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The new black

This month Marvel Champions helped me through lockdown. To be honest, I was more in the DC camp growing up. But the films are good fun and got me into this universe. I needed some escapism real bad this month. Superheroes to the rescue.

Let's clear something up first. It may share mechanics, but this is not a replacement for Arkham Horror: the Card Game. It has not much story and no campaign. You won't be as immersed. It's one session in which you try to bring down a boss, so it feels more like Aeon's End or Street Masters. It has easier (because more limited) deck construction than Arkham Horror: TCG, and it is way easier to play one-handed (while still being fun with more).

It is very thematic. One of the best things it brings is this cool new twist where you can switch between being the superhero or your alter ego. While you are in your hidden alter ego form, you can work on upgrades and gear and allies. But the villain will scheme towards your loss. While you are in your superhero form you can deal damage, but you won't have many cards to play and the villain and any minions will attack you. This balancing act is great.

The base game comes with five heroes and three villains. Rhino is entry level, a good one to get to learn your new character or try a new deck you built. Then there's Klaw, who's tough to beat. Then Ultron. Let's not talk about Ultron.

The heroes have their own play style and this is what makes the game so much fun for me. Each one feels very thematic. Black Panther is my favourite. You lay out your upgrades like armor and weapons during the first few turns, then once in a while you shout "Wakanda Forever!" and trigger all abilities in any order you wish - the last one dealing an extra punch (in damage or in reducing threat on the schemes). This brings very flexible tactics.

Anyway, Marvel Champions has lots of replayability. Still, after tens of plays, you may want something new. That's where Scenario Packs and Hero Packs come in. Like I said, I love the heroes. So I bought some more. The newest addition is Black Widow, the spy.

As Natasha Romanoff you prepare for anything that might happen during your confrontation with the villain. If you play a card with the "preparation" keyword, you can draw a new one. Then as Black Widow you confront the villain. If you came prepared for the situation, you deal out extra damage. So cool.

You can prepare for minions entering play, threat being added to a scheme, cards being played for the villain with a boost value or a specific keyword. Anything that may happen, really.

Also in the pack are some handy allies, tech and locations. Gauntlets that will make future preparations cheaper. Agent Coulson who will help out preparing. The Winter Soldier, who will join you for free if you come prepared. Your safe house where you'll retrieve a preparation card you've used before.

I enjoyed playing this hero pack a lot. It wasn't so hard to beat Rhino. But for Klaw I needed a bit of deck construction. The way I play this game, a lot of threat reduction is needed. After some adjustments, I won against Klaw as well.

For Ultron I decided to get Black Panther by my side for a two hour epic fight. Or so I planned.

You know what? Let's not talk about Ultron.

The Black Widow Hero Pack and thus Marvel Champions is my Solitaire Select for April. This game is just what I needed right now.

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