- Designer: Bruce Glassco
- Publisher: Wizkids
- Players: 2-6
- Age: 12+
- Time: 20 minutes
Fantasy Realms remains one of my favorite games, especially in the filler niche. Back when we first reviewed Fantasy Realms in 2017, I didn’t love it then… but with repeated plays, it has become a mainstay of the collection here. There have been a number of games that are riffs on the original – we looked at Star Trek Missions a few months ago, and now there is a cousin set in the Marvel Universe.
Marvel Remix is not just a reskin of the original, the cards here are different, and there are a few rules changes as well. In the box, you’ll get 79 cards – split up into a 61 card Remix deck and an 18 card Villain deck. (The original game had a single deck of 53 cards, 10 suits of 5 cards each and three wild cards).
In this game, you will be dealt a hand of 7 cards, 6 Remix cards and 1 Villain card. Over the course of the game, you will change the composition of your hand, and at the end of the game, you must have at least one Hero or Ally card as well as at least one Villain card – or else you don’t score any points! Each card in your hand has a base power (VP value) and many of the cards have additional conditional scoring traits that are dependent on the other cards in your hand.
Along with a base value and conditional scoring, each card has a type; this is in the corner near the score. Other cards may refer to the card type, and it will be in colored text matching the background color of that card type. Cards may also have one to three tags along its left edge – these are colored icons on that border. Tags are referenced on other cards in the text area. No words are used for the tags, only their graphic icons.
So again, you start with your initial hand of 7 cards, and on your turn, you have 3 options. You can draw a Remix card from the Remix deck, you can draw a Villain card from the Villain deck, or you can take a card from the discard area. In all cases, once you draw a card, place a card from your hand faceup into the discard area on the table. The next player then takes their turn. The game ends when there are ten cards total in the discard area.
At that point, everyone adds up the value of the seven cards in their hand. Remember that you must have at least one Hero or Ally card as well as at least one Villain card – or else you don’t score any points! The player with the most points wins.
My thoughts on the game
Well, as I mentioned at the top, I’m a huge fan of Fantasy Realms, so I am predisposed to like this one. The game offers new cards to play with, and it should be made clear that this is not just a re-skin. It definitely plays differently.
As with Star Trek Missions, the game now has two decks; and this is the most obvious change. The Villain cards give you an overall goal to your card collection. Many of them have large scoring penalties if you do not meet their condition OR they have a negative base value that you can overcome by collecting the tags the card desires. In any event, you definitely have to pay attention to the Villain card(s) that you have in your hand as you will have to try to have your other cards play nicely with the Villains. I’m not sure why, but I find the Villain cards here a bit more integrated into the game system than the Mission cards in the Star Trek version.
As you might expect, a lot of the game is reliant on the luck of the initial draw. In a 6 player game, it is possible for the last player in turn order to only get one or two turns in the whole game! The game can play quickly – it ends when there are 10 cards in the discard area; and an additional card is added to the table each time a card is drawn from either deck.
In my experience, I’d generally take a card from the discard area if it improves my position at all (as opposed to drawing a random card which might not help); but if your group prefers to draw new cards, the game moves brutally quick. Just be aware of the possibility of a rapid end… as I’ve seen a lot of people choose to draw a new Villain card first if their other cards don’t line up well with their first Villain card. This is a perfectly fine strategy, but it can lead to a lot of discards on the table quickly…
I like the new format of the cards. The colored tags on the side of the card are easy to see, and they are easily distinguished from the color text of the card types. One of the issues I had with Star Trek Missions was that there were just so many different words to try to track, and it was overwhelming at times. Additionally, the Villians in this game are much easier to parse than the Missions in Star Trek. The cards seem to be easy to score, and the scoresheet looks much less cluttered than the original. Blissfully, the designer also chose not to include a doppleganger card (which is the one card in the original that always led to all sorts of scoring questions and clarifications). I also really really like the Hulk card which was a total surprise when I first got it in my hand!
While it is clearly based on Fantasy Realms, Marvel Remix is most definitely its own game, and one that has been fun to explore. The modern theming may also help this game get to the table with non-gamers as most people are familiar with the Marvel Superheroes, and as we know, sometimes, you need a familiar theme to get people interested in playing it.
As far as which version I prefer, I think I still lean towards the original Fantasy Realms. There are already plenty of interactions to deal with in your seven card hand. I think that the additional conditions of hand composition have lead our group to draw random cards quicker; and this has caused the game to feel more dependent on the initial draw luck as opposed to clever card substitutions from the discard area. But like I said, this game is definitely its own thing, and there is room for all the versions in the game collection for now.
Thoughts from the other Opinionated Gamers
Steph: I am not sure if I love it more than Fantasy Realms – yet. I love the use of icons in this one vs Star Trek Missions which I hated. Everything just works for me and I can see them expanding it further with more heroes and abilities. This is a game I will bring around with me wherever I go.
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
- I love it!- Steph H
- I like it. Dale Y, John P
- Not for me…