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Heroes & Villains

Choose a character and decide whether to play them as a hero or villain. Will you control dark magic? Enjoy super speed? Or execute vigilante justice?

Now on Kickstarter, Heroes & Villains is a two-to-six player card game in which each player’s deck of cards not only represents their character’s abilities, but also their health.

Gameplay

In the basic game, each player selects one of the six pre-built character decks. You then take the character card that matches that deck and choose whether to play the villain side of it or the hero side. In the advanced gameplay, characters can build their decks from the available cards, having fewer cards in their decks the more character decks they draft from.

At the start of the game, you shuffle your deck and draw four cards. Your deck represents both your powers and your health. When you run out of cards in your draw pile on an opponent’s turn, you are eliminated from the game. The last player standing wins. There is also a team mode that allows players to fight together.

On your turn you have four points of energy. Energy does not carry over between rounds. Each card in your deck shows how much energy it costs to play it. This is also how much it costs to activate it. On your turn, you can spend your energy to play cards, placing them in front of you, and activating any cards that you have previously played. Once a card has been activated, it moves to your stockpile.

Once per game you can also use your character’s special ability (this ability is different based on whether you are playing the hero or the villain). Some of these require energy points to use and some do not. Once used, the card is discarded from the game.

There are four different types of cards: assault, minion, tactic, and weapon. Different cards may target different types of cards, but they all clearly state the action they perform when activated. For example, some cards may allow you to move an opponent’s card in play to the top of their stockpile, while some may move cards from your stockpile to the bottom of your draw deck. Some may even allow you to steal an opponent’s card and make it yours for the rest of the game, or send an opponent’s card into the void. Once a card is in the void it cannot be retrieved.

Heroes & Villains miniatures

Review

Heroes & Villains plays fast, coming in at around fifteen minutes, but there is a lot of depth in the card battle gameplay. Cards combo off each other in interesting ways, and you really need to adjust your strategy and the order you play your cards in, based on what your opponents are doing.

The pre-built decks each have their own unique strengths that are fun to explore and see how they interact with each other, while the ability to construct your own deck lends the game a lot of replay value.

We enjoyed the simplicity of the gameplay, from the set energy points to the fact that you don’t have to track any kind of health, with your deck simply serving as your life. This in turn can lead to some interesting choices, as you decide how many cards to play and how fast to burn through that deck.  

When you move cards from your stockpile to your draw deck, you add them in the reverse order in which they were placed into your stockpile, which also allows you the ability to manipulate the order in which you’ll draw some cards.

The rulebook is fairly well put together, although we would have liked some examples of gameplay, and some of the terminology used led to a little confusion before we completely understood it. The theme of the game is really fun, however, and we liked being able to choose between a hero and a villain. The artwork is also a bit gritty and different than you usually encounter in superhero-themed board games.

If you enjoy battle card games, you should check out Heroes & Villains. Great player interaction, replayability, and nicely balanced.

Pros: Choice between pre-built decks and creating your own, fast gameplay, easy to learn rules

Cons: Gameplay examples missing in the rulebook, some terminology is a little confusing

Disclosure: this preview is a paid promotion that is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of this game, which is subject to change prior to publication.