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GenCon ’09: Marvel Superstars TCG Preview August 17, 2009

Posted by webofwebhead in CCG, Marvel, Previews.

UDE_LogoUpper Deck was at full force at GenCon, constantly running demo’s of Dinosaur King, WoW Minis, WoW TCG, and previewing a demo of their newest game, Marvel Superstars TCG.

Marvel Superstars shares some traits with past games and has some novel twists, but first, let’s look at a preview card you can see on the new website, playmarvel.com:


The first thing you will notice is the “widescreen” layout of the cards.   This is fairly unique in TCG’s, but style wise it’s a great fit because all of the game art will be pulled from stills from the various movies.  Each deck will center on a Hero character, the demo we played was Iron Man versus Wolverine.

To start the game, you place your chosen Hero character card face up in front of you, as well as three basic resource cards.  Your Hero character will look similar to the card above, but with a different colored template, and no stats, only a special power.  Heroes inherently have 50 health, when you lose your health, you lose the game.  Resources take the form of cities and other locations, like Xavier’s Institute.  Because you start with Resources in play, you can react to your opponents plays even when you play second.

At the start of the game, each players draws 7 cards, and then the first player takes their turn.  You can play one additional resource each turn…these let you play more expensive cards, and also add to your Hero cards default attack value.  Events are the cards that let you heal up, block damage directly, or have other special effects on the game.  Events are also important because each one you play lets you charge your Hero.  Your Hero can then spend charges to use their built in ability.  Iron Man had a direct damage ability, Wolverine could heal himself.

The real meat and potatoes of the game are the Ally Character cards, like the one shown above.  Most of the combat in the game centers on these cards.   Ally Characters represent both different aspects of your Hero, as well as other characters your Hero will call upon to fight by his or her side.  So, for example, you might have Iron Man as your Hero Character and also play the Iron Man – Justice Ally Character to attack and block as well.

To play this Ally, you will need 6 or more Resources, the cost is found in the upper right hand corner.  This ally has an attack power of 8 as seen in the yellow starburst icon, and 12 health, shown on the red cross icon.  Additionally, you can pay 1 resources to “tap down” a character for a turn.  However, you will find a power like this is best at clearing out blockers, because Ally cards can attack the turn they come into play.

Combat if fairly simple to resolve, choose one of your characters, exhaust (“tap”) it, and target an opponents character.  Each character does damage equal to it’s attack to the other, tracking health remaining as needed turn after turn.  You can attack with as many characters as you have each turn, or, leave them back to “block”.  A blocking character can intercept an attack made by your opponent, allowing you to shield damaged or weaker characters.  Ultimately you want to pile damage on the Hero, but if Allies are left unchecked, they will run you over in the long game.

This game has some familiar aspects and some unique twists on tcg gameplay.  Ordering your attacks properly and making decisions on blocking are the basis for much of the strategy of the game.  Existing tcg players should be able to pick this game up easily, and new players will find this to be an easy jumping on point.  This game is also rather unique in that it uses only art from the various movie stills, something no other Marvel game has done.



1. fullbodytransplant - August 18, 2009

Wow, that was an outstanding report! The game seems to be just the right balance, appealing to the masses while still providing plenty of challenge for the hardcore gamers.

In an interview, Ben Seck announced a Marvel Superstars World Championship yesterday:


Very exciting times.

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