The “main” Discord is also happy to answer rules questions around the clock in the #rulings channel.

Step 3: Explore new builds and heroes

Here at Hall of Heroes we have listings for every hero in the game. Get a feel for how a hero works by viewing their cards before you buy them.

Out of the core set, Leadership (ally-centric) is generally considered the strongest aspect, followed by Justice (threat control), then Aggression (damage), then Protection (mitigation or control). The parenthetical approximations of each playstyle are almost a gross understatement of what they all do, especially with a growing card pool, but within the core, that’s the gist.

A perfect way to explore deckbuilding outside of the confines of the starter decks is by testing Black Panther Leadership and Iron Man Justice. Both are very flashy aspects that showcase the importance of both damage and threat mitigation: the latter of which is an unsung but very important part of the game.

You can find the Black Panther Leadership deck here and the Iron Man Justice deck here. Both only utilize the core set and have a miniature strategy guide included in their descriptions. Try to beat every core set scenario on standard first with the recommended modular sets. Then move into expert, making sure to include the three expert cards, and starting on the villain’s Stage II, moving into Stage III for the win.

Step 4: Expand your knowledge on Marvel Champions topics

The world of Marvel Champions is always moving forward, but here at Hall of Heroes we do our best to keep up with it. Here are some ways you can keep going after the core set:

How to buy Marvel Champions LCG’s Black Widow and Doctor Strange


Marvel Champions’ Black Widow hero pack is out…so long as you do not reside in the US.

Yep, in case you missed it, Asmodee (and by proxy Fantasy Flight Games) has put a hold on all new product released from April 1, 2020 on. That includes Black Widow, as she just missed the cutoff along with new Lord of the Rings LCG and Arkham Horror: The Card Game packs.

But the bad news didn’t stop there. Black Widow was initially delayed until May, then subsequently pushed back to June. Doctor Strange is now taking a July slot, with Hulk due in August and The Rise of Red Skull expansion set for a September release. You can find all of the current release dates here in one convenient place.

While we can debate the logistics of the move until the cows come home, the fact of the matter is, Asmodee did what it thought it had to do, and hopefully all of the impacted parties are safe. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait until June (or beyond, if the pack gets pushed again) to play a legal, physical version of Black Widow. There’s options!

It also goes without saying that keeping your pre-order with your LGS (local gaming store) will help them tremendously in this time of need. Here at Hall of Heroes we are still keeping our pre-orders with two US stores.

Here’s where to import Black Widow and Doctor Strange

Again, the distribution stoppage ordered by Asmodee only impacts new products in the United States. That’s pretty specific, and old product like Captain America, Ms. Marvel and Green Goblin are still shipping in the US, if you can find them.

But Black Widow is also cleared for release in many countries, as Asmodee has varying agreements with global distributors that differ from the agreements in the US. Dr. Strange is also cleared for release in April and mid-May in several countries. Here are a few options for English-language cards.

Hulk is aiming for a worldwide August release. If we hear about any importing opportunities, they will be added here.

Barnes and Noble (US)

Barnes and Noble sold the Black Widow early in the US.

The initial batch of shipments already shipped and community members confirmed the receipt of legitimate packs. Barnes and Noble jumped the gun and sold the packs during the pandemic: it remains to be seen if they will sell more, or continue to sell Doctor Strange/Hulk before FFG gives everyone the green light.

The UK (or import to the US)

Black Widow shipped in the UK nationwide on April 21. Doctor Strange shipped on April 27 at some UK stores, and on May 15 in others.

If you’re a US resident, the UK is probably the fastest and cheapest shipping option available. Board Game Prices is an aggregate site that can point you in the right direction.

One store that offers shipping to the US is Chaos Cards. According to several community members they are a reliable store and provide reasonably-priced shipping costs. Ordering the Black Widow pack, shipped to the US, comes to roughly $23 USD. Stock may fluctuate as people rush to order the pack, so keep checking back. You can find that Chaos Cards listing here.

The Bearded Card Trader is also selling Marvel Champions packs and ships to the US. This store is a bit pricier when it comes to international shipping, clocking in at roughly $32 USD shipped to the US.

Firestorm Games has packs on sale and ships internationally. One pack is roughly $28 USD shipped to the US.

Shiny Games ships to the US at a reasonable rate (~$22 all-in).

Dice and Decks also sells Marvel Champions packs internationally.

Travelling Man ships packs to the UK only.

Shiny Games also has stock in an off-and-on fashion.

Megalopolis is shipping to most of Europe.

Australia (or import to the US)

Games Bandit is one of the most vocal purveyors of Marvel Champions product around the globe. They regularly post in various Champions communities and are very open about product availability and release timings.

Buying a hero pack from Games Bandit will run you roughly $38 USD per pack. You can find the listing here (Games Bandit says that they are out of Widow stock, and they don’t expect a restock until April 2021).

Doctor Strange will release on May 15, but Games Bandit shipped US orders earlier, as they should arrive by the time that street date hits. You can find that listing here. Depending on when you order, you could get it before the eventual US release. It’s pricey, but the store consistently has stock. .

Finland

Community members report that PoroMagia is a reliable option that also ships to certain regions. Buying it at PoroMagia comes out to roughly $22 USD, shipped, but they currently do not offer US shipping.

If your store is sold out in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden or the United Kingdom, this is an option.

You can find their listing here, though stock may fluctuate.

As more stores are verified with Hall of Heroes — reach out to us via hallofheroescontact(at)gmail.com — they will be added to this list. Good luck!

How to play Lord of the Rings LCG on Tabletop Simulator (TTS)


Editor’s Note: After the overwhelmingly positive reactions to the Marvel Champions Tabletop Simulator tutorial, we decided to create how-tos for the other co-op LCGs as well.

You can find the Arkham Horror LCG tutorial here.


Step 1: Get Tabletop Simulator

This is an easy one! Well, maybe not for your wallet. You can find the program here.

Tabletop Simulator’s MSRP is $20, but it is constantly on sale for $10. Whether that sale is directly on the Steam storefront or elsewhere, make sure you do some due diligence by Googling “Tabletop Simulator sale” before buying it.

You could also sift through a deals aggregate site like Slickdeals.


Step 2: Load the Lord of the Rings: LCG Complete 4-Player mod

There are several Lord of the Rings LCG mods, but “Complete 4-Player” is usually the most-updated one.

All you need to do is log into your Steam account and hit “subscribe” on the Complete 4-player mod page. It will automatically incorporate with the Tabletop Simulator program.

After loading up Tabletop Simulator, press “Create” and look for the Complete 4-player mod in the main menu. A giant digital table will load, as will every deck and encounter set in the game. Custom content can be found above the main table (for the Crimson mod).


Step 3: Learn how to navigate the mod

Take a look at the image above (here’s a higher resolution version) to see where everything is located.

You can click and drag everything to suit your needs, or grab items out of the pouches by clicking on them and flicking the contents out of the bag. This is how you’ll grab heroes, as well as player and encounter cards to build those decks.

Every card in the game is in those bags: if you take the time to learn where everything is, it’ll be a cinch to start a game.


Step 4: Make your player deck

Making a deck is tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s as simple as making one in real life.

First, pick which three heroes you want to start with. All the heroes are located in one giant stack at the top of the screen. Likewise, all allies, attachments, events, sidequests and sphere cards are in decks at the top. To choose individual cards in a stack and build your deck without having to manually sort every card, right-click on a stack, and select “search.” This will show each card available in each stack on the right side of the screen. Simply click and drag the cards you want onto the table to create your deck. You can also create a deck on the upper left-hand corner of the screen to more easily locate cards.

OR, you can import a deck from RingsDB. Head to the DB and find the deck you want. After you’ve located it, click the “export” link at the top right-hand corner of the DB listing (below the title), and select “plain text.” Copy all of the text from “Main Deck” down to “Cards up to….” Head to the text box in Tabletop Simulator at the top left-hand corner of the screen. Click the “T” text symbol in the upper left vertical toolbar to edit the text near the deckbuilder. Paste your RingsDB text in, then hit “build deck.” Done!

Mash all of the cards together into one stack (including the heroes, for now, by flipping the deck upside-down and putting the hero cards on there, or by grouping them by selecting the deck and the heroes then pressing “G”) and right click on it: select “save object” and give it a name. Congratulations, you’ve saved your first deck! To instantly spawn it into an online game, have the lobby owner give you permissions and then select “objects,” at the top of the screen and click on “saved objects.” Then click the deck you want and it will appear in the game. Slide the heroes out and your deck will be fully intact.

To initiate a game, assign yourself a “player color,” which allows you to have a hand that you can manipulate at the bottom of the screen. You can do this by selecting your name in the top right corner of the screen with “change color.” In this mod, each color matches with a certain player mat. Pick the side you prefer.

Slide your three heroes into each “hero” slot on the mat. You can then tick up their resources each turn with the button counters right above them. To “deal” yourself cards, hover over your finished deck and press the numerical value you need on your keyboard. It’ll automatically deal you six cards if you press the number “6” for instance.

You can also highlight the deck and select “deal,” then your color on the color wheel to deal yourself a single card. Threat can be tracked with the convenient threat tracker on your mat. Your deck and your discard can “slot” into place in the designated areas.

To take cards off of a pile for any reason, “flick” them quickly off of the deck. To move the whole pile, deliberately click and hold.

Now you’re ready to go!


Step 5: Make the encounter deck

Find the deluxe box/cycle you want to play at the top right-hand corner of the screen. Drag out each “deck box” until you find the scenario (AP) you want to play.

In each bag (“easy” or “normal”) there are several stacks. The first stack is often the rulebook required for playing those scenarios. The second group is often the quest card stack, which you can place on the “quest deck” portion of the encounter mat in the middle of the screen. The third stack is usually the entire encounter deck, which you can place in the “encounter deck” slot. The fourth stack is typically “staging” cards that require setup.

After you’ve followed the individual setup instructions, press “R” to shuffle the encounter deck, and “F” to flip the cards so that they are facedown and you cannot see them (if they aren’t already).


Step 6: Play

Proceed how you normally would in a real game based on the Learn to Play booklet.

Some of the most useful commands are:

  • Left/right-click: Add or remove a digit from a counter.
  • Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V: Copy and paste a bag or object. Useful for when you want token bags in each player’s play area to save time.
  • 1-9: Deal yourself that many cards off the highlighted deck.
  • Q or E: Tilt cards like you would be exhausting them in real life. Also useful for slotting in side schemes when they roll off of the encounter deck vertically. For the best results, change the “degree” symbol at the top right of the screen to 90 degrees (90°).
  • L: “Lock” an item so that it doesn’t fly around if you accidentally grab it.
  • G: “Group” items together. Useful for selecting several stacks of cards and making them all one pile.
  • F: Flip cards when they need to be revealed, or need to be face down.
  • R: Shuffle a deck. Works with both player and encounter decks. You can mash R to rapidly shuffle cards for fun.
  • + or -: Make something bigger or smaller (useful to scale cards to the size of your liking). If the numpad + and – keys aren’t working, try them on the numerical row above your QWERTY lettered section.
  • Tab: Point at something on the table, useful for multiplayer when you’re talking out a turn. You can also hold tab to draw a line with the ruler tool to further make your point.
  • Alt: Make an object appear bigger for a moment on-screen. Useful for reading detailed cards you may not have memorized yet.
  • Save game: Click on “games” (the dice icon) at the top of the screen, then press save and load. Then press “create” and save your game with as many descriptors as possible so you remember it.

Alternatively, you can also play Lord of the Rings LCG on another program called OCTGN. There’s a great writeup here to help get you started. OCTGN isn’t as flashy, but is much easier to setup and learn. It’s also free.

It goes without saying: make sure you own the decks and support the growth of Lord of the Rings LCG.

How to play Arkham Horror LCG on Tabletop Simulator (TTS)


Editor’s Note: After the overwhelmingly positive reactions to the Marvel Champions Tabletop Simulator tutorial, we decided to create how-tos for the other co-op LCGs as well.

You can find the Lord of the Rings LCG tutorial here.


Step 1: Get Tabletop Simulator

This is an easy one! Well, maybe not for your wallet. You can find the program here.

Tabletop Simulator’s MSRP is $20, but it is constantly on sale for $10. Whether that sale is directly on the Steam storefront or elsewhere, make sure you do some due diligence by Googling “Tabletop Simulator sale” before buying it.

You could also sift through a deals aggregate site like Slickdeals.


Step 2: Load the Arkham Horror LCG mod

There are several Arkham Horror LCG mods, but the “Super Complete Edition” is usually the most-updated one.

All you need to do is log into your Steam account and hit “subscribe” on the Super Complete mod page. It will automatically incorporate with the Tabletop Simulator program.

After loading up Tabletop Simulator, press “Create” and look for the Super Complete mod in the main menu. A giant digital table will load, as will every deck and encounter set in the game. Custom content can be found above the main table (for the Crimson mod).

If the mod is not available publicly, you can ask anyone on any of the major Discord servers and they can point you in the right direction.


Step 3: Learn how to navigate the mod

Take a look at the image above (here’s a higher resolution version) to see where everything is located.

You can click and drag everything to suit your needs, or grab items out of the pouches by clicking on them and flicking the contents out of the bag. This is how you’ll grab investigators, player and encounter cards to build those decks.

Every card in the game is in those bags: if you take the time to learn where everything is, it’ll be a cinch to start a game.


Step 4: Make your investigator deck

Making a deck is tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s as simple as making one in real life.

First, pick which investigator you want to start with. All of the investigators are located on the right-hand side of the board inside of each deluxe box (remember, investigators are not in Mythos packs). To “flick” out an entire deluxe set, press “place” and the entire set will fly in front of the play area. Once you’re done, press “recall” to put that deluxe back into its box, then you can “place” another deluxe. Make sure you do this before placing each deluxe in succession. Investigator cards are double-sided and can be flipped with “F” at will when highlighting it.

To locate player cards, head to the top left-hand corner of the screen and locate each class type (such as Guardian). Press “place” to “flick out” all of the relevant cards in each section. You can “place” two different aspects at once inside of “layout 01” and “layout 02.”

To choose individual cards in a stack, right-click on a stack, and select “search.” This will show each card available in each stack on the right side of the screen. Simply click and drag the cards you want onto the table to create your deck. You can also create a deck on the upper left-hand corner of the screen to more easily locate cards.

Mash all of the cards together into one stack and right click on it: select “save object” and give it a name. Congratulations, you’ve saved your first deck! To instantly spawn it into an online game, have the lobby owner give you permissions and then select “objects,” at the top of the screen and click on “saved objects.” Then click the deck you want and it will appear in the game.

OR, you could use the automated deckbuilder in tandem with ArkhamDB.

Make an account on ArkhamDB. Go to your settings, then check the “share your decks” box. Find a deck you like (example) and copy it (the little disc icon below the title on the upper right-hand corner). You will automatically be taken to a new page with a URL like this.

Press “load cards” inside of the TTS mod deckbuilder tool, then type in that ArkhamDB ID (just the ID, in this case 711850). Viola! Add a random weakness to your deck and follow the instructions above to save it as an object. If there is an error message, re-load the mod, check your ArkhamDB account permissions, then try again.

To initiate a game, assign yourself a “player color,” which allows you to have a hand that you can manipulate at the bottom of the screen. You can do this by selecting your name in the top right corner of the screen with “change color.” In this mod, each color matches with a certain player mat. Pick the side you prefer.

To “deal” yourself cards, hover over your finished deck and press the numerical value you need on your keyboard. It’ll automatically deal you six cards if you press the number “6” for instance. You can also highlight the deck and select “deal,” then your color on the color wheel to deal yourself a single card.

To take cards off of a pile for any reason, “flick” them quickly off of the deck. To move the whole pile, deliberately click and hold.

Now you’re ready to go!


Step 5: Make the encounter deck

Find the campaign box/deluxe/cycle you want to play. Press the “place” button below it. Select the encounter you wan to play. Press “place.” Done! The entire encounter is ready.

If you require ancillary materials for setup (like a random deck), they are located in the “set aside” chest or a bag below that chest. That section is highlighted in red above.

Press “R” to shuffle the encounter deck, and “F” to flip the cards so that they are facedown and you cannot see them (if they aren’t already). Encounter deck drawing is handled automatically in this mod with the press of a button. The same goes for drawing a token out of the chaos bag, which is located on the upper right-hand corner of the encounter mat.


Step 6: Play

Proceed how you normally would in a real game based on the Learn to Play booklet.

Some of the most useful commands are:

  • Left/right-click: Add or remove a digit from a counter.
  • Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V: Copy and paste a bag or object. Useful for when you want token bags in each player’s play area to save time.
  • 1-9: Deal yourself that many cards off the highlighted deck.
  • Q or E: Tilt cards like you would be exhausting them in real life. Also useful for slotting in side schemes when they roll off of the encounter deck vertically. For the best results, change the “degree” symbol at the top right of the screen to 90 degrees (90°).
  • L: “Lock” an item so that it doesn’t fly around if you accidentally grab it.
  • G: “Group” items together. Useful for selecting several stacks of cards and making them all one pile.
  • F: Flip cards when they need to be revealed, or need to be face down.
  • R: Shuffle a deck. Works with both player and encounter decks. You can mash R to rapidly shuffle cards for fun.
  • + or -: Make something bigger or smaller (useful to scale cards to the size of your liking). If the numpad + and – keys aren’t working, try them on the numerical row above your QWERTY lettered section.
  • Tab: Point at something on the table, useful for multiplayer when you’re talking out a turn. You can also hold tab to draw a line with the ruler tool to further make your point.
  • Alt: Make an object appear bigger for a moment on-screen. Useful for reading detailed cards you may not have memorized yet.
  • Save game: Click on “games” (the dice icon) at the top of the screen, then press save and load. Then press “create” and save your game with as many descriptors as possible so you remember it.

Need more help? You can watch this wonderful original tutorial video by Pallid Cast Detective Agency.

Alternatively, you can also play Arkham Horror LCG on another program called OCTGN. There’s a great writeup here to help get you started. OCTGN isn’t as flashy, but is much easier to setup and learn. It’s also free.

LackeyCCG is a third option.

It goes without saying: make sure you own the decks and support the growth of Arkham Horror.

Marvel Champions LCG puzzles


Every so often, Hall of Heroes will provide theoretical brainteasers of sorts for the community to figure out.

Whether you’re trying to sharpen your strategy or can’t currently play the game, we hope these will be fun for everyone. Some puzzles may have multiple solutions, but a standard solution will be provided.

Puzzle #1 – Cap and Rhino (high resolution)

Expert Rhino (on stage III) has 11 health left and is using the Legions of Hydra set.

Figure out how to play Captain America’s remaining hand to ensure that Rhino is eliminated at the end of Rhino’s next activation without drawing any cards.

Solution

Puzzle #2 – [Other] Cap and Klaw (high resolution)

Expert Klaw (on stage III) has 6 health left with three Armored Guard minions on the table (with no toughness tokens) and a Hydra Soldier. All four minions have the “guarded” keyword, preventing you from attacking or using (attack) actions against Klaw.

Find a way to eliminate all four minions and Klaw before the villain phase.

Solution

Puzzle #3 – Thor-tron (high resolution)

Here’s an easy one if you’re having trouble with the others.

Ultron (on stage II, standard) has 8 life left with four minions in play (three drones at 1-1-1 stats, as well as a Hydra soldier).

Find a way to kill Ultron and every minion on the board. You are entering this board state at the very start of your turn with no actions performed.

Solution

How to play Marvel Champions LCG on Tabletop Simulator (TTS)


Step 1: Get Tabletop Simulator

This is an easy one! Well, maybe not for your wallet. You can find the program here.

Tabletop Simulator’s MSRP is $20, but it is constantly on sale for $10. Whether that sale is directly on the Steam storefront or elsewhere, make sure you do some due diligence by Googling “Tabletop Simulator sale” before buying it.

You could also sift through a deals aggregate site like Slickdeals.


Step 2: Load the Marvel Champions LCG mod

There are several Marvel Champions mods, but the “Crimson Mod” is usually the most-updated one.

All you need to do is log into your Steam account and hit “subscribe” on the Crimson mod page. It will automatically incorporate with the Tabletop Simulator program.

After loading up Tabletop Simulator, press “Create” and look for the Marvel Champions LCG mod in the main menu. A giant digital table will load, as will every deck and encounter set in the game. Custom content can be found above the main table (for the Crimson mod).


Step 3: Learn how to navigate the mod

Take a look at the image above (here’s a higher resolution version) to see where everything is located.

You can click and drag everything to suit your needs, or grab items out of the pouches by clicking on them and flicking the contents out of the bag. This is how you’ll grab hero, aspect, basic and encounter cards to build those decks.

Every card in the game is in those bags: if you take the time to learn where everything is, it’ll be a cinch to start a game.


Step 4: Make your player deck

Making a deck is tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s as simple as making one in real life.

First, pick which hero you want to start with. Grab the hero card out of the appropriate bag in the top left. The card is double-sided and can be flipped with “F” at will when highlighting it. Then keep digging in the bag to find the 15 hero cards and the nemesis set/obligation. They are all different stacks so they don’t mix together at all once.

Decide which aspect you want to play with. All of the bags in the top left are colored by aspect (red/blue/green/yellow). Grab the stack of aspect cards, and grab the entire stack of gray basic cards too. Put them close to each other anywhere on the table, separate from everything else.

Right click on either the aspect or the basic stack, and select “search.” This will show each card available in each stack on the right side of the screen. Simply click and drag the cards you want onto the table or onto your hero deck of 15 to create your giant 40-card minimum deck. Repeat the process for the opposite aspect or basic stack, whichever one you didn’t do first until you have a 40 card deck. You’re done!

Mash all of the cards together into one stack (41, with the hero card) and right click on it: select “save object” and give it a name (Black Panther Justice, in the above case). Congratulations, you’ve saved your first deck! To instantly spawn it into an online game, have the lobby owner give you permissions and then select “objects,” at the top of the screen and click on “saved objects.” Then click the deck you want and it will appear in the game.

To initiate a game, assign yourself a “player color,” which allows you to have a hand that you can manipulate at the bottom of the screen. You can do this by selecting your name in the top right corner of the screen with “change color.” Red is usually the easiest to navigate solo, so start with that. Select red, with other players in the same lobby selecting different colors as needed.

To “deal” yourself cards based on the alter-ego hand size at the start of the game, hover over your finished deck and press the numerical value you need (usually 5-6) on your keyboard. It’ll automatically deal you six cards if you press the number “6” for instance. You can also highlight the deck and select “deal,” then your color on the color wheel to deal yourself a single card.

Now you’re ready to go!

Alternatively, you can use this mod from FunkyMonkeyMonk to build a deck.


Step 5: Make the villain deck

First, select which villain you want from the right side of the screen and set their life counter up to the appropriate amount. Then, grab the villain deck out of the bag on the right (as well as the standard set and optional expert set), select your modular set and move it onto the villain deck to merge them. Viola!

Press “R” to shuffle it all together, and “F” to flip the cards so that they are facedown and you cannot see them (if they aren’t already). To take cards off of a pile, “flick” them quickly off of the deck. To move the whole pile, deliberately click and hold. Flicking is how you’ll “draw” boost or encounter cards.

Also, don’t forget to grab your obligation card out of the appropriate hero bag and shuffle it into the encounter deck, while placing your nemesis set to the side.


Step 6: Play

Proceed how you normally would in a real game based on the Learn to Play booklet. Follow the setup instructions, play through your turn, adjust threat on the main scheme for step one of the villain phase by clicking on a counter to add threat, then flick a card off of the encounter deck for a villain activation and flick a card off the deck to deal yourself an encounter card.

Some of the most useful commands are:

  • Left/right-click: Add or remove a digit from a life/threat counter.
  • Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V: Copy and paste a bag or object. Useful for when you want token bags in each player’s play area to save time.
  • 1-9: Deal yourself that many cards off the highlighted deck.
  • Q or E: Tilt cards like you would be exhausting them in real life. Also useful for slotting in side schemes when they roll off of the encounter deck vertically. For the best results, change the “degree” symbol at the top right of the screen to 90 degrees (90°).
  • L: “Lock” an item so that it doesn’t fly around if you accidentally grab it.
  • G: “Group” items together. Useful for selecting several stacks of cards and making them all one pile.
  • F: Flip cards when they need to be revealed, or need to be face down.
  • R: Shuffle a deck. Works with both player and encounter decks. You can mash R to rapidly shuffle cards for fun.
  • + or -: Make something bigger or smaller (useful to scale cards to the size of your liking). If the numpad + and – keys aren’t working, try them on the numerical row above your QWERTY lettered section.
  • Tab: Point at something on the table, useful for multiplayer when you’re talking out a turn. You can also hold tab to draw a line with the ruler tool to further make your point.
  • Alt: Make an object appear bigger for a moment on-screen. Useful for reading detailed cards you may not have memorized yet.
  • Save game: Click on “games” (the dice icon) at the top of the screen, then press save and load. Then press “create” and save your game with as many descriptors as possible so you remember it.

Need more help? You can watch this wonderful original tutorial video by Mediocre Gamers, as well as an updated “version 2” guide here.

Alternatively, you can also play Marvel Champions on another program called OCTGN. There’s a great writeup here to help get you started [Edit: the link has since been taken down but here is a cached version, with the image packs here and the GitHub link here].

Or, you can check out the new off-site updated OCTGN page here. OCTGN isn’t as flashy, but is much easier to setup and learn. It’s also free.

There’s also a LackeyCCG module!

It goes without saying: make sure you own the decks and support the growth of Marvel Champions.

Spicing up Marvel Champions

Or, how I learned to conquer expert and love custom variants


Is the relatively low difficulty bar of Risky Business getting you down? Or maybe you’ve bested Rhino, Klaw and Ultron on expert one too many times?

You’ve entered the twilight zone (non-capitalized, do you think I want to get sued?) of “Marvel LCG difficulty blues,” but there’s plenty of variants to keep you going beyond the official expert and extreme settings created by Fantasy Flight Games (FFG): you only need to look to custom variants.

Custom variants are often created by passionate fans as a way to extend the life of a game they care about. For Marvel Champions, most of those efforts have been focused on making scenarios harder, so that they were more fine-tuned deckbuilding strategies or make otherwise low-stakes concepts much more intricate.

Here are a few of the best variants from the Marvel Champions LCG community, all of which can be used with the default materials provided by FFG. If you want more homebrew-oriented content like unofficial villains or scenarios, there’s an entire Discord server that caters to that.

The core set challenges

As the only official ancillary piece of content provided for Marvel Champions LCG to date, the core set challenges (achievements) list should be your first stop.

Some of them are fairly clever (assemble Iron Man’s entire suit) and some of them are very tedious (deal 16 damage or more with Black Cat in a single turn in multiplayer), but they are options nonetheless.

Give them a go at least once.

Play Rookie or Heroic Mode

FFG introduced official variants into the mix in mid-March.

Rookie:

Once you defeat stage I of the villain, you win.

Heroic:

Deal [x] more encounter cards in the encounter phase per player. [X] denotes the current heroic rating, with FFG recommending heroic 1 to start, challenging players to beat expert Klaw with the Doomsday Chair mod.

Try making decks with heroes you don’t normally use

Okay, this might be the lamest way to extend the life of the game. But have you tried She-Hulk Leadership? How about Ms. Marvel Justice?

While there are some very obvious choices for some hero pairings, variety is the spice of life, and we’re looking to spice things up here, aren’t we? A very easy way to challenge yourself is to attempt to beat every expert scenario in the game with every combination of hero. Here’s a full list of every card in the game. Get brewing!

This is likely not all that appealing of a prospect for some people and I can feel your interest waning on a deep spiritual level, so let’s move on to what you came here for: actual game-changing variants.

That includes Proteus: a “hero” that only uses cards from the core set in a draft-like fashion (a concept divined by Board Game Geek member fissionessence). Or trying to build a deck with just basic cards and no aspect cards (thanks BananaCrapshoot!).

Environments

This is probably the simplest way to modify Marvel Champions, and currently, my preferred method.

You don’t need to memorize certain rulesets: you just plop one card on the table, re-read it if necessary, and follow the instructions. That’s it! Some environments can be used in any scenario and others specifically address certain villains.

These were created by KennedyHawk, a host of the Marvel Champions Monthly podcast, Critical Encounters and The Side Scheme. They are displayed here with permission.

Rule variants

Sometimes a scenario requires a little more of a push to satisfy certain players. That’s where more intricate rules variants come in. Here is the most common rule variant that the Marvel Champions community has used:

  • Deal two encounter cards per player instead of one at all times

It’s so simple, right? Of course you can go harder, like making Rhino tough every time you attach a card to him or buff his minions so that they gather attachments for him (Thanks Theorel).

Here’s another one for Risky Business. Note the crisis icon on the Criminal Enterprise environment.

Fan-made campaigns and progression-style deckbuilding

In an LCG, you can play “progression style,” which is only using cards that were out at that current moment in time when playing a scenario.

In other words, you can only use core cards if you fight Rhino, Klaw or Ultron, or only use the core plus Captain America/Ms. Marvel for the Green Goblin scenarios. Sometimes, that can alleviate a lot of the power creep issues on its own and make for more engaging playthroughs. You can consult this list for a full rundown of chronological release dates.

Nio_Darkwind over at Board Game Geek took that concept a step further and created a whole story campaign based on progression. Not only does their campaign have an actual story to link each scenario together, but they also provide Arkham Horror LCG-esque rules to help you slowly build out your deck as you progress.

For example, starter decks cannot use certain cards (like Nick Fury or Daredevil): you earn them by playing through the campaign. Give it a shot if you find yourself wanting a more interconnected way to play Marvel Champions!

Try our thought puzzles for a creative spark

Give them a go here!

Fall back on custom content

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Modest Mod Suggestions: Mutagen Formula


Well, Fantasy Flight Games is making things pretty easy on me here: there’s only two scenarios to talk about in the latest Green Goblin pack. We already covered the first with the Risky Business writeup. Now it’s time to suggest a mod pairing for the second: Mutagen Formula.

It’s Goblin Gimmicks. Goodnight folks!

But in all seriousness, the Goblin Gimmicks set pairs perfectly with Mutagen Formula. It’s impactful in that every card has meaning and forces you to deal with them right away. Half of the cards (4/8) have boost effects on them, making them effective cards for the villain activation phase: with two more featuring the coveted three-boost icon bonus. It allows for a form of symmetry with the actual Mutagen deck itself. Goblin Glider and Pumpkin Bombs are only “one-ofs” in the Mutagen scenario, so adding two more of each helps those very thematic cards come up more often.

Each treachery card tells a micro-story, and seeing the depths of depravity that Green Goblin would sink to with Intimidation is important to get the point across on just how dangerous this standalone villain really is. It’s also a sensible pick in terms of theme because the Green Goblin is out in full-force for the entire scenario: completely giving up the farce of his Norman Osborn persona.

The lack of a Green Goblin villain in the set itself (compared to all three other Green Goblin pack mods, which do have specific villains in Scorpion, Electro and Tombstone), says it all. This mod was made for Mutagen Formula.

Goblin Gimmicks (Modular Set)