Unmatched: Some New Things to Marvel At

For those following along at home, a brief reminder of the Unmatched content here on the Opinionated Gamers site:

So, what you’re about to read is my review of the latest two boxes of Unmatched goodness to appear at your local game store.

A Peek Behind the Curtain

My sons and I were playtesters on the boxes I’m about to review… and while I’ve gushed for quite a while about how much I loved the prototype version of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, some of the other characters were less compelling in the versions we tested. Impressively, the good folks at Restoration Games tweaked and cleaned up those decks – and these two boxes are by far my favorites of the Marvel Unmatched series.

I will note that playing with the actual miniatures, a full-color board, and the beautiful art on the various cards makes a palpable difference in your gaming experience. As solid as the basic designs are, it just pops once it has gone through the capable/artsy hands of the Restoration team.

Teen Spirit

All of the usual accolades apply for both Teen Spirit and For King & Country – the box inserts are darn near perfect, the rulebooks do a splendid job of teaching both the basic rules and the special rules for each new character and battlefield, and the miniatures are top quality with a wash that makes them pop (without resorting to my less-than-adequate miniature painting skills).

What really stands out in the Teen Spirit box is the creative thought and design behind each of the characters. Squirrel Girl’s manipulation of her plethora of squirrels (seriously, there are eight of them!) is a joy to play and intimidating to play against. (Yes, there’s actually a card entitled “Horde of Squirrels”.) Ms. Marvel is, no surprise, Stretchy – and that enables her to make attacks up to 2 spaces away and get a free move at the beginning of each turn. Cloak & Dagger are a symbiotic team (again, no surprise if you read the comic books and/or watched the TV show) that need to balance their attacks and damage taken to be at peak effectiveness.

Difficulty-wise, I’d put Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl at medium difficulty (I’ll post our current version of our difficulty ratings at the end of this post) and Cloak & Dagger at the top end of challenging (due to how easily you can mis-balance their play and end up in trouble). 

If I was forced to pick only one of the Marvel boxes, this would be it for me – I like the Navy Pier map, the Battlefield items feel helpful without being over-powerful, and the mix of characters is really great.

For King & Country

Yadda yadda yadda box insert yadda rulebook quality yadda gorgeous miniatures. (In other words, just imagine I’m saying the same very kind things about For King & Country that I did about Teen Spirit.)

Once again, the creative nature of the character design is what makes this box shine. Black Panther has the ability to suck in enemy character cards (his Vibranium Suit) and use their boost value to power his own attacks. Winter Soldier has to struggle with powerful cards that also contain negative effects due to the lingering fallout from his programming by the Soviets. And Black Widow has mission cards in her deck that have particular requirements that must be met before they can be played.

On the difficulty spectrum, I find Black Widow incredibly satisfying but very tricky to play well, while Black Panther is easier to play and Winter Soldier is a medium difficulty character.

This would be my #2 Marvel box – these were the characters I was concerned about after our playtests that the Restoration team tuned up really well. I’m less a fan of the Helicarrier battlefield… I think it slightly favors ranged characters – but I can (and am often) proven wrong about these things. Just ask my sons.

The Wisdom of Crowds

Difficulty rankings for the various characters… courtesy of Mark Jackson & sons (and Owen, my younger son’s friend who has developed a major obsession with Unmatched: Battle of Legends) – in total, the four of us have easily played Unmatched 400-500 times.

Note: I received a review copy of Unmatched: Buffy, For King & Country, and Teen Spirit… the rest of my Unmatched collection was purchased with my hard-earned cash. Which reminds me – anyone want to buy my copy of Epic Duels?

Also note: there’s a new (announced) box coming – Marvel: Brains & Brawn – that we playtested and enjoyed. A Restoration Fireside chat video yesterday shared that it will be available to order on their website on June 15.  The cooperative Unmatched: Tales to Amaze! is due out this summer… with at least 5 more Unmatched boxes in the pipeline. (One of which we’ve playtested and loved.)

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

Teen Spirit

I love it – Mark Jackson, Erik Arneson

I like it – 

Neutral –

Not for Me –

For King & Country

I love it – Erik Arneson

I like it – Mark Jackson (a lot!)

Neutral –

Not for Me –

About Mark "Fluff Daddy" Jackson

follower of Jesus, husband, father, pastor, boardgamer, writer, Legomaniac, Disneyphile, voted most likely to have the same Christmas wish list at age 57 as he did at age 7
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2 Responses to Unmatched: Some New Things to Marvel At

  1. Michael says:

    Thanks for the reviews. Your link to Houdini & The Genie goes to a Google Docs page.

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