REVIEW: SENTINELS OF THE MULTIVERSE
Welcome to the fictional comic book world of Sentinel Comics, where powerful heroes fight dastardly villains to protect the entire Multiverse!
Title: Sentinels of the Multiverse
Designer: Christopher Badell, Paul Bender & Adam Rebottaro
Publisher: Greater than Games
Players: 2 – 5
Play Time: >60 minutes
Setup Time: 5-10 minutes
Difficulty Rating: 7
Truth be told I had judged Sentinels of the Multiverse (hereafter shortened to Sentinels) before the game had even arrived or I had a chance to open the box! Don’t judge a book by it’s cover though they never said anything about games! Thankfully though it was all positive with a tonne of card and board games available over on BoardGamer.ie it can make picking ones I want to buy/own/play/convince others to pick up so I can play a little hard but Sentinels didn’t have that problem – the artwork alone was enough to gain my attention and a read of the synopsis was more than enough to convince me to buy it.
Sentinels is a co-operative multiplayer card game where players take on the roles of superheroes each with unique abilities, powers, equipment and cards, together you and your friends must work together to take down a villain. I picked up the ‘Enhanced Edition’ of Sentinels and initially I was overwhelmed by everything the box contained – decks, counters, cards, player mats and tokens. Rather than ripping into the box and trying to wing the game I sat down with the modest rulebook and quickly realised that all of these extras were merely to help keep track of everything that happens in the game and would be a big help instead of a hindrance. The game is played by selecting a villain deck and environment deck to play against and then choosing heroes for each player. Each round will see the villain, the players and the environment take a turn, with players able to draw card, play a card and activate a power before finishing their turn with the aim to deplete the enemy villain’s health while trying to stay in the game. To do so you will have to rely on the other players and develop a strategy to take down the boss and that’s not easy to do, especially if you are in the habit of putting your own needs ahead of the needs of the many.
Now the first thing that stood out for me wasn’t the fact I got to take on the identity of a hero (The Visionary is the best by the way) or face off against a tyrannical mastermind, it was the fact that this was a co-operative game; those who know me can attest to the fact that I am one of the most competitive people around – if I can’t win then I’ll make sure you don’t win either but I’m getting ahead of myself here and speaking too honestly about my gaming habits!
The artwork, a comic strip style and action quotes all help immerse you in the world of Sentinels and while the game doesn’t require any roleplaying it never hurts to be drawn into the world and to care about what is happening around you. Having played the game with different groups of people it’s interesting to see how others will treat their characters and develop their own plans as well as their personal taste when it comes to picking their hero. On top of all that the rulebook explains the origins of the heroes providing some background and while it’s not necessary when it comes to playing the game, its the little things like that that make this game so enjoyable.
The Enhanced Edition comes with four villains, four environments and ten heroes so there is plenty of variety for you and the game has a lot of replay value but that said because this is a fixed deck game you won’t find yourself developing massively in-depth plans or customising your hero’s build. Expansions are available for the game (which I fully intend on getting) but these only introduce new heroes, villains and environments and while it might be refreshing to try new characters at the end of the day you will still end up with a fixed deck build that you end up more than familiar with. This is the first of two big problems with the game – the second being it’s difficulty.
I went in blind to Sentinels as did my unwilling volunteers but to give us a chance we picked ‘Baron Blade’, the villain with the lowest health, figured we could tackle him and we were very wrong. Each villain has certain conditions that can turn them invincible (Citizen Dawn) or special win conditions like Blade who destroys the Earth if his villain trash pile reaches 15 cards – with that in mind we did our best to avoid destroying his cards only to have our health bashed over a handful of turns before the environment (The Ruins of Atlantis) turned on us too and between tentacles and an angry Kraken (we nicknamed Susan… not Steve!) we were very much dead and the game was lost.
It really comes down to the luck of the draw and you’ll need to decide how you react to your hand and make calls based on what your team mates are doing or trying to do at least.
I don’t want to come off negative about Sentinels, the fact that I care this much about the game should be an indicator just how much I am hooked on it, I’ve played the games with everyone from the inexperienced, casual gamers and die-hard players and every time I’ve found myself converting new and old to the game. The first few rounds might run pretty slow and the group might not necessarily work well together, maybe the chosen heroes aren’t effective against the villain, it takes time but after a couple of turns the game is picked up and all of a sudden an inexperienced group of wannabe superheroes are working together like a well oiled super machine and ripping through minions and bosses to win.
Now I said above that the co-operative element really took me by surprise, I play to win and while it’s great to work on a team if I can come out on top by myself then I’m happy so I put a twist on our games. Usually all the players play the villain/environment deck but the chance to play a menaching AI sentience, alien warlord, super powered dictator and an evil genius was too tempting so when playing with a group of four players I’ve found it more fun to play the villain and do my best to destroy/turn the others against each other (I think this means subconsciously I’d be a real super villain if given the chance).
Overall, Sentinels of the Multiverse is fun, well paced and while it’s not perfect, it is above all else a very entertaining game to play! If you’re looking for an action packed super hero inspired card game then look no further.
[easyreview cat1title=”The Arcade Verdict” cat1detail=”” cat1rating=”8.5″]
If you want to pick up your own copy of Sentinels of the Multiverse then the Arcade recommends you check out BoardGamer.ie
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!