Hall of Heroes favorite scenario survey results

In case you missed it, we held our first-ever poll to see what your “favorite scenario” was to date, at the release of Galaxy’s Most Wanted. We asked, and you showed up! In just over a week, we received 777 results! This makes it, to our knowledge, one of the largest surveys for Marvel Champions to date.

Here are the full transparent results, as well as a breakdown of some interesting highlights (image slightly altered to accommodate multiple results).

So Kang won out by a landslide! Kang garnered 209 votes, and it’s well-deserved after all of the heavy lifting it did getting players from October 2020 through April 2021 with zero new scenarios to play. With three great modular sets and a wonderful take on the “Foundations of Stone” scenario from Lord of the Rings LCG, it’s no wonder that it’s the current darling of Marvel Champions.

Then, Mutagen scored second place with a respectable 139 votes, over double the amount of its nearest competitor. Comparatively, the top two choices are extremely telling: they’re both non-story-box content. The fans have spoken, and standalone packs rule the roost.

I mean, Risky Business is third! That puts the combined pack of Mutagen Formula and Risky Business at roughly Kang’s level of popularity. That’s a very important thing to point out, as Green Goblin is still the only pack to date that contains two scenarios: it’s still our favorite Champions product as well.

From there we move on to murky territory. rounding out the rest of the top 10. Red Skull is next, followed by Klaw, Ultron, Taskmaster, Wrecking Crew, Collector 2, and Drang.

That puts two out of five Red Skull box scenarios in the top 10. Collector and Drang snuck in too to represent Galaxy’s Most Wanted, and people have really taken to the former’s unique Lord of the Rings LCG “questing” approach.

Then we start to go into the weeds. Crossbones is next at 11, followed by Zola, Rhino, Nebula, Collector 1, Absorbing Man, and Ronan. This might be the most eye-catching dataset of all. Here, we have three out of five Galaxy’s Most Wanted scenarios in the bottom five spots. Typically, when a pack comes out the reception is positive due to recency bias. But the community has decidedly gone the other way. Perhaps some of it due to the fact that some folks don’t have the box? Either way, that’s the data we have.

Thanks to everyone for voting! Our first poll was a huge success and you’re a big reason why.

Here’s what changed in Marvel Champions RRG 1.4

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A new Rules Reference Guide (RRG) is out for Champions and quite a bit has changed. Or changed back, depending on your view.

Let’s dig into the major alterations.

RRG 1.4 Resources

If you want to dive into RRG 1.4 for yourself, here are a few places you can go.

This is the raw RRG 1.4 file. Hall of Heroes collects and stores each RRG entry on-site, as FFG has overwritten old rulebooks in the past, and it’s helpful to have them all to compare/contrast.

You can find all of the RRG 1.4 changes here, on this helpful changelog page. Hall of Heroes manually takes out the fluff and old stuff so you can just read the new rulings.

Finally, all of the new FAQ rulings and the errata are all listed here on this page in their appropriate sections.

Now, to 1.4.


The confusion of “You” is one of the most contentious elements of Marvel Champions, and naturally, it has the biggest section of the FAQ.

Nearly every facet of “You” is now explained. For the most part, it deals with how cards interact with your identity by and large. This is codifying the “allies don’t count for cards like Hall of Heroes” ruling that has been floating around development circles and communities for nearly a year now.

Here’s what you need to remember: events, resources, and upgrades are part of the identity. Allies and supports are not an extension of your identity.

We have isolated the You page here.


So there’s a lot to unpack, but the big takeaway is that defense events now count as a defense. So if you use Wiggle Room, you can trigger abilities like Unflappable, which require a defense. RRG 1.2 controversially claimed that using cards like Wiggle Room was not a defense.

The new RRG also clarifies that only one player at a time can defend against an enemy attack, preventing players from stacking defenses upon defenses and breaking certain interactions.

What’s the takeaway? Protection got a huge buff. The original change did not make a lot of sense, and Protection can now use a lot more cards in their pool in both solo and multiplayer.

This aspect is still being debated by various members of the community because of the sheer number of card interactions, but a lot of prior (defense) cards are now back on the menu and more viable for play. It’s a very good change (on a change on a change).

We have isolated the Defend/Defense page here.


Since the core set, people have been wanting a “timing chart” for the game, which previously shipped with both other co-op LCGs at launch. A year and a half removed, we’re getting something similar.

Although it’s not a “chart” per se, under the triggered abilities section of RRG 1.4, we have some more clarity on how abilities work.

In short, it goes

  • Constant abilities
  • Forced Interrupts
  • Forced Responses
  • Responses

This lines up with prior rulings in the past, but it’s good to have clarity, as usual. Some timing bits are also peppered into the RRG throughout, like the “ability” section, which goes into more detail of each of the above bullet points.

We have isolated the Triggered Abilities page here.

Campaign play and difficulties are actually defined now

Previously, Rookie and Heroic modes were added in haste at the behest of the community in early 2020, and weren’t fully defined. Now they are.

An entire modes of play section was added to the RRG, which explains that Rookie mode is now “Skirmish mode.” As a refresher, Rookie mode allowed players to deal with one phase of the villain only.

Now, you can merge Skirmish mode (again, formerly Rookie) with other modes of play. So you can fight any version of Ronan (like Ronan Stage III) with expert, heroic, or campaign play.

Likewise, campaign rules were overhauled, and follow the same “mix and match” philosophy. You can find more information on campaigns here, where we list all of the new FAQs.

We have isolated the Modes of Play page here.

Further official FAQ clarification of rules listed on Hall of Heroes

Hall of Heroes spends a ton of time compiling rule answers for the community to reference, but a lot of players rely on the official materials for their games.

Thankfully, the developers have added a ton of questions to the official FAQ, including a number of them asked by this very site directly!

Every FAQ has been painstakingly added to our ruling section, and we will be cleaning up old rulings in the future.

A few more cards got official errata

Hall of Heroes provides community errata for cards that are printed incorrectly, and now the official RRG is getting with the times.

For reference, Honorary Avenger (max 1 per character), Wrecking Crew’s I’ve Been Waiting For This (gains changed to heals), Iron Fist (response to interrupt), Warning (removed defense trait), Inner Demons (removed “then”), Avengers Tower (Red Skull’s version was misprinted and should have had the Avengers trait), Marked for Death (stage to scheme), Hail Hydra (shuffle only occurs if the deck was searched, which is now the primary way to resolve all three versions of Hail Hydra), and Attack on Mount Athena (Hydra Assault is correct) were all errataed.

You can find every errataed card (new and old) here.

The bulk of the massive 45 page RRG is shoring up rules that existed, but weren’t defined

Don’t get too hung up on reading the entire RRG.

A lot, and we mean, a lot of the clarifications were merely existing rules from individual packs and inserts; that were simply inserted into RRG 1.4.

Marvel Champions LCG Decklist Hall of Fame

Here’s a selection of decks, hero-by-hero, that help draw out their strengths and will assist new players in tackling standard and expert mode: and beyond. These are hand-picked by Hall of Heroes, but also sourced from some of the most-liked decks on MarvelCDB.

This blog is meant to serve as a beginner’s guide through the Guardians of the Galaxy cycle.

If you want a full list of starter decks, make sure you check out our extras and guides page. Also check out our villain-by-villain strategy guide through Galaxy’s Most Wanted.


Spider-Man and Friends – nungunz

This is a classic deck that uses some old cards, but will provide a great baseline for how Spider-Man should play. It was also one of the first origins for a “swarm” deck, before mass-allies were popularized.

Spider-Man is the first hero a lot of people play, and one of the most underrated. Definitely give him a go in several aspects before moving on.

Captain Marvel:

Further, Faster, Baby! – Brian-V

Brian-V is an early staple of Marvel Champions LCG deckbuilding, and it would behoove you to click their name and check out all their decks.

This one, like many others, leverages Leadership to really let Carol sing. See a Leadership pattern already?

Card draw and Carol are a match made in heaven, and using Strength in Numbers only capitalizes on that.


Avengers, Draw & Slam – Brian-V

Oh look, it’s Brian-V again! And Leadership!

This one is a really great “She-Hulk tutorial,” that focuses on drawing cards: a way to overcome the weakness of She-Hulk’s four hand-size.

Leadership in the core set was a very quick community “solve” for a reason.

Iron Man:

Not On My Watch – Earth Dragon

Although Brian-V has a fantastic Iron Man Protection deck, I chose this Justice loadout from Earth Dragon because of how classic of a combo Tony and Justice are.

With so many energy resource cards Justice is a no-brainer for Tony, and this can work very well for solo play or multiplayer. Justice Iron Man was one of my favorite core set combos and that mantra is still true today.

Black Panther:

Wakanda Forever and Ever and Ever and Ever-An – dr000

Dr00, like Brian-V, is another prolific deckbuilder, and one to check out.

I love this deck because it serves as a perfect tutorial for what you should be doing with Black Panther. It walks you through everything from card choice to strategy, and it has made many converts out of non-Black Panther believers.

You can also peruse the updated version here.

Captain America:

Stun Lock – Brian-V

I promise, this is probably the last Brian-V deck in this current incarnation of this writeup. Probably.

In another fantastic outing, Brian-V truly brings Protection to life with Captain America’s “stun lock” archetype. Many players after have replicated it, but this is one of the first. Cap truly is an all-comer hero, and this deck will show you why.

Ms. Marvel:

Smells Like Teen Angst in the Mosh Pit – dr00

Dr00 does it again!

Ms. Marvel is a very unconventional hero, but at launch, she slotted very nicely into the Aggression and Justice aspects due to the high amount of synergy between many of those aspect cards. Dr00 was one of the first players to truly pick up on this.

If you haven’t tried Ms. Marvel yet, give her a go in Aggression. She can handle thwarting just fine with her hero kit, unlike a lot of other heroes.


Hel’s Kitchen – KingOfRohan

So there are several great Aggression decks on MarvelCDB, but Thor Justice is a favorite of mine.

It shores up several of Thor’s weaknesses that Aggression just can’t really handle at the moment, and this deck from KingOfRohan shines in all player counts: solo included. If you’re having issues with Aggression, try this one.

Black Widow:

Black Widow Solo Protection – Heroic 1 – KennedyHawk

Speaking of another great deckbuilder, KennedyHawk, of Marvel Champions Monthly fame, is a paragon of the community and a good person to follow.

Very early on I was drawn to Black Widow Protection, and this deck explains why. The moniker “solo protection heroic” also draws people in immediately. This is how you sell a deck: it’s no wonder it’s the top choice for Widow. If it works in heroic, it works in standard/expert.

Doctor Strange:

Doctor Strange “Tough Enough” Heroic Ally Swarm – Mag

So this is where I toot my own horn a bit with my own deck.

If you noticed, an early trend of strong/well-liked decks was to pack in Leadership cards. This is no different, roughly six months into the game’s lifecycle. However, Doctor Strange is one of the strongest heroes in the game, and is able to tap into what makes Leadership so strong more than most.

I’ve heard testaments from tons of players at this point on how this deck has helped them through every difficulty setting of every scenario. I’m proud of it!


Build a Hulk – Solo Hulk Justice (Undefeated on Expert) – L3w15 7

A new challenger emerges! L3w15 7 is a fairly new deckbuilder, having entered the scene in 2021, but I love this Justice deck with Hulk.

Justice is a fantastic solo pick for many reasons, and I think the creator tapped into the lowish-cost “solve” for Hulk with this deck.

Hulk is a polarizing hero, but a few builds can help you more readily win games, at least on standard/expert.


I Have An Arrow For That – KennedyHawk

How could I not showcase the hero KennedyHawk was born to build a deck for?

In all seriousness, Aggression is severely underrepresented on the DB, so I Have An Arrow For That is a wonderful way to acclimate yourself to the aspect.

Hawkeye is a fun hero, and building him around damage exploits that.


Upgrading the pre-con deck – Rise of Red Skull

Remedy is another prolific member of the community, and they show exactly why with this deck.

The aim here is simple: upgrade the original pre-con with some tweaks. And they do just that. There aren’t a lot of Spider-Woman decks out there, but this was one of the first and most memorable.


X-Con Security Consultants – ImpossibleGerman

Given the rather large lull the game had after Red Skull, activity on the DB dropped a bit, but there are still folks out there posting decks, like ImpossibleGerman.

Like them, Justice is where I took my Ant-Man tests first, and I don’t regret it. Ant-Man is a really fun hero and the Justice aspect can handle pretty much every single thing the current incarnation of the game can throw at it.

I also really dig the use of Coulson here, a secret weapon for many Justice players.


Defend the Nest | Wasp/Protection – ImpossibleGerman

Here they are again with a fun Wasp deck! Protection is a perfect combo for Nadia, though thankfully, like Ant-Man, any aspect will work well with her.

Consult this deck if you need help “clicking” with Nadia overall. She might surprise you.


2 Fast 2 Furious – NocturnalAnimal

Like a few other recent deckbuilders, NocturnalAnimal has come into their own. Although they were mildly active in mid-2020 they rose to prominence in early 2021, and had a great one-two combo of Wasp and Quicksilver decks.

Their elongated writeup and classy choice of Aggression showcases why they are one to watch.

Scarlet Witch:

Turbo Draw and Build Heroic clearing – L3w15 7

Scarlet Witch is a powerful hero, and a lot of that is due to her card draw. L3w15 7 cleverly taps and leans into that, in addition to sticking with the Justice angle of her prebuilt. L3w15 7 knows that Scarlet Witch will see a lot of her impactful cards often because of insane draw potential, so you could be casting Chaos Magic roughly every two turns.

This deck has a few heavy-hitters but mostly a ton of low-cost draw potential. It’ll get you going if you don’t “get” Scarlet Witch yet.


The Best of Growth Worlds – NocturnalAnimal

This is it, folks. The best Groot list!

Justice is a natural home for Groot so he can swap handily and amass counters, and this is basically the exact same Groot list I built before release, once all of the cards were spoiled. Great minds!


Assortment of Morons: ImpossibleGerman

There aren’t a lot of Rocket lists out there, and perhaps for good reason: this one from ImpossibleGerman is a fun Leadership deck that makes use of Rocket’s unique strengths.

Give it a whirl if you’re interested in getting out of the aggression comfort zone.

Star Lord:

Going Knowhere Fast: Disco Death Race 2000 – dr00

Star Lord shines in Leadership, and there’s plenty of lists out there that basically just modify his precon and exploit Blaze of Glory.

But this list takes things in an interesting direction, making use of that Blaze of Glory strategy while doing its own thing.


The Swift Sword of Justice – NocturnalAnimal

Just like Groot, I basically assembled this deck sight unseen, and it turned up nearly identical. NocturnalAnimal and I might actually be the same person.

Gamora doesn’t really care so much what her aspect is, as she can take powerful cards like Clear the Area in any aspect. But for the most part, top decks have settled on aggression or justice, taking events from the other side. Justice is my current favorite.


Too Stubborn to Flip – Trashpanda

Having tried Drax in very aspect, I can say that at launch, he is best in Protection: so if you want Drax decks, look there first. TrashPanda provides an excellent writeup on why Drax works so well with the aspect, while showcasing a few Drax hidden gems like C.I.T.T. and Med Team.

With Mantis support and readying effects, Drax can last a long while in hero form: ideally all game.


Venom Confuse Lock – IlEmperatore

This is basically the deck I built myself the minute I got my Venom pack, with a few alterations. Think Fast is an amazingly good card for any Guardian, but Venom in particular since he highly benefits from swapping to alter-ego. With the confuse “paying for” the swap, he can use his deployed Aunt Bay (Project Rebirth 2.0) to draw cards to pay for allies/heal, then draw a card/heal when flipping back up to hero form. Pretty much any form of using Think Fast and Sonic Rifle will catapult your Venom games into success.

Very Quick Marvel Champions Villain Tips

Here’s a few straight-to-the-point pointers for Marvel Champions LCG villains

This blog is meant to serve as a beginner’s guide through Galaxy’s Most Wanted


Key tech cards: Under Surveillance, treachery cancellation, tough

Rhino is a very straight-forward villain, but he can trick people up, especially in solo play. There are two main things you want to watch for with Rhino: threating out, and charge.

Although it’s a bit counterintuitive for new players, you really don’t want to go into alter-ego often with Rhino. Unlike a lot of other villains (and unlike everyone else in the core set), Rhino only has one main scheme stage. If you threat out, you lose. This can happen often if he draws Advance and gains a triple-boost; even if you’re safely in hero form.

Because of that looming, instant loss condition, you’ll want to make sure you can keep the main scheme down at all times. Alternatively, you can bring Justice, as several key Justice cards can help crush the main scheme (Under Surveillance, Counterintelligence), allowing you to entirely focus on Rhino while threat is in the rear view mirror.

Charge is the other big bad card. This grants Rhino overkill, one of the most devastating effects in the game. Overkill goes through chump blocking (and splashes big damage onto your hero), so you really want a way to deal with it if it comes out. High defense, damage mitigation (like Wiggle Room in Ms. Marvel), or tough status cards are options.


Key tech cards: Stuns [Mockingbird ally], low-cost allies, minion management

Klaw is one a huge jump up from Rhino in the core set.

If you’re playing on expert, you’re starting with two side schemes and a minion in play. Insane! How tough that minion is may depend on your modular set. Hopefully, you’ll get a Weapons Runner, which does not surge because it wasn’t revealed, it was put into play.

In any case, you need to be able to deal with that minion right away, especially if it has guard. Klaw is interesting in that he can kind of do it all. He can scheme. He can hit you with crazy-high damage if he draws into high boosts. So to shut him down, you’ll want to rely heavily on stuns.

By stunning Klaw you are taking away his main weapon: double boost cards. Just note that you may have to deal with an attack from him via the encounter deck, as Assault or Gang-Up can trigger another attack. In that case, allies are wonderful tech against Klaw, as he can double-triple-boost into eight damage in Stage III and not put a dent into your hero; so long as you chump block.


Key tech cards: Stuns, threat mitigation for stage 2B, retaliate

Ultron was one of the most unique encounters in the first year of the game. He also benefits from having the highest single health pool at the time of his release.

Because of this, you will need to rush down Ultron somewhat. You may decide to keep him at Stage II in expert before you push to III (depending on your strategy), but ultimately, you do need to kill him before he starts overwhelming you with drones.

Stun tech works great for stopping Ultron II from spawning too many minions. But using powers like Jennifer Walters’ alter-ego ability, Great Responsibility, and Counterintelligence can actually stop Ultron 2B from triggering. That’s one less drone you need to worry about.

Retaliate is excellent drone tech, as are AOE (area-of-effect) abilities like Lightning Strike. Out of the core set, Black Panther is a great tool for cutting down drones. He can face-tank them and kill them instantly (non-upgraded), and use allies to take Ultron hits.

Risky Business

Key tech cards: Burst damage mitigation, high-reward setup cards

Risky Business is often cited as one of the easiest scenarios in the game, and there’s a reason for that.

Generally, you want to avoid flipping Norman to the Green Goblin side unless you are ready. Setup to your heart’s content, keep the Criminal Enterprise tokens low (preferably hovering around one), then when you’re good to go, chip damage him, have him go Green Goblin form, then let it rip with the perfect hand and setup.

If you keep flipping Norman to Goblin constantly, you’re going to have a bad time dealing with a ton of indirect damage. You don’t want to do that. Ideally, you’ll flip Norman twice all game – once to get him to the next stage, the next to kill him.

For the most part, you won’t be flipping to alter-ego when Norman is active, so you won’t be schemed out of stage 1B. This leaves you plenty of time to take null “attacks” from Norman as you stay in hero form all game.

As a final tip, remember that indirect damage from Stages I-II of Green Goblin can be assigned to any of your characters. It does not need to exclusively go to your hero.


Key tech cards: Anything high tempo that doesn’t require setup, treachery cancellation

Mutagen expert, on the flipside, is cited as one of the toughest scenarios to date.

This is because on Stage II, Green Goblin instantly deals two encounter cards to each player. In other words, on expert, you’re resolving three encounter cards turn one. As you might expect, tempo is important. The concept of tempo refers to how quickly you are outpacing the villain’s turn. For Mutagen, it’s key that you don’t waste multiple turns setting up.

You simply do not have time to have the villain play passively, because they are firing on all cylinders turn one. Because of this, hitting Goblin immediately with damage will help you slowly chip him down. Heroes like Spider-Man or Doctor Strange, which have treachery cancellations, can also assist with early tempo losses that might stem from those three starting cards.

Finally, you will need something to deal with those three-health guard minions. Cheap three-damage solutions (allies included, who can block for you after) are key. You’ll want to use the rest of your hand to swing at Goblin.

A final tip: The “damages You” in Green Goblin’s forced response only refers to the hero. If you block with an ally, it does not resolve.

Wrecking Crew

Key tech cards: Burst damage

Everyone has a different order for killing the Wrecking Crew, but mine usually involves taking out Wrecker and Thunderball quickly, then Piledriver and Bulldozer.

Here’s the big “cheat” for Wrecking Crew. You are always in control of who the active villain is, even if the encounter deck “changes it.” This is the secret. All you need to do is have the villains that you want to be the two potential “main” choices throttled at the lowest and highest threat on their schemes. That’s it.

With practice, you can completely avoid having Bulldozer ever activate once in an entire game, to avoid his overkill ability. You can also wait to take out Piledriver and avoid having him whittle down your upgrades/supports, and avoid taking slow, painful retaliate damage. As a general rule, the active villain will be the one that has the highest threat. However, ties are broken by the player, and all the other “random” encounter card changes involve “the least threat.”

Once you have this down, the encounter is a cinch. All you need to add is burst damage to potentially kill a Wrecking Crew member on your first turn, and you’re good to go.


Key tech cards: Indirect damage soak/burst damage mitigation

Crossbones isn’t a super tough villain, but he’s one of the most fun. And he’s very spiky. He’s a lot like Rhino in that way, and even has a charge-like secret weapon.

The biggest problem card in Crossbones’ arsenal is Full Auto. There are two copies in the deck, and when you’re in hero form, he can hose you down for a ton of indirect damage. If you don’t have ways to mitigate it and/or allies out, you can die outright.

If you can get Full Auto and Machine Gun damage under control, you’ll eventually best Crossbones. The rest of his kit is very straight-forward, and by default, his minions are very easy core set threats. His low health also ensures that you should be able to take him out before he uses several of his own tutor cards to kit himself out with goodies.

Focus first on mitigation and second on damage, and you’ll burn Crossbones before he burns you.

Absorbing Man

Key tech cards: Low-cost cards, Under Surveillance

Absorbing Man’s kit has two main faults: a very high threat threshold main scheme (1B), and the limitation of only having one environment out at a time. 12 threat is a very high ceiling, so you don’t necessarily need big threat mitigation cards to keep him down. Environments are also very easy to handle, as he generally will attack with a pre-arranged, already setup environment.

For instance, if stone is out, he’ll place threat on the main scheme, and the stone environment will allow him to heal. That’s it. You know what’s coming, so outside of a new environment surge into an assault, Absorbing Man is very predictable.

Having a well-balanced kit that can deal with damage and threat is key, so you can adapt to his snail-pace environment shifts.

A final tip: using Under Surveillance on any single-stage main scheme will help wonders. If you’re Justice, bring just one copy of it for more leeway.


Key tech cards: Healing, hero-centric builds that don’t rely on alter-ego

Taskmaster is another straight-forward villain that has one main scheme stage.

To really lay into Taskmaster, stay in hero form all game and watch as his main villain power goes to waste. Use allies to help you accomplish this while you put in small packets of damage. If you’re trying to take his Photographic Reflexes away, ping him for one measly damage, take one back, then discard it. Easy.

The only heroes that might have issues with Taskmaster are Ant-Man, or alter-ego heavy heroes like Ms. Marvel or She-Hulk. They like to flip a lot, so going back and forth to hero can make you take unnecessary damage.

A final tip (hey, it’s just like Absorbing Man!): using Under Surveillance on any single-stage main scheme will help wonders. If you’re Justice, bring just one copy of it for more leeway.


Key tech cards: Cards that provide packets of 3-5 damage

Zola can be brutal for multiple reasons. Like Klaw and Mutagen he has a very taxing setup, forcing you to deal with multiple things at once. If you can live without your signature ally (for some heroes this is a boon), you can ignore Hydra Prison.

Minions are the main thing you want to watch out for. and in the base scenario, they range from 3-5 health. Make sure you don’t get caught with damage values that aren’t enough to take out a minion, and build your deck accordingly.

Zola’s baked-in retaliate is also a major issue for ally swarm decks. To mitigate this, use allies to thwart or take down minions, and use your hero to really hit Zola hard. That way your swarm army can stay up to take hits from Zola directly. This is especially key because Zola can draw into Assault, Gang-Up, and Mind Ray: all of which dish out an extra attack.

Red Skull

Key tech cards: Low-cost burst thwart cards like Clear the Area

Without the campaign upgrades to help you, and with high-tempo modular sets involved, Red Skull can be a beast. But like all villains, he can be beaten.

You’ll want to bring lots of thwart for Red Skull, so you can take out one side scheme (at least) per turn. In this own set, that averages around three threat per player. Many heroes can handle this without excessive setup, like Quicksilver.

Low cost-curves are key here, because you may need to deal with a minion, deal damage to Red Skull, thwart a side or main scheme, and remove an upgrade in the same turn. Oddly enough you can “tech” against Red Skull by bringing easier modular sets. Sets that don’t tutor out additional threats are a good way to learn the encounter.


Key tech cards: Burst cards, setup cards (more on that in a moment)

It seems antithetical to ask players to build for both quick and slow tempo in their decks, but hear me out.

Kang is a very tricky villain in that he requires you to immediately deal with him, then he has a lull period, then he gets back to business. You’ll need some burst to get him out of stage one quickly before the board state gets too crazy.

While you’re in stage two, especially in solo play, you can relax. The only negative impact you’ll have when “threating out” in the second stage of Kang is an extra copy of Kang’s Dominion. In solo, that’s just three threat and an encounter card in exchange for one to three (or more) turns of setup. In multiplayer with a full board, one Kang’s Dominion is 12 threat. If just one person gets a huge setup out of it, it’s worth it.

You’ll need a decent amount of buildup for stage three too. Kang III can dish out damage and threat, while commanding a hefty hitpoint value. If you have minions, side schemes, and obligations piling up, you may never defeat him. By default you don’t need heavy minion tech (his Macrobots have four health by the way) for this one, depending on the modular set you chose.


Key tech cards: Stun and confuse, to prevent Drang from adding barrage counters

Galaxy’s Most Wanted brings the heat, and Drang is no pushover.

Drang can dish out a lot of damage if you let him, but he doesn’t have that many ways to gain access to overkill in his base kit. Instead, Drang overwhelms you with “barrage counters,” which charge up his ship and blast every player with two indirect damage after he acquires four counters.

Think of this like a soft timer on the scenario. You need to take him down at a decent pace, but not too quickly, because moving him into Stage III before you’re ready for it can be disastrous. The Badoon set itself doesn’t throw too many wrinkles at you, but thwarting is paramount, even in bursts. Unlike a lot of other scenarios, it’s totally OK to “fail” Stage 1B and drop to Stage 2B if you need a breather. There isn’t a huge penalty.

If you’re starting with Drang II on expert, try and get rid of his spear as soon as possible. You really want to remove stalwart, so that you can stun or confuse him to keep the heat off. This is especially the case for Drang III, as any activation will charge up his ship. Replacing that entire process is a great way to keep his ship at bay: so make sure when you flip Drang to III, you’re ready! Those barrage counters can add up really fast.

The Collector: Infiltrate the Museum

Key tech cards: Beefy permanents that aren’t meant to be sacrificed, heavy thwart to pay for dropping to alter-ego to prevent chumping allies into the collection

Infiltrate the Museum is one of the most contentious scenarios in the Galaxy’s Most Wanted box, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Here’s the main gimmick: Collector will “steal” in play cards from you and his own encounter deck (like allies, upgrades, or even minions). If the collection grows to five per player cards, you auto-lose. No pressure!

As you can imagine, this is monumentally easier to build for in standalone play. First off you want to make sure you aren’t taking too many low HP allies. Now this can be tough to handle in the campaign — where you can’t change your deck on expert mode — but generally you want a decent spread of capable allies if at all possible. Make sure that when you activate them you aren’t always just chump blocking with them, or activating them down to their very last consequential damage.

Instead, keep your allies alive and “save” them to chump with in emergencies, or when the collection is low. You’ll want to face-tank hits from the Collector, or consider taking Endurance (x1 copy) in a campaign to allow you some breathing room. Swapping to AE to take a breather (especially when the Collector is confused) is helpful.

Also, Justice is extremely effective against this entire box, but on Collector 1 in particular because he only has one main scheme. If you slap an Under Surveillance on there, it’ll give you even more room to work with. Do not underestimate the power of even one Under Surveillance in multiplayer, even if it doesn’t “scale.”

Additionally, you will want to make sure that you aren’t just killing every minion that comes out, as soon as it comes out. Sometimes you can soak minion damage with your hero without blocking. Sometimes you may need to use a high HP ally (like US Agent) to defend. On other occasions, you may need to swap to AE, let them thwart, or even stun/confuse them if you have a spare (Spider-Girl works great for this).

On expert, immediately take the three damage penalty for his when revealed Stage II effect to avoid losing a card to the collection turn one. You want to spend that momentum instead to build up or thwart off some threat from the schemes in play.

As a final expert tip, make sure you’re ready to push Collector to stage III. As soon as he flips, you’ll have to put a card from your deck into the collection, then place one threat on the main scheme for each card in there. That can automatically threat you out if you’re not careful.

I lied, here’s a final final tip. Remember that cards with “victory” points do not go in the collection! They go in the victory display.

The Collector: Escape the Museum

Key tech cards: High threat removal

The second go around with The Collector isn’t nearly as punishing. There is no collection tis time, you’re just going to have to take him out the old fashioned way: thwarting.

In this encounter, thwarting is the fastest way forward. You need to thwart out three main schemes to win. That’s it. If you manage to “kill” the Collector, who cannot be defeated, he’ll flip to his other side, you’ll remove three per player threat from the main scheme, and then he’ll flip back at the end of the round. Also, you can thwart off five threat from the library labyrinth environment by taking a facedown encounter card.

Okay, so there’s a lot going on, but the main takeaway is thwarting is king. It’s a lot of work to kill the Collector over and over, so you want to dedicate your main efforts to thwarting the main scheme directly. Similarly, Library of Labyrinth is very enticing, but you may not want to take an extra encounter card every turn. Just keep steadily thwarting off the main scheme in bulk and you’ll be part of the way through in no time.

Stay in hero as often as possible to prevent the main scheme from going up, as you don’t want to be thwarting off a small amount per turn, then have Collector undo your entire efforts.

Let the damage to Collector be incidental. Mechanics like Overkill will work, as well as damage from characters that have 0 or “-” thwart. If you happen to “defeat” and flip him for three per player threat, it’s a bonus. But don’t rely on it.

Once you get to stage 3A, the Library Labyrinth environment will go away and you’ll start to get blasted for two or three per player indirect damage across the table. Make sure you’re absolutely ready for this, because you can’t rely on Library of Labyrinth to win now.


Key tech cards: Stuns, target acquired, the ability to heal or duck into alter-ego

Nebula is very much a cascading avalanche of an encounter. Sometimes she won’t feel as powerful. Sometimes she’ll have a ton of “technique” upgrades and wreck your day.

Here’s how she works. When Nebula activates, she fires off all of her “special” abilities on her techniques. These include: “place one threat on the main scheme, you are stunned, give Nebula a tough status card, take one damage, discard one card from your hand at random.” Afterward, you discard one technique (in Stage III, you need to remove the top card of your deck from the game to do it).

This creates numerous problems if she’s surging into multiple techniques, and they’re firing off constantly, and you’re only removing one per activation. It’s a smart move for the entire campaign, but bring at least one copy of Target Acquired to prevent her techniques from being attached to her via boost effect. Nebula is prone to being chump blocked. This is especially effective because it can keep the Power Stone on your hero.

She also has a ship at her disposal, which adds an “evasion counter” wrinkle in. When the villain phase starts up you add one evasion counter to her ship (as well as card effects that add them), and it dictates how much threat the main scheme increases by as a result. It’s very important to always keep Nebula’s Ship at zero evasion counters all game. It can quickly add up and in some cases, you may not be able to remove as many counters as you like, especially if you’re discarding cards and resources.

As a result, big-economy heroes who can afford to remove multiple evasion counters for the table are paramount here. And Nebula can be easier with more players in the mix, as the evasion counter increase is a flat one per villain phase.


Key tech cards: Full card cancels, tough status for your hero

Thus far, Ronan is probably the toughest villain in the game. So naturally, we have a lot of tips!

If you’re playing campaign mode, let Nebula keep the stone at the very end, then take her out. This will help you with Ronan as he won’t be angry at you for having the stone, and you’ll deal with one less encounter card at the start.

Ronan’s main gimmick is that he starts with multiple side schemes in play if you’re running the campaign, and begins with the Kree Command Ship, which is a permanent hazard icon for the table. If you’re playing solo, you’re essentially playing heroic mode. Ronan also starts with his hammer, the “Universal Weapon.” In short, he’s already set up to wreck you, he doesn’t need multiple turns to do so.

Turn one you’re going to want to take his hammer away, full stop. Just take the damage and the encounter card cost, and treat it like you’re starting the game that way. It’ll remove Stalwart, and remove +1 SCH and +1 ATK from the equation. Stunning and confusing is crucial for Ronan, to prevent him from doing any damage. You’re going to want to stay on stage 1B for reasons I’ll explain in a moment.

So here’s the thing. You want Ronan to keep the Power Stone as much as possible; all game if you can. That way he doesn’t draw two boost cards, which can wreck your board state. Instead, ping him with packets of one or two damage, and use allies or non-attack abilities to prevent you from taking the stone back with the forced effect. The extra +1 ATK he gains from the stone is very small potatoes compared to a devastating additional boost.

Once he’s at Stage III in expert, or the Superior Tactics side scheme is out, you’ve trapped him. This forces him to keep the Power Stone until it’s removed, which lets you then nuke him down. If you drop to 2B, the main scheme prevents you from removing threat from it if Ronan has the Power Stone, which is a massive issue. Then this strategy of “letting him keep the Power Stone” is null and void, and you’ll have to also thwart out Superior Tactics, as well as any crisis icon side schemes. Do not drop to 2B.

The main card you’re going to need to watch out for is Fanaticism. To counter this card, you can opt to cancel it with options like Black Widow ally, or Spycraft. If it comes out (and it will in many cases), tough is a viable strategy. Wait, Fanaticism pierces, right? Well, sort of! If you have tough on your hero, and your ally is the target of the attack, the pierce hits your ally first, then overkill goes to your hero, which you can soak with tough. Always use the Milano to cancel a treachery if possible, as well. Good luck!

A Quick Look at Sleeve King’s ‘Premium Line’ FFG Sleeve Replacements

In case you haven’t heard, Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) discontinued their sleeves roughly a year ago. Their line was essentially handed off to Gamegenic (albeit with different dimensions and feel), an arm of Asmodee.

As a reminder of what FFG’s sleeve line looked like, their (mostly defunct) landing page is still available.

Naturally, a lot of folks were left wondering what to do with their FFG sleeve collection, as they were out of luck in terms of purchasing further product to keep up with future card game releases. To wit, Sleeve Kings decided to create a “Premium Sleeve Line” to fill that gap that was left, and provided us with the product you see above. That line is being tested now before it rolls into full production.

Because this is an LCG blog, we will be looking primarily at the “standard card game size” sleeves, which can be used for Marvel Champions, Arkham Horror, and Lord of the Rings LCG.

As you can see here, Sleeve Kings (right) is aiming to replicate the FFG line down to the sizes and the microns. For the “standard card game size” line that LCG players will be the most interested in, packs come with 55 sleeves (five more than a typical FFG pack), are 100 microns thick, and are 63.5 x 88mm (same as the original FFG sleeves, even down to the exact same nomenclature).

It makes sense when you look at the image of all of the Sleeve Kings premium SKUs together at the very top of this post, as well as the “FFG Sleeve Sizes” list on the actual official FFG sleeve packaging itself.


See how everything nicely lines up?

When Sleeve Kings first announced that they intended on creating a 1:1 version of FFG’s sleeves months after FFG’s line ended, it seems like they meant it. Just like FFG’s line, the sleeves leave a little extra room at the top of the card.

Look at this comparison of — from left to right — [old] FFG art sleeves, [new] Sleeve Kings premiums, and [old] FFG’s standard card game size (red):

We were also able to test out FFG clears separately. In all of the below images, FFG sleeves are on the left (Lord of the Rings) and Sleeve Kings are on the right (Marvel).

In my tests, the Sleeve Kings clears are remarkably close, to the point where the hand feel when shuffling feels the same. Again, they’re the same measurements and the same micron level, so this makes perfect sense.

While FFG sleeves are sometimes criticized for their quality, as a whole, I find them to be extremely serviceable, especially for the price. In terms of hand/shuffle feel, the quality of the microns, and the actual size comparisons, the Sleeve Kings premium brand looks very close; if not difficult to pick out of a lineup.

If the aim is to sell a pack of 55 (again up from 50) FFG-replicated sleeves for $2.50, lower than the price that FFG charged when their sleeves were active ($2.99), then they succeeded. Sleeve Kings also tells us that they are looking to allow Kickstarter pledges to grab them for $1.60 per pack at the highest level. That Kickstarter will be live here, and you can set up a notification for its launch.

One more thing: as of the time of publication, solid color back sleeves are not available for the Sleeve Kings premium line, and only clears were provided.

[Disclaimer: Sleeve Kings provided Hall of Heroes with one copy each of the sleeves in the top image. No other transaction was made.]

Marvel Champions LCG Buyer’s Guide

Many Marvel Champions sites have been running buyer’s guides for some time now, and we’re going to be doing one by popular request. However, note that this is a very brief, highly opinionated “quick guide” in terms of what’s worth picking up. It’s one of many resources you should use if you’re picking and choosing packs.

Although the game doesn’t have direct benefits from playing “progression style” (also known as buying and playing every pack in release order), this list will be sorted chronologically, so you can get an idea of how the game has evolved over time. It may also be altered over time depending on how packs impact other releases.

You can find a list of every pack released to date here.

Updated: June, 2022

Core Set

The core set is going to be the starting point for most people as a no-brainer first buy.

The first three scenarios should give you a good idea of what the game is all about, with Rhino easing you into the game and expert Ultron showcasing the high-end difficulty curve fairly well. If you dislike the core set, we recommend trying to spice up the game a bit with this guide before you give it up for good.

So is the core set required to play Marvel Champions? Yes and no. It depends on how you plan to normally play the game.

If you’re playing completely solo, the Core Set comes with the standard and expert modular sets (seven and three cards respectively), which go in nearly every scenario deck to date (read: with the exception of Wrecking Crew at this time). It also packs in five heroes, a ton of player cards (with full playsets), extra mods and three scenarios. It’s the strongest LCG purchase to date from a value perspective.

If your friend is providing the scenarios for you and you’re just along for the ride, you don’t need the Core Set; but you might be missing out on a few staple player cards. That “staple” pool is shrinking all the time as more cards are released though.

Verdict: Buy it

The Green Goblin

Green Goblin is one of the best packs released to date: full stop.

If you dig the core set, you need to pick up Green Goblin as soon as possible. So far in the game’s lifecycle, the value of two scenarios and four modular sets in one villain pack is pretty much unheard of. That’s like, half a story box.

Risky Business, one of the two included scenarios, suffers from some design flaws in that it’s very easy to “game,” but thematically it still feels sound and may satisfy a more casual audience. The idea of a “flipping” villain is intriguing and has not been replicated in the first year of the game’s existence.

Mutagen Formula, however, is one of the most fun scenarios in the game and one of the most challenging. It’s well-balanced in that standard play should feel doable, and expert play is incredibly punishing upfront: in a good way, to prevent the “solitaire” feeling you can sometimes get with a few scenarios.

The extra mods are the icing on the cake and it’s great to see another non-MCU villain after Rhino. With just this pack and the core set you can get a lot of mileage.

Verdict: Buy it

Captain America

Captain America’s pack is kind of all over the place, but he still very much is worth a buy. I mean, he’s Cap: enough said.

Iconic stature aside Captain America is a very strong hero that pretty much every player should own at some point. Although his pre-built deck is trying to do two different strategies at once (break it apart as soon as you can), it comes with some staple cards like Squirrel Girl and several other great Leadership cards.

Cap embodies the “powerful” nature of how heroes should feel in Marvel Champions without going too overboard. When he was released he did feel highly effective, but the card pool has enhanced several other core set heroes that can hang with him. While he isn’t the most unique, generally, this is how a basic Marvel Champions character should feel.

Verdict: Buy it

Ms. Marvel

While everything so far has gotten a “buy it” rating, we’re entering polarizing territory now.

Ms. Marvel is one of the best-designed heroes in the game, but she isn’t going to appeal to everyone. She has a very specific playstyle and an involved strategy that includes swapping to alter-ego often to trigger a lot of her alter-ego specific cards. She’s one of my go-to heroes and designer Michael Boggs did an incredible job developing her. She also has a few staple Protection cards in her pack like Energy Barrier and Tackle, that should appeal Protection-centric deck brewers out there.

However, she doesn’t necessarily feel essential. I’m going to try and be fairly tough with this guide so every single pack doesn’t get a “buy it!” rating, and this is the first in the game’s lifecycle that I can honestly say is going to be a “maybe” for a lot of people.

She works for me though.

Verdict: Wishlist it

Wrecking Crew

Likewise, we aren’t going to shy away from recommendations to outright avoid packs, and Wrecking Crew is the first release that truly feels like a complete misfire.

Wrecking Crew, like Risky Business, can be easily “gamed” but feels even more rote, as the “fight four villains at once” fantasy isn’t fully realized. It’s also very fiddly to get to the table, with multiple decks to get on the table and several provisos that can make any game a pain: from solo play all the way up to four players.

To add insult to injury, Wrecking Crew’s total lack of modular sets feels antithetical to the entire modular nature of the game. It sadly came at a really bad time too, as it was supposed to last us from February 2020 all the way through July 2020, when the Red Skull box was set to originally arrive.

I hope the team learns from this and avoids such a lengthy drought in the future: or putting so much responsibility on a lone scenario pack to deliver. It’s great that they are taking risks this early, but unlike Risky Business (which felt like a bonus for a fully-featured release), Wrecking Crew comprises the entirety of the pack: what you see is what you get.

And what you get is my least-played scenario by a country mile.

Verdict: Skip it


Thor is a tricky one. Some people love him, some hate him. I fall somewhere on the latter line (hate is a strong word), but not for the reasons you expect. I say this with authority: Thor is not a bad hero.

I cracked open Thor the first day he was available at retail, built a Justice deck from scratch sight unseen, and beat every scenario to date on expert. Thor can be strong at any player count with the right deck. However, a lot of his kit feels like it’s cherry-picked from other heroes and his efficacy in solo play with other aspects might frustrate some people. A lot of his kit is simply “plus stats,” which is not that compelling, even a year into the game.

The cards in his pack also feel very situational, including the Jarnbjorn archetype — that, while fun — relies on getting a single card out on the table to combo off of. Thus far (read: everything above), he’s the most skippable hero.

Verdict: Skip it

Black Widow

To date, Black Widow is my “Green Goblin” of hero packs. Translation? Pick it up right away and don’t look back if you have a background playing other card games.

Black Widow is the baseline for how all hero packs should be presented, and guest-designer Matt Newman (of Arkham Horror LCG fame) did a fantastic job of really making that happen alongside of co-designer Caleb Grace. Widow feels thematic, strong and engaging at pretty much every turn.

She also comes with some killer cards that Justice absolutely needed to become a more fleshed out aspect, while introducing the preparation archetype into the game for every single hero. Like Cap, this is how an LCG purchase should feel: you buy a pack, the hero is fresh and unique, it feels competitive without being broken, and it comes with a ton of good cards.


Verdict: Buy it

Doctor Strange

Ah Doctor Strange.

Like Thor, I waffle on this hero constantly. He’s fun…at times. He can also feel boring on the same day.

I think the designers went a little overboard with Doctor Strange from a power perspective. At some tables, he’s banned for being too powerful. At others, he’s simply not used because he trivializes the entire game, even on Heroic difficulty. I haven’t seen hype die down in just about every community faster than the initial Strange reveal to his actual release: people just seem bored with him.

A lot of the problem is that his Invocation deck has no downsides or penalties and can be gamed very easily with several cards. His hero deck (his 15 cards) do not feel particularly thematic: that honor is reserved for his Invocation deck, which again, is a smidgen too strong. It’s a catch 22 and Strange is caught in the middle. He also feels weird with Protection as his pack aspect, despite the fact that several of the pack’s cards are big wins for Protection as a whole.

If you want a very powerful hero and think the game is too difficult, pick up Doctor Strange. If you want a challenge or feel like the game is too easy, you can probably skip him.

Verdict: Skip it


Hulk is another “Thor,” but I think he edges out the God of Thunder in more ways than one.

No, I’m not talking about power level. Hulk is a very fun, very smashy hero that feels thematic outside of his dull alter-ego side. Hulk can smash for 13 damage (or more) turn one and keep swinging.

However, like Thor, his Aggression cards are sometimes too niche to use in most decks, with the exception of a select few like Toe to Toe, which is one of the most exciting and best-designed cards so far. He also doesn’t shine in every aspect out of the box.

If you bought him and are banging your head against the wall playing him (I told you to wishlist it below!), try this deck. Or make him one of your last buys. I have not seen a hero as disliked as Hulk by the community to date.

Verdict: Skip it

The Rise of Red Skull

The Rise of Red Skull, at the time of its street date, practically doubles the currently available scenario pool. That’s good! It also comes with two very fun heroes (Hawkeye and Spider-Woman): that’s good too! There really aren’t a lot of bad things to say about this box even if it may not wow you.

Not every scenario is mind-blowingly good (Absorbing Man feels very non-interactive at times and Taskmaster doesn’t quite live up to the fantasy), but the box more than delivers what you’d expect out of it. Those expectations, mind, are going to differ for everyone. If you want a “super deep campaign akin to Arkham Horror” you’re going to be disappointed.

Each scenario’s resolution is typically binary, with one card added to your setup/deck. In that sense, it’s more like Lord of the Rings LCG’s campaign, which is a perfectly fine way to go about Marvel Champion’s first box. I appreciate that there’s a few extra mechanics for expert players (persistent health, with healing between scenarios costing you an obligation card that goes into your player deck) and I hope to see that idea live on in each story product.

While I’d like to see story boxes pushed further in the future (and there is a hint of that based on the Galaxy’s Most Wanted stream), The Rise of Red Skull is a long-awaited and satisfying release.

When Galaxy’s Most Wanted is out, the status may change to “wishlist it.”

Verdict: Buy it

The Once and Future Kang

Kang is here, and he’s mixing up the previous Green Goblin scenario pack cadence of “two scenarios, four mods.” Kang is actually one scenario and three mods, but there’s a twist: his second stage has four possible characters to tangle with. From solo to four player, you’re going to be facing a different villain each time you play, coupled with the strong theme of new mechanics and different artwork for each villain stage (I, II, III).

Because of these reasons and more, Kang feels like a more polished scenario overall. The art is fantastic, the mechanics are unique (Kang flips the prior obligation system on its head) and on expert, it can be on the difficult side depending on your deck. There’s one issue with solo play (the second stage doesn’t really penalize you as much as it should), but overall I’d say it’s a success.

Part of the reason for that is due to the strong foundation of the modular sets. All three add more minions to the game (which is decidedly a good thing), with varying degrees of difficulty. The toughest set is minion-heavy and fairly brutal, which should elevate most of the scenarios overall. While I’d like to see more scenario packs follow the Green Goblin model of multiple missions per pack, Kang is arguably stronger than any single scenario in the Red Skull box outside of Zola.

Verdict: Buy it


Ant-Man is a terrific hero that swings for the fences and mostly achieve what it sets out to do.

Marvel Champions feels like it is at its best when it tries to do something unique. Having a hero with a giant folding card with two hero forms is perhaps the epitome of “Year 1” ingenuity for this game. I much prefer wacky designs over say, Thor, who mostly consists of “plus stats” cards. Flipping is one of the most fun things to do in this game, so even if “flipping down” from hero to alter-ego isn’t an ideal move in specific instances, flipping from hero to hero often can be.

But Ant-Man is also efficient and powerful. He’s far from “broken,” but manages to slot into every aspect, which is an absolute win over several heroes that feel pigeonholed into specific archetypes. He has a decent amount of attack and thwart, and has a hand size of six in alter-ego form and five in tiny hero form. It checks all of the right boxes.

Speaking of the folding card: the quality could be better as the hinge seems to “pop” the card up often, but there are plenty of relatively cheap storage solutions that solve this issue. Give him a go!

Verdict: Buy it


We’ve had access to Wasp thanks to Amazon UK, and we’ve taken her for a spin with each aspect. As of right now, Wasp feels a little sterile, mostly due to her hero kit that basically amounts to “extra stats.”

Even her helmet, which is otherwise one of the most interesting parts of Ant-Man’s kit, is “plus stats.” Where she shines is her ability to distribute her attack and thwart values in giant form: it can be a fun math problem for a certain kind of player to make the “most efficient play.”

Since this is a discerning buyer’s guide though, I’m going to cautiously advise folks to wishlist Wasp rather than outright buying her. If you can only choose one “tiny/giant” hero, make it Ant-Man. He’s much more versatile and fun to play. That said, Wasp comes with some killer cards in her pack, especially Ironheart.

Again, there are plenty of relatively cheap storage solutions for the folding card if you’re worried about it!

Verdict: Wishlist it


We also have access to Quicksilver via Amazon UK; call me surprised, but Quicksilver has become one of my favorite heroes thus far.

At first glance, Quicksilver’s kit seems surface level, but once you really pilot him over the course of a few expert/heroic games, you’ll find his niche, and then some. Quicksilver’s ready ability is a blast, not only in terms of card interaction, but pure efficacy. He can essentially thwart or attack for two from turn one (or a combo), and Friction Resistance really allows his kit to come together.

He’s fun in every aspect, thanks to his raw readying power. The added cherry on top of readying once in the villain phase (don’t forget that free block, even if you use it on a minion!) is a nice touch. Oh, and given that players were starving for more Protection cards at this point (it’ll have been seven full months since the last entirely-Protection-based pack when he’s out in February of 2020!), it’s a no-brainer.

Verdict: Buy it

Scarlet Witch

Scarlet Witch is a tricky one to judge.

So, having played her across all difficulty settings (mostly heroic), she is a monster. On the flipside of the coin, she’s Strange as he should have been: more fun and interactive.

Year 2 hero design (read: from Ant-Man on) feels significantly different in myriad ways. It really feels like the team is hitting their stride in terms of making heroes feel “powerful.” Scarlet Witch overdoes this a tad, but only just so. She is, quite simply, a blast to play, even if she semi-trivializes some scenarios.

Again, this guide is attempting to be a little more discerning when possible, because “buy every pack” isn’t viable, financially, for everyone. And in that vein, many of Scarlet Witch’s actual aspect and basic cards just don’t cut the mustard. Out of all of the packs so far in Year 2, she is arguably the most skippable, if we’re just talking non-hero cards. Click the link above and peruse them yourself.

Even still, no Year 2 hero is a bad buy. Shove them up to the top of your list.

Verdict: Wishlist it

Galaxy’s Most Wanted

I never thought I’d see the day where I’d wishlist a story box. So is it bad? Not entirely. Let’s talk about it.

So Galaxy’s Most Wanted is a tough nut to crack. I want to make it clear: I like some of the box as a standalone experience. But I also run a Marvel Champions resource site and heavily invest in constructed deckbuilding. As a play-on-standard out of the box product, Galaxy’s Most Wanted can be pretty rough, and openly hostile to casual players.

If you’re entering it with the “buy what you want” mindset, you may want to think about picking up Red Skull first. Although the heroes are very flavorful and fun to play when they are piloted with constructed decks, Galaxy’s Most Wanted’s precons leave a lot to be desired, and are ill-equipped to handle at least one of the latter encounters in the box. If you’re a casual fan, Ronan (the final encounter) is far beyond anything standard has ever offered before.

Now, that’s not inherently a bad thing if you only play expert and want a challenge (raises hand). Standalone, Galaxy’s Most Wanted eliminates the need for heroic play for the most hardcore playerbase, as it provides a sufficient enough challenge (and then some) on its own. The villains are also much more charismatic both in terms of how they play and their encounter cards and recommended modular sets. I consider chucking heroic to the curb an upgrade, if these scenarios can stand on their own within the confines of the original expert mode concept.

The theme is hit and miss. Piloting the Milano is a very small thing on paper. The Collector’s first scenario gives players an alternate loss condition and his second scenario provides an alternate win condition. The market is mostly bland, but is otherwise an innocuous experience that doesn’t really hurt the box; so much as take up space that other modular sets could have filled.

Galaxy’s Most Wanted has been a blast to critique, because it represents a very interesting juncture for Marvel Champions as a whole. I’m both very excited and somewhat anxious to see where encounter design goes next.

Verdict: Wishlist it

Star Lord

So Star Lord’s recommendation is a bit weird, as it kind of takes a fork depending on what your priorities are.

If you’re a standard player, Star Lord is a buy. You can freely use his gambling ability each turn for fun gains, and interact with a good amount of his kit. On expert, you’re going to find him fairly inflexible in anything but leadership.

Star Lord shines in leadership because of his passive ability, which is essentially his second hero power. He can command swarm decks in any aspect, which makes him a very neat prospect for future ally-heavy decks. His entire toolkit in his pack is also tailored to ally play (mostly Guardian-variety) similar to Ant-Man.

He’s interesting!

Verdict: Wishlist it


Gamora has become a “love her or hate her hero.” I like her. But I wouldn’t recommend her to everyone.

She’s a very strong hero, with access to status tokens, mitigation, and a very cheap economy. Some turns, on expert, I’ve cleared a main scheme out from starting threat, and dealt the villain six or more damage. She’s incredibly good in terms of tempo, which is just what you’d need if you’re an expert GMW player or heroic player for old content.

That said, she’s very straight-forward and isn’t going to appeal to everyone. She smashes through standard without much issue and her deckbuilding opportunities aren’t nearly as interesting as they’d seem. Keep an eye on her unless you want another really strong hero to take into GMW and are bored with your current choices.

Verdict: Wishlist it


Drax, like the rest of the Guardians cycle is…interesting. I keep using that word! But it really describes the cycle as a whole.

Drax is kind of like how Hulk should have been. He’s a four hand size hero, but with some work, he can draw into six. That’s conditional, and that’s not always going to happen (it needs setup and at least one deck cycle), but on the way there, you’ll have some fun.

On the flipside, he mainly works in Protection, and you might get bored of him after a while. He really shines in multiplayer as well, which is another strike against him. Still, he is fun and engaging to play, and his hero kit has a good amount of worthwhile upgrades and powerful events.

Verdict: Wishlist it


Venom is an incredibly strong hero that benefits from a thematic kit with lots of stun/confuse options. Although it might not be the Venom some people wanted, the gun-heavy Flash Thompson is engaging to play, if a little strong, approaching Mystic level in terms of power level.

Better yet, Justice needed more variety, and we got a little bit of it from this pack. Even just Sonic Rifle and Think Fast alone are enough to shake up the meta, and highly benefit Venom in his own pack. Side Holster also greatly enhances Rocket, and the list goes on.

Not to mention the crucial Protection addition of Shake it Off, which frankly should have been in Drax’s pack.

Verdict: Buy it

Mad Titan’s Shadow

So figuring out how this one is going to land is exceedingly difficult because of how it follows up the polarizing Galaxy’s Most Wanted. I rate every set on its own merits, but I also totally get the fatigue that GMW caused.

I’ll start with the heroes, both of which showcase exactly how a box should handle heroes. Spectrum is a ton of fun and one of the most standout characters yet. Her gimmick of three form changes is something I want to see more out of heroes: a big way to differentiate herself from the pack. As usual the Leadership inclusions are insane, bringing Avengers Leadership up a notch somehow, which is crazy to think about. Her cards are now on Hall of Heroes. Oh, and as per the rulebook, Moxie et al DOES proc on her “form” changes. Her deck even comes with Moxie.

Adam Warlock is more interesting than I thought he would be. I’m not a fan of some of his art (including a bit of his nemesis set), but his singleton deck(singles of any given non-hero card) is cool in practice, especially in standard, where consistency isn’t as paramount. His prebuilt deck in standard is one of the most dynamic and fun yet because it’s unpredictable, and he can handle standard with that style of play. Where I don’t dig Adam Warlock so much in terms of the deckbuilding aspect. The lack of consistency really hurts in some of the tougher scenarios, and building for him can be really fiddly. Solo players also aren’t going to like his leadership hero power proc and his cape interaction (it doesn’t quite line up). He’s a tad clunky, but again, standard players are going to love him, I think. Scenario-wise, this box is classic Caleb. And as long time LOTR fans know, that’s a good thing. This box is extremely thematic, putting GMW to shame in that department. In fact all of it puts GMW to shame as a whole.

I have to say Caleb really did right by standard players in this box. So many Stage Is lack a “gotcha” element which is really going to make for a smoother experience. Oh! And Spectrum and Adam Warlock being so powerful helps! This time they’re actually viable out of the box and have decent precons – following the classic Champions principle of “these heroes could likely have 25 random cards and still do work.” It gets the job done compared to some of their past efforts. The campaign (as in playing all five scenarios in a row with campaign rules) is also the best yet, I’d contend. It’s not overly complicated, but it’s also not as auto-pilot-heavy as Red Skull. There’s typically one choice (conveyed via an optional side scheme) and you get a bonus for completing it (or a negative aspect for not finishing a few). While it’s not going to blow anyone away, the cards you do get from it are very thematic. So, onto the scenarios.

First up is Ebony Maw. So this might be my least favorite of the “starter” story box scenarios, but that’s not necessarily bad news because of how long Crossbones and Drang were beloved by the community. Ebony Maw is a bit fiddly, especially on expert, where you start with two spells in play per player by default (one from the main scheme, one from Ebony Maw Stage II). The spells are really his bread and butter, as his deck is going to be very familiar otherwise. The drag is that all eight spells have surge, and they’re environments, not treacheries, so there isn’t a catch-all cancel for them outside of a few options. The fact that you can see them coming though is fun, and allows for some counterplay. This scenario is really going to be fun in four player, where his spells are spread out.

Next is Tower Defense. I think this one is also going to be a bit split but I personally enjoyed it quite a bit, especially in the campaign mode (usually campaign mode makes things less interesting for me, so it was a shock). I didn’t really feel like I was “defending” the tower at any point, and although there are a few chump block tech encounter cards, for the most part, it’s not that punishing. That said, I really enjoyed the two villain tandem here and thought it was really fun to play. The campaign adds another wrinkle in with a “Shawarma Place” side scheme that’s pretty fun to put in and has a little surprise. It also introduces a very interesting and (importantly, in the actual rulebook) way to adjust its difficulty. The book actually says if you want, you can put one per player damage on the tower in standard, two per player in expert, and three per player in heroic mode. This concept comes back in the last scenario. I really like how much more elegant this is than the way GMW handled difficulty, and how much it flip-flopped in terms of how it wanted to actually commit to that difficulty level. Here in Mad Titan’s Shadow the box gives you options; no need to check rulebooks or random email rulings.

Thanos is yet another scenario that improves upon GMW’s warped idea of standard, while expert players will be able to enjoy the challenge of full stalwart the entire match. Some of his deck is brute force oriented, but overall he’s a much better experience than Ronan, especially in the campaign. A big reason for all of this is because hinder, and the main schemes, aren’t as insane. I don’t know who “pumped up” those numbers in GMW, but however toned them down in MTS, thank you. Hinder, as a rule, is generally “hinder 1” and “per threat” totals for main schemes are “1 per player,” often with high thresholds. Alter-ego actually feels viable again.

Hela (who is fourth, after Thanos) is far and away one of the craziest scenarios yet, and like Collector 2, it shows what the game is capable of. Hela takes things even further though and basically turns this game into LOTR. To progress, you’ll actually need to fight off a “per player health” boss enemy, then complete subsequent (reasonably threatted) side schemes three times, which simulate a journey. So you kill a miniboss that prevents you from thwarting a location side scheme, then finish that side scheme, then another miniboss and side scheme come out, and so on. And all the while, Hela is buffed for each side scheme that’s in the victory display. I know some people are going to find it fiddly, but it’s incredibly thematic and feels like a LOTR-like journey through Asgard/Hel. It’s for sure fiddly in any sense, but I suspect LCG fans of other games will take to it very easily. Also, after a few games, you get a sense of the linear nature of it. While I don’t want to spoil too much here, Hela is memorable and will probably work my way into demo sessions to show new players that the game isn’t always just about beating down a villain.

Loki is the last boss and is also as unique as Hela. He has five random villain cards and you shuffle them and randomly choose between them (sometimes they shift out and in via card effects). To kill him you’ll need to defeat a certain number of “Lokis,” so one on rookie, two on standard, three on expert, and four in heroic (yes heroic is specifically listed). Oh and Loki has the Infinity Gauntlet, so you have to deal with that.

The variable difficulty in the rulebook is a Godsend here. It’s so clear how you can change things up and the game even acknowledges rookie and heroic, rather than the “play how you want, actually you can mix rookie and expert” muddled message of GMW. This box feels like it has an actual vision. I really enjoyed it, and the addition of Loki and Hela (both of which are good) ensure that it isn’t boring thematically. Both of them offer up two of the most unique scenarios to date in Marvel Champions.

I’m not sure how this box is going to be reviewed overall but the community. I would posit “positive, but safe.” Like GMW it offers glimpses at the potential the game has in the future, but instead of fumbling them, it embraces them. Here’s hoping the next box is more like MTS and GMW was a fluke.

Verdict: Buy it


Nebula is an interesting pack, as her Justice kit sparks some much-needed variety into the aspect. One Way or Another is one of the most unique cards in the game, and Wrath is basically an on-demand Target Acquired that stays on the board and can flex into damage or blocking.

Nebula herself has been mostly positively received, especially in multiplayer. She can do some interesting things with her techniques in terms of timing, depending on what player order they actually go off (and when you want to trigger them with Lethal Intent).

That said, she’s generically strong, and might not suit everyone’s personal playstyle. Take a look at how she plays before you decide to pick her up.

Verdict: Wishlist it

War Machine

War Machine is very similar to the rest of the wave: many like him, many are “okay” with him. That’s not a bad place to be! No hero in this wave is a dud per se, but it’s impossible for each hero to appeal to everyone.

Over time, War Machine’s optimal strategies tend to homogenize. Flip him often, load him up with his bunker, and unload the shoulder cannon. This strategy completely trumps so many other ways to play him that you’ll eventually sidle up to it over time, especially on harder scenarios.

Unlike Nebula which features generally useful new Justice cards, War Machine’s aspect cards mostly cater toward a new “sacrifice” ally style, which you might not like.

Verdict: Wishlist it

The Hood

And now we’ve come to the scenario of the wave. And what a scenario it is! So to speak.

So The Hood suffers from the same uneven issues as Galaxy’s Most Wanted, in that it’s very random. Some rounds you might trounce The Hood in a few turns and he’ll do almost nothing back. But because of his “Foul Play” ability and frequent surge, sometimes he’ll turn a standard game into Heroic 4.

Standard 2 (the second standard modular set that comes in the pack) doesn’t fare much better. It’s meant to be a “harder” version of Standard 1, but it’s basically just a carbon copy “plussed up.” It doesn’t offer much variety or fun from what we’ve already had since the core.

The modular sets, however, are fantastic. The whopping nine mods (11 if you count Standard 2 and Expert 2) add some much-needed street level variety to Marvel Champions with modular sets that try new things. Buy it for the mods, if anything, to sprinkle into stronger scenarios.

Verdict: Wishlist it


This is a really interesting pack for several reasons. One: Valkyrie can be tough to build for and pilot in solo play, and tends to favor rush builds. Two: the aspect cards she comes with aren’t universally great. But I like her anyway.

Built around a “dueling” concept, Valkyrie can attach a Death-Glow item to minions (or the villain) and get specific bonuses for it. It’s a bit clunky, but I appreciate the team trying something new, and Valkyrie can operate very differently if you play her in multiplayer.

But because she’s a very niche hero, we decided to wishlist her.

Verdict: Wishlist it


Vision is one of the “generically strong” heroes of the wave, but also one of the highlights.

Like many recent heroes (and upcoming ones, based on the Sinister Motives box tease), Vision simply has high numbers and the ability to flex into attacking or thwarting in his base kit. There’s some clunk, especially in his precon (and the defense mechanic interacting with his intangible form), but he can power through it.

While I’m not the biggest fan of Vision personally, and find that like War Machine and Nebula, his playline blends together over time (and a lot of his hero kit is repurposed core set concepts); he is a bit more interesting than those two because of his form abilities, and has a lot of deckbuilding potential as more unique aspect cards arrive. He also ushers in a few fun and useful aspect/basic cards to use in other decks.

Verdict: Wishlist it

Sinister Motives

Sinister Motives is an interesting box, in that it makes a few of the same mistakes as Galaxy’s Most Wanted, but manages to sidestep the major ones.

So first up: the heroes. Miles and Gwen are great additions to the game, and offer completely different playstyles. Miles is what we’d consider an “S tier hero,” able to fling out statuses like candy, including the most coveted one: tough. His recursion is strong so he’s consistent, and can generally handle any scenario in the game. To that end, he might be a little boring for some of the playerbase.

Gwen on the other hand synergizes nicely with a lot of the current card pool, given that her gimmick involves readying herself based on interrupts and responses. Unlike Miles, who has a fully self-sustained kit, she can grow over time as more cards are released, and is one of the current best Protection heroes, able to defend with ease for multiple people across the table.

The scenarios are mostly on point too. Sandman is an all-comers scenario, and another in a line of great “first of the box” villains. During Con of Heroes 2022, he was one of the most-played villains of the event. Venom provides a “risk reward” type concept that doesn’t fire on all cylinders and can be gamed with practice, but is by no means a dud, and much of the community has embraced him.

Mysterio’s big thing is throwing a ton of encounter cards your way, but like Mutagen formula, it does it thematically, and without feeling oppressive: he’s a big win. The Sinister Six scenario, while underwhelming thematically, does a decent enough job of throwing multiple (what are essentially minions) “villains” your way.

Now for the bad. So Venom Goblin was extremely overtuned, and requires a lot of proctoring to get all of his responses in a row. The campaign, especially on expert, is a bit obtuse, and lacks a strong theme throughput. While some players will resonate with the mathy “track” to figure out all of the campaign bonuses and punishments, others will opt to forgo it altogether. It’s endemic to the mix and match campaign strategy of Marvel Champions that hasn’t quite figured things out yet.

All that to say, this is still a Marvel Champions box. Other than Galaxy’s Most Wanted, the team has nailed the overall “value prospect” of boxes, with two heroes and five scenarios, plus modular sets. It’s really hard to mess that up.

Verdict: Buy it


Nova is a hero I really had to do some soul-searching for, as I could go either way on the “buy it/wishlist it” recommendation: but I’m strongly leaning toward buy it. So that’s what I’ll go with!

There’s nothing wrong with the hero, to be clear. He’s another thematic win for the game (and the choice of Sam was great), and he is distinct from other heroes in that he relies heavily on wilds to fuel his engine (which leads to nuanced deckbuilding sessions and ideas).

The tipping point is a few very effective Aggression cards. It lit a fire under the aspect for this wave, and if you play Aggression regularly, he feels like a must-buy in that regard. Also, an extra modular set (on top of his nemesis set) adds a tiny bit of value going forward to hero packs starting with Nova.

Verdict: Buy it


Ironheart is my current favorite hero in the game in terms of fun factor, and it helps that she’s also very unique.

Powering up with three different pieces of armor, Ironheart essentially “levels up” like an RPG by gaining counters from card effects and an alter-ego ability. There’s a meta-game going on where you’re trying to get stronger and stronger as time goes on, while playing the game with your chosen deck. It’s a thrill, to say the least, and if you’re looking for a hero that will make a splash at the table, this is it.

Her cards aren’t all winners, but she does come with several new allies, and a few leadership cards that open up more play lines. R&D facility is a standout, since it has the SHIELD trait and can synergize very well with certain heroes: especially in multiplayer. The Vivian ally is another huge card that can change the way you approach some scenarios, Ingenuity is fantastic for a handful of characters (Ironheart included) and Go for Champions is an insane card.

The extra modular set (again that’s on top of the nemesis set) is the cherry on top.

Verdict: Buy it

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.

Dividers were released in late 2022 alongside of the Mutant Genesis box. This was done via Asmodee itself, through a newer OP initiative.

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 was supposed to 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. This set has not been released as of 2023 and is presumed dead.

On March 8, 2023, new OP was confirmed for the X-Men wave. These will partially be distributed in booster pack format (info TBA).

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. With the dividers (late 2022) and X-Men OP sets (2023), FFG/Asmodee could be getting back into OP for Champions.

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)gmail.com

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)

Colin Phelps – Card Game Manager

Nate French – Executive Game Designer

Jim Cartwright – Product Strategy Director

Molly Glover – Board & Card Game Producer

Josh Massey – OP Coordinator, FFG Live Host

Peter Schumacher – Marketing Writer, FFG Live Player

Alex Werner – Games Rules Specialist

Zach Tewalthomas – QA/Playtesting

José Guzmán (Guzmanco) – Former FFG Intern/Current Freelance Artist

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)





Latest interviews

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 Schumacher

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

Comicbook.com 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

“[MJ] Newman is the reason ‘Elite” even exists in our game. We wanted to make a minion special in some way, and [MJ] 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. [MJ] [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

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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

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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)

August, 2022:

Critical Encounters interviews former FFG designer Michael Boggs

Caleb Grace appears on the Gen Con In-Flight Shorts Day 1 Gen Con stream

Ryan from Man vs Meeple talks to Caleb Grace at Gen Con about Mutant Genesis

“So my career at FFG started with Lord of the Rings, which is a huge love of mine. I had been there for eight years and thought what could I work on next that could possibly match that and we got the Marvel license, and I was like ‘woo hoo!'” – Caleb

Critical Encounters interviews FFG designer MJ Newman

Caleb Grace talks about the Mojo pack on Facebook

“All the credit for this one goes to Tony Fanchi and Michael Boggs! All I did was suggest we do a Mojo scenario pack.” – Caleb

FFG Live with Caleb Grace: Mutant Genesis playthrough

“This is the second scenario in the box, the villain is called Sentinel, and the main scheme is Night of the Sentinel. Sentinels are hunting mutants and we need to rescue them. And this one introduces a new loss condition through a modular set that is required by this scenario.” – Caleb

“I was working on this when we all went home at the outbreak of COVID.” – Caleb

X-Mansion is for sure in Kitty’s [precon], it’s in one of these.” – Caleb

“I was really focused on the upgrades…someone reminded me that part of Cyclops’ power set is he can calculate angles, even better than Captain America.” – Caleb

“[After an obligation is given to another player] You would surge, because I gave it to you.” – Caleb

“[Why is the Phoenix Force so powerful?] She’s basically a mini villain with 12 hitpoints…it’s a bit of lore for comic fans. There’s some of Chris Claremont’s biggest stories, the Phoenix Saga.” – Caleb

“I think our players are perceptive enough that there’s no X-Men art in Avengers/Guardians stuff…and there’s reasons for why that is largely beyond our control…and it’s kind of a win-win at the end of the day…you get the new art.” – Caleb

“[How do you decide what flavor text to use] I want to do a tip of the hat to Michael Boggs. The core set we went the hard way. We wrote most of it. But time-wise, we didn’t have time to go through individual issues. So Boggs discovered a website that’s just like quotes for this character.

It’s a blend. I had a lot of help on the core set. Even Molly wrote some stuff for the core set. We’ll grab flavor where we can where it works, but we’ll add something on our own.” – Caleb

“You can go out and choose any 3-5 scenarios that already exist, in products that were released, up to Sinister Motives. Any scenarios, 3-5, put them in any order you want, choose any modular and encounter sets. Come up with any campaign rules, and any campaign log, and send that to us. And there will be prizes. We’ll be launching that on September 1. There’s an article on our page, which I wrote, about the details involved and the guidelines.” – Peter Schumacher (Marketing Writer)

The Shadow Net talks to former FFG designer Michael Boggs about Netrunner, and Marvel Champions (39:00 for the bulk of MC talk)

“[Was it harder to make cards for Champions knowing the license was in play?] On some levels it was harder, on some levels it was easier. There were definitely points like we want to do X or Y thing and we have to discuss it with licensing and Marvel first…those instances were rare…they were mostly hands off. There were only a few things that come to mind that they like, had us revise, but mostly design specifically they really were not picky, they didn’t control anything, or dictate anything we did. The way we had these pre-defined and established characters, I could read one of the comics and watch a movie or TV show with Captain America, and I could model cards after that. With the new IPs…sometimes you need to be more imaginative, or more creative. I would say in retrospect it was easier a lot of the time to make stuff for Champions and not Netrunner, but not 100% it was probably 80/20.” – Boggs

“So when I was in college I originally started out studying animation and for different reasons it shifted into game design. I got over to Korea…I came to travel and explore and teach and the whole time I was there I was working on my own projects, originally I wanted to work in the video game industry, but I realized I didn’t have the skills to do that. There was a robust group of foreigners who played board games at the time…Magic was my introduction to the greater board game world, I did that for a couple of years, and one day I happened to see a post on FFG’s website, I wanted to go back to the United States…I was hoping to get a job in the industry. I had Netrunner as my top game, and it just so happened that’s what they were hiring for. It wasn’t any special skilll…it came down to timing and resume…it was actually kind of a dorky resume, I had games listed out of 10, so Netrunner was 10/10, and they were like OK this guy knows Netrunner. I talked with Nate French a year and a half or two years after I was hired…I never quite knew how I was hired…he was like oh no I just liked talking to you…all those years struggling didn’t matter…it was just a good conversation.” – Boggs

“The first part of it, you had to write a vision document…the second part was designing five cards for different factions…and during the actual interview, those two things were the topics of discussion. I was super nervous going in but after talking to the three of them, it was the easiest interview I had in my life” – Boggs

“[On how Boggs got started at MC] So when Netrunner was canceled I was sort in this weird in-between state where I was still the caretaker for Netrunner but I wasn’t developing active content for it…I was also on Star Wars Destiny. But that had Jeremy and Lukas…so it’s not like it needed a lot of help. When I first started with FFG I kind of helped out from the beginning, but it was always in the background, with art and stuff like that…so it wasn’t like I could do a lot with the design. The whole time I helped with Destiny, it was always in the background to help with art stuff. You can’t make a full time job just writing art briefs.” – Boggs

“I was kind of bounced around. I was put on KeyForge to help a little bit…they talked about having me help on Arkham. Eventually it was decided we were going to do a new card game. Potentially doing Android again. Potentially doing it in the Terrinoth setting, I don’t know how they came about it or how it was decided, but they got the Marvel license. And as soon as they did they were like we’re definitely doing a card game in the Marvel license.” – Boggs

“So for [Marvel] it was going to be myself and Nate French. Just the two of us on it. This was right before he was set to move into the lead developer role of the studio, so it was going to be his last big project. As we started the project up, all the developers in the LCG department heard about it and Caleb Grace who was working on Lord of the Rings at the time was like I’m a massive Marvel nerd…put me on this game I want to be on this game, and so they did. And it ended up being myself and Caleb and Nate. And that’s kind of that, they got the license and told all three of us to make a Marvel game. And we were deciding were we going to do a cooperative game, were we going to do a competitive game. Something with the license, I don’t know the specifics, but they told us you have to make a cooperative game.” – Boggs

“It was actually, so the game was…pitched as sort of being a standalone. Like Lord of the Rings. Almost like uh, I don’t know if this was ever an official conversation, with higher ups, but the conversation between Nate and Caleb, and myself, was an arcade type thing…you pick a level, you fight the villain and you’re done. And that was how we developed the core set. And after the core set with the Green Goblin and Wrecking Crew…it was always intended to be this standalone thing.

That was the case up until we started developing the first major expansion, we were deep in development, but I would say the product was roughly around 70-80% finished, and we were getting to the end, and I think it was Andrew Navaro [former FFG head of studio] that was like I want this to be a campaign. This needs campaign elements, you need some sort of thing that ties it together. I remember that Caleb was very much…not against it, but had a concern like how much development does a campaign take…any sort of thing you’re adding to a box it takes time away from someone else. From what Caleb has said there’s also a huge subset of players who play them standalones. For Caleb he wanted more time to focus on making each individual scenario and hero better, but ultimately we had to make time for the campaign elements.” – Boggs

“Campaigns do take a lot of time, but they’re also the thing in a way that’s the least important…having the scenarios function and be fun, those are the top priorities, and the campaign is sort of at the end of the process. I actually think Caleb’s original direction was probably better for the game overall, and I’ve seen a lot of complaints about the Marvel Champions campaigns…a lot of players don’t like them…and I think they don’t like them because they’re expecting something deeper and more interesting like Arkham Horror but the game was never built with that in mind. It was a secondary thing for sure.” – Boggs

September 2022:

FFG Live with Jeremy Zwirn, Josh Massey, and Alex Werner [games rules specialist]: playing the Fellowship of the Ring LOTR LCG Saga Expansion

“So I’ve been working at FFG for six or seven months. I joined back in March, so my job is broadly speaking, I offer internal support to the designers, as they build up their rulebooks. Part of that responsibility….is answering rules questions…I meet with our designers probably once a week, to discuss more complicated rules questions, before I answer emails. I’m actually very new to Lord of the Rings LCG.” – Alex

Call of Discovery interviews former FFG Senior Media Producer on KeyForge, and happenings at FFG

“So I’m a big fan and proponent of transparency, especially in terms of ransomware attacks…they’re so common at this point. I just think it’s easier to own up that hey this happened…it did happen at the end of 2020, I believe in November, and a lot of us working in…via VPN…into the server were suddenly not able to get access to a lot of data. Projects we were working on, we’d have to wait 30 minutes for a download sometimes…15 minutes just for a file to open. But the company left a lot of the…even the employees in the dark. It was not shared what happened. We roll into 2021, and COVID had been happening for a year at that point…I was one of the few people working in the office at that point.

The only people in the building were myself and the IT guys. I started just asking questions, like this seems odd, and just asked the head of IT at the time, we got ransomwared, right? And he said yeah probably, and just walked away. And I asked another IT person about it, and they were like you’re not supposed to know that. That’s when I realized…the ransomware had crossed, or there was a bug…the marketing department lost approximately six years of marketing work. So I started pestering people in my department, like MJ and Caleb and they’re like oh we’re going to look into that. And we started realizing source files were gone, and not accessible.

And that’s when a lot of employees started asking what’s going on and where can we get these things? And the company still never told anyone in the company what happened. Perhaps they did after I left in April of 2021, but up until that point it was hush hush, this didn’t happen, even to employees in the company. I think the upper management was just really embarrassed.” – Thompson

September 28 – Caleb and Tony react to fan campaigns for Marvel Champions

Josh: “So after looking at this and seeing other design processes, give other people an idea of what’s similar to what you might do.”

Tony: “Probably the first thing I’d point out…the comic panels in the rulebooks. Those are a very important part of Marvel Champions, it gives the game that comic book feel. Those are great but they can also be a little restrictive with what we can do with the campaign structure, so we’re limited. So all the branching stories…AH does a fantastic job of those, they don’t quite fit the structure of Marvel Champions campaigns.”

Caleb: “Yeah people reach out…have you thought of branching paths and failing forward…we only have so many cards we can put in the box, and only so many pages we can put in the rulebook. So far we haven’t cracked that code. We’re under some restrictions the people are doing this aren’t. We’re designing new scenarios. Space is a premium, we’re figuring out…we want all these different modular sets…so in order to fit this thing we need to share sets between scenarios. It’s a little bit like Jenga.”

Tony: “Another advantage the contest entrants have is they can combine many different products…whereas we make every product standalone, except for the core. As I was thinking about how I’d approach this contest, the scenarios that exist have story elements you need to kind of tie in, like Hela, she didn’t show up a lot, maybe that’s due to the story elements.”

October 2022:

Marvel Champions interview with Caleb Grace, from One Stop Co-op Shop

“I was playing Venom [with Boggs], and was saying wow this hero is really fun…and he was like yeah you designed most of it.” – Caleb

“[My brother] was there for a really long time [at FFG]…but he’s moved on to a different job.” – Caleb

“I’ve been playing that game [the Star Wars deckbuilder that was just announced at Gen Con 2022] on a near weekly basis for two years now and I haven’t gotten tired of it.” – Caleb

“Boggs loved the characters…Nate loved the humor…I loved the stories. We jotted these things down, and it became our guide [on how to create Marvel Champions]. We really started with the Marvel experience.” – Caleb

“Most of the complexity comes from specific card interactions rather than the game mechanics themselves. The game mechanics themselves are pretty straightforward. It’s the cards that can build up the complexity and I think that’s an important distinction.” – Caleb

“[Precons] Was one of the smartest decisions we’ve maybe ever made. Our earlier LCGs were real trailblazers…but we talked about, what if we put the whole story in one box. We thought what if we built the decks for people.

“40 is the minimum and 50 is the maximum [hand size]. We had some interesting conversations about that. Nate he’s a stone cold killer when you play Game of Thrones with him. Boggs was a big part of the Netrunner community. Competitive gamers know deck consistency is one of the keys to success. The more that you can thin your deck. Deck minimum is really important to establish…and one of my favorite things is that you draw a new hand. 40 isn’t a number we pulled out of a hat, we just found it was the right number. After that it became a question of should there be a maximum. We just said look you don’t have to go much higher than 50.” – Caleb

“Five players was never on the table…well, it kind of came up…but it’s not something we’re going to curate. There has to be a cutoff point for us to design heroes and scenarios and that’s a bridge too far.” – Caleb

“[Do I have a favorite single card?] I don’t know that I do. Serious gamers will ask about balance. Casual gamers will ask about theme. Dark Phoenix was all about theme for me. If Dark Phoenix is going to be a nemesis it should be ferocious, it should be formidable. With Phoenix in particular you’re talking about our only 3 THW hero…with Spectrum there’s a small opportunity cost. You have the free wild resource right away, and formidable stats, and Mind Control is maybe the most powerful card in the game. When you have a hero that can do that, the counterbalance is what happens when I spend those resources?” – Caleb

“We were demoing the game at Gen Con 2019 and everyone’s first question was: ‘when are the X-Men coming.’ We hadn’t even done Captain America yet, or Rise of Red Skull, and Guardians and all the Avengers yet. It’s been a long time coming. I definitely felt the pressure. The X-Men are my favorite characters, and Cyclops is still my favorite Marvel character.” – Caleb

“We didn’t really get feedback until we were working on Galaxy’s Most Wanted. We had playtester feedback, but I think it’s important to make a little distinction. You don’t find a lot of casual gamers volunteering to be playtesters…well I guess you’re not volunteering anymore there’s compensation…to be interested in the playtesting process you have to be interested in the game. It’s going to be skewed more into the more advance players…so you need to keep that in mind.

That was a little like designing in the blind…like Rise of Red Skull. And we got some feedback that it was maybe a little easy. When Boggs was working on GMW there was that feeling that we had to ratchet it up a little…and Boggs was doing some really creative things to add difficulty, like not just putting surge on things or upping the numbers, but changing the way you play.

Rise of Red Skull was kind of our safe bet.” – Caleb

“MJ Newman…her big request [with Black Widow] was to put more aspect cards in the back of the pack, so you can play her with other aspects. We didn’t want to lock her in. I did the same thing with Cyclops.” Caleb

“There were people in the office who advocated pretty strongly that we should have a shared turn…and there’s validity to that. But I wanted structure…imagine teaching that to someone…you can do this…and this on your turn. I felt like it would lead to…people playing everyone’s turns for them. If you’re teaching someone you can say I’ll take my turn, then you can take yours.” – Caleb

“Mutant Genesis is intended to kickoff the next phase of Marvel Champions. The three-part story structure seems to be commonly accepted. We should have the first three waves pick up and culminate in that box. There are so many characters associated with the X-Men. “There are so many mutants coming in expansions.

Sometimes we do things to create player expectations, and sometimes we do things that can’t be predicted at all [like Web Warriors]. Cross your fingers knock on wood, this game could go for a long time, and our goal is to get to all of them [mutants]. Tony and Boggs did some great collaborative work on the follow-up to Mutant Genesis.” – Caleb

“As a rule for myself personally, I do not view any custom content. Just, ever. And it’s not because it’s not worthy or important to a game’s health. I don’t look at it because when I’m creating cards I’m not stealing ideas. As far as playing the stuff I’d love to, it’s hard to imagine when I can find time. And after the livestream, they asked if we wanted to come back and play some, and I’d love to.” – Caleb

Nelson All Over Cards interviews Caleb Grace

November 2022:

Caleb and Tony play MojoMania on November 9 on FFG Live

FFG art contractor Guzmanco talks about art choices

“A lot of it comes down to alter-egos. The designers often have such a specific vision of how they want alter-egos to look that it can be very difficult to find comic art that meets the brief. Not many comics dedicate large panels to characters doing “boring” stuff, like Ant-Man chilling on the couch or Colossus painting. I look through ~500 comics for each hero and sometimes the art just isn’t there. And if it is there, it’s not always usable. These images are often too small to use as feature art and present cropping challenges. Other times they’re in an art style that doesn’t get approved by the Marvel licensing team.

Maybe there’s too much blood or too much cleavage showing. Maybe it is includes characters that Marvel has asked FFG not to feature together (Marvel says X-Men and Avengers characters can’t be on the same art). There are so many hoops to jump that the art options shrink really quickly. I try to give designers about 3-4 options for each card, but if none of them meet expectations, it’s commission time. Because of the restraints, alter-egos will almost always be commissioned pieces. Commissioning both alter-ego and hero ensures consistency between the art styles on both side of the card since they are often created by the same artist. At this point in the game’s life cycle, most of the high quality hero portraits are used for allies since commissioning hero cards has become the norm.” – Guzmán

“It’s not as simple as ‘just use their art’ because the designers have very specific ideas of what they want the cards to feature, and it is often very difficult to find existing art that fits each card in the design file. What if none of those top 5 artists have an image of Wolverine regenerating?

What if they do but they are all either too small, too graphic, too difficult to crop, too old, features another character, or fails to meet another requirement of Marvel’s licensing team? It’s relatively easy to find images of Wolverine fighting and slashing, sure. Not as easy to find workable art of his cabin, his skeleton, and everything else the designers want.” – Guzmán

“As for my role, I’m essentially given a list of card titles and the designers’ preferences for what kind of image they are looking for. I go through as many issues as I can within the deadline to give them 2-3 options that I think fit the bill. Ultimately, the designers have final say of what gets picked. If they really like one of my suggestions, they’ll use it. That’s what happened with ‘I got better.’

Sometimes I’ll suggest a piece and they’ll use it for another card instead. Other times Marvel will reject a piece for a host of possible reasons. If the designers don’t like anything I suggested, they’ll commission a piece or dig through the slush art. So my job is to go through comic art for the design team so they have more time to work on other parts of the product.” – Guzmán

“And you are totally right about cost being a hug factor. It’s really nice to hear how much people love this game! Like most of you, I love comics and games, and I’ve been so fortunately to work with such amazing people to make an incredible game. My role is a little unique in that I’m a contractor that pretty much works exclusively on Marvel Champions (I also did Keyforge art briefs for a bit but then…).

I started out as an intern and really liked working on the core set art. They asked me to keep working on it after my internship ended, and I’ve played a part in most releases. I’m not an FFG employee so I don’t get the same level of accreditation as the rest of the awesome crew but you’ll typically find my name in the rules inserts as ‘special thanks to José Guzmán.'” – Guzmán

Critical Encounters talks to designer Tony Fanchi

Boggs talks Mojo and other development work on the Marvel Champions Discord

“[I like GMW, but I totally get the hate] I do, too. GMW has many problems. There were definitely changes at the end that shouldn’t have been made, but GMW was also created during the most turbulent time at FFG. Even without the changes, a lot of poor decisions got through that shouldn’t have. Oh man, it’s hard to remember. Ronan got super buffed (yay Fanaticism), various tweaks and adjustments to other scenarios/Rocket/Groot, market cards got changed, campaign schemes got changed. Lots of stuff.” – Boggs

“This wave [the first X-Men wave] is 100% Caleb” – Boggs

“I say this as someone who loves Spider-Man and all of the Spider-verse stuff…but many of the Spider-people are pretty much the same, at least in their power sets. Minor variations here and there, but it would be pretty difficult to design distinctly different hero kits for many of them. Spider-Man Noir was discussed at length, but Spider-Ham and Peni were chosen because their power sets are so different from the standard Spider suite. Also, Asmodee/FFG wants Champions to reach the widest possible audience, and it was thought that with the release of Into the Spider-verse, Spider-Ham and Peni would be more recognizable to a general audience (kids!).” – Boggs

“I got the ball rolling on MojoMania—wrote the vision document and designed the initial pass for each scenario. Tony was involved during that whole process but was sort of “training” to be on Champions and working on something else (Unfathomable, maybe?) during that time. Eventually though, I handed everything over to Tony and he took it from there. He did all playtesting, balancing, rules, flavor text writing, etc.” – Boggs

December 2022:

MJ briefly talks about Champions on an Arkham Horror LCG AMA

Marvel Champions is sort of the ideal game to have guest designers, in my opinion. Each hero’s pack is sort of its own standalone thing that can be designed entirely separate from the rest. In fact, we want each hero to feel unique and different from one another, so I would say having guest designers is a huge boon in that game, as each designer brings in their own ideas and their own mechanics. For Widow, I was a bit more aware what the cardpool looked like, since I had been playtesting the core set and first wave of heroes quite a bit, but for Sp//dr I had almost no idea what the environment was like. I just had a cool idea for the hero. For both, I did a bunch of research on the character, drew up some card titles and wrote art briefs, designed the core mechanics of the character, and then showed the team what I had done. Inevitably there would be changes, as some cards were above or under curve, other cards might already exist in some capacity, that sort of thing. Occasionally we would have to redesign something entirely if it didn’t fit the lead’s greater line plan or the rest of the cycle. But for the most part, it was pretty smooth. – MJ

January 2023:

Zach Tewalthomas again guests on the Critical Encounters podcast

March 2023:

Caleb and Tony play a fan-picked scenario on FFG Live, and OP is teased

“Hello everyone! Thanks for joining us for a playthrough of the Magneto Scenario! Tony and Caleb will be showing off the brand new Rogue and Gambit Hero Packs and we will be discussing OP as well! – FFG

“We know that we have not really said a lot about the future of Marvel Champions and we want to put all of your minds at ease. There have been a lot of changes inside the studio…Tony is coming on board and doing wonderful things, but because of that there were some learning curves and things like that. The game is not going anywhere. We’re going to mention something else…that’s coming out soon.” – Josh

“Tony has also made himself invaluable to the team by taking on the next iteration of the FAQ. I’ve been a little busy. People can expect that in the near future too.” – Caleb

“Magneto is a big deal. That’s the first X-Men comic I read.” – Caleb

“A tough status card is something we put in the core set…as basically tools of the trade. Maybe not every villain, but most villains will interact with these tokens in some way. I don’t know if it was a conscious choice…but Magneto, Magneto should be hard to put down. That’s as much as I can share off my memory.” – Caleb

“We know that you have all the content for the game…we’ve created booster packs for this game. What will happen in your store, just for hanging out and participating, you’ll receive a booster pack. These will contain what we’re calling our common cards, like villains…in my case, I got Toad. Or heroes…I got Kitty Pryde. Each of these packs will have also what we’re calling rare cards, which will be that alternate art hero card.” – Josh

Marvel Champions Monthly interviews Caleb Grace and talks about Mutant Genesis

“So you mentioned the Mad Titan’s Shadow…and Thanos isn’t the final boss as you’d expect he would be. My original pitch he was. It was kind of a pedestrian sort of storyline where you just fight your way through different members of the Black Order and fight Thanos. That was in my vision, and this is why we have this vision process…it goes to the executive team, and there are key people in the executive team…and at the time it was like ‘this is a little too predictable…’ it was given to us like a challenge, like can we do better?

When that’s the initial feedback it’s like…well that’s what players expect that’s what they want…it comes up that we could have an opportunity to surprise them…a compromise was reached where Thanos is still in there…and still feels like a boss enemy, but he’s not going to be the fifth one.” – Caleb

“We thought it would be fun to do a Venom Goblin…what’s funny is that we didn’t even know that’s an actual story arc in the comics, I felt so silly, I felt we were being really innovated. I was telling my friend about he’s a big comic fan, and he was like they already did that, with the Carnage symbiote, he was the Red Goblin.” – Caleb

“I also liked the fact that if you chump block with an ally [with Operation Zero Tolerance]…[it gets captured]. That’s really us responding to the community talking about the best way to play is always Leadership and chump blocking with allies…we can address that thematically in the scenario in a way that makes sense in the story.” – Caleb

“The Colossus ability, it’s one of these we’d describe internally as a no-brainer. It’s really easy. I think you’re familiar with our design process by now where we start with who is this character, [their powers], and how we can represent that in the game…so it’s like we already have a word for [what Colossus does] and it’s tough. He can be the first and currently only hero that can have two tough status. That’s a pretty…that’ll get people excited. Once we knew we were going to allow this at two tough, it’s like what else can we do with that…then you need more, so then it was like well if he has two of them, he could still be tough…so what if he spent them, what if he traded tough status for stronger abilities, or kickers or whatever.” – Caleb

“There was a time where we were thinking about doing another core set. When we announced Marvel Champions at Gen Con, all the comments are like when are the X-Men coming. I knew as an X-Men fan, being an X-Men fan and a Marvel fan aren’t the same thing…once we announce X-Men there’s a good chance it’ll bring a lot of new players to the game. And so there was this inquiry like would that be an appropriate time to do another core, and there’s a whole lot of back and forth…everyone from top to bottom was like at least for sure, you should be able to play four X-Men from the jump.

The moment the X-Men villains enter the game you have four X-Men heroes ready to fight them. Once we knew it was going to be a story box and we were going to do hero packs with it, it was simply a question of what heroes make more sense to go in the box and what heroes can we rely on to remove product on their own. When you think about what heroes get their own pack, it’s traditionally going to be the most popular ones that have that name recognition. I think Shadowcat and Colossus have that name recognition, but most people would agree that Cyclops and Phoenix are more popular.” – Caleb

[X-Men tribal] there was a multifaceted goal there. One to highlight what a tight group they are and trying to respond to feedback from players and testers, like ‘we would like more reasons to go alter-ego,’ for some alter-ego is a part of the game that’s underutilized. We thought that’s great that’s what the X-Men are, when they aren’t out fighting bad guys…they study and rest…and work out in the Danger Room, so we thought let’s make all these alter-ego focused supports.” – Caleb

“It’s definitely not [ending]. I’m sure people have met or seen Tony before, but it’s like, there are still two people working on the game, and we’re both full-time so there’s definitely stuff still in the works. I like working on this line, I hope we keep going indefinitely.” – Caleb

April 2023:

Former FFG designer Michael Boggs talks about Psylocke in Discord

“I designed the first iteration or two of her, then handed her off to Tony so that I could help the Arkham Horror team. Her final version is a bit different than her first version, but that’s usually how testing goes. It’s rare that a first iteration makes it all the way through testing. I really like the changes that Tony made. Definitely represents the character of Psylocke better overall. The general concept is similar where your events act differently depending on which weapon(s) you have in play. In the original version, her weapons were set aside and you could only have one in play at a time (except through an event that let her dual-wield for a round). I liked that design but I do think this final version is more representative of Psylocke as a character.”

May 2023:

Caleb Grace and Tony Fanchi unbox NeXt Evolution

Michael Boggs talks about design concepts on Discord

Things might be different now, but back when I was on the game, printing a ‘touched-up version’ of an existing hero/alter-ego wasn’t an option. I don’t remember the specifics as to why. Edit: ‘Touched-up’ as in changed to fix a design intention rather than a mistake (James Rhodes being the example there)…If a different version of an existing identity ever comes out, it would almost certainly be something new, not just revised.

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Future streams:

May 24 FFG stream for unboxing products: partially tagged as Marvel Champions

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