Sentinels of the Multiverse Review

Sentinels of the Mutliverse game in play

A really interesting game that someone mentioned to me was Sentinels of the Multiverse.

In Sentinels of the Multiverse, each player takes on the role of a hero (or two heroes in two-player) attempting to defeat the evil <insert villain name here> and thwart his dastardly plans! The game turns play out pretty simply. First, the villain takes his turn by performing his "start of turn" effects, drawing a new card, then doing "end of turn" effects. Next, each of the heroes in succession get to take their turns by playing a card, using a power, and then drawing a card. Finally, the environment takes a turn (after all, these epic encounters have to take place somewhere, right?) by following the same three steps as in the villain's turn. If you are able to knock the villain unconscious (or kill him, depending on whether you read PG or R rated comics), then you are successful, and order has been restored to the Multiverse!

The first significant pro for Sentinels of the Multiverse is the replayability. The game comes with 10 different heroes (each with his own completely unique deck), 4 villains (with their own decks), and 4 environment cards (again with the unique deck thing). Each game is played with 3-5 heroes depending on the number of players, 1 villain, and 1 environment. This leaves you with over a hundred unique scenarios to play.

The next pro for Sentinels of the Multiverse is that it is very easy to teach. Did you read the summary? Then you know most of how to play the game. If there are conflicting things occurring at the same time, then whichever card came out first happens first. Now, there are still some sticky situations that you get into (such as when a single card has an effect that causes it to flip, and then has a new effect that was supposed to occur at the same time), and so you'll occasionally have to use your best judgement, but really, the game itself allows anybody to easily pick it up and start playing.  Do I like games in which I'm allowed to build the deck instead of it being pre-constructed?  Sure, but that doesn't mean that there's not a place for both.

The third pro, which is really unique to Sentinels, is that the villain and hero cards are two sided. First the villain cards - the two sides represent two different states of the villain. The starting side is normally when they are working on their evil schemes, and the second side is when either something has foiled their plans, or when they have succeeded and become much more powerful (depending on the villain). This is a unique mechanic in the game that really works very well, and forces the players to be aware of how their actions can affect the villain and his strength. Next for the heroes - the back side of the card represents what happens if the hero is knocked out of the fight. Whereas most games handle player elimination by allowing that player the opportunity to go get a snack and wait for the next game to start, in Sentinels the heroes are still trying to will their comrades onto victory. I must say that I like this more than how the elimination mechanic works in most other games (here's looking at you, Lord Of The Rings LCG and Bang!).

Unfortunately, with all that Sentinels of the Multiverse did right, there are several things that they did that most definitely go under the "con" category. First and foremost, there are situations that can arise in the game, completely outside of the control of the players, that can for all intents and purposes cause the players' turns to be non-existant. In one of the games we played (with Citizen Dawn as the villain, and the Megalopolis as the environment), we were in a situation in which we weren't allowed to draw cards, weren't allowed to play cards, and had to discard two cards each turn. In order to get rid of one of these effects, we all had to discard a card during the environment phase - of course we didn't have any, because we couldn't draw any and had to discard two per turn. After looking further through the environment deck, we realized there was also a card that prevented heroes from playing a power (the one thing that we were still allowed to do - though with minimal effect as all the damage we dealt was immediately reduced by one of the villain cards and healed by another). So, if there is a potential situation that could arise where you can't draw cards, play cards, or use a power, this seems like a major con to me. I do not think that this situation will arise in every game, nor even in most games, but when it did arise it was so incredibly frustrating that I don't think I'll ever be able to convince the people I was playing with to try the game again. I expect cooperative games to be challenging, but I expect them to be won or lost significantly based on the decisions that were made - there was nothing we could have done to prevent the order that these cards were drawn, which set up that scenario.  This was basically like an issue of a comic in which the hero wakes up and gets food poisoning from undercooked chicken and dies.  Who would read that?

The next con to the game is that there is a lot that you must keep track of. For example, we had situations in which the environment card gave all damage a +1 bonus, a hero gave all other heroes a +1 bonus, and one of the villain cards reduced damage to all villains by 1. So, you had to remember that each attack from a hero against a villain card has a net of a +1 bonus. We constantly found ourselves in the "oh yeah, we forgot..." situation and had to re-adjust how much damage was dealt on any given attack.

Thirdly, the format of play 1, power 1, draw 1 has a very limited feel to it. Whereas you're actually doing more than in many other cooperative games (such as Pandemic where you often spend your entire turn moving), the options that are available to you feel much more constrained. Part of this might be because several of the cards in your hand are awesome in certain situations and worthless in others (such as dealing one damage to all the villain cards when there is a villain card that reduces damage by one). I think the main thing is that the strategy is much more limited - each turn it is simply asking yourself, "ok, what do I have that deals the most damage?" Whereas the game is very simple to learn and teach, this is the downside of that simplicity.

Sentinels of the Multiverse first edition packaging
The final con that I must mention is the packaging. The box is very, very pretty. Unfortunately, it is beyond useless when it comes to functionality. I desperately hope that they fix this in future printings. The box, which is meant to hold several large piles full of cards that need to be kept separated, is a short flat box in which the cards must be set into 6 piles that are next to each other (I took a picture so you could see what I mean). Long story short, the cards are going to get intermixed every time that you move the game anywhere and you'll have to go through all of them to make sure that you have all of the cards for the decks that you need each time you play. Again, I really hope that they look at how other games like Thunderstone: Wrath Of The Elements have done their packaging with making a card box with dividers and fix this problem in the next edition.

Overall, I give Sentinels of the Multiverse a 7.0/10. The first con that I mentioned was bad enough that I really debated a 6 or lower for a little bit, but after I stepped away from the game, cooler heads prevailed. There really are a lot of great aspects of Sentinels, but I think that I'm going to avoid playing another scenario with the Megalopolis environment - assuming I can convince people to play with me again.

Want some more opinions? You can read this Sentinels of the Multiverse review at Play Board Games, or for yet another opinion, check out this Sentinels of the Multiverse review from Games With Two .  Or, if you're looking for other games you might enjoy, check out Glory to Rome, Flash Point: Fire Rescue, and Summoner Wars

I would like to thank Greater Than Games, LLC for providing me with a review copy of Sentinels of the Multiverse to play.


  1. Two things that impressed me (and caused me to order this game) were that
    1.There are very few games with a superhero theme
    2.Finally someone realised that a superhero game should be a co-op

    1. I think this game is unplayable it is so boring. You barely need to look at your cards because they don't really do anything. Heal a point, deal a point of damage. This game is a snooze fest and if people would ignore the theme and the artwork they would see an incredibly boring game with no strategy at all. At best you use a tactic of trying to stack powers but you have a small hand and slowly move through the deck and aside from reading the cards it shouldn't take you any time to play a card and end your turn.