Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Defenders in Marvel United Tabletop Game

Marvel United

Marvel United brings the action of comic book adventures to tabletops with this game created in partnership with CMON and Spin Master Games. We had a family game night bringing together the heroes from Netflix's Defenders television show to try and stop the villainous master plan of the Kingpin. This bout used the core rules of Marvel United with characters from the Kickstarter exclusive expansion pack.

The game started off by selecting and setting up our main villain...the Kingpin. Since he is facing off against four Marvel comics inspired heroes (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Lucas Cage, and Iron Fist) Kingpin is awarded 11 health points. The Defender's though can't reduce his health points though until they accomplish some tasks involving defeating his thugs, eliminating various threats and rescuing civilians from danger. That doesn't prevent Kingpin and his main henchman Bullseye from inflicting damage on our heroes though based upon how the villain's master plan cards are drawn out in the game's storyline.

Marvel United

marvel united

Kingpin starts off the game in the location clockwise adjacent to where the villain's master plan deck is placed.  drawing from the face down cards in his master plan deck and it is placed in play. Locations are shuffled and randomly placed clockwise around the game board. Plan tokens are also randomly placed on each location. If Kingpin obtains each of these tokens or plays all his master plan cards he wins the game! For our heroes to defeat him they must work cooperatively to get his health points down to zero thus thwarting his dastardly master plan.

This Marvel United match starts off Kingpin on the grounds of the Avengers mansion. Players now place the characters they are roleplaying at wherever this wish within the six locations on the gameboard and determine the order in which they are going to engage in their turns. Luke Cage begins the game at SHIELD headquarters, Jessica Jones in Times Square, Daredevil in Central Park and Iron Fist within Stark Labs. Each hero draws three cards from their deck to be an their up hand to use during turns. The game will commence with a card from the Kingpin's master plan deck being drawn and played out.

BAM! Kingpin advances his master plan by moving to the location with the lowest-number plan token on it. That happens to be in Times Square where Daredevil is. This triggers a lost card due to damage done by Kingpin attacking him. Each player starts out with three cards in hand and now Daredevil discards one into the bottom of his deck leaving him with two cards in hand. A character loses cards each time they are attached by a villain or henchman. This leaves Daredevil with two cards in his hand.

Marvel United

Kingpin's henchman Bullseye can attack the heroes though too each time a master plan card is played that has a BAM! effect. Bullseye can do one card damage to any heroes in the same or adjacent space to his location. BAM! BAM! Iron Fist is in a space next to Bullseye's location. Iron Fist loses a card too so he now has two.

If a hero is left with no cards in their hand, the character is knocked out. When this occurs Kingpin gets to immediately play another master plan card getting back-to-back turns. After Kingpin's turns are resolved, the knocked out character gets to draw three new cards from their hero deck and the normal rotation goes back into effect. The regular rotation of cards which is villain ... hero ... hero ... hero ... villain ... hero ... hero ... hero ... villain ..hero ... hero ... hero ... villain .... hero ... hero ... hero ... villain and so on.

Marvel United Game

Luke Cage kicks off the action for the heroes! He draws a card from his hero deck then plays one from his hand. Cards show symbols that relate to actions a player can take. They could have an arrow symbol that lets them move to another location, a star that lets them rescue civilians or eliminate threats or fist which lets them attack evildoers like thugs, henchmen and the main villain or wildcard which lets them choose which of the three other moves they would like to make. Plus the moves allowed on their card and also be used by the next player in during their turn as well.

With two wild cards, Luke Cage goes into attack mode to take out two thugs within the space he is in. Unfortunately the threat card for this location dictates that until three heroic actions are used any thugs defeated don't apply towards the unlocking the mission card which allows for Kingpin to begin taking damage. Next it is Jessica Jones turn.

Jessica joins Luke Cage at SHIELD HQ then uses her attack move to take out the last thug there. Finally she uses his two wildcard symbols to do heroic actions towards eliminating the threat card for that spot. They need to one more heroic action there to disrupt the threat at this spot which also prevented dispatched thugs from being counted toward the team completing its missions so that they can tackle the Kingpin directly.

Marvel United

Next Daredevil uses a card that allows him to use two heroic actions towards the three needed to alleviate the threat in Times Square. To move forward in being able to take on the Kingpin directly there are three missions for the heroes to complete. First they need to clear four locations from threats, defeat nine thugs, and rescue nine civilians. A number of the threats associated with locations prevent the thugs being defeated in those spots from being counted against the heroes mission tally. So clearing the threats has been determined a top priority by the Defenders. They have one threat down with three more to go!

marvel united

Kingpin is back up for another move which takes him to Avengers Mansion and gains him another plot token. None of the Defenders is on that spot with him so he doesn't take any hero cards. On the other hand Bullseye can do damage to heroes adjacent to where he is located. Daredevil and Iron Fist are in locations on either side of the Police Headquarters where the henchman is staked out. Both heroes lose a card from their hand having it discarded at the bottom of their decks.

It is Iron Fist's turn. He takes out two thugs and uses Daredevil's forwarded heroic actions towards resolving the threat danger at his location. Trying to get some positive momentum going versus the Kingpin.

Marvel United

Luke Cage then uses a heroic action passed on from Iron Fist to unlock another threat at his site.  The heroes now have two out of the four required threats resolved to potentially unlock one of the three mission cards. Plus this is now another location where they can get credit for defeating thugs to add to their mission cards as well. Things are moving in a positive direction for Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Daredevil and Iron Fist!

Jessica Jones uses a card with a special action on it. This lets her flip the top card on the villain's master plan deck so the heroes have advance notice of the next move Kingpin will make. The special action also lets her move to any location in the game. She jumps over to Stark Labs to lend Iron Fist a hand by punching out a thug.  The Defenders are on the offensive!

Marvel United

Daredevil goes next. He moves a space and uses Jessica Jones wild cards that were passed on to him to clear the threat card on this spot. They now have three of four threats cleared and six out of nine thugs defeated. They've made some progress towards being able to disrupt the master plan but haven't made any damage to Bullseye or Kingpin yet. 

Oh no! In the excitement of the game there should have been a Kingpin turn between Jessica Jones and Daredevil. Playing the villain every fourth turn can easy to be lost track of when playing with more than three players. Oops! 


A card is drawn for Kingpin's turn. Ugh! He is directed to land where Daredevil is. The villain gets another plan token giving him three out of six and Daredevil loses a card from his hand. Then BAM! Bullseye who is in an adjacent spot does a distance attack taking another card from Daredevil. The hero is KO'd. The knockout allows Kingpin to take another turn right away.

Kingpin moves to SHIELD Headquarters taking another plan token as well as a hero card from Luke Cage. This also triggers Bullseye to take cards from Jessica Jones, Iron Fit and a rejuvenated Daredevil.  Kingpin's move also adds more thugs to the spot where Iron Fist is. This triggers an overflow penalty which deals damage to Iron Fist. He loses another card and is knocked out.

Marvel United Game Review

Iron Fist knock out gives Kingpin another turn right away. He moves to a new location getting his fifth out of six mission tokens. Kingpin only needs one more token to complete his master plan and leave the Defenders in defeat!

Kingpin's move to the Police Station doesn't do any direct damage to the heroes because none of them are in that space.  But it does trigger Bullseye to start tossing his knives about. Jessica Jones is hit and loses her last card. KO!

Marvel United

That triggers Kingpin getting another consecutive move. He picks up the last plan token. Kingpin wins the game. 

The Big Apple is in turmoil. The Kingpin has solidified his control of its seedy criminal underworld. The Defenders were defeated in thwarting his evil master plan.

tabletop game review

While Marvel United doesn't have complex rules it can still be challenging to play. Knowing that each game isn't a guaranteed win adds excitement and really makes teammates work together. Yes we were KO'd by the Kingpin but it was a fun family game night and we'll be back for another match.

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