Game Review: Thanos Rising

You control the Avengers and try to stop the Mad Titan himself!

The Avengers have become one of the most iconic group of heroes in comic and silver screen adventures. They have fought the likes of Loki, Ultron and other big baddies and emerged victorious each time. But looming in the distance, orchestrating dastardly plans is the Titan himself, Thanos! He seeks to put the Infinity Gauntlet together and move time and space to his whim and only the Avengers can come together to defeat him!

USAopoly brings us a chance to do just that in their newest game, Thanos Rising!

The premise of the game is simple-it is a cooperative dice and card game where you the heroes will attempt to recruit more heroes and build the ultimate team to go head to head with Thanos and stop him from collecting all the Infinity Stones and controlling reality itself.

Components:

Thanos Rising is a 2-4 player game designed by Andrew Wolf with graphic design by Rick Hutchinson.

The components of the game are:

42 hero and villain cards

4 team base/summary cards

4 team deployment tokens

15 power dice

1 Thanos die

1 Infinity Stone die

1 Thanos figure

50 damage counters

30 Infinity Stone control counters

30 bonus tokens

1 deployment zone

1 Infinity Gauntlet

6 Infinity Stone cards

6 Infinity Stones

 

Gameplay:

In Thanos Rising, you and your fellow players work together to recruit heroes to your squad and defeat Villains. You must defeat all 10 villains before Thanos can complete the Infinity Gauntlet. If one of the 2-4 players dies, the game also ends.

The game is set up in two different boards, one being the Infinity Gauntlet and the other is the Deployment Zone.  The Gauntlet board has all 6 stones on the outer edge with countdown spaces for 5 counters. Once the 5th counter is added for any color, Thanos gains that stone and it unlocks a power for Thanos when that color is rolled again. The Deployment Zone has 3 areas each with 3 different heroes or villains. The Thanos figure stands in the middle of that zone.

 

Each player starts with a Team base and its hero and then the deployment Zone is filled with the heroes and villains to begin.

On a player’s turn, they must follow these steps:

1-Place team deployment token in sector

2-Roll Thanos and Infinity Stone dice and resolve

3-Roll Power Dice and assign to sector’s heroes and villains

4-Discard defeated heroes and villains and refill the zone

1-Each player will chose the deployment sector by marking it with their token. This will be where they and their team are considered to be for this round.

2-The Thanos and Infinity Stone dice are rolled and resolved. The Thanos die will attack in his sector or rotate and attack in a sector, fire off all villains on the board or re-roll another Infinity die. When he attacks a sector all heroes including the active player take one damage. He will also fire off the special attacks of the villains in that sector.

The Infinity Stone die will add a marker to the respective color. Once 5 cubes are on that die, it is added to the glove and powers up the special ability on the back of the card whenever that color is rolled again. You want to keep these in check as much as possible, because as he gains stones he gets more powerful!

3-Rolling power dice: Each hero that you start with has 4 dice they can roll. You may also gain dice by recruiting a hero that adds one to your pool. When you roll you must commit at least one side of a die to a hero or villain and then you may re-roll. Once a die is committed to a spot it stays there, and if you can commit one you have to forfeit one die that turn.

If you fill the requirements for a hero, you will recruit them at the end of the turn. If you fulfill that of the villain, you deal them one damage and draw a bonus tile that may give additional symbols, die rolls or healing. Each damage to a villain stays, but any damage on heroes you recruit is removed. Any discarded cards are removed and replaced with the next card from the deck.

This is repeated from player to player until one of the following things triggers the end of the game:

1-Thanos is defeated when his 10 villains are all defeated

2-Thanos wins when he completely powers up the gauntlet

3-Thanos wins if 10 or more heroes are defeated

4-Thanos wins if one player loses all their heroes

Impressions:

Things that could be better:

The swing. This game relies on good distribution of the villains into the deck. If you are trying to defeat all 10 and the tenth is the last card of the deck, this is going to take a while to play. If you get a bunch in one region all at once, it can be hard to defeat them and not suffer from it. A separate hero and villain deck may have alleviated this a bit but I can see how the variability plays into the ultimate game here.

Team variability. I would have loved to see some more starter team affiliations and ways to strengthen them through the different heroes you pull onto the team. A Spider-Man team would be a great addition to the already existing ones in the game.

 

Things we liked:

The components. This is a good looking game. The custom dice, the gameboards, the Infinity gems, the cards and even the titan himself Thanos are a cut above other custom made games and really makes this one stand apart. The center of this collection is definitely the Thanos figure who looms large over the heroes and villains, making his ominous presence very thematic as he moves around swiping at heroes left and right.

The gameplay+theme. This game hits exactly where you would want a game based on the movie Avengers: Infinity War to hit. It is thematic, the groups each controlling a pod of heroes and taking on different bad guys throughout the arena while Thanos swings his mighty Gauntlet around. The fact that once a stone is equipped it makes it even harder to beat him is great-it ramps up nicely. All throughout the game we felt the increasing pressure and suspense that you would expect.

The co-op nature. A lot of times co-op games can miss the mark, playing a little too clunky or not entirely coop as ultimately someone is still trying to be the overall winner. This game avoids both of those and makes it truly a co-op where you feel like you are on one team and survival is dependent on how well you help each other. Decision making on when to use bonus tiles on your turn or someone else’s turn along with helping decide where the attacks should or which heroes benefited from being added to a certain team felt like a team approach. Co-ops can also often struggle with a constant goal or objective that focuses the game to a place where an alpha gamer leads the way-this game does not. It allows constant interaction and involvement by all players involved.

 

 

 

Overall

Thanos Rising is the most complete game based off of a current movie IP I have played. It never felt like a game trying to rush something out to take advantage of the timing or hype surrounding the movie. The gameplay, overall mechanics, team interaction and presentation of this game is top notch, making it easily one of my favorites of 2018. If you enjoy dice chucking, combat mechanics and teaming up with some other players to go against the ultimate bad guy, than Thanos Rising may be the game for you. Fans of the Marvel cinematic universe will be instantly drawn in to this game and love it-but I would also recommend this to all gamers who love that co-op, smash ’em up feeling that goes into a good combat game. Check it out today!

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