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USAopoly Codenames Marvel Strategy Game
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- #1 party game now combines with the Marvel Comics Universe
- Game includes both pictures and words
- Easy to learn and perfect for any Marvel Fan
- Based of the Hit Social Party Game Codenames
- Ages 9+ | 2-8+ Players | 15 Min Play Time
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The Marvel Edition of Codenames combines the hit social word game with the Marvel Universe including Spider Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers and Doctor Strange. Opposing teams, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra, compete to be the first to identify all of their team’s ‘field agents’ from 25 Code cards displayed in a 5x5 grid. A must-have for Marvel fans of all ages.
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My biggest problem with this game is confusing cards and weirdly clipped art. I've watched the cartoons, played the console fighters, seen the movies, binged the Netflix. As such, I recognize the majority of hero names and a good number of the villains. I don't really watch Agents of Shield, so I villains like Madame Hydra are unknown to me, but in general, the card art was so overwhelmingly busy and poorly cropped, I had a hard time figuring out who was being shown and what they were doing. Here are some things to consider when considering this game:
1) The characters are MCU property, but the art is more comic book. So yes, Gamora and Drax show up for the Guardians team, but if you've only seen the movie, you'll probably have to flip the card and see who it is. (Three down on the right, if my included pic works.)
2) They ran out of well known characters they had the rights to. They include buckets of Inhumans, down to the dog, the city, and the collective group. And if you're a fan of the comic books, awesome for you. If, like me, you avoided the train wreck of a tv show, you say, "Um... Medusa?" and then pull the cards out of the deck. This gets even worse with the generic villain cards. "Green guy with a gun? No wait... blue face with green body armor and silver over armor? Kree? Seriously?" "Screaming green armored mook surrounded by other green armored mooks? They're Hydra?! Dude - no octo-cthulu or anything? Those dudes could be anybody!" Made worse by:
3) Less than stellar card art. IMHO, if you're trying to invoke a certain character, actually put the character front and center on the card. She-hulk is awesome. A contorted shot of her midriff, bust, and face, that cuts off parts of her arms and surrounds her lower body WITH GREEN TREES is not. I understand wanted to go with action poses, but way too many hero and villain cards look like they just clipped them off a cover. Maybe they did. But without the rest of the picture the drastic fore-shortening, lasers shooting out of the eyes, and wide-mouthed screams of horror are confusing to parse. And this is a game where I need to try and figure out how to link Mandarin, Hydra, and Mysterio in one word; not spend all my time trying to figure out who the dude in the background is and what's going on in that picture. (Again, this might not be a problem for a comic fan.) Same problem with a lot of the:
4) Random nouns and verbs. In the picture I (hopefully) included, there' s a picture of the Goblin Glider. I know that such a thing exists, but I had to stare at this picture way too long trying to figure out what it was. The first picture is supposed to be a Lab. Where's the lab equipment exactly? I just see radioactive computers. Iron Fist is apparently using Focus in the top row and Kick in the second row. There is also a Statue, a Vampire, and Rubble, as well as Bucky on a snowmobile engaged in Escape and someone using Levitate. I mostly see Bucky, Goblin's feet, a dude with big ears, too much Iron Fist, and "which wizard is that?". Now, you don't have to try and link Kick, Escape, or Levitate specifically, but it's way too easy to end up with a picture of the same dude on three different cards and not be sure how to indicate that you need the picture of Iron Fist, but not of him gathering chi or high stepping. Since the primary hero/villain cards are already in action poses, how are you supposed to guess which ones matter and what you're supposed to use? (Teleport, Fight, and Spell are also shown, btw.) That picture of Hawkeye on the bottom row is supposed to be an Arrow. It took be five minutes to figure out which way was up - it didn't exactly scream "arrow", so if I use words like "bow", "draw", or "head" how is anyone supposed to know what I mean unless they read the back of the card? (And that Statue card... a dude, a snake, and two oddly shaped weapons. WTF am I supposed to do with that?) But it could be worse with:
5) Abstract concepts. Thor and Jane Foster's Thor? Yeah, that's supposed to be Worthy. The picture beneath it? Mythic. Army dude? War. Directly to the right? Magic. Yeah - MAGIC. Spell is the bottom right, btw. There are also cards for Astral Projection, Wound, Explode, and Energy. All with confusing pictures. The Death card is a grim reaper and friends.
I've only tried to play this once and I had a really hard time trying to link concepts and characters with such busy and confusing card art. Why is Ms. Marvel being pulled by a dog? That pink lightning is a spell? Why is that vampire drooling on a rocket? I really wish they had included X-Men and Deadpool in this set and had just *way* more heroes in general. I wish the specific noun cards showed clearer pictures of arrows and daggers instead of just cutting them out of a comic book picture. Because when you show me the Punisher's hand holding a gun, I think of it as *his* gun, not a generic gun, and have a hard time linking that with say, Blade as a gun wielder. I kind of wish they had more cohesive art that reflected the MCU a little more (Drax) and had stuck to better known characters and concepts. (Why leave out Jessica Jones but include Jane Foster?) But the biggest thing I wanted was well drawn and complete characters, carrying iconic weapons and standing in an iconic pose. As it is, I feel like each picture is a test that I've failed.
I wanted to love this game. And maybe die hard comic fans will think this is the best thing ever. But to me, it's the game I *wish* I could have bought for my fangirl and fanboy nieces and nephews but I won't. Because it's really just not good enough and I'm afraid it will make them feel like they're not good enough either.
This is of course a specific version, but with the Marvel movies being so popular it's not too tough for the team to work, and if you have a mix between die-hard marvel fans, and casual, there can be some pretty funny interactions.