UNBOXING: The Rise of Red Skull

As a general rule, I don’t do videos, and I don’t usually do unboxings of any description, either, but I’ve been so excited about this particular (and first ever) Marvel Champions Expansion Box, you’re going to get at least one of these things! And because I feel like I’ve waited so long for it, already, when it arrived this morning, I just couldn’t help myself…

First Impressions

Hmmm… I’m not sure why, but for some reason I expected this to be a similar size to the core box, my thinking being that Fantasy Flight would finally giving us another box to maybe help us try and fit all those other expansions and additional superheroes into. That’s a nice thought, of course, but possibly not so great from a business point of view. A shame, really, and as you can see, this certainly isn’t the case. No doubt there’ll be a few adventurous souls that will try to put this one into the Core Box, or otherwise use it for some of the additional scenarios/hero packs (which might just work), but trust me, it probably ain’t gonna happen!

Despite the excessive amount of fresh air in this box —it could have easily been half as deep— my £13 custom insert for the core box remains one of the very best investments I ever made for this game, so I’ll be sticking with that methinks: it ensures fast set up and packing away times, and just makes everything sooo easy when it comes to getting a game started!

“My God! It’s full of cards!”

Anyway, getting back to the nitty-gritty of this particular Expansion, what you’re basically getting is 265 cards split across five packs, two of which are the new superhero decks for Spider Woman and Hawkeye, the rest of which are for the five scenarios included in this campaign, which pit you against Crossbones, Absorbing Man, Taskmaster, Zola, and finally, Red Skull himself…

Of course, you can play each of the scenarios as a standalone adventure if you want to, but for the full-on campaign experience, the recommended order is as above, because each scenario will blend seamlessly into the next, as typified by the way the 20-page booklet is laid out, and the ongoing comic-strip stylee storyline that runs through the rules booklet…

Anything else to get excited about?

Well, also included is a handy Campaign Log on the back cover and an Expert Campaign Set, which boils down to four identical encounter sets of 4 obligation cards each that players will gradually accrue, each of which requires a different sacrifice to get that obligation discarded. There are also eight basic/campaign cards that are specifically designed for use in this campaign, and these cannot be included in a player’s deck unless they’re playing The Rise of Red Skull campaign and have been instructed to add them to their decks through set-up instructions, etc.

There are also some new keywords introduced with this set, including Piercing and Ranged (the first goes through Tough cards, the second ignores any Retaliate responses), Incite X (which adds X threat to a scheme), and Permanent and Setup (hopefully, both self-explanatory!)

Is that everything? Really?

Yup, afraid so… it’s gorgeous to look at, and there’s no doubt plenty of play value here, but if I’m being honest, my initial impression is that it’s a tad underwhelming thus far, especially when you consider the price of this Expansion is not far off that of the Marvel Champions core box. On the flip side, it does cost about the same as a couple of hero decks and a scenario expansion, and frankly, Hawkeye is probably one of the coolest superheroes, anyway…

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