As you can tell from the title (or maybe not), after finally painting all the characters contained in the Marvel: Crisis Protocol core box, I’ve actually managed to play a few games.
Marvel: Crisis Protocol is a miniatures skirmish game set in the Marvel Universe. The game pays homage to the comics rather than the MCU, but you’ll feel right at home here if you’re a fan of the movies.
The players have teams built to meet the threat level listed on the mission cards. These teams can be a mix of good guys and bad – sometimes you just have to team up with your nemesis to get the job done!
Each character has their own stat sheet, listing their stamina, size, speed, threat level, and defence against various types of attack – physical, energy, mystic. The card also lists their all-important attacks and superpowers.
Some attacks are straightforward strikes, but others require expending power to activate them. This is where the game starts to create some of the fun of the comics, in that when a character takes damage they also gain power. You know, just when you think Spider-man has been busted by Doc Oc, he suddenly finds it within himself to raise his game and slam-dunk the Oc with his webs; it’s that kind of thing.
Characters can’t die either. If they take enough damage they will first become dazed and their character card gets flipped over. Here we find a beaten up version of the character and depending on who they are some of their stats and/or powers may change. It’s a bit like them getting a second wind – ‘right, you’ve hit me with your best shot, but all you’ve done is made me mad, and you really didn’t want to do that!’
If they get their stamina reduced down again, then they’re Ko’d and out of the game, but they’ll live to fight another day!
“I am Iron Man!”Tony Stark – Iron Man
I am Iron Man. I’m also Captain America, Black Widow, Crossbones, etc… I say that because that’s just how it feels when playing this game; it all comes down to the superpowers these characters have and how they work.
Take Captain America for instance. He can throw his shield, of course, he wouldn’t be the Cap’ if he couldn’t, and the attack ignores line-of-sight as well as cover. Feels pretty good, but if you roll a wild you get a ricochet – the shield hits your intended target and then shoots of to hit another… Feels real good!
They’ve managed to capture the way the characters preform superbly, and it even works for those without any real, or limited superpowers. Black Widow becomes the stealthy, hard to hit assassin – targets have to be within a certain range to hit her, and then if they get too close she gets extra defence due to her martial arts training, as well as the ability to counter-strike. It makes her sooo annoying to play against, lol!
In true comic-book style characters can throw each other around, they can also throw the scenery and it pays to have plenty of it to hand, especially if you want to recreate those cinematic moments such as the Hulk bringing down a small building on top of some poor unfortunate’s head!
Movement is carried out using hinged movement tools, whilst range tools take the place of a tape measure. This keeps the play moving at a pace, as does the alternating activations; the combat is also pretty simple and sees both an attack and a defence roll.
I thoroughly enjoyed the few games I played. Both were very close finishes – first to 16 points or whoever is in front after 6 rounds – and both were very different experiences. The first game saw both teams go hard at it, and all objectives were hotly disputed. You can work out how many points you’re sitting on at any time, and so decide on a course of action for the round. As it gets towards that last 6th round you may have to change tactics in order to overhaul a sizeable lead – maybe even having to take out all the opposition’s characters to win.
The second game had different missions and was much cagier than the first. Things really came alive half way through when Red-Skull discovered, and made off with, one of the hidden assets. I worked out that the only way I could win was by gaining sole control of the static objectives and by retrieving the asset. This led to some great teamwork from my characters, as they forced Red-Skull out of the game, took over the objectives, but failed to stop Black Widow snatching the asset away.
Everything isn’t plain sailing though. I’m not a fan of the way climbing and flying is implemented. It works, but unlike the rest of the game it doesn’t feel thematic. Any character can climb. They just have to take a short move horizontally and place them on top of whatever they are trying to climb. If they have the Wall Crawler skill, then they can take their normal move and are treated as though they are size 5 (can move over any terrain feature of the same size or smaller). Flying characters are treated exactly the same as Wall Crawlers!
It’s always hard to replicate characters in flight in skirmish games, and this one goes the same way as most. A character can’t finish a move in the air, they are assumed to have touched down. No problem with that, but it does spoil the thematic feel of things, and to have no advantage over Wall Crawlers also doesn’t feel quite right.
Range is also only taken horizontally. So, if you’re on top of a tall building you can still be hit if you’re in horizontal range, irrespective of how tall the building is, though line-of-sight may deny a shot.
Line-of-sight: “If a straight, unobstructed line can be drawn from any part of the character’s base to the other character’s base… the line can pass through characters but not terrain features with a larger size than the other character.” So, unless the character is right on the edge of the building, maybe with his base peeking over, he can’t be hit from below. Personally, I prefer actual line of sight in skirmish games, though I know it can slow the game down.
The rules aren’t too bad, but they could benefit from a decent index. I was constantly flipping through them trying to find stuff, and found that there wasn’t a logic in where some things were placed. But, in our second game, we knew pretty much all of the basics and it flowed much better.
There’s much more to this game, such as team affiliations and tactic cards, but I’ll save all that for a when I’ve more games under my belt and write a review. I will say, though, that you really need plenty of scenery, it makes the game much more tactical and interesting, there are also mini campaigns being released on the Atomic Mass Website, some of which can be played co-operatively or solo, great news.
So, after a game or two I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed playing and am eager for the next game. It’s a big hit with my daughter too, and she’s looking to build her own team ready to take down her arch-nemesis, namely me!
Finally, I thought, rather than do a separate post to show all my painted characters together, I’d pin a few pictures on the end of this one instead…