Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sentinels of the Multiverse: The Bloodsworn Arena

The boys & I are big fans of the cooperative superhero card game Sentinels of the Multiverse... we own all of the current physical expansions, we've sponsored the upcoming "final" Kickstarter for Oblivaeon, and we have the full digital version on our iPad. Son the Younger even has a plushy Mr. Chomps (see above).

Yes, it's a sickness. Let's not dwell on that.

When we (and when I say "we", I actually mean "I" - but it sounds better when I included my sons) pledged for the Season 2 Kickstarter of the digital version of Sentinels, one of the things we were most excited about was a Bloodsworn Arena mode. (What follows is the description from the Kickstarter page...)
How many villains can you defeat in a row with the ultimate hero team? Make your own storyline with this randomized campaign mode and last as long as you can. Fans of the game have made several versions of this idea on the tabletop.

If we can reach this goal, Handelabra Games will create an “Arena Mode” for the video game. The details and options of the new mode will be worked out when we get to the design and development stage, and we’ll be getting your input at that time. Some ideas and options include a single fixed hero team with no HP recovery; a drafting mechanic where fallen heroes are replaced; ramping up difficulty with advanced and challenge modes; and more! No matter what, this new mode will keep you on your toes.
Sadly, while the Season 2 Kickstarter was successful, it wasn't successful enough to reach this particular stretch goal.

So, after fruitlessly searching the InterWebs (Homer Simpson: "Oh, they have the internet on computers now!") for some home-brewed Arena rules, we made our own. We offer them here for you as an early Thanksgiving gift. (Homer Simpson: "And Lord, we are especially thankful for nuclear power, the cleanest, safest energy source there is—except for solar, which is just a pipe dream. Anyway, we’d like to thank you for the occasional moments of peace and love our family has experienced. Well, not today, but you saw what happened! Oh, Lord, be honest! Are we the most pathetic family in the universe or what?!")


The Arena Rules
  • We selected a number of the weaker villains
    • Akash'buhta
    • Ambuscade
    • Baron Blade
    • Deadline
    • Omnitron
    • The Ennead
  • After choosing our team and environment, we shuffled the villains and put the first one into play.
  • We played a normal game of SotM... and when we defeated the first villain, the following things happened:
    • The current hero finished their turn.
    • All defeated Villain cards were removed from the game.
    • All Hero and Environment ongoing cards stayed in place.
    • Heroes retained their current card hand & discard pile.
    • Heroes do not refresh hit points.
    • A new Villain was taken from the stack and set up as usual.
  • The new Villain went first... skipping any Hero turns and/or Environment turns.
  • Lather, rinse, repeat... until the team goes down in a blaze of glory.
  • Possible variants we didn't try:
    • giving each hero back X number of hit points when a villain is defeated (X = number of heroes in the game + number of villains successfully defeated)
    • allowing each player to choose one "backup" hero that jumps in when their hero goes down - would need to decide if incapacitated heroes still get to use their power
How We Did

  • Our team (in player order):
    • Parse
    • K.N.Y.F.E.
    • Unity
  • The environment:
    • Madame Mittermeier’s Fantastical Festival of Conundrums & Curiosities
  • The villains we defeated (in order):
    • Omnitron
    • Ambuscade
    • Akash'bhuta
    • The Ennead
  • The villain who took us out:
    • Deadline (but he only had 15 hit points left)
  • Most impressive attack:
    • Unity's team of robots managed to inflict 56 points of damage on Deadline in one turn... and then catastrophe(s) struck and destroyed them all.
  • Our "review" of our own rules:
    • While it runs a little long, we had a blast playing this way. Particularly with heroes that pile up ongoing cards, you can make some pretty spectacular plays - and that's always fun.
    • The boys & I are concerned that this might not work as well with the tougher villains.
    • We also wondered how this would work against Vengeance-style villains.
    • Overall, we had a lot of fun... and are talking about trying it again soon.

1 comment:

Hal said...

Sounds like a good time. That rule set definitely favors bringing in heroes with healing, particularly Tempest and Legacy. Arena mode, in general, also favors heroes who can control the pace of the villain deck; wouldn't be much fun to get all of those ongoing and equipment cards into play for two villains, only to have Baron Blade come out and clear it all with a Devious Disruption.