Pack of Heroes Review

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Power City was too small to accommodate eight superhero teams. There were not enough villains to go around, so they just started to fight each other. Who will win? Who becomes THE superhero team in town? Let’s find out.

Nederlandse-vlag

Overview

What do you get for your money?

You get 40 hero cards, 8 team cards, 18 power cards,  12 weapon cards and 2 reference cards. You also get 25 red cubes, 4 purple cylinders, the rules, a hero almanac and a mini comic.

How do you play the game?

There’s just one team too many in Power City. So, instead of fighting bad guys the heroes fight each other. One player takes the red team by the hand and the other player tries to lead the blue team to victory.

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Every team has five members, a leader, two sidekicks and two fighters. You fight each other in a three by three arena by playing power cards that trigger the abilities of the heroes. Heroes stun, heroes heal, heroes defend, but most importantly heroes attack and kill. The player that owns the last hero standing wins the game.

At the beginning of Pack of Heroes, a game from Phil Walker-Harding, both players choose one of the eight available teams. Then they set up their base, they place a reference card in the middle and their draw pile to the left of that it and then they draw one power card from that deck and place it to the right of the reference card. Every player has nine power cards, three red, three green and three blue ones. With these cards players can trigger the ability of a hero. An ability requires one or more cards with specific colours to be triggered.

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Before you begin, you draw three cards from the Power card deck and then you choose a starting hero from your five team members and place him or her in the centre space in the row closest to you.

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On every hero card you find a strength value in the top-left corner, his movement value and manner just below that, his power type, value, description and cost at the bottom of the card, and some heroes have an arrival power, which triggers when the hero is brought into the arena.

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Now you know that, the game can begin. A turn consists of four phases. During the first phase you may move a hero that already is on the board. How and how far depends on the movement ability of the hero. Some heroes can move over other heroes, some need to move through vacant spaces and some can’t move at all, unless you trigger their ability by playing a card.

During phase two you can do one of two things. You can either bring one hero into play, and place it onto a vacant spot on your baseline, or you can use one hero power by playing the required power cards from your hand. There are seven types of powers. Namely, a force attack, where you attack an adjacent hero, a spread attack that damages all opponents at the four sides of the hero, or a range attack that lets you attack from a distance. You also have stun powers. Normally a hero only gets stunned when he or she has more wound markers than half of her strength and it means that the hero can’t be used next turn. With a stun power you can stun a hero that is not already stunned. With heal powers you can heal heroes that are wounded and there are also constant powers that heroes can use throughout their turn without spending a ‘use power’ action in phase two. The last power is the defend power, which a hero can use to protect himself.

During phase three you can un-stun any hero that has been stunned for a turn. And lastly, during phase four you may draw one power card and then discard back to three hand cards.

You take turn after turn, back and fort, add new heroes, use their power, attack each other until one player is totally eliminated, all five heroes dead, or a player has no heroes on the table, but the other player occupies all three spaces on its baseline, so that player can’t bring a new hero into play.


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You can also play the advanced game where every player also has one weapon with a special ability that can be used during phase two instead of the other two actions.

 

Review

Well, fans of Summoner Wars will like this one, I think. It’s basically I tiny version of that game or just  bears a pretty good resemblance. The theme is different though and, in fact, the gameplay is a bit different too. The only thing that’s the same is that you battle against each other on a grid with cards and card abilities.

Yeah, OK,  that’s where the comparison ends.

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Let’s start with the theme; Superheroes. I like that theme. I like that every team has unique characters with their own background story and abilities. The art is comical and frivolous and it brings you in the right mood.

And that mood is that of light tactical card game. The possibilities on a three by three grid are far from endless and that’s what makes it light. You can think about a strategy, you have to, because every team has its own strength, but it’s more a ‘go with the flow’ kind of game.

The things you can do and when you can do them totally depend on the power cards you draw. You can plan a massive spread attack, move to right place on the board, but if you don’t draw that red card you need, you have to do other things until you do draw it.

That’s just the way the game works, it’s not a problem for me. You look at the power cards you have and choose the right actions to use them for, instead of picking a right action and try to collect the right power cards. It’s quite fun actually.

Almost every hero has a cool ability. You got your Freakshow Five, with the Clown Father who can always place a team-mate on the board and the Serpent Sisters who can attack twice in a row. You have the Knights of the Five Realms with Rainbow Sprinkle who gives an adjacent team-mate the ability to use a wild power and Sir Smash A Lot who can just punch very, very hard. Or there’s Furnace from the Elementeens who, after she attacks an enemy, also damages the enemies that are next to it.

You get the idea.

This is a cool, portable game where you can fight each other with cool powers within twenty minutes. The rules are pretty simple and gameplay is straightforward. You move, you fight, you draw cards until one player is eliminated. There are eight teams to choose from, so you can vary all you want. Plus you can add the weapons if you are tired of the basic game.

If you a fan of games like Summoner Wars or Mage Wars then I recommend Pack of Heroes as a breezy alternative. If you don’t belong to that group you should, and partly because of its low price point, give it a go.

 

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