Marvel Age of Heroes Board Game Review

Marvel Age of Heroes Board Game

Marvel Age of Heroes Board GameStats:
No. of players: 2-5
Amount of time to play: 120-360 min
Age requirements: 14+
Set-up time: 5-10 min

Marvel Age of Heroes is an X-Men themed worker placement board game. You will command one or two X-Men to recruit allies, level up your team, gather resources needed to fight villains, and team up to take down said villains.

Marvel Age of Heroes Rules Description:

Marvel Age of Heroes is not a cooperative board game. You are looking to score the most VPs by the end of the scenario to win. It is a worker placement game where the end condition and some rules depend on which scenario you play.

There are three different scenarios in this box, Children of Atom, Fatal Attractions, and the Horsemen of Apocalypse. Each adds different Allies and Events to the core deck of cards and changes a few rules.

Each round you conduct the Institute Phase and then the Mission phase. On your turn you place one of your X-Men in an empty action space and resolve its effects. The board is broken into different locations you can visit.

Depending on when you place a hero in the Headmaster’s Office, you draw a certain number of cards or gain physical, mental, and willpower resources. But in order to draw cards you must discard a card to the draw area. This lets you cycle unwanted cards out of your hand.

The Medical Bay allows you to play an Event card and set your place in the turn order for the next round. Event cards tend to help you or hurt your opponents.

Cebero has one space to evolve your character and one to play an Ally. Evolving your heroes gives them additional abilities and possibly more ways to score. Allies act as additional action spaces that stay on the board and playing them gets the owner a bonus whenever another player uses that ally.

The Danger Room, Research Lab and Dormitories get you physical, mental, and willpower resources respectively. You need these resources to team up with other mutants or attack villains.

Heroes deployed to the X-Jet will be heading out for adventure in the Mission Phase and the first player to place a hero there may also place a team up card.

You may also pass on your turn and must do so if you have no one left to deploy. When you pass you choose an empty slot in the upcoming turn’s turn order track.

Student pawns may be gained by events and ally spaces. They are stored on your player board. Once played they are considered enemy pawns and do not gain effects like heroes. They also can never go to the X-Jet space.

The Mission phase starts once all players have passed or no longer have any heroes to place on the board. In the order they were placed (from top to bottom) you take your hero and place them on a team up card, a villain’s damage space or the Extraction Point.

You damage the villain by paying the required resources for one of its damage spaces or generating the matching damage type for one of its damage spaces from a Team Up. If this is the last damage space to be filled the villain is defeated. Any heroes currently on the card are moved to the Extraction Point and players gain any when defeated rewards listed.

At the end of the round you resolve any end of round instructions on allies or team-up cards and then any on the Scenario Parameter card. Heroes return to their player’s board, turn order is updated and you advance the round counter. If there are less than four cards in the draw area add cards until there are four and if there are eight cards there discard them all and draw four new ones. Student pawns are also returned to the supply at this time.

When the end game conditions of the current scenario Parameter card is reached the game ends immediately. The player with the most VPs wins. Ties are broken by having the most willpower, then mental, then physical resources.

Quick Review of Marvel Age of Heroes :

Marvel Age of Heroes is a worker placement board game that has lots of variety and replay value. There are six different player boards consisting of different X-Men to play and different evolutions to play with for each team. There are three different scenarios in the box too.

The X-Men pawns in this game are thick, double-sided plastic standees. They look cool, but miniatures would have been cooler. The art on the cards is excellent and the board is functional and makes it easy to see everything going on. The rules are well-written but don’t explain a couple small items. For example, if you are able to move a pawn do you get the resources on the new space that pawn moved to? We decided that was too powerful. When using the Prof X ally does it matter if the basic space is occupied? We had a few other questions we resolved, but I am hoping an FAQ will clear these issues up.

So my favorite thing about this game is the theme. I am a huge X-Men fan. Attention has been paid to make the heroes Evolutions so they match their characteristics from the comics. I am torn on it not being cooperative, as it feels like it should be. But that said, there are plenty of cooperative X-Men board games I can play. My only other complaint on the theme is no Nightcrawler. It is not a big deal as he is an Ally, but not being a playable hero is annoying for one of his biggest fans.

Marvel Age of Heroes is a typical worker placement board game with lots of options. Which is both good and bad. If you like worker placement board games you know what you are getting into. On the negative side there is a lot to keep track of for new players and the play time is long. If you play with someone that suffers from analysis paralysis, this can exacerbate the time problem.

The replay value of this board game is great and should keep you entertained for some time. There are different teams and scenarios to try out. The different scenarios change the rules and create different Ally and Event decks. Each game is unique and will have different action spaces based on the Allies and Team Ups that are played. And who knows maybe this will expand if there are expansions that add more heroes (wink, wink…Nightcrawler) and scenarios.

Playing time is this board game’s biggest issue. This is reduced some at a lower player count which also means less downtime. More hero pawns with less players means you are doing more actions on your turn. But this also requires keeping track of more things which can be challenging.

If you like the X-Men and want a competitive board game to play using them, buy Marvel Age of Heroes. Others might want to try before they buy as there are quicker worker placement board games that are just as enjoyable.

Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 4 out of 6
Luck 3 out of 6
Player Interaction 5 of 6
Replay Value 5 out of 6
Complexity 3 out of 6
Fun 4 out of 6
Overall 3 out of 6 (make this a 4 for X-Men fans)