Stats at a glance
Ages: 14 +
Publisher: Atomic Mass Games
Marvel Crisis Protocol takes the Marvel heroes and villains and puts them in skirmish battles on a tabletop with interactable terrain. The game combines painting miniatures, collecting heroes, making teams, and of course board gaming into one amazing package!
Table of Contents
Brief Overview of Marvel Crisis Protocol
Marvel Crisis Protocol is a tabletop miniature skirmish game that makes it more of its own hobby than a board game.
The core game offers 10 heroes to make a team out of, but the team-building aspect of the game will encourage you to expand the roster with more heroes. With your team prepared, it’s time to paint the miniatures and the terrain pieces that you’ll use on the tabletop.
Once everything is ready and you’ve found an opponent, it’s time to play the game. Played exclusively as a 2-player versus game, Marvel Crisis Protocol is moderately complex and takes up to 45 minutes to complete.
The financial investment and commitment to this game are significant, and it’s not a game you can fully experience without having a club or a group of friends to play with.
Versions & Expansions
Unboxing Marvel Crisis Protocol
The core set includes the following components:
- 10 Hard Plastic Character Miniatures
- 10 Bases
- 9 Terrain Pieces
- 170 Tokens
- 20 Team Tactics Cards
- 3 Map Cards
- 2 Affiliation Cards
- 10 Character Stat Cards
- 6 Crisis Cards
- 3 Movement Tools
- 4 Range Tools
- 10 Dice
- 1 Learn To Play Guide
It may seem like Marvel Crisis Protocol doesn’t have a lot of components, but has everything you need to get you started. The hero cards are oversized and well very readable, which is important for a game that’s all about stats and abilities.
Tokens are made of punch-out cardboard and vibrantly colored which suits the theme. The learn-to-play guide is fully illustrated and in color, with a sizeable portion taken up by the assembly guides, because plastic pieces have to be assembled.
The plastic components are where Marvel Crisis Protocol turns into a real hobby tabletop game. Get your plastic clipping tools ready, because you’ll have to detach the terrain, bases, and hero pieces from sprues.
Clipping, gluing, and then painting all the pieces will take hours and can easily occupy you for a few days or a week depending on how fast you work. At this point, you can see that Marvel Crisis Protocol isn’t a mainstream license cash grab, but a game for true enthusiasts.
Considering all the things you get inside the box, and the quality of plastic components, I’d say that this game is well worth the asking price, and a steal when it’s on sale.
How to Play Marvel Crisis Protocol
There’s a lot going on in Marvel Crisis Protocol even regarding the tactics or strategy so I’ll have to break this section down into smaller chunks to explain the general premise behind the game.
Before you start the game, you must first set up the terrain and obstacles on the table and draw crisis cards to determine the scenario. Marvel Crisis Protocol is a game of objectives where players compete to finish them first and score more victory points.
Both plays have to bring 10 characters to the table as well as character cards, miniatures, crisis, and tactics cards — all of which are supplied in the Core set but for one player. There are no allegiances in this game, so villains and heroes from the lore can work together. The game comes with 10 characters:
- Black Widow
- Captain America
- Captain Marvel
- Iron Man
- Baron Zemo
- Doctor Octopus
- Red Skull
With more characters available through expansion packs. You won’t use all of the heroes, as each scenario has a threat limit that cannot be exceeded by the sum of the character’s threat value.
The core of the game is the hero stats which signify their strengths and weaknesses. Character cards have two sides: healthy and injured. Every character starts with their cards showing the healthy side.
The cards show the character’s name, alter ego, types of attacks and superpowers perform, their defensive stats, threat level, size, speed, leadership, and stamina. Think of them as the stats of a DnD character, or something akin to a hero from a MOBA-type game.
The game of Marvel Crisis Protocol is played over 6 rounds or until one player achieves enough victory points. Rounds are divided into three phases:
- Power Phase – characters gain 1 power.
- Activation Phase – characters can move, attack, use a superpower or shake off a negative effect.
- Cleanup Phase – used for scoring and resolving special effects.
Movement & Range
The game comes with a set of rulers and movement sticks you can use to gauge how far your character can go and what its effective range is. Movement sticks have a pivoting point in the middle, so the characters can turn a corner and traverse obstacles more easily.
To make an attack, the player chooses one of the abilities from their character’s card and checks whether the enemy character is in range and in line of sight. The combat is a simple roll of attacker versus defender dice, but there are modifiers and special conditions that spice things up.
In Marvel Crisis Protocol, the terrain is intractable and can be destroyed or thrown at characters to damage them. It comes in five size classes — from benches and crates all the way to buildings and monoliths. It’s an interesting mechanic that allows for deeper strategy and less reliance on terrain as cover.
Your First Game of Marvel Crisis Protocol
The tabletop game, despite being somewhat complex, is very intuitive and easy to understand. Once you’ve read your character’s stats, the objective of the game, and get an idea for how the movement and positioning work, the rest is just fine-tuning.
Instead of teaching you some tips for the tabletop, I’ll talk more about the hobby side of the game, as I’ve seen many people come into it unprepared and get overwhelmed.
To cut the plastic sprues, you need small cutters, preferably made for the hobby. I’ve ruined cheaper wire cutters on the hard plastic, so it’s better to spend a few dollars on a stronger tool. Gluing the pieces together is a delicate task, so wear a pair of latex gloves to not get glue all over your fingers.
As for the painting aspect, you’ll need a couple of fine hobby brushes, a jar of water, a plastic lid for a palette, and some paints. You don’t have to invest in fancy equipment, this is all you’ll need to get you started.
I have been using Vallejo paints for a while and I really like them. They’re very affordable, come in large quantities and the pigment quality is excellent. As for the primer, I’ve been using a can of Army Painter’s primer and it can really last a long time.
You can look up online guides to see paint recommendations for different characters, or buy the base 10-15 colors and go from there.
Don’t be intimidated or discouraged if you’ve never painted a miniature. We all start somewhere, and as I know you’ll be careful and delicate, your models will turn out much better than you’d expect. There are a ton of guides out there for miniature painting that’ll show you different techniques, but to start just learn how to thin paints and work in layers.
Pros & Cons
- Great Tabletop Mechanics
- Reasonably Priced Minis
It’s not uncommon for hobby tabletop games to fall short in the actual game segment. People who are into it generally care more about the assembly and painting than the game — it allows them to capture a passion they feel for a character by creating their own version of them.
Marvel Crisis Protocol lives or dies by its expansion packs. You’ll want them, and you’ll need them if you plan on playing the game competitively. They mostly come in a set of two, but there’s a rich flea market and people who’d halve boxes to get the characters they want.
Considering the Marvel license this game has to pay, the miniatures aren’t all that expensive. My basis for this is Warhammer 40k minis, which are notorious for being overpriced.
- It’s an Expensive Hobby
- Requires a Lot of Commitment
You may be wondering why I’ve said the minis are affordable, yet now I’m saying that it’s an expensive game. Marvel Crisis Protocol is not your average board game, where you get a box and maybe get a couple of expansions later on to increase its longevity.
Marvel Crisis Protocol is a hobby game — that means you need $50 in paints, brushes, and some tools before you even get the Core Set. After that, it’s a matter of buying expansions to create your dream team, which raises the price even further.
It’s completely fine to give up on a hobby you’re not enjoying, but I don’t want you going into this without knowing what’s expected of you.
Like I’ve said, it can be played with some friends or family members, but you really need a group of people to get some games in. Think more along the lines of finding the right people for a DnD group rather than a classic board game.
Ultimately, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t even play the tabletop — Marvel Crisis Protocol offers a lot of content for a hobby enthusiast and many people, including myself, find that aspect to be more than sufficient.
Marvel Crisis Protocol Review (TL;DR)
Marvel Crisis Protocol is a surprisingly good tabletop game that makes the most out of the license without sacrificing gameplay. If you’re a Marvel fan with an interest in the tabletop hobby, or a veteran player looking for a new set of miniatures, the Core Set has a lot to offer you.
I’m going to preface this section by saying that I’m no fan of the Marvel universe. I understand why people enjoy the movies and are invested in certain characters, but it never hooked me in. That being said, I do know a lot about the characters and the story which helped me get invested in painting the miniatures.
With hobby tabletop games, that investment is the most important part. If you care about a character, you’ll want to assemble and paint them to the best of your abilities. It’s difficult to explain, but the best I could do is compare it to an experience you get from a new movie or a book.
Even though I’m not crazy about Marvel, I know how I feel about getting new 40k miniatures. It may be rough at the beginning, with all the paints you need to get, but they’re very difficult to spend and the expansion packs are very affordable. Every couple of months, you can pick up a new pack and make two characters.
As for the gameplay itself, my experience was basically a mock-up battle with a friend. I didn’t have anyone in my circle that also played the game, so we split up the core set and did a couple of games just to see what it was like.
I like easy-to-learn but hard-to-master games, and Marvel Crisis Protocol seems to be aimed in that direction. You can get into your first game very quickly, and it feels like with each game, you’ll learn something new and improve upon your strategy.
But even without the gameplay aspect, I’ve enjoyed the assembly and painting so much that I can recommend Marvel Crisis Protocol to anyone that’s well aware of what they’re getting into!
We hope you enjoyed our Marvel Crisis Protocol review! Have you tried this tabletop miniatures game? What do you think about the process or gameplay? Drop a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!
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When I first got into the hobby some 10 years ago, my friend circles didn’t know that board games went further than Monopoly and Risk. Now everyone I’m close with is into board gaming and my collection really has something for everyone.
My favorite games are Terraforming Mars and Lords of Waterdeep and I’m a fan of Euro, strategy, and engine-building games in general. I also enjoy the Warhammer 40,000 universe, which pulled me into the miniature painting hobby.