Theme and What is it?
Since 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has dominated the film industry. It has attracted people of all ages to its characters and I am sure that at one point in time, all of us have wanted to be a super hero. Well, with this game, anyone can! USAopoly has brought to the table a co-operative style board game where players can become their own super hero and build (or should I say) …assemble their team to prevent Thanos from rising to power. In Thanos Rising, players have to defeat various villains before Thanos obtains all six infinity stones.
The main play area consists of two main areas: the Deployment Zone and the Infinity Gauntlet
The Deployment zone has three sectors containing three cards. These cards can be heroes and/or villains, depending on how they are drawn. In the middle of these sectors is the Thanos figure pointing at any particular sector.
The Infinity Gauntlet has infinity stone cards around it with the stones on top waiting for Thanos to obtain.
At the beginning of each player’s turn, the player chooses a sector where their team is headed for the turn, then rolls both the Infinity Stone and the Thanos dice. The infinity die progresses the game and is resolved first. This determines which color stone receives a counter. Once a stone receives five counters at the end of a turn, Thanos successfully obtains that stone. As Thanos acquires stones, infinity stone cards are revealed that give Thanos an ability, making it harder on the players to win the game. Secondly, the Thanos die is resolved. Among other things, it mostly determines which sector Thanos will be facing. The sector Thanos is facing determines which villains, if any, attack. Any villains in that sector resolve their abilities and if the current player’s team is in that sector, Thanos inflicts damage to them. Then, the player can fight villains or recruit heroes by rolling their power dice. Each team starts with specific power dice and can gain more as they recruit heroes. The villain and hero cards have specific symbols on them that are needed to recruit the hero or to fight the villain. This mechanic is very similar to the game, Elder Sign, which is the only other game I have seen have it. Once the player has assigned all of their power dice, villains take damage and any recruited heroes are added to that player’s team.
I will be honest. When I first saw this, I was thinking it would be a gimmick buy. How many games are out there based on movies, television shows, etc. that were just made to make money and have no substance at all? After seeing pictures floating around Instagram and drooling over this giant Thanos figure, the nerd in me needed to look into this. (After all, I was skeptical about USAopoly’s Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle and it turned out to be a very difficult, yet enjoyable game!) After a little research, I determined that it would, at least, be a game my nephew would enjoy, who just recently turned six and loves superheroes.
Game Build Quality
Most eyes probably head straight to the impressive Thanos figure. Mine went straight to the infinity stones. Just imagine the small gems from the board games Istanbul or Escape, only 10 times larger! They are massive stones that set into spaces on the Infinity Gauntlet and are a great element for the theme. The other components are great quality – cardboard tokens and boards are sturdy and do not warp. The damage counters and infinity counters are plastic cubes like those in the game Pandemic. The dice are well made and are very colorful. The cards are excellent but could show wear after shuffling, but since there are only 42 Hero and Villain cards, I would suggest sleeving them. My only complaint, albeit a small one, is the Thanos figure. It was, obviously, supposed to be the focal point of the game, but in my opinion, could have been better painted. It is very simplistic looking. The insert is very basic. It holds all components and boards securely and leaves a little bit of room should there be an expansion.
All of the art is from the film series so it is recognizable to anyone who has seen the movies and probably those who have not. Most of the time, I don’t believe games should use concept art, but I thought it was appropriate in this case given the theme. One might argue that using actually comic book art would be better, but the game is solely based around the movie and characters within the Marvel Cinematic Universe so it works.
The overall mechanics of this game play well to the theme. Balance is the key as you decide if the need for recruiting heroes to your team is more important than defeating the villains right away. I have played a few games now and they have all been close. In one of our games, Thanos won when he obtained three stones at once because of another stone ability! The game can get ahead of you before you realize it but it is still gratifying. My regular gaming group loved the game and is eager to play again. And I am certain my nephew will play again just so he can recruit all the heroes!
Age Range & Weight
The rulebook recommends a 10+ for the age level on this game. I played with my six year old nephew and because it was only the two of us with no distractions, the theme kept his attention. Although, I did have to help him know what to do on his turn. His focus was to recruit all of the heroes, which left me to defeat the villains. I would agree that the 10+ is appropriate. Under certain circumstances, it could be stretched to the age of eight.
This is an unexpected, superb game and I give it my thumbs up. I would recommend it to any type of gaming group and especially to fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or those of co-op games. I applaud USAopoly for branching away from themed monopoly games and publishing some high quality, movie-themed content, because who doesn’t want to reenact their favorite films? I am glad to add it to my collection to play again in the near and distant future.