Many games are defined by its simplicity. Soccer simplicity is simple: just shoot the ball the score. In basketball, the same thing: shoot to score. And in many board games, it’s simply beating everyone either by points or by knockout. This type of simplicity, unfortunately, does not apply to the Marvel Contest of Champions Battlerealm game. With its unclear rules and complicated play, it allows for a lot more rule judging and unguided play.
Marvel Contest of Champions Battlerealm is a card-based board game. It asked you to simply be the last champion standing. There are a couple ways to do it, but this simple just is either knock your opponents down to zero health points or lock them in the Crystal Prism. Each character is given their own set of unique character ability cards as well as particular character abilities on their card. The location cards act as ways to gain points but also play a pivotal point in how you play the game as it will help to dictate what special abilities you can do for your character. To move to locations (or do any actions) players must roll dice to attempt actions while not rolling scenarios that damage or lock up players.
A lot goes on in this game, in fact sometimes it feels a bit too much. Various points of a turn you’ll be asked to roll and reroll certain dice to get the best possible outcome. While trying to get the best roll you also keep in mind the event that damage you or send you into the Crystal prism. This becomes complicated because of the format of the rules. At some point, you don’t know what proceeds over another or how you’re supposed to interpret the results. This leads towards unwieldy rule interpretation where you may have a set of rules that encourage you to re-roll because of the special ability, but at the same time, you don’t know if that role affects other abilities or location card events which should have happened in the first place. This ambiguity creates a sense of confusion which is left to interpretation for players but overall harms the experience of playing the game.
Understanding that it takes a little bit of a learning curve, once you get the hang of it becomes entertaining. Seeing different heroes take on other heroes and the different abilities and conditions that all of these events could happen within multiple times. You try to make sure that you can keep people off guard by putting yourself in different locations as to negate attacks or inch yourself closer to winning. You’re also making sure to give enough leeway in points to make tactical moves or to make sure that you just end up into the Crystal Prison. Overall it makes for a lot of fun. With that said the fact that it takes so long before the game to understand itself will make for a significant accessibility issue for a lot of people just want to jump it.
This game also seems like it’s ripe for more expansion and more with people. In the initial set, there are 12 characters but you can clearly see that there is more expansion for more characters, more location cards, more abilities that could expand this particular board game. This expansion also affects the number of people playing. As more people join into the game up to its max it allows more complicated gameplay that needs strategy to come out victorious. At best it seems like it made for four people in order to have an enjoyable time but three people can do for this game.
Marvel Contest of Champions Battlerealm is best likened to the comics in terms of entertainment. Champions and abilities feel thought out enough to offer some diversity and the play can lead to great events. It seems to play without staying too long and has the chance to be replayable. The learning curve, however, hampers it from being a truly accessible game where everyone can jump in. Like it’s comic counterparts. Marvel Contest of Champions Battlerealm is a game that can be fun if you have patience.