Introducing a New Mode of Play for Marvel Champions: The Card Game
Since its release last November, we’ve seen Marvel Champions: The Card Game grow and expand with new scenarios and new heroes, inviting you to play as Captain America, Ms. Marvel, or Thor, and battle threats like the Green Goblin or the Wrecking Crew.
Now, the developers are happy to introduce two alternate modes of play, giving you even more ways to experience the thrilling gameplay of Marvel Champions. You can download the updated Rules Reference (2.3 MB), which includes all the information on these new game modes, and for more information from developer Michael Boggs, read on!
Developer Michael Boggs on Heroic Mode and Rookie Mode
Over the past few months, Caleb Grace and I have continuously monitored feedback and responses from the Marvel Champions community. While we’ve been happy with what we’ve seen overall, there has been one area where we’ve noticed some longing—the game’s difficulty. Specifically, there’s a subset of players who would like the game to be more player-friendly, while a variety of others wish for the game to be more challenging. The Marvel universe is one of inclusivity and variety, having a little bit of something for everyone, and this philosophy is one that we strive to emulate, ensuring that players of every level have an experience they can enjoy.
For these reasons, we’re excited to introduce two new modes of play: Rookie Mode and Heroic Mode.
Rookie Mode is actually something we discussed during the development of the Core Set, intended to provide a more casual experience. Whether you’re looking for a way to introduce new players to the game, or simply want to unwind with a mode that is less tense than Standard Mode, Rookie Mode is for you.
Rookie Mode follows the Standard Mode rules with one exception: when the first stage of the villain is defeated, the players win!
This mode took more time to formulate as we looked for mechanics that slotted naturally into the game’s round structure while simultaneously functioning properly in every scenario. Off the bat, we knew that we didn’t want to implement something that felt arbitrary or difficult to remember, such as adding an extra step to each round or a superfluous inflation of the villain’s hit points. It needed to be both seamless and impactful.
The first idea we discussed was adding greater penalties to when player and encounter decks emptied. As it is, when a player deck empties, that player receives facedown encounter card, and when an encounter deck empties, an acceleration token is placed on the main scheme. We talked about upping the ante on both of these—when a player deck emptied, that player would be dealt a facedown encounter card AND place an acceleration token on the main scheme; when an encounter deck emptied, an acceleration token would be placed on the main scheme AND each player would be dealt a facedown encounter card.
While this was an idea that we both really liked—and personally, I still do—it ultimately didn’t solve our problem, and caused a few of its own. If a player is able to get ahead of the encounter deck, it’s unlikely that these bursts of threat and encounter cards would allow the encounter deck to claw its way back. Additionally, this type of change could disproportionately affect some scenarios and heroes over others, making scenarios that have smaller deck sizes or that utilize discard abilities feel much more intense, while directly punishing heroes who tend to go through their deck faster, such as Iron Man or Ms. Marvel.
At some point, we pulled Jeremy Zwirn into the conversation, and Jeremy’s suggestion was simple: deal the players more encounter cards during the villain phase. Immediately, Caleb and I both knew this was the answer. It was elegant, easy to remember, played nicely with every scenario, and made the game significantly harder, allowing the encounter deck to keep pace with whatever the players could throw at it. Good job, Jeremy!
After further discussion, we decided that having scalable difficulty levels would be best, as different players need different challenges. To some, being dealt one additional encounter card will create the perfect challenge; to others, it will be a speed bump at best. It should be up to the player to select the difficulty level right for them. And with that acknowledgement, we created Heroic Mode.
Heroic Mode follows the Expert Mode rules with one exception: before starting a game in Heroic Mode, the player group chooses a heroic level number. This number determines the difficulty of that mode, with higher numbers presenting greater challenges. For the rest of that game, during step three of each villain phase (the phase where players are dealt encounter cards), each player is dealt X additional encounter cards, where X is equal to the chosen heroic level number.
As an example, if the players chose to play on heroic level 2, each player will be dealt a minimum of three encounter cards each villain phase—one from the normal villain phase step and two from playing on heroic level 2. Our expectation is that heroic level 1 will be enough for most players, but we’ve intentionally left heroic levels open for those who want to put themselves to the test. If you’re up for the challenge, the sky’s the limit.
To celebrate Heroic Mode, I’d like to present players with an achievement, one that everyone can participate in: using the identities and aspects of your choice, defeat Klaw on heroic level 3 while using The Doomsday Chair as the modular encounter set.