Marvel Champions LCG OP (Organized Play) Release Guide

What is “Organized Play,” or “OP?”

Although Organized Play is generally more applicable to competitive card games, where players need to organize to actually participate in tournaments, Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) has extended efforts to cooperative card games like Lord of the Rings LCG, Arkham Horror LCG and Marvel Champions LCG to provide “OP” promos. These include things like playmats, scenarios and promotional player cards.

The idea is that FFG sends “kits” to stores, who put on organized events (usually on a digital calendar) to get people to come to the store and play a specific game. FFG wins because their games are marketed for free with big events and people likely buy in; the stores win because people are going to the store when they otherwise wouldn’t have and are potentially sold on more product. These kits are not supposed to be sold directly to consumers, but some store owners do order OP kits for this purpose.

You can sign up for the OP newsletter here, but it has stopped going out since May of 2020.

What has been released so far for Marvel Champions LCG?

Although it is not strictly “OP-related,” full art promos have been provided on location at Gen Con 2019, which were later distributed at PAX Unplugged 2019. These are colloquially referred to as “Gen Con Promos” on storefronts like eBay.

In November of 2019, a “Launch Kit” was distributed to stores. It contained four promotional playmats and “comic style cards” of each core set hero. Prices for all of these have bottomed out for the most part in the secondhand market. You can find one full set of the core Gen Con or Launch Kit promos for around $30 per set. The playmat is anywhere from $20-$30 (you can also find it bundled with core sets if you look carefully), with the empty cardboard OP box going for roughly $5.

In November of 2020, two other OP kits were distributed to some stores. These are titled “2020 First Story Kit” (44 extended art promo cards, 4 playmats) and “Open Play Kit – Season 1” (96 extended art promo cards). The retail price for this kit is $20 for stores for the former, and $8 for the latter: though they will be sold for a lot more than that by scalpers. The “story kit” actually isn’t story oriented, but is more for stores to hold their own events based on the existing story. Ms. Marvel, Thor, and Black Widow, as well as several player card promos, a Green Goblin playmat and villain promo cards (Risky Business, Wrecking Crew) are part of these sets. You can find the full breakdown above.

On February 21, 2021, a new kit started to roll out to stores (images via Jason B.). This kit was originally due in January of 2021, but was pushed back a month.

It contains the Hulk, Captain America, and Doctor Strange hero cards, as well as Avengers Assemble x3, Desperate Defense x3, and Drop Kick x3.

There is no mat (or any other contents) for the box. This brings the current promo set up to date with the first cycle of content. As of now, expect Red Skull and beyond promos.

You can find all of the above listed here on our promos page.

What is coming?

In the fall of 2021, a new promo OP set will arrive under the SKU G21MA.

As of August 2020, FFG has stated that “more OP kits for our game lines will start reaching stores in November and a revised schedule for our games for 2021 and beyond will be made public at a later date.” The statement did not specify Marvel Champions by name.

So what’s the deal? When are these actually coming?

So, COVID-19 is definitely going to delay anything OP related as it is physical product, meant to be displayed and shipped to stores: many of which are closed. But in the past few years, the Organized Play section of FFG under Asmodee has been undergoing many changes.

Right now, according to sources, the FFG Organized Play team that is handling card games is sparse. Perhaps the easiest scene to get a big-picture look at OP from is The Lord of the Rings LCG. 2019’s “Fellowship Event” was delayed indefinitely in the fall of 2019, pre-COVID-19. LOTR LCG players have been waiting for more information for over a year on when this event might occur, or if it’s even still happening. There has been no communication.

In the meantime, FFG OP has been posting plans for KeyForge even during COVID. On June 24, 2020, FFG OP confirmed that “stores will be able to host chain-bound events again worldwide.” So while OP has slowed down for cooperative LCGs before the pandemic, things are still happening on the competitive side after the pandemic.

It’s become increasingly clear that co-op OP is on the backburner. OP plans may change at any moment, but for now, expect to wait a while.

This page will be updated as new news arises.

Marvel Champions LCG Ant-Man and Wasp card storage guide

In case you haven’t heard, Ant-Man and Wasp will be released as “foldable” triple-identity cards.

What’s that all about?! Well, let’s dig in.

On the recent Marvel Champions Gen Con Online stream, developer Caleb Grace confirmed that Ant-Man and Wasp will utilize folding cards similar to the ones used for the Transformers TCG.

Evidently, this idea came from Andrew Navarro, former head studio at Fantasy Flight Games/FFG.

In short, Ant-Man and Wasp can swap between three forms at will, just like how any identity can “flip” once per turn innately. This includes an alter-ego, tiny and giant form. You can find more info on Ant-Man’s identity here, and more on Wasp’s identity here.

So what does that mean for card storage?

Well, there’s options.

Use sideloading sleeves

FFG says that the cards are great quality, and do not inherently require sleeves or storage. The sturdiness of Transformers TCG cards backs this up, so long as they are the same technology.

You can also store them regularly. This video from YouTuber Vangelus walks us through the process for sleeving folding cards.

Also, these Dragon Shield Perfect Fit Sideloaders (clear) work.

Also these KMC “side in” sleeves or these BCW sideloading sleeves.

Ultra Pro and Ultimate Guard sell side-loading sleeves.

Oversized sleeves let you sleeve the entire card, though it won’t let you bend it.

Ultimate Guard sells oversized sleeves too.

Use a special toploader

One other option is the Transformers TCG Sliding Combiner Toploader from this Etsy store.

Here are the icons that you can use for the customized toploader logos from ourintrepidher0 on Reddit:

Stitchblades, also on Reddit, even made a 3D-printable slider!

You can find the file to 3D-print here.

Community member Torian created their own 3D-printable tray too, which you can download here.

Cut them up (carefully)

Community member Mark Stewart‎ came up with this handy guide for slicing foldable cards, based on a tutorial for Transformers TCG.

Mark says this method works best when toploaded.

Make your own

Community member Designhacker came up with this interesting solution to print off a giant and tiny Ant-Man

Keep the original card sleeved

Alex Jones came up with this ingenious solution to keep the Ant-Man hero card in a single sleeve: just have a board provide the Giant stats, so you never have to unfold it and reference it.

You can purchase it on Etsy.

Store Ant-Man and Wasp in a giant box

Larger deck boxes can fit these pre-sleeved or giant-mechanism-bound foldable cards.

There are lots of options, from cheap to expensive. Craft stores sell boxes by the dozen, and here is a cheap wooden box that will have room for both Ant-Man and Wasp decks. You can also opt for the BCW Prime X4 Gaming Box.

There are also larger binder pages for larger cards. Keep in mind that although the Transformers TCG is ending, there are a lot of storage options for foldable cards out there in the wild right now.

Here’s what they look like

Here is a gallery of the Ant-Man hero card displayed loosely, inside of the above Dragon Shield Perfect Fit Clear Sideloaders, and the Transformers CCG sliding toploader!

The box is an Ultra Pro “Deck Box Dual Mana Flip” storage solution. The top does not fully close, but it does fit two Etsy toploaders and has room for both Ant-Man and Wasp decks.

FFG/Fantasy Flight Games InFlight Report Recap (7/29/2020)

Start time: 8PM ET – 7/29/2020
FFG Live Twitch Link

Chris Gerber, head of FFG Studio, headlines the InFlight Report: notes that “[FFG] will all be wearing masks during this presentation.”

“Just an overview tonight. We won’t be taking questions during the show. But we will be running a full suite starting tomorrow through Sunday, with plenty of chances to get your questions in.”

The presentation is handed off to John Shaffer, Head of Miniatures at FFG.

Star Wars: X-Wing kicks off Shaffer’s presentation

Heralds of Hope expansion: Rise of Skywalker-based


Jango Fett’s Slave 1

Nimbus-Class V-Wing

Eta-2 Actis expansion

“A number of new exciting announcements to come for the first quarter of 2021.”

Shifting gears to Star Wars: Legion

Anakin Skywalker with two poses

Darth Maul, also with two poses

November confirmed for the above two models

Separatist Specialist Personnel Expansion (January 2021)

Republic Specialists Personnel Expansion (January 2021)

“More of what’s to come in 2021 will be announced later this year.”

Moving into Star Wars: Armada

Galactic Republic Fleet Starter: “a perfect entry point for new players”

Republic Fighter Squadrons expansion

Separatist Fighter Squadrons expansion

Dial pack

Upgrade card collection

These products announced for December of this year, “with more to come.”

Coming back to Chris Gerber “for the rest of the show.”

It’s KeyForge time

Technical difficulties have halted the stream at 7:20 PM central. Gerber jokes about it being “the end of the stream” and offers to start over from the KeyForge portion.

Then it promptly disconnects again minutes later.

The stream is back as of 7:27 PM central!

And then it went down for the third time.

And it’s back up at 8:30 PM central. The technical issue is “hopefully addressed.”

Dark Tidings’ Unfathomable is replacing House Dis

A new tide card is included in Dark Tidings decks as a 38th card.

And Evil Twin deck has a special card back and a name based on an already existing deck. “Televig the Renegade” versus “Televig the Renegade’s Evil Twin.”

February 2021

Shifting to Arkham Horror

“We are proud to reveal the six Mythos packs for the Innsmouth Conspiracy cycle” for Arkham Horror LCG.

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The stream went down again at 8:37 PM central. It went back up a minute later and we were told “this is the last attempt.” It went down again.

It has been uploaded to YouTube at 10:22 PM central. We’re picking up right where we left off with Arkham Horror LCG!

Vehicles are now a card type and will be available in “a few of these [Mythos] packs”. The Innsmouth cycle will “begin in November, with a new pack every month.”

War of the Outer Gods – $19.99 – confirmed for December – this was the GenCon event.

“Any number of investigators pitted against three warring cults.”

Some Aconyte novels will be rolling out, including Arkham Horror books.

Onto Journeys in Middle-earth

The Haunting of Dale digital campaign ($6.99) – October

Dwellers in Darkness pack ($14.95) – October

“Middle-earth is going to war next year.” A new tease for 2021. Journeys in Middle-earth is still kicking.

L5R is up

Dire keyword – gain a powerful ability when they have no fate on them.

The Temptations cycle begins in December – $14.95 per pack.

Fields of Victory and Blood of the Lioness Role-Playing releases. Both planned to release in March of 2021.

These are the “last of the L5R RPG products released by FFG Games.”

Marvel Champions is next

Ant-Man, Wasp, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch hero packs confirmed

“A few cards in the Ant-Man and Wasp deck synergize and work together. A motif that repeats with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.”

Ant-Man confirmed for November, the rest is up in the air.

Galaxy’s Most Wanted campaign – five new scenarios – February 2021 – $39.99 – Collector and Ronan confirmed as villains.

Twilight Imperium is next

The Prophecy of Kings expansion will build up the fourth edition of the game. Seven brand new factions.

The player count expands up to eight players in the fourth edition.

November release, $99.95

X-Men: Mutant Insurrection

“You will build a team of X-Men and acquire allies, striking out from Xavier’s school for good and for ill.” Hellfire Club and Magneto are confirmed as scenarios.

First quarter of 2021 release – $54.95

Descent was briefly teased as an end-of-stream joke

Marvel Champions LCG interview and stream resources

Game preservation/history is a very important topic that isn’t talked about enough. This is a running log of interviews from FFG representatives about Marvel Champions LCG.

If you have an interview to add to this page, contact us at hallofheroescontact(at)

A full truncated archive of all interviews

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Key Marvel Champions LCG staff:

Caleb Grace – Lead Designer

Tony Fanchi – Designer

MJ Newman – Guest Designer (Lead Designer, Arkham Horror LCG)

Jeremy Zwirn – Guest Designer (Arkham Horror LCG)

Aaron Haltom – Guest Designer (KeyForge)

Nate French – Executive Game Designer

Jim Cartwright – Card Game Manager

Molly Glover – Board & Card Game Producer

Josh Massey – OP Coordinator, FFG Live Host

Michael Boggs – Former Lead Designer (left FFG on May 6, 2022)

Evan Johnson – Former Marketing Manager (left FFG in February 2021)

Mercedes Opheim – Former Card Game Manager (left position in June 2019)

Andrew Navaro – Former Head of Studio (left FFG on December 27, 2019)

Guzmanco – Former FFG Intern/Freelance Artist





July 2019:

Marvel Champions LCG’s first announcement trailer

Marvel Champions LCG post-reveal stream with Navaro, Caleb and Nate

Marvel Champions LCG tutorial with Team Covenant and Evan Johnson

August 2019:

Marvel Champions GenCon interview with FFG rep “Peter”

Marvel Champions playthrough with Caleb, Boggs and Derek Shuck

Marvel Champions Gen Con 2019 playthrough with Evan Johnson from AsmodeeLive

September 2019:

No Responsibility Podcast Episode 3 interview with Boggs

Captain America reveal stream with Caleb interview with Caleb

“Since Marvel Comics are popular with people of all ages and backgrounds, we wanted to design a game that could appeal to all of them. As a result, Marvel Champions is by far our most accessible LCG to date.” – Caleb

October 2019:

Ms. Marvel reveal stream with Boggs

Marvel Champions playthrough with Caleb and Boggs hosted by Brian Keilen

Marvel Champions Monthly Episode 3 interview with Caleb and Boggs

Marvel Champions Spiel 2019 interview with Nate French from Asmodee Live

November 2019:

Early Team Covenant stream with Boggs

“Michael Boggs Answers Your Questions” Team Covenant stream

Deckcelsior Episode 8 interview with Caleb

Bad Publicity interview with Boggs

December 2019:

Caleb, Boggs and Evan take on Green Goblin with Thor, Ms. Marvel and Captain America

Les Lives de TT video walkthrough with an Asmodee rep

Back to the top

January 2020:

The Official Marvel Champions LCG Card Game Overview video

Black Widow reveal stream with MJ Newman

Bad Publicity interview with Boggs – Ms. Marvel’s design

February 2020:

Doctor Strange reveal stream with Caleb

March 2020:

Hulk reveal stream with Boggs

“Making him feel like Hulk without being frustrating to play…it was hard to get that balance. It was also a bit of making sure that he wasn’t single-minded in terms of what he could do.” – Boggs

“Generally when I play him solo, I try to make sure I have enough cards from the aspect in there. Obviously leadership and justice are good ways to go about that.” – Boggs

“We explored that very early on in the core set. She-Hulk didn’t have a thwart side but Jennifer Walters did. It ended up feeling….it made the character a bit more complicated than we wanted. With She-Hulk it didn’t fit and with Banner it didn’t really fit. But it’s definitely a possibility for the future.” – Boggs

“We have different artists that do [the head shots in the bottom right of the hero cards]. We actually use someone internally, Chris Beck, he’s one of our internal designers. It’s supposed to be reminiscent of those old comic books….and they look a little bit different. We like that one is sort of this new-age thing and one is a callback to those previous versions of the heroes.” -Boggs

“So we actually for a long time Bruce Banner played with this idea that you couldn’t just flip into your alter-ego form…that there was an additional step and if you failed the step you had to flip back as Hulk. But it became frustrating…sometimes you [just need to go into alter-ego.] So Inner Demons, the obligation, seemed like the best way to go about that. We felt like more than maybe any other hero, this obligation card breaks the boundaries of what we can do with obligation cards.” – Boggs

Team Covenant interview with FFG’s Steve Horvath that touches briefly on Champions (28:00 in)

April 2020:

The Rise of Red Skull box reveal with Boggs

Marvel Champions Monthly Episode 12 interview with MJ Newman

Critical Encounters Episode 11 interview with Caleb

1-2 Punchboard interview with Michael Boggs

“The fifth aspect was called ‘determination,’ and it focused on doing whatever necessary to get ahead. An example of this is the upcoming aggression event in Hulk’s pack, Toe to Toe, which costs 1 resource to play, deals 5 damage to an enemy, but forces that enemy to attack you first.” – Boggs

May 2020:

FFG Ask Me Anything (AMA) with Evan Johnson and Boggs

“Both Caleb and I are huge X-Men fans. We want to do it. I hope we can down the line.” – Boggs

Deckcelsior Episode 20 interview with Caleb and Boggs

Bad Publicity Episode 15 interview with Boggs

Marvel Champions Monthly panel art interview with FFG intern Guzmanco

“It’s very rare that I stumble upon the ‘perfect’ artwork for a card. Home By Dawn was one of those times.” – Guzmanco

July 2020:

The Once and Future Kang reveal stream with Caleb

“We designed standard with the idea that people should be able to show up with a pre-built deck. Buy it, show up with your friends and play, and feel like you have a really good shot. We built expert mode for people with custom decks, for people who like to build stronger decks. I encourage those players to skip standard and go right to expert.” – Caleb

“It’s tough. But I thought Wrecking Crew was tough. Now I’m getting feedback that it’s very easy.”

“It’s always interesting when it gets to the public. We playtested all those heroes in the first wave a ton. There was no feedback where there was one hero clearly better than the other. It depends on how you pilot them.”

The Side Scheme interview with Caleb

“I don’t think there’s a goal to define certain power levels or ascribe characters to those power levels. I understand the desire from the fanbase for that…it’s more about trying to capture the feel of the character.” -Caleb

“We wanted to do something quickly [about the lack of difficulty]…but we couldn’t do a new kit as that takes time and money. We wanted to fix it as soon as we could and talked about possible solutions. But ultimately it was Jeremy Zwirn who overheard our conversation (me and Boggs) who said ‘why don’t you just reveal an extra card every turn?'” -Caleb

July 2020 InFlight Report

Marvel Champions Gen Con Online stream

“We were asked by someone…at the executive or the license level. This was the first time where someone at that level weighed in.” -Caleb

“I just want to say no one wants X-Men in the game more than I do. Now that we have the Insurrection game that was announced, I don’t have anything to announce. Except for yes, we are definitely going to do X-Men in this game. It’s going to be a while.” – Caleb

“I’ve always been interested in designing games. I studied animation in college. But the program was conjoined with game design. So I really loved those classes and I moved abroad for a few years and started doing my own independent stuff. I realized I didn’t have the skills to make video games, but board games instead. I started a couple of groups abroad where we playtested each other’s stuff. I was able to turn that into a job at FFG.” – Caleb

“I was working as a teacher, I got cut. I needed a job. I was applying around, my brother told me I could apply to FFG. I applied and got it.” – Caleb

“Originally the box was going to have four scenarios. I think we might have gotten a little pushback…like maybe they all should have five.” – Caleb

“Boggs took the lead on this [Quicksilver]…but both Boggs and I have the same idea: he should ready. Boggs was the one that was like ‘first time he uses a hero power, he stands up.’ It’s automatic.” – Caleb

“Absolutely I think our strategy is pretty straightforward. We have an Avengers themed story box followed by Avengers themed heroes. We announced Guardians box….it’s safe to assume it’ll be followed by Guardians heroes…and who knows what will come after that.” – Caleb

“I would love to see the game mature to a point where we can do that [have multiple heroes of the same identity]…everyone knows Spider-Man…so many others…have all like gone through a series of evolutions with their costumes and missions. I would love to do that. Just off the top of my head of course we’re putting in classic Spider-Man, but a lot of people are fans of the black suit Spider-Man. Maybe that one comes with Mary Jane Watson.” – Caleb

I wish we actually had Aaron Haltom here with us. He’s on the KeyForge team but he helped extensively with Rocket Raccoon. And Groot!” – Boggs

“Yeah Aaron came on the team when we were a little overloaded. We had a lot of Marvel going on at the time, so he offered to help out. So he did some of the foundational work on Groot.” – Caleb

August 2020:

Critical Encounters Episode 25 interview with Boggs

“[My favorite villain is] Venom. Spider-Man has always been my favorite hero, and Venom was the antithesis of everything he was trying to do.” – Boggs

“Nate [French] thought of the name ‘Breakin and Takin.’ Nate said ‘Rhino is breaking things and taking them.’ And we said ‘yep that needs to go on the card.'” – Boggs

“Nate French was the designer of the core set, but it was decided after that, that Caleb would be the lead designer. He is technically the boss but it’s very much a collaborative effort between us, which I appreciate. He tends to focus more on the story and thematic things like that, and I focus on the backend processes, things like that.” – Boggs

“Matt Newman is the reason ‘Elite” even exists in our game. We wanted to make a minion special in some way, and Matt suggested Elite. That will come into play in the future. We’ve planted a lot of seeds and because we want to want to introduce things gradually, we’re trying to sprout them very slowly.” – Boggs

“I’ve been working on the game for two years now…” -Boggs in August of 2020

Bad Publicity interview with Caleb

“As far as I know, [Nate] kind of invented [the co-op card genre.] We’ve found that the most stable, long-running LCGs are co-op LCGs” – Caleb

“I want to give props to Jeremy Zwirn. We were playtesting Strange and he didn’t have [Vapors of Valtorr.] One of his comments was that he didn’t feel magical enough. At the end of the day it was just ‘doing damage or removing threat…’ so he suggested the idea of transforming this status into that status. I said that’s super dope, let’s do that.” -Caleb

“Cap’s design really came back to Aragorn and my love of the Lord of the Rings LCG core set. He spends a resource and he gets back up. That really applies to Cap, with the ‘I can do this all day’ quote.” – Caleb

“For me it’s all about Hawkeye’s quiver. That’s how he all comes together. Matt [Newman] helped with that. He said ‘I want to take an arrow and put it in the quiver and save it for later.” – Caleb

“So I was kind of elected to go carry and torch and [make the pitch to Marvel]. So when they said we’re going to Marvel, I was thinking New York City, the publishing house, I was going to get to meet Joe Quesada…no we’re going to [Los Angeles], at Disney Headquarters with the licensing team. Don’t get me wrong it was great but it wasn’t Marvel HQ.” -Caleb

“Nate was the one who felt very strongly that we need a hero that breaks the deckbuilding rules very early…two aspects. There was some talk about Hulk, like the Bruce Banner and Hulk dichotomy…but ultimately we scaled back from that because Hulk is going to resonate with a lot of our younger audience who wants to smash things. So when we were talking about who was going into the story box it had this Avenger theme and this Hydra theme, so we wanted Hawkeye in for sure. But Jessica Drew, sure it makes sense, she has this weird connection to Hydra…she was a double-agent, hey, double-agent, two aspects.” – Caleb

“We have the Incite keyword, which maybe hasn’t been spoiled yet. Honestly for the longest time we called it doom, because it works like doom in Lord of the Rings.” – Caleb

“I’m excited for people to see that [Red Skull box] comic. I pitched that, too. We were pretty well into the development process where it occurred to me, when I was writing the story. And I said ‘why am I writing a story for a comic book game, there should be a comic here. We shelled out a little more to get an artist, to write out comic scripts for the artist to illustrate. The comics are actually in the rules document, it’s not a separate thing. They’re not going to blow anyone’s minds, they’re kind of campy and a callback…the story is an excuse for most people to fight.” – Caleb

“Venom got most interesting when it wasn’t Eddie Brock, but it was Flash Thompson. How do you feel about Flash Thompson, Agent Venom?” – Caleb

Alter-Egos interview with Boggs

“They have us working from home until October: maybe a little after that. FFG and Asmodee have been planning renovations on our building…maybe a couple of years from now…but now is the time to do it.” – Boggs

“Sometimes I’ll get ahead of myself and design a card that’s too complex for the game. A resource kicker is an example. Myself and Nate French kind of pushed that idea for example: like, this card as a cost, pay this specific resource with it. And I think Caleb has done a good job recognizing when that stuff is a little out of hand, and maybe too frustrating. I think it’s a fun design personally.” – Boggs

“The most common piece of feedback is that we needed more villains to play. We looked at other LCGs and thought player cards always make things more fun to play. But it’s also trying new encounter sets and thinking I want to try this with another deck. I think these six heroes were important but I would have liked to add another scenario or something.” – Boggs

So we thought it would be fun to release these print and play things. So it might have been Chris Gerber, head of studio…it might have been someone else…they sent out an email kind of telling us ‘we want to do this fun thing, please come up with a pitch.’ So Caleb and I thought it should be a modular set….Caleb was kind of busy at the time, so I whipped something together for that that plays off our Guardians of the Galaxy announcement, because he’s in the box and such a powerful character. So we gathered our art assets and gathered some feedback from our playtesters…it was probably the fastest product I’ve ever worked on. I don’t think the whole thing took more than…two weeks maybe? Modular sets are pretty easy to design. We looked at the meta, and lots of decks run lots of allies…leadership tends to be very powerful. Generally speaking people use allies with one hit point remaining to block an attack.” – Boggs

“Ms. Marvel’s deck, I’ve played that over 100 times, and I’m kind of biased because it fits a style I like to play…but comments from people are like ‘I don’t understand how this deck works’…I can see how it can be difficult to pilot. That’s maybe a mistake I’ve made in the past.” – Boggs

“Our feedback really on the core set…you’re supposed to be this larger-than-life hero. That’s kind of what we see in standard mode. If you pull it off it should feel good, but at the same time if you’re losing over and over in standard mode, then we didn’t do our job correctly. Expert mode is intended to be a step up from that. Some people don’t want to play games unless they’re winning. Andrew Navarro was talking to…I want to say Caleb and Nate…about how his son or daughter, how they played the very first level of Rhino, and that’s it. They wanted to win. We want to make sure people can have that experience, but if that’s not quite exciting to you, then you can play expert mode. And then there’s heroic mode.” – Boggs

“Generally speaking, we want players to be in hero form around…80% of the game. That’s our goal. Alter-ego is fun, it’s a great element for the players to have. You’re very intentionally not interacting with the villain. You can maybe play a support or upgrade or something like that. We want to make sure players are encouraged, as much as they reasonably can be, to interact with what the encounter deck is trying to do.” – Boggs

September 2020:

Card Game Cooperative interview with Caleb Grace

“In Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, you get the signature ally of the other. Which is neat because it unlocks their alter-ego power, as well.” -Caleb

“As a huge Captain America fan I wanted him in the base game right away. I don’t remember who it was exactly who said it should be its own pack…but I agreed to it right away. Because that was going to be the first question when people saw the lineup: ‘where’s Cap?'” – Caleb

“If we can line things up to piggyback off something like a Black Widow movie, then absolutely we will. Why wouldn’t you? If you know there’s a bid budget movie coming out…then for sure from an FFG standpoint, then let’s make sure we do that. Others are serendipitous. We included She-Hulk for reasons entirely of our own, and we find out later that she’s going to get her own show.” – Caleb

“Think like a marketing person. Hulk is going to sell on his own. So let’s save Hulk for a pack…let’s get another member of the team on there that can fulfill that role of the tank. That’s where we came up with She-Hulk [for the tank of the core set]. As for her design and power level or whatever, I read the comments…as designers we’re not going to make heroes that are as popular as the next.” – Caleb

La Mano de Thanos interview with Michael Boggs

“I think that four heroes and one villain and one campaign…that will be very common [for a cycle], but it’s not a rule: we can break it sometime.” – Boggs

“[Team-up] will be…I think at first, it will only be for special cases. But as the game grows and as time goes on…it will be become more common.” – Boggs

“The most demanded hero is Moon Knight. Probably the most demanded villain is Thanos.” – Boggs

“Caleb and I both agree that if some heroes are better in solo or better in multiplayer. Hulk is a big angry monster. So thematically if you’re playing him solo it makes sense that he’s not great at threat…I don’t think people like to lose but it kind of tells a story…but I think more Justice cards, or even more Aggression or Protection cards will give Hulk more power to play in solo.” – Boggs

“Usually I think [including more modular sets] it makes the game easier…since the game is less consistent. But, I think there are exceptions. If you play Rhino and put MODOK and Legions of Hydra in there…that’s two very hard sets. But if you play Mutagen formula and add two different encounter sets I can see them making it inconsistent. It depends but I think it usually makes things easier.” – Boggs

If a card does not say you should shuffle the deck, should you do it anyway?

“So…in the past, I made a mistake. I said before that no, you do not shuffle. But Caleb and I have talked very recently. And we decided that anytime you search, you always shuffle. We will update the rules reference eventually…to make it that you always shuffle.” – Boggs

“So we will add a rule. The identity cards only work for the hero. Whereas the ally only help themselves.” – Boggs

Alter Egos interview with Caleb Grace

“We identified a weakness in the release model. Here’s your deluxe box and here’s the packs…but to get its full value you have to have that deluxe box. So if it’s out of print, people are discouraged from getting the packs. If there are six packs in a cycle, the first pack will always sell a lot more…it’s a consumer habit, people start out really excited for that first pack but they don’t really pick up that second or third pack or whatever…so it might create a chokepoint if stores are tied together.” – Caleb

“I don’t really know all of the sales numbers. The closest I got to ‘how is the game doing?’ is hearing that Marvel is happy, and Steve [Horvath – Head of Asmodee US] is happy.” – Caleb

“The campaign kind of came near the end…naturally the campaign is the last thing we do, because we had all of the scenarios done at that point. Then it was like, alright, we need to shift gears and focus in on this campaign. And come up with something evocative and interesting and fun. But I didn’t feel like I had a whole lot of time to explore and iterate. So I say I kind of cheated, as Lord of the Rings players will recognize some things here…they’re very akin to some Lord of the Rings content.” – Caleb

“Coming to the game with Lord of the Rings, that’s a lesson we already learned, scaling from one to four player. The game is going to be different, it just is. Once you focus on that you just try to make it feel good at all counts. You just want to make sure playing it one player is a lot of fun and playing it four player is a lot of fun. There’s no real science there [with exact card counts] it’s more like ‘does it feel right?’ Around 35 cards feels right. Depending on the villain’s design and what they’re about it might be appropriate to go smaller or bigger. I would need a really compelling reason to go less than 30 cards…or much higher than 40.” – Caleb

“It looks like a modular set to me. Stuff that’s campaign-specific is labeled somewhere with ‘campaign.’ So if you look at the obligations they say expert campaign set. Maybe because it’s how they’re presented, in the rules, as being mandatory for the campaign…but I see no reason why you can’t just add these to any scenario. If you’re playing the actual Hydra campaign, it probably doesn’t work. It’s not a full modular set at that point. I don’t know, play whatever you want, I guess.” – Caleb

“I understand there was a mixup whether it was Hydra Patrol or Assault [as the recommended modular set for Crossbones]. I don’t know how they ended up different on the card and rules…that drives me crazy. Those two sets were probably one set at one point, and we cut that set into two…and maybe made the change on the rules and didn’t make the change on the card.” – Caleb

“This is not an RPG LCG like Arkham is. This is an action adventure…quick adventure fighting the villain. We feel those constraints…265 cards goes quickly.” – Caleb

“That’s a lesson we learned in the box and we learned for Guardians of the Galaxy. The difference between one player and two player or even starting with three threat on a side scheme. It’s such a huge difference. Boggs said we need another lever to tweak so these numbers can be exactly what we want them to be. I don’t know if we spoiled that or not.” – Caleb

Quicksilver + Rise of Red Skull Ant-Man/Wasp gameplay with Caleb and Evan

October 2020:

The Side Scheme interview with Caleb Grace

“Kang wasn’t part of our original pitch to Marvel. Neither was Red Skull. You know it was the original core set, and the first six hero packs and the first few villain packs as well. So all of that Wave 1 content was decided at the beginning. The Hydra theme wasn’t solidified until Wave 1 wrapped up and was off to production.” – Caleb

“Me and Boggs…we were talking about difficulty ratings…and we realized, we hadn’t actually assigned difficulty ratings after the core. Apparently there’s room for us to improve on consistency with difficulty ratings. I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason there…and I think people probably didn’t notice that we didn’t assign difficulty ratings. It was probably a note….like Nate French or something who came in and said ‘can you please assign difficulty ratings to these.’ So that’s something we’ll have to keep an eye out for going forward.” – Caleb

“[The villainous keyword]…I gotta give props to [Boggs]. That’s something he came up with.” – Caleb

“I sure won’t say no to [a villain that’s already released coming back as a modular set]…I guess we kind of have the Taskmaster nemesis set, which is not exactly a modular set…but we also did the print and play Ronan, and we’re definitely going to see him in Guardians of the Galaxy…so it’s definitely something we can explore…when it’s the right time to do it.” – Caleb

“I was surprised to see the positive reception to the Ronan print and play set. Once again Boggs knocked it out of the park with that. He put that together really quickly. But also…yeah people have been receptive to that kind of medium, it does open up a lot of possibilities…and I hope as a team we find some way to revisit that.” – Caleb

“I think if we could go back, we wouldn’t have released so many heroes in a row before getting to campaign content there…but the good news is that the game isn’t going to have to wait that long for a new scenario again.” – Caleb

“This is something we tested…but decided was too hard. I wanted to see Madame Hydra return…like ‘where has she been all this time? Oh she’s hanging out with Red Skull.’ Well it turns out that when [the Red Skull scenario] makes you reveal side schemes every turn…that Madame Hydra gets in the way of removing threat. So if you want a challenge, I would sub out Hydra Assault and replace it with the Legions of Hydra set [in Red Skull].”

We had a similar thing with Zola…originally we were going to use the Doomsday Chair set…you know, MODOK and Zola [go together]…so originally that was the plan. But we got the feedback that ‘oh my gosh, biomechanical upgrades on these minions?’ my testers were sick of seeing biomechanical upgrades. – Caleb

November 2020:

Critical Encounters interview with FFG Lead Art Director Deborah Garcia

“So it’s definitely a partnership between the art directors and the developers. The developers come to us with their art needs, for the narrative and for all of the scenarios. Marvel…Marvel Champions is a special case, in that our pickup pool is something the developers find on their own. We review that work to make sure that’s consistent with the game’s style.” – Garcia

“It’s never as simple as [Marvel telling us to stick with a certain look] that. For us, we adhere to one costume…we create a visual guide of that costume, then artists adhere to that visual guide.” – Garcia

“The cards that have artists credit are commissioned art pieces. Artists that worked directly with us. Cards that have a basic credit to Marvel are assets directly from Marvel.” – Garcia

1-2 Punchboard interview with artists Andrea Di Vito and Laura Villari

December 2020:

Critical Encounters interview with FFG producer Molly Glover

“If there’s only so many heroes out, you don’t want to start releasing too many scenarios, where everyone is playing the same heroes out. It was important to get a wealth of heroes out, before we started to move out to content in terms of…encounters.” – Glover

“We worked on…the core set, Green Goblin, Wrecking Crew, Captain America, Wrecking Crew, and Thor…all of that was being worked on at the same time. “- Glover

“The very first thing that happens in the project, is the designer writes what we call a vision document. Which is basically a high level view of everything they want to do…the mechanics can even be in there, the heroes they want…the nemeses. So they write that, and it gets approved by all of the executive people at FFG. Then I send that to Marvel. And they usually send back a big thumbs up. Then after the concept and vision get approved, we start working on the art.

We read all the art briefs, then that goes to the artist. Then we see if there’s any red flags, then the art when it’s final, gets sent to Marvel, for approval. Sometimes they’ll ask questions like ‘why is this that way?'” So those comics that are in the rulebooks, for those we send them storyboards and sketches…because technically we are making Marvel comics, which is just so cool. So after that we make the game…do playtesting, that sort of stuff. Then I send final files to them….nothing will change from this point on unless they ask us to change.” – Glover

“When we decided we were going to do the folded card…because I’m a producer, part of my job is to do R&D on components. So my job was to figure out what coating….what’s the maximum coating to use on that card so it could hold up to the bending. So I sat at my desk for about two hours one day opening and closing a sample of the card…I probably opened and closed it about 1000 times.” – Glover

“I am not involved in [what countries get stock of each pack]. One of the things that’s hard…we didn’t get copies of Marvel Champions for like nine more months until we finished it. So if we aren’t copying it over from another file…we try really hard for it to not happen. So anytime we notice it, it gets a reprint change, so it will be fixed. Our international partners can catch that sometimes…when doing their translating work.” – Glover

“So [rules], that’s all Caleb and Boggs. So when people send in rules questions, they’re addressed to Caleb and Boggs, they have a whole thing they’re compiling constantly, like the questions they get asked the most. Then they go into these documents that can keep living online. When something gets printed, it’s forever…so as a result the game is always alive, people are still playing it, finding things, corner cases we didn’t find in playtesting. Keeping alive an FAQ and an online rules reference is an undertaking. Caleb and Boggs are working on two sets…at the same time…and they’re keeping up with deadlines.” – Glover

Critical Encounters interview with FFG graphic designers Joe Olson, Chris Beck and Evan Simonet

“We create everything that isn’t the character illustrations in the box in the center of the card. But sometimes we have to do some of that too. So we have an art department, and they commission artwork, and they commission artwork sometimes for the frames we already made.” – Beck

“Take that to the former head of FFG studio. I’m going to wave my own flag, toot my own horn…I fought really hard to get those little heads on those cards. I have to find some way to draw heads for this game. That was such a labor…then uh, when it was suggested that we do it for villains too it was like ‘too much work.’ But I’m already doing it!” – Beck

“I made all the little heads up until the recent ones…Ant-Man and Wasp. I did some on…I can’t talk about them yet [Guardians?]. Yes. But they got someone else to do them after that.” – Beck

“I’m going to say, I freaking pitched [comic art hero cards], and Organized Play stole it from me, and no it’s not fair (laughs)! They are organized, perfunctorily, under the marketing department. And Organized Play has always been sort of their own animal. They don’t even have to submit themselves to the same review process [as the FFG graphics department.]

Once they internally agreed upon it, they just send it to licensing, and boom, they got approval. They just had to make something different from what the core set was. They had fewer restrictions on what they had to achieve at the printer, or the factory setting.” – Beck

“Organized Play has always been able to move freely in creative space that is just barred from us. A lot of their things are manufactured by different means and are not held by the same standards as we are. So I’m jealous of a lot of that stuff. They would dip into our source files and take what they see fit.” – Olson

Back to the top

April 2021:

La Mano de Thanos interview with Caleb Grace

“I got to play Groot, and he [Boggs] played Rocket, and we played through the whole Guardians of the Galaxy campaign. Actually I think we played through it twice, we had a chance to make some edits. Then MJ had a chance to join us, and we played it three player.” – Caleb

“We have a playtest coordinator…Zach, he recruits and gets everyone with their NDAs and setup on the forums. At first, we had to recruit our own playtesters. I’m not actually not even involved with that anymore. I can forward their email to Zach. There’s actually a waitlist” – Caleb

“Often times employees at the studio would get together and play games [at lunch]. And Nate French and I would play Game of Thrones.” – Caleb

“We’re trying to keep the card design as simple as we can. We don’t want to sacrifice any [themes and emotions]. We’ve had a lot of discussions about player bandwidth. We don’t want Marvel Champions to become a game where you freeze up. And make it feel light and fun, and not a beard-stroking, takes 10 minutes to play my turn. We don’t want to turn it into those games. We have a very vocal part of our fanbase that wants more challenge, and they’re important to us too.” – Caleb

“We’re leaning more into the modular sets. With Kang, there, we tried to give our diehard fans something to chew on…like the Anachronauts. It’s not difficult to design harder cards. You just pump up the numbers…and create new effects. Could you imagine if every scenario was that level of intensity? It would kill the game.” – Caleb

“[Hulk]…asking me if I should think about fixing it….I disagree. Everyone has their own expectation. Hulk is exactly what we wanted him to be. Maybe Hulk wasn’t designed just for your playstyle. With Hulk in particular, he was the character that appealed to young people and wanted to punch bad guys in the face. He has some really insane stats on his card. He starts with 18 hitpoints, which is twice as many as Hawkeye. People just don’t get excited about hitpoints, but that’s a huge part of his design. And with three defense, he can stay on the field for a long time, without having to flip back. Hulk’s penalty really isn’t that much of a penalty except when you get a bad draw. Most of the complaints that I see is that he could have been more complex and dynamic. But the Hulk we wanted to make was the one the kid would get excited to play.” – Caleb

“Boggs made this point…if I can defend every turn, and ready every turn, then Protection is just as good at thwarting as Justice is. And I said what do you mean. And he said well the villain is never putting threat on the scheme to begin with. Holy smokes, you’re absolutely right. The threat isn’t going up. So Hulk doesn’t need to thwart the way other heroes do. He can just stay in hero form twice as long as every other hero. He can just camp out. That’s such a different way of thinking about the game, like ‘I need to remove threat.'” – Caleb

“I created a document at the beginning of the game, with all the heroes we want to do in the first four years. We’re not bound to it. We submit it to our executives for approval. How do we choose? We thought that through already. You can tell [the MCU] has a plan.” – Caleb

“For heroes I still love Captain America. For the encounters it’s probably Kang, because the reception was so positive. A close second to me was Red Skull” – Caleb

Deckcelsior interview with Caleb Grace and Michael Boggs

“I was really happy with the feedback we got with the Rise of Red Skull. It was really positive and a huge relief. Maybe I was surprised that a significant number of people thought it was easy.” – Caleb

“Having Ant-Man and Wasp force us into that direction [three sided cards]…out of the four heroes, Quicksilver has interesting things he can do, but he isn’t that complex. And Scarlet Witch is so chaotic. Really the intention was to make her feel like Scarlet Witch.” – Boggs

“When I play Wasp sometimes I don’t change form that often. Sometimes I’ll change form and stay in that form for the rest of the game.” – Boggs

“Kang was supposed to be fully playable solo as well. There’s a unique element when you play solo. I’ve been happy with the reception to the pack.” – Caleb

“I think that really since Green Goblin we wanted to make each modular set have a reason to be included. Like the aspect reinforce the heroes the modular sets reinforce the villains. Going forward…we want there to be an extra puzzle to solve in the game.” – Boggs

“I don’t think I saw their full value…for people to be as excited as they are…to trade sets. Boggs picked up on this…put modular sets wherever we can. I anticipated the wrong thing…players customizing their own decks.” – Caleb

“Could we add modular sets to Wrecking Crew? Maybe in theory, but it would be so clunky. It’s strong enough on its own. So people enjoyed the scenario, but missed being able to customize it. We probably won’t do any more scenarios like that in the future.” – Caleb

“So I think for Guardians specifically when I design modular sets I design scenarios as a whole, but think about what can I take out to keep the identity…those minion-heavy modular sets, at the same time they work really well with those scenarios. I think most have…six to nine roughly?” – Boggs

“As we go forward we’ll see team-ups that play with different things…Rocket and Groot was kind of the start of it. We want that card to feel like them [teaming up].” – Boggs

“Boggs and I have talked about this…designing the aspect cards is…not to say it’s a negative experience, but hero cards they’re the most exciting but they’re also the most self-contained. We don’t have to think about how they impact the card pool. Aspect cards go into the card pool and they’re there forever. We have to be a lot more deliberate. We’re always looking for new ways to innovative without doing the same things over and over. I can’t talk about future product…but Boggs is…debuting some real wicked stuff.” – Caleb

“It became necessary for each of us to drive a certain part of the game. So we didn’t have as much time as we want for collaboration. I create an aspect card and it’s like…the testers say hey, this is like a card Boggs designed.” – Caleb

“I think the real answer to that question [X-Men being in the game, and Warlock and Serval Industries] it goes into contract and legal stuff…it goes into restrictions in the backend. [Again] No one wants X-Men in Marvel Champions more than I do.” – Caleb

I know that some of the testers test stuff by themselves. But our testers are amazing, and some people play it two-handed, or three-handed, or four-handed. And testing…was a little more focused, because people were home. When I’m by myself…sometimes I knock out a two-hander or a solo game.” – Boggs

“It is egregious. The idea that somehow…we don’t develop the game for solo, or test the game for solo…I just want to say that is completely inaccurate. The game is always developed for player counts of one through four. And the solo experience is never intended to be inferior or this other thing. It’s always been intended to be the core of the game. That might not fix all of the issues that people have with it. For some reason I see a lot of people talking about it with confidence, that we know the developers don’t design for solo or test for solo. I’ll test solo. I’ll grab Captain America, he’s my favorite, and I’ll see how Cap handles it.” – Caleb

“Hulk went through a couple different iterations. Ms. Marvel had a few. Most of the other heroes like…Scarlet Witch, Wasp, the Guardians. Hulk went through the most iteration.” – Boggs

“Anytime I hear people talk about Hulk, I know what their playstyle is…based on their opinion of Hulk. People that want complexity, a few more decision points, they tend to be more sour. People that just want to smash things…they seem to really enjoy playing Hulk. With a game as large as Marvel…we’re going to try our best to cater to all players. Which means…one group is going to be disappointed and another group loves it. I think we found the audience we’re looking for. The hand size of four is a drawback…and it’s kind of up for debate whether 18 hitpoints and 3 ATK and 3 DEF is enough. It depends on your playstyle. It’s something to keep an eye on.” – Caleb

“Going forward people are going to see heroes with four hand size. Some values and some aspects of the game that I thought were. Some mechanics that I thought were a certain power level…were not as powerful as I thought they were, and maybe more powerful. Hulk contributed to that, and other heroes contributed to that. I think we have a greater understanding…of four hand size heroes, how they’re limited. Like oh I don’t have a lot of cards but I can do all these other things.” – Boggs

“99% of the time we’re free to pitch our vision. Once we get the greenlight, there’s not a lot of mandates…certainly not what trait to put on someone. Who knows maybe we’ll be able to circle back and do Hank Pym and Janet.” – Caleb

“Generally speaking we tend to think of as aggression and justice….as attacking and moving threat. We’ll pair them up when they need an easier [hero] focus. Over time they’ll get to the point where they’re equal…it’s tough to say which one is at which power level right now, but after Guardians they’ll be roughly the same level.” – Boggs

“Over time I have looked for more and more ways to make players decide a little more intentionally if they’re going to use the ally with their last hitpoint or chump block with it. Sometimes it comes across in scenario design. Like I could chump block but there might be a boost or something.” – Boggs

“I sort of see [Red Skull] as a foundation. Then [go more complex]. That’s in my mind what the Guardians box does…doing different things. We wanted to make sure the players use their ship. Like what if you could upgrade your ship over time. Or yourself over time.” – Boggs

“Those are original scripts [the comics]. We establish the story at the vision stage then write the scripts later. We give that to the art department and they make it, not unlike Marvel does. I was down on a comment talking about the quality of the comic. You know that’s free content.” – Caleb

“Originally the Milano was a pseudo ally in its own way. It had hitpoints, it could be attacked. But it took the focus away from the hero and villain battle. We eventually decided to keep it simple. Toward the end of development we rolled it into its Ship Command set, and it can be used against…Rhino, or whatever you want to use it against.” – Boggs

“Collector was originally one scenario. We pitched a box with four villains. We felt the box as a whole…campaign boxes don’t need to follow a specific mold. Originally you need to sneak in, see that the Power Stone wasn’t there, and then sneak back out. And I think it was Jeremy Zwirn, who was like, what if you split the Collector into two?” – Boggs

“I personally think [the Collector 1 response] is a good thing. To me it’s a good sign when people are discussing strategies. It helps build that sense of community.” – Boggs

“I remember early on, I believe it was Nate talking about having overkill in the game. That always stuck with me. When the Guardians box came out it was time to break established patterns.” – Boggs

“He has Drax’s knife and Drax’s other knife.” – Caleb

“During testing the feedback was varied. Some people were frustrated by the collection some weren’t. Some liked Collector 2, some just wanted to punch the villain in the face.” – Boggs

“Each hero has their strengths and weaknesses. From what I can recall they do pretty well against [Galaxy’s Most Wanted]. Some scenarios are better for some heroes than others. But our goal is to always keep a scenario within reach of pretty much every single hero. Some heroes will excel, others will have a hard time. But pretty much every hero has a chance at beating a scenario. Those older heroes can still stand up to it.” -Boggs

June 2021:

Marvel Champions Monthly interview with Michael Boggs

“They’ve all got different strengths and weaknesses. I would say [my favorite] comes down to Star Lord, Drax, or maybe Venom.” – Boggs

If I had to switch things up, Groot in Justice works well…maybe Groot in Aggression. Rocket I think he’s not the best in Protection but he does well in Justice for the most part. And in Leadership too I have a lot of fun with Rocket. -Boggs

“There are situations where a specific mechanic doesn’t speak to a hero’s story. Gamora is a good example. When we looked at Gamora originally, we wanted to focus on her martial prowess. We tried a couple different iterations.” – Boggs

“The nemesis selection process, it depends on the hero we focus on. I think it’s great to break up the pace. We also tend to pick [them] that don’t interfere too much with upcoming scenarios. Taskmaster and Black Widow and Red Skull…was almost an exception to the rule. We also don’t want to use these huge big name characters.” – Boggs

“I would say probably my favorite but also the most challenging one is Nebula. To get that to work within the encounter deck was really tricky. We flirted with the idea of a set-aside deck in Red Skull…and it’s always nice to have things be more condensed if you can. She took a little big to operate in the manner that she needed to. I like the surprises she can throw at you. I don’t want to necessarily be able to math things out.” – Boggs

“Sort of the two element dynamic that can be found in four of the five scenarios. A lot of that came from how the Milano worked. I had different ideas, Caleb had different ideas. It almost worked like a character…if it got destroyed you lost. We played it that way and it eventually became one of those things where you could very easily math it out. It wasn’t as engaging. One was if it had a certain amount of damage you could repair it, and bring it back…I think Caleb suggested just make the Milano, make it simple, just give you a resource.” – Boggs

“For this box the idea was to make the villain the threat, and end the game sooner than you intend to. I think Collector 2 highlights that much better than the other scenarios. The others are meant to nudge you in that direction, at least a little. Ronan hits hard, he has a lot of stuff that he throws at you. Staying in the game too long can be your death sentence. It’s always a race to see who is going to defeat the other first. The Guardians box highlights that a little more.” – Boggs

“The raise of difficulty was intentional. There was this idea that the modular sets…that you could swap in another set. I was surprised…to see that a lot of players didn’t want to do that. I’ve seen a lot of comments over the last month or two that it’s not as thematic, and it’s almost cheating in some way…which is valid feedback.” – Boggs

“I think that when GMW was being developed, it was quite a while ago. We had a focus that was more directed at 2-3 player. We still test at 1 and 4…but 2-3 was our intended audience. As we go forward…into the next few waves and cycles, that will change over time. Single player it’s a very challenging box, with more [icons].” Four player can slow the game down a bit. Our focus was on 2-3 player for this box.- Boggs

“Ronan has given a lot of people headaches. I’ve also seen people say ‘I like the challenge, it’s fun for me.’ I talked to Caleb and said I wanted to introduce a change to Ronan that brought his power down in the campaign if they wanted it. It was that side scheme, more than any other campaign side scheme, that was made for the boss to feel like a big bad.” – Boggs

“When you play a campaign you choose if you want to have a normal or expert campaign. Each time you start a scenario you can decide which mode of play you want to play…standard…expert…heroic. If you’re playing in campaign mode, the campaign side scheme depends on the individual mode. I’m playing an expert campaign, but I’m playing standard Drang, I will use the standard challenge side scheme. If I go on to Collector and I say I want more of a challenge, and play him on expert mode, I’ll flip the Collector’s side scheme to the expert side. You keep that type of campaign until the very end.” – Boggs

“That was one of those things that came up…toward the end of testing [not being able to change your deck in the expert campaign]. I think it came from Caleb, actually. Caleb suggested it and it was an interesting idea, and it got good feedback. If you really hate that rule it’s not a big deal, if you change your deck.” – Boggs

“I stayed on top of all of the feedback. I know this was a bit more polarizing than I hoped it was going to be…but overall as the game continues on that people will return to this wave and achieve things they didn’t before.” – Boggs

“[A new challenge], Let’s say…Nebula…expert and heroic 1 Nebula, with the Electro mod.” – Boggs

July 2021:

The Card Game Cooperative interview with Michael Boggs

“I lived in South Korea and started working in independent design. Working in South Korea it was easy to find foreigners from all over the world. And Thursday night we would have board game meetups. We had a smaller group…but also a larger outlying group. That kind of grew very quickly. To the point where we might have 10-20 people each night bringing their own stuff and having their stuff playtested.

Through that excitement and passion I was lucky enough to land a job with Fantasy Flight Games. I saw the job and applied. Originally I worked on Android Netrunner, worked on that for about a year or so, eventually that game came to a close. I helped with a few things…KeyForge, Legend of the Five Rings, Arkham Horror.” – Boggs

“I didn’t actually have much experience with co-op games before. The only co-op game I had played previously was Pandemic and Pandemic Legacy. I think a co-op card game is quite different…to board games. A competitive game you have to be so laser-focused on not only the balance of each card, but how it impacts the whole pool as a whole. A co-op game that becomes much less of a focus, a lot of the times you want to tell a story.

At the end of the day you aren’t worried about the entire card pool. I had Caleb Grace to help me, he’s been working on Lord of the Rings…for the last eight or nine years. I think, especially…Caleb was the lead on the products for early in the game’s life cycle.

Early we wanted to keep the challenge and complexity a lot lower…we agreed to increase the complexity…over time. Now we’re getting to the point where…there’s a community to jump into for questions.” – Boggs

“During the development of Galaxy’s Most Wanted the resounding feedback we got was the game was too easy, make it more of a challenge. Obviously that’s not going to be shared with every single person. Galaxy’s Most Wanted was designed with having the mods be more swappable…that’s something a lot of people are too resistant to. That hasn’t quite panned out the way I expected it to.” – Boggs

“It is a group effort (which heroes to pick). But it’s also a discussion with management. For Agent Venom…we talked about a couple characters that could go in that slot. Galactic characters. We had a few pitches, ultimately Agent Venom was picked…but Andrew Navaro.” – Boggs

“The Mad Titan wave sort of ties together the first wave, which is very Avengers focused, and the Guardians wave. We have Nebula with Warmachine. Adam Warlock with Vision. It takes those previous product waves and combines them.” – Boggs

“Maybe Adam Warlock. I didn’t know him…I had to read a couple of comics when Caleb was working on the box. My mom didn’t want to buy me comics growing up. I always followed Marvel through…all of the TV shows, and the video games. I can read hundreds of comics now…Marvel Unlimited…is the quickest way for me, I have a membership with the studio” – Boggs

“That’s very much the balance we’re trying to strike. Anyone who has grown up with the comics and has been a lifelong fan, we hope to pull enough obscure characters to keep their attention…but if you haven’t, if you only saw the movies or played the video games like myself…we try to keep it as broad as we’re able.” – Boggs

“Ms. Marvel…there was one time where I was working an eight hour day…seven hours of that was reading Ms. Marvel comics.” – Boggs

“There are times…we’d love to have more female characters than male characters, and people of color…but there’s times where they won’t fit with the theme.” – Boggs

“Looking for Trouble…it went through a couple of iterations…we eventually decided on the version it is now because it’s useful in the aggression pool to remove threat. But also because it was an effect that was sort of iconic to Thor, but by introducing it to the aspect pool, we could let other characters, specifically Rocket, do other things…and have a card that worked with a mechanic they were familiar with. We try to keep the cardpool as streamlined as possible. We felt like Thor didn’t lose his identity.” – Boggs

“Creating effects that sort of overlap in their functionality makes the character that already does that so much better at it…also it keeps the card pool simpler overall.” – Boggs

“I played Arkham quite a bit at this point, a couple summers back I had an LCG phase…Lord of the Rings less so, I played maybe eight or nine games in total. I don’t quite have time…and Arkham was sort of the new hotness before Marvel. Every now and then Jeremy Zwirn…he’ll pull out Lord of the Rings and I played with him a few times. Whenever I play Arkham I sort of take whichever character…I like the Guardian class, the Rouge class is fun too. I’m here to support whoever.” – Boggs

“For a long time my favorite game was Android: Netrunner. One of the games I’m always excited to return to is 7 Wonders: Duel.” – Boggs

August, 2021:

Jim Cartwright comments on the state of the LCG in 2021

Drawn To The Flame interviews Andrew Navaro

“That’s one of the things I really liked about the Marvel Champions design, was the modularity of the deck. Earlier on we were monkeying around with that more than we ended up monkeying with it in the end. But you could always go, you could make whatever crazy villain deck you want in that game. And I really liked that. When there wasn’t a whole lot of content in the beginning, Team Covenant was like, let’s try mashing these things together. Earthborne Rangers is like that too, it’s very modular.” – Navaro

FFG Live Game Designer Card Discussion (Josh, Caleb Grace, Boggs)

“The world is in a crazy place, shipping and deliveries are delayed all over. What I can tell you is that the goal is to still get Mad Titan out by the end of this year.” – Josh

“Mighty Avengers is a really exciting support card in the leadership aspect. What makes it exciting is that it’s the first team support card, it’s a subgenre we’ve been looking to explore in the game. Looking forward to doing more.” – Caleb

“Starhawk was a fun one. He was originally designed by Aaron Haltom…it’s one of those I wouldn’t really thought of. It’s a card I put in a lot of my protection decks.” – Boggs

“This [Living Tribunal] is going to replace your encounter card reveal on your turn…we were just trying to think of a thematically appropriate way to represent…the Living Tribunal…we represented that in the way that it shows up whenever it feels like showing up. And it might get discarded as…a dead boost. It has a player card back on purpose, this is a casual game, you can see the player card coming that’s OK, if you want you can sleeve it you can…we did not have the room…for [making it an encounter card]. Since this is my player card this will go to my discard pile. if it comes up as a boost, it’ll go to the discard pile.” – Caleb

“We wanted Justice to add another effect to their repertoire of effects [Making an Entrance]. The iterations that we went through I think they were a little more straightforward…remove threat from a scheme, and if you do it’s a bonus. Now if you can remove threat and heal.” – Boggs

“This was a character I didn’t know about until I read the Mighty Avengers comics. He’s basically a really powerful guy who’s been around a long time, and everyone’s really surprised like why didn’t we know you were here? He’s an absolute genius and really powerful, and he and Spectrum kind of form a relationship in the comic. Spectrum’s powers overloaded and she’s unable to regain control and Blue Marvel works his magic. That’s why I wanted him to have his ability to change forms.” – Caleb

“The way it’s intended is she has three energy forms, they all start in play facedown. When you change into hero you choose one to flip one. When you change forms you take the one you have and turn it facedown, and turn the next one faceup, so you’re constantly moving between the three.” – Caleb

“I think Boggs actually helped me come up with this one [Shawarma]. I had the five scenarios kinda designed and outlined, but I wasn’t really sure what to do with the campaign. Each scenario would kind of had an encounter side scheme that would be put into play that would ratchet up the tension in campaign mode. But on the flipside it could be a chance to gain a reward or a power-up. You’re in New York City, Avengers Tower is under attack.” – Caleb

“This Cosmo went through a couple different iterations. We wanted to represent his…psychic abilities. One suggestion was naming a card type. I’ve always had a lot of fun with this card, it was one that came about through playtesting. You can target decks…that are not the encounter deck…you can target Red Skull’s side scheme deck…you’d be successful every time. Some scenarios might give Cosmo quite a bit of consistency. If you don’t like that effect you can just choose your player deck or the encounter deck.” – Boggs

“That was something that Nate French actually requested…could we have a moment that felt like the snap. It made some waves in the playtester group, just about everyone loved it.” – Caleb

“My favorite modular set in The Hood? State of emergency? City emergency? It’s a modular set that has many side schemes, and they have when revealed effects, and I believe there’s two or three copies of a treachery, to resolve all of the side scheme when revealed effects in play.” – Boggs

“So that was something that came up in conversation in the studio in playtesting, ultimately we based our version off the comic book itself and as much as we love the movies…we did talk about dance battle quite a bit.” – Boggs

“The answer is…well there’s this whole story behind it. The original plan was pretty straightforward, Thanos was the final villain. When we presented that to the executives…the feeling was that it was a bit predictable. Can you do something unexpected, something that fans won’t see coming? We had a good conversation about that…everyone wants to see Thanos for sure. I think of the box this way. Instead of being a steady climb to the top…I actually think of this like a roller coaster ride.” – Caleb

“No…not necessarily [were these boxes designed with standard 2 in mind]. That started…toward the end of MTS development? So we were already finished with GMW and were well on our way with MTS. We knew in The Hood scenario with all these modular sets we wanted to offer new difficulty, but we weren’t necessarily designing these two in conjunction. Going forward the standard set is accessible. We will continue testing with just the normal one going forward…predominately going forward.” – Boggs

“We ended up going with Agent Venom because we had the GMW box and the Guardians team. Flash Thompson joined the Guardians at some point. We wanted another character who focused on weapons, and you have the five staple Guardians everyone is aware of, but we wanted to pick a sixth character to encourage people to look into the comics. I personally didn’t know Venom joined the Guardians.” – Boggs

“I feel like the more we delve into the lore of this game the more we come across these iconic heroes and villains and the pressure kind of mounts as our community grows. Like where’s my favorite hero? There’s absolutely pressure. It’s great to have a co-worker like Boggs and other people in my department to talk to about it.

Through our teamwork…we just help each other focus on the upsides and opportunities we have to do something fun and exciting with these hotly anticipated characters, and we’re good sounding boards for each other, like hey this is really cool, this is absolutely what I want to see. We get one shot at a Thanos scenario, we want to make sure it lives up to the hype, so it’s great to have a sounding board like Boggs. Thanos is very powerful but our focus was on fun, not necessarily difficulty” – Caleb

“We have so many heroes to do, Caleb kinda commented on that before. There are hundreds of thousands of heroes…we want to focus on new heroes. To stay thematically sound…I don’t think it’s impossible that we might ever do a different version of a hero.” – Boggs

“[Will Mad Titan’s Shadow close out the Infinity Stone arc?] Yes.” – Caleb

“That must have been almost two years ago [playtesting Galaxy’s Most Wanted” – Caleb

“The technical reading of the rules, you can’t [play Nebula versus Nebula]. If you really want to do that, you can do that.” – Boggs

Back to the top

January, 2022:

Critical Encounters 100th episode interview with Molly Glover, with guest appearances by Tony Fanchi, Michael Boggs, and Caleb Grace

“They sat down with the head of studio, and came up with…the [vague] stories they wanted to come up with. So we started thinking of them in these, these trilogies. So Rise of Red Skull and then the Guardians and then Mad Titan’s Shadow, and that’s the trilogy. And then Sinister Motives, and that takes us into the Spider-Verse…it’s almost felt prescient to me it’s like we were working on Sinister Motives when the Spider-Verse movie comes out, it’s like…we’re working on this. I don’t know if there’s conversations with Marvel where some of that information is given…not to me, so maybe they did have a little bit of foreknowledge. It’s been mostly Caleb and Boggs, some Nate, now some Tony, figuring out the best story.” – Glover

Critical Encounters 101th episode interview with Caleb Grace

“There’s a lot of people involved, but….people have pretty clearly defined roles. Sometimes we hit some bumps and snags, but overall we’re a pretty well-oiled machine. Especially a few years in…Rise of Red Skull was our first story box…so since then we’ve had a lot more practice. So we’re always learning as we try and go and improve. It was a big adjustment [the pandemic]. At first I didn’t have software at my house. I was asking Boggs to enter things in the database for me, I didn’t have internet access, I had to setup a VPN and all that stuff. As far as the other card game lines, I used to know what was going on, but now I don’t. Yes, I am [still working remote].” – Caleb

“Traditionally me and Boggs [come up with ideas]. And we’ve added another person to the design team. And our producer Molly is a huge comic fan…we started inviting her…and that’s typically going to be it, sometimes. Sometimes a manager or someone at the executive level might want to join. So for the most part we know…if we know the next thing want to do is this…it’s just going to be the designers and the producer, we’re going to brainstorm who is going to be the villains in the box, what’s going to be the overarching story, who are going to be the heroes in this wave. Sinister Motives…that was almost all Boggs. We have this kind of leapfrog pattern…and uh, and I was really busy working on something else at that time. I got kind of caught up in what I was doing. Inevitably [the leap frog concept will change after adding a new designer]…it’s going to [change]. I’m excited to see what this new team member will do once they get their chance to lead. There might be a hero pack in the Sinister Motives wave that MJ helped design. MJ was a driving force for why we had this particular hero. I am very excited for everyone to open the next campaign box after Sinister Motives. I wish I could be in the room with you once you get the news…Sinister Motives is amazing.” – Caleb

“Quite possibly [we can expect another big story arc]…I can’t say too much…that [Mad Titan’s Shadow] was something I was pitching…once the game started to take shape, there was almost a meta conversation, like how do we approach this game? Where we finish a wave and say ‘what should we do next?’ I’m a big fan of the comics but also the movies, and they’re very much conceived by phases. You mean Loki and Hela? Yeah I felt like that was more of a group decision, so maybe she [Molly] was being generous [crediting the Loki and Hela secret to me]. She’s definitely not twisting the story. I think that was something everyone was keen…we’ll discuss something in one meeting but maybe someone really important, like the art director, couldn’t make it to that meeting…it felt like everyone was on board with trying to keep it a secret. I have to credit Andrew Navaro…not specifically for Loki and Hela, but for coming up with the secret.” – Caleb

“I had a lot of fun working on [Hela]. My Lord of the Rings roots were poking through. I miss going on quests…it was sort of the heroes driving the stories as they were progressing through the quest, whereas with Marvel Champions it was sort of the reverse with the villains driving the story by completing their schemes. So it was fun turning that on its head a little bit. I’m pretty confident you’re going to see more of those. I can’t say they’ll look exactly like Hela. There is keyword boat at a certain point, where people get intimidated to pick up a game…it’s a little different on the scenario side, it can be contained. For us it starts on the thematic angle.” – Caleb

“I think power creep is a bad thing in the way it’s used…in a negative connotation. No one ever talks about power creep in a positive sense. In any game…I play Marvel Strike Force, the mobile game and I’m in a team with that…every time there’s a new hero people say have you seen the power creep on this one? It’s never a positive thing. It’s such a subjective issue.

It’s a truly subjective issue, like when people say this card is OP. Those are my favorite comments, they clearly don’t playtest this, this is just OP. We spend a lot of time playtesting…we definitely keep an eye on power level, but like I said it is subjective, and one thing to keep in mind…is that no matter how robust your playtest group, there’s just no way that a small number of people in a six month period of time is going to break into a card pool that thousands of people will in a year or more. There’s always going to be stuff that slips through.

Some realities of power creep…the larger a card pool gets, the better every card gets…everything is getting more powerful with every new player card we put out there. Marvel is…every product is an extra point.” – Caleb

“It really depends on hero to hero [what goes into the pack]. We have some general practices…we’d get comfortable with the idea of reprints. It didn’t make sense to reinvent genius, energy, and strength for every pack, that would be tedious. At the same time we try to be very respectful…people are buying these packs for the new content…we really want to just make a great experience out of the pack, and sometimes that necessitates a reprint…but for the most part we’re trying to focus on new cards.

Even in the department there’s opinions on what is the right amount of reprints, and how often to use them. And I think that’s a good thing, if we were always agreeing on them we might have a blind spot. I believe those two [endurance and downtime reprints] are coming in the not-too-distant future. A campaign box and a wave of hero packs takes a lot of time…so we don’t have a lot of time to do scenario packs. A non-Marvel villain…from anywhere [to put into the game]? I like Darth Vader.”” – Caleb

“It’s as much art as it is science [difficulty]. There’s things we can do objectively to balance those, and there’s things that are open to interpretation. You just have to hope whatever it is you’re making that you’re passionate about connects with your audience. I’m happy that Mad Titan’s Shadow connects, but we didn’t radically change anything between any of our story boxes…the process was pretty much the same for all three of them. There was definitely not a shift were like oh that last one was too difficult so we’re going to make this one easier. Once GMW came out and we saw those comments it definitely started conversations, but MTS was already done by that point.” – Caleb

“Boggs wanted to do a set all about modulars…and I said The Hood, he’d be a great villain for that. That was my only contribution. With Lord of the Rings it was like, let’s be respectful to the IP. But with Marvel it’s all about doing crazy stuff. There was a comic book where there was a venom T-Rex. I think it was Old Man Hawkeye, and there was a legit Venomized T-Rex. At first the Infinity Gauntlet was just going to be in Thanos, and I was like why limit that.” – Caleb

February, 2022:

Marvel Champions Monthly interview with Caleb Grace

“For the most part we take turns taking leads on different cycles, as you call them, and this [MTS] was my turn taking lead. That’s actually a complex….question and answer. While I’m lead on it every product we do, everyone signs off on it. Very early on before we finished the core set we were asked to come up with a line plan…for where we wanted to go with the first several waves of the game…but everyone signed off.

In this particular case Andrew Navaro was still the studio head…and was concerned that it was a couple years after the movie, and no one would care about Thanos. In Andrew’s defense, my original idea was to fight your way to Thanos through the Black Order…almost like a video game. I’m really satisfied with how it turned out. It gets heated sometimes [discussions]. Where people disagree with the boss.” – Caleb

“That’s like saying who’s your favorite child [what’s your favorite MTS scenario]. The first one definitely isn’t my favorite. The first villain is almost always going to be the easiest in the box…people might skip Rhino and go straight into Mad Titan’s Shadow. As a result the first is almost never going to be my favorite. And it’s almost never going to be the last one, because that’s the one we want to make the most difficult.

I really really like the Tower Defense scenario…I like the relationship between the two villains…the whole different loss condition. Thanos has gotta be up there because it’s Thanos. That was a Nate French request [snapping half the deck]. I think Hela…for its uniqueness…that Lord of the Rings approach…it has the most story. The reception to that one has been through the roof.” – Caleb

“I just thought of it now, how you don’t get to see Thanos brooding in a prison cell. Those comics are so small we can’t fit that in…we’ll see, hopefully the game is around that long…where we can pick up those loose threads.” – Caleb

“It was really Nate French that led that initiative. We knew on the hero side that each hero would have their 15 kit…then on the encounter side it was trying to learn every lesson we could from Lord of the Rings and Arkham. With Lord of the Rings and Arkham it’s a different one. The IP allows us to do stuff that we couldn’t do in other LCGs.

This idea of customizable encounter decks goes all the way back to the origins of the Lord of the Rings card game…that idea was a little too revolutionary at times…it was shot down. And Nate’s like here’s this thing I always wanted to do [with Marvel]. I wasn’t sure how many people would be interested in. I think Boggs saw the potential a little bit before I did. The Infinity Gauntlet is where I crossed that finish line. I thank my co-workers for helping me to get to that place.” – Caleb

“I think one of my favorite elements of Champions that I’d love to see in Lord of the Rings is that they really respond…they scheme in alter-ego. They feel more living and breathing as a result.” – Caleb

“The ally limit grew out of Lord of the Rings. That’s not a weakness…that is a fellowship game. With Marvel we knew it needed to be centered around the hero. One hero card wasn’t enough…we decided early on that it was going to be a kit. It’s going to be a theme…but lower the barrier of entry with new players.” – Caleb

“That’s a very deliberate thing we try to do with every wave of the game [do one of each aspect in a cycle]. So if someone really enjoys Leadership they don’t feel jealous, like Aggression has so many more cards than I do. War Machine is a long time Avenger, he’s been a leader several times, he’s an officer, we’ll make him Leadership so Valkyrie can be Aggression.” – Caleb

“It really depends, one of the goals of this wave was to be the capstone…War Machine allowed us to include some Avenger allies. We already have all the Avengers we really wanted to see by now. And I gotta say I don’t know if he’ll hear it, but my good buddy Tim Garret [sic] is a big fan of Machine Man, and [wanted to get him in]. I mentioned I was asked as a tentative line plan. We have not reached the end of that outline.” – Caleb

“Connection to the MCU and Disney+, that’s absolutely a consideration. Of course we want to piggyback off that. We’re absolutely going to be aware, but I want to dispel any myths…the secrecy on those projects is next level. There’s been a few characters we’re putting forward and people were like who is that? And then six months later Disney will announce this character is getting its own show. It’s more what do we want to do with the line at the time. Steve Horvath [ANA] said make sure you make Captain America really good. I like coming up with the hero first…then designing around that hero. It’s not out of the question doing it the other way.” – Caleb

“I think in the end almost every time…it pushes you to be a better designer. There’s something called low hanging fruit…it doesn’t mean they’re bad, but they get used up all the way. Sometimes it can inspire our best work…to differentiate them. From the beginning it has gone this way, on a whole your hero cards are the most powerful. Next come the aspect cards. Basic cards tend to be the lowest on the power curve.” – Caleb

“I’ve gotten a lot better at [MMA]…no I’m kidding, it comes down to our leapfrog strategy [who gets first pick between me and Boggs on heroes]. When Boggs is lead on something like Galaxy’s Most Wanted, it’s his pick, and I defer to him, because he’s lead on that. I can’t recall a time where it’s been like that…this week I can’t tell you about this product, but Boggs said if you’re not too attached to this hero I’d like to do it.” – Caleb

“[What’s your favorite aspect?] I like Leadership.” – Caleb

“Adam Warlock and War Machine [are my favorites of the wave].” – Caleb

“War Machine nemesis Living Laser [was the toughest nemesis to design in this wave. Just because sometimes a hero doesn’t have an obvious nemesis so we have to stretch a bit.” – Caleb

“Adam Warlock [I’d love to have lunch with from this wave].” – Caleb

“FFG is like a big ship, it doesn’t turn on a dime. I’m sure eventually we’ll figure out more [team-up cards]. Who doesn’t want to see Iron Man bounce a laser off of Captain America’s shield. The sky is the limit. My favorite one that’s out right now is Flora and Fauna. Playing Galaxy’s Most Wanted with Boggs…every time we played Flora and Fauna it was so clutch for whatever scenario we were in.” – Caleb

“I think right now one of the hardest things about being lead design is people waiting patiently for their favorite hero. I generally sympathize. Like there’s a lot of Daredevil fans out there who are disappointed with every release we put out…I personally love Daredevil. It’s tough, we want to get to all of them…we want this game to go on for a really long time. For every person dying for Daredevil there’s 100 people dying for X-Men.” – Caleb

“We [wanted] to make sure after the core set that there’s no single product you need. We didn’t want to put any hurdles into the game. I know that it’s a wide spectrum of people we’re trying to appeal to…I just wish [advanced players] would quit hating on them. I pretty much only play prebuilt decks.” – Caleb

“[If I had to propose a two week challenge from the MTS cycle for the community?]…The Hood recruiting the Black Order to his underground gang [with their two mods].” – Caleb

Critical Encounters interview with Michael Boggs

Portal Gaming Podcast: Episode 180 with Caleb and Boggs

“The way things are currently setup is that if someone has a rules question they can go to our FFG website…that question gets filtered to the developers. It used to go into our work email…and the sheer volume of our Marvel questions got to be so much that we asked the IT department, can you setup a separate email account for Marvel Champions questions. That method hasn’t changed in over a decade…since I started working on FFG.

The questions have gone from maybe one here or there to a constant stream. As a studio we’re reviewing that whole process…it’s not just Marvel Champions, it’s Arkham Horror…[as for the top three questions topic posed by the interviewer, where we can post what the top three answers are every month] that is something we’re reviewing right now. I was so encouraged with the responsiveness.. Everyone wants their customers to have a good experience, I feel confident that this will be resolved soon. The one thing I’m confident of is that there will be improvements.” – Caleb

“Rocket was primarily Aaron Haltom…a good 80% him.” – Boggs

“Jim [Cartwright] and Jeremy Zwirn [championed the achievement list].” – Boggs

“It’s above my paygrade. But one of the things they’re exploring is how they can adjust the release cadence. Like maybe once every month is more than enough for somebody, but I think there was some discussion with two packs every two months or something. It’s not going to change our workflow.” Caleb

Critical Encounters interview with Zach Tewalthomas (QA)

March, 2022:

Critical Encounters interview with Peter Schumacher

Card Talk interviews Caleb about the LOTR LCG Revised Core Set (with some Marvel talk)

“At that point I was pretty much onto Marvel Champions and it was on to other people…I did asked to get involved some more when other people got real busy. The launch of Marvel Champions was a very hectic time for me…and everyone involved. But eventually we figured out the correct rhythm and cadence for that line…I said good news, Boggs and I are pretty ahead at this time, so I could take even as long as a month…for Lord of the Rings.” -Caleb

FFG Live Sinister Motives stream with Boggs, Molly, and Josh

“[Is there a way for Peter Parker to be a web warrior?] I urge players to be patient because there will be an answer for that in the card pool.” – Boggs

“[Can you use Helicarrier to get around the new requirement keyword?] You still have to pay all requirements” – Boggs

“[Web warriors and the champions, and shield are all in this wave. What’s behind the decision to do that with Miles?] We wanted to explore Shield for a while, and we did it with Black Widow…but we never had a great slot to put it in and we talked about a few characters like War Machine as well. And with Miles and a relationship with Nick Fury….he’s obviously in Justice…it just felt like we had the space to do it and why not, we wanted to do it for a long time.” – Boggs

[How did feedback impact this box?] “Rise of Red Skull was out by then…we finished this…in 2020 [mid-summer 2020 is when we wrapped]. Almost two years ago. The feedback we incorporated was…Red Skull was received well but it was intended to be a box that was very introductory…the campaign was almost barebones, intentionally so [we expanded that].” – Boggs

“[Gwen’s] obligation is a weird one because sometimes it’s actually good.” – Boggs

[What abilities characters and locations didn’t make the cut for Miles/Gwen?] “I think for the most part we were able to solidify their personas and strong family relations. Miles early on we decided with his dad who has a connection to SHIELD. Gwen’s father plays a big role…those came in really easy, I can’t think of any locations.

Mechanically Gwen went through a lot of iterations, and readying from the response/interrupt we settled on. I think she had a card draw on the interrupt…Miles was the same way…it took al little bit of time.” – Boggs

[What is the Sinister Motives release date?] “It’s incredibly soon. Depending on logistics and your local markets. The official release date is April 8 [US].” – Josh

May, 2022:

Team Covenant talks to MJ Newman about game design, Champions is briefly touched upon near the start

Michael Boggs leaves FFG, and muses on some design concepts

Sometimes it’s hard to discuss things like this in public because a design decision is always made by *someone*, and oftentimes that person is a close friend or coworker. To talk negatively about a decision runs the risk of hurting someone’s feelings.

That said, I do believe it is the job of a game designer to always be critical of their body of work. How are you ever going to get better if you keep yourself in an echo chamber?

The important thing about Hulk is that many large changes were made to his design right at the finish line. If I remember correctly, something like 12 out of his 15 cards were nerfed in one form or another. Given that I was the designer of Hulk, I obviously felt that his pre-nerfed level represented the best version of him, but development is a team effort and others disagreed with my opinion.

Personally, I wish we’d kept his original version because I do believe that would have resonated better with the community. Even if he was on the strong side (which, relative to the power of many heroes nowadays, I don’t believe he was overpowered by any means), he’s the freaking Hulk and he should be strong.

With all that said, there are cards in the pipeline that will make Hulk better. I don’t think he’ll ever quite be what the community wants him to be, which is unfortunate, but there are plenty of ways that he can be made more fun. – Boggs [Reddit]

In all seriousness, I do agree that surge has maybe been overused, and some of those instances were definitely my decision. That said, surge is an important keyword for the game for one key reason: simplicity.

The target audience of Champions is one where people who haven’t played a ton of card games in the past can sit down and still have a fun time with the game pretty much off the bat. With that in mind, there have been many times when we’ve gotten to the end of development and realized that some of our cards were too wordy, or some of the concepts were higher in complexity than we wanted. One of the largest hurdles for many casual players to overcome is wordiness—not even being able to process a card because there’s too much information presented at once—and in those instances, surge was considered a good replacement as it let us break things into more digestible chunks. Instead of a card with a lot of words and two tiny paragraphs, it became two cards that a player could look at and process independently, maybe even with fewer words overall.

However, surge has definitely made its way onto cards that absolutely should not have it (Fanaticism is the best example). In those cases, surge was often added at the end in the hopes of reducing complexity (replacing whatever text with surge), but sometimes also to add challenge or to make a card spicier. While the former has merit, I don’t personally believe surge should ever really be used to increase difficulty. If players want that experience, there’s already an entire mode that exists.

As the game continues, though, I think we’ll see this issue corrected. I believe it made its way onto more of my products overall not because I love surge, but because I would often push the game into more complex areas. That sometimes meant big changes at the end, and surge was often favored for its simplicity. But both Tony and Caleb are aware of the community’s feelings toward surge at this point, and I’d wager they’ll find other solutions. – Boggs [Facebook]

“…There are different elements of [Hulk’s] design that have bled into other characters. Drax got to call his mechanic “rage tokens,” Spider-Ham got to spend resources from taking damage, Nova got to use a specific resource as double resources, etc.

It was so long ago that it’s really difficult to remember the specifics of his cards, but I do remember that Hulk Smash was its own attack. I think it was 6 cost, dealt 10, had overkill, and each physical resource counted as double when paying for it. The idea was that you could always pay for it using just 3 resources because you could build Hulk using just physical (making it stronger than Swinging Web-Kick, which is still the benchmark for big hero attacks), but in doing so, you’d lock yourself out of deckbuilding options. However, because you could guarantee 3 for 10 and overkill, it was considered too strong and was changed to its current version to make it more susceptible to exhaust/stun. I also remember comments about how it felt more thematically like a “smash” if it was an ATK modifier instead of its own attack, which I totally get.” – Boggs [Reddit]

“I directly designed and developed Ms. Marvel, Hulk, Ant-Man, Wasp, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Gamora, Drax, Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Ghost-Spider, Nova, and Ironheart. I contributed about 50% of the design to Venom, Nebula, and Spider-Ham, and about 30% to all of the heroes in the Core Set, Spider-Woman, Rocket, Groot, Star-Lord, and Spider-Ham.

And with every other hero, I helped in one form or another, most often assisting in brainstorming during early dev.

There are also a few more heroes I worked on that have yet to be announced.” – Boggs

[Do you think the game will be going strong five plus years from now?] “I do, yes. From a business standpoint, the game has done very well each year. When I left, there was absolutely no sign of it slowing down.” – Boggs

“It was a while ago so it’s hard to remember but I don’t believe She-Hulk changed all that much from her inception.

I know that quite a few players think I designed/developed She-Hulk because I once made a comment on Team Covenant’s stream about how I wished she had another copy of Gamma Slam, but that’s not the case. Nate, Caleb, and I worked together to create her initial concept. Nate was then the lead on her development for a time, and that eventually passed to Caleb. I was in charge of running and monitoring the playtesting forums, so I passed along tester feedback to the two of them, but I really can’t say what did or didn’t change based on that feedback.

I’m sorry I don’t have more information!” – Boggs

June, 2022:

Michael Boggs leaves FFG, and muses on some design concepts

“[Goblin Glider] This is one of those cards that changed dramatically at the end of development, arguably for the worse. All of your points are valid and I’m sorry for the frustration you’re having. That said, I do want to take a moment to point out something some players may have overlooked. HERO ACTION: Discard any number of ATTACK cards from your hand with a combined resource cost of 3 or more —> Discard this card.

It seems that some players believe they precisely need a 3-Cost Attack to discard Advanced Glider but that isn’t quite right. That is indeed the most efficient way to remove it, but you could also discard three 1-Cost Attacks, a 1-Cost Attack and a 2-Cost Attack, or two 2-Cost Attacks. A good majority of heroes can accomplish this in their own kit, but including additional aspect Attacks can increase your chances considerably, especially in multiplayer.” – Boggs

“…I am sorry for the frustrations you’re having with Ronan. He was never intended to be as difficult as he turned out to be. The Galaxy’s Most Wanted campaign was developed during a turbulent time at FFG and, unfortunately, many things slipped through the cracks that shouldn’t have. As far as advice, rushing Ronan down seems to be the best option (along with most other villains in the game).

Try to find a hero who can deal damage without needing a lot of time to set up but also has the versatility to remove threat and mitigate damage. Groot probably isn’t your best bet here. Captain Marvel/Captain America/Doctor Strange/Ant-Man can be good pre-GMW options though.” – Boggs

[I’ve seen you post a lot about mistakes or regrets in designs for the game but I’m curious. What hero and scenario are you most proud of developing?]

“That’s a great question. I’m pretty critical of my body of work overall—no matter the hero or scenario, there’s always something I wish I’d done differently. But I had to choose, for heroes it would probably be either Ms. Marvel or Ironheart. Ms. Marvel because she was the first hero I designed and I still love her playstyle; Ironheart because she ran into some big problems at the end of her development and required A LOT of extra work, but the reception around her still seems good and all that work paid off. For scenarios, it’s a bit harder to answer.

Many of the scenarios I was the lead on either had tight restrictions on what they absolutely must/couldn’t do or received rather dramatic changes during development. Designing a scenario often felt like working inside a tiny box, whereas designing a hero was often much more free and open. For this reason, I feel less attached to many of the scenarios I worked on because a lot of the final designs turned out quite differently than I wanted or envisioned. They don’t feel as much like “mine,” if that makes sense.

That said, if I also had to pick, it would be Mutagen Formula. It’s maybe the only pre-Sinister Motives scenario I worked on that didn’t run into the challenges I’ve mentioned, and it turned out way better than I expected it to.” – Boggs

Former X-Wing designer Alex Davy talks about his time with FFG and their creative process

“We also had to consider what the tools were available to us [to fix prior issues]. There were certain in company restrictions and ideas at Fantasy Flight at the time, that channeled us into a certain path. One of those ideas was ‘we will not ban cards, we will not restrict cards, we will not errata cards unless they are actually broken…like they literally do not function, like there’s a mistake or something. Thou shalt not use errata to solve balance problems.’

So from a sort of company standpoint, we couldn’t just start again. At least we would have had a hard time arguing that case. Maybe we should have…if I could do it again I’d probably come up with useable upgrade cards.

It is way less flexible to try and fix something after the fact than to just write it correctly from the beginning. And there were so many things wrong, with the proton torpedo [mechanic]. We would have had to come out with three different fixes for it, to get it to be where we wanted it in the first place.” – Alex Davy (Former FFG Game Designer for X-Wing and Star Wars: Legion)

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Future streams:


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 halloflcg(at)! Not all entries will be accepted.

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

You may also want to check out our guides/extras section, which has card counts to help you plan sleeve purchases.

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

Check out our Arkham Horror LCG storage solutions article here, and our Lord of the Rings LCG storage solution article here.

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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 [try this link for the newer model if the other one isn’t working], which will run you $24.99 on sale (it’s almost always on sale). You can also look for coupons, which work online.

When building our solution, we picked 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 up to the end of The Circle Undone at the time), as well as standalone scenarios stored, there is plenty of room to grow.

The top of our Artist’s Case is decorated with various bits of Marvel art (simply pasted on with Mod Podge), taken from various coffee table books. You can often get them very cheaply used.

The second image shows what Marvel Champions LCG looks like with all of the scenarios and mods stored through August 2020 in the Artist’s Case. The dividers are from Tesseract Games.

Deck boxes

Boardinary Gamers came up with an interesting idea: craft cassette case-like deckboxes! You can find more information here on their official Twitter account, but the product can be located here and it holds 30 sleeved cards per case, according to the crafter.

S. Manser also managed to craft a PDF for their own style of cassette tape boxes.

Here is an updated version, sent to us by S. Manser in July 2021. And here’s one updated in August 2021. And another updated in February of 2022!

MTYeh has an archive of card cases here.

Jordi S. managed made their own cassette storage cases too.

Thankfully, they allowed Hall of Heroes to archive and host the PDF files, which you can download in ZIP form here (English and Spanish available).

Here is an updated version from November 2021.

Here’s an update from January 2022.

And here are the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Burger Tokens sells smaller perfect-fit deck boxes.

You can also make your own tuck boxes.

Cheap clear card boxes are also an option.

JACTPrints sells hero-specific deck boxes.

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, or dividers at the top of this page here.

You can 3D-print your own core set insert, too. Or use this alternate insert file.

Here’s another insert project for Rise of Red Skull!

Stephanie Richards, directly above, used the Folded Space insert, which will run you 13,50 €.

Scott Plays uses a combination of foam, dividers and a custom core set box insert.

You can find more information on foam core here.

Buy a Marvel themed box

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

Harbor Freight sells a reasonably priced aluminum case that you can use to store cards.

Daydream Gaming also sells special boxes. You can locate their storefront here.

As does Tesseract Games, which sells the Infinity Box (either self-building or pre-built options).

Portable bags/backpacks

These tend to run on the pricey side, but if you’re constantly going from place to place, they can do the trick. We’ve tested out the Enhance Backpack, and have found that cards stay very snug when walking around.

Another option is the Pirate Lab card case. Or the Big Metal Box from CardKingPro.

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.

You can also opt for the Fortress or the Stronghold.

The Cards Against Humanity Big Box

This huge box is also an option for people who are looking for a higher quality way to store their cards.

You can find it for $14.99 on Amazon. You can also opt for this three-row box from BCW.

Dex Protection Supreme Game Chest

If you really want to get fancy, you can opt for the Dex Supreme Game Chest, which has two trays.

It’s $65 and you can buy it here.

Or you can opt for the cheaper $45 Game Chest.

IKEA storage

Several community members have recommended the “Moppe” box from IKEA. It’s a cheap $20 wooden box that allows for card storage. Here’s a tutorial for how to better use it for storage.

Another community member stored their Netrunner cards in this EKET two-drawer cabinet from IKEA, set on top of a desk or end table.


“Fancy but functional” is a perfect description for these.

If you’re up for the price, this vendor sells Kallaz Boxes for storage for all three LCGs.

Plain old plano or card boxes

The perfect storage solution for anything, even Gloomhaven and Marvel Champions! 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.

Campaign logs

Tesseract Games has a fantastic log book for sale that will accomodate any Champions campaign playthrough. You can find their main site here and their Etsy store here.

Having gotten our hands on it, the book itself is fantastic. The front logo is very pronounced, and opening up a “S.H.I.E.L.D.” file should add a bit of thematic flair to your game.

The idea is that you use one page for an entire campaign, recording your player names, hero identities, and notes that are relevant to your playthrough (like how many delay counters were left on Absorbing Man, and so on). There’s also extra “scoring” sections, for defeated minions, side schemes removed, the last round, and the highest damage dealt in a turn.

You can even record how much fun you had (on a scale of 1-10), as well as how difficult you felt the encounter was; and whether or not you won or lost. It’s sort of a comprehensive way to suit competitive and casual players alike. Players can record 51 games in the book at present, with four pages serving as a tutorial for how each section works. There’s also a full notes page at the end, just in case.

The current incarnation of the log book also comes with heavy-duty insert that serves as a “checklist” for finishing off villains with specific identities and aspect combos. It’s going to be pricey for some, but it’s definitely worth it; especially if you’re doing multiple Red Skull campaigns as we wait for Guardians to drop in April.

[Disclaimer: A log book was provided to Hall of Heroes for testing/review. Nothing else was exchanged.]


There are a few options for dividers.

Tesseract Games sells dividers (suggested sleeves – 7 Wonders sleeves: 65x100mm)

OneSharpJoeCrafts sells wooden dividers.

KirbysWorkshop sells very cheap clear plastic dividers.

You can also print off your own using several types of dividers, found here.

And Dividers Central has a large website dedicated to Champions dividers.

Mobile phone/tablet holders

Lee Butcher brought these sweet mobile holders to our attention: perfect for dials.

They’re called “Bergenes” at IKEA and are very cheap.

Similarly, business card holders can hold multiple quest/agenda/scheme cards at once.

This set has been recommended by a community member.


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.

CaddyMax makes a universal component/token organizer that works great for LCG tokens

Marvel Sleeves

There are several Marvel options for sleeves.

Gamegenic (who is owned by Asmodee) is selling official Marvel Champions sleeves for the player/encounter/villain cards, as well as specific hero sleeves. This video will walk you through the look and feel of the new Gamegenic sleeve line.

Upper Deck is selling Marvel-themed sleeves: a few of which line up with current Champions heroes.

If you need FFG sleeve replacements for their discontinued line, read this post here.

You can find a tutorial for double sleeving above.

Tolarian Community College also has a double sleeving tutorial.


You can find the official Marvel Champions mats for sale here.

Big Viking mats also sells gigantic table-wide mats.

Inked Gaming also sells many playmats.

Lizard Den sells Marvel Champions playmats as well.

Or, you can print your own using a few of these mat templates from Designhacker.

Playmat storage

You can grab tubes like these on Amazon or most gaming stores.

Check out all of the currently available playmats for Champions at the bottom of this page.

Community member rokkon states that this box holds playmats.

This 28″ tube from Ultra Pro stores player mats.

Ant-Man and Wasp storage

Didn’t you hear? Ant-Man and Wasp are going to be represented by unique folding identity cards!

Here’s the rundown on how to store them properly.

3D Printers

The Ender-3 V2 3D Printer is described by one user as a great entry-level, budget option. At the time of publication, this model is below $300, which is on the low-end for 3D printers.

You can find its listing here. For further help, there is a large Ender-3 Facebook community that is willing to answer questions.

Prusa has been recommended by at least one token maker in the LCG community. The Prusa I3 MK3 is described as a “no fuss” 3D printer that can handle a wide variety of products. Pre-assembled, it costs roughly $999.00. Assembling it yourself as a “kit” costs $749.00.

You can find a list of Prusa models here.

To give you an idea on time: printing tokens takes roughly 10 minutes each depending on the design, while printing something like this could take several hours.

For more information and further assistance, you can check the 3D printing Reddit.

You can find a quick 3D-printing tutorial here from Make Your Piece Games.

Token Storage

There are several token storage options that range from cheap to expensive. You should probably start with good old plano boxes, which have their own section above.

You can also opt for these smaller, even cheaper small waterproof plano boxes.

Or, you can get fancy with cylinder stackable containers (pictured above).

As well as these plastic storage containers with hinged lids.

X-Trayz are relatively cheap, ranging in the $2~ range per container.

You can also opt for a Go7Gaming universal storage tray, or the same concept from Buy the Same Token.

Finally, this CaddyMax universal storage tray is an option for several games.

Wait, what about tokens?! I’m glad you asked.

Token and dial 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. The token dimensions are 18mm x 18mm x 3mm.

Extra dials

CogOTwo opened up a shop where you can purchase themed hero or villain dials for Marvel Champions. You can find that storefront here or their official site here.

TableTopLegion sells dials too, as does schoonerlabs.

Make Your Piece Games has a great blog on how to customize your own dials.


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.

Dracula’s Tokens

For many years, Dracula’s Tokens (or Drac’s Tokens) have been my go-to choice for every LCG on the market.

As of mid-2020, they are now offering Marvel Champions tokens! You can find their store here on Etsy.

Daydream Gaming tokens

Daydream Gaming was one of the first suppliers to provide Marvel Champions tokens during its launch, but in May of 2022, they stopped providing tokens.

Their tokens used to be available here.

Board Game Night Shop

Board Game Night Shop offers a cool set of tokens, that also double as Spider-Woman tokens (blue/yellow/green/red).

You can find them broken down beyond the set above here.

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.

3D-printed trays

Community member Torian made these neat token and hero trays that you can print yourself!

Here is the link to the files.

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.

The board measurements are: ~4 3/8″ x 4 3/8″ (11.11cm x 11.11cm)

Token measurements are: .68″ x .68″ (17.175 mm x 17.175 mm)


Schoonerlabs sells various dials and custom tokens that may work for multiple games

Make your own

Make Your Piece Games has a great blog on how to craft your own professional looking tokens. They also have an Etsy shop!

The Bell of Lost Souls blog also has a fantastic “level up your tokens” guide.

Another blog for crafting glass cabochon tokens can be found here.

If you’re looking to store tokens, mini ziplock bags are a great option.

You can also follow this video tutorial to make your own boxes.

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.


We have removed links to Broken Token due to current events [content warning]. Instead, we are providing signal boosted alternatives to Broken Token. You can opt for the Go7Gaming insertFolded Space is another alternative that might suit your needs, as is Meeple RealtyInsert HereLaserox, and GameTrayz. Additionally, the Hall of Heroes network has donated its entire August 2021 earnings to the National Womens Coalition Against Violence & Exploitation.

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 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:

Here are some off-site new player resources!

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

Update: Black Widow, Doctor Strange and Hulk are all out in the US: no more importing needed! However, you may find the below information useful if there are stock issues and you need to find a pack elsewhere.

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. .


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) — 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.

Or you can use DragnCards, with a tutorial available here.

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.

Check out our new Arkham Horror site!

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.