top of page

Soloing Sentinels Of The Multiverse- could I save the Multiverse?

Players: 1-5 players

Ages: 14+

Game time: 45- 90 minutes


Sentinels Of The Multiverse - Game Review - Box art and contents
Sentinels Of The Multiverse - Game Review - Box art and contents

Summary

Sentinels of the Multiverse Definitive Edition is a cooperative hand management card game based on the adventures of the superheroes and villains in the fictional comics of the same name (took me way longer than I care to admit to realise the comics and comic book company are part of the theme and completely fictional! Along with Mr Chris LOL).


Players take turns playing cards from their hand to take down the villains, their minions and negative effect cards in an effort to save the multiverse from their antics. With each hero utilising a unique deck of cards and skills, each villain presenting different strengths and weaknesses and environment cards that can either help or greatly hinder you, there is a huge amount of content to get your teeth into!


This review is coming from the perspective of someone who has minimal interest in the superhero genre, has never played any of the original Sentinels material and also played this game entirely solo.


Gameplay

Sentinels gameplay is actually very simple despite the huge amount of card play and material involved.


Each round is split into a villain phase, hero phase and an environment phase. Cards in play may have key terms such as 'Start phase', 'End phase' etc. and are activated in the relevant subsections of the phase. So to start with, any villain cards that have a 'Start phase' ability are activated and are fully resolved in the order in which they have been played. Next is the 'Play phase', where a card is revealed from the villain deck and any immediate ability is resolved. Finally all 'End phase' abilities are activated and the heroes are able to take their turns.


Cards may have a number of different effects including summoning more cards from the relevant decks, dealing damage, destroying cards in play with certain keywords, buffing character stats or adding additional hero powers. The card instructions tend to be very clear, and any keywords that are a little ambiguous are detailed in the rulebook as to how to resolve them.


The hero phase plays very similarly in that each hero's turn is also split into a start, play and end phase, but they also have an additional 'Power phase' where they can choose to activate one of their unique powers that can be found on their character card but also on some other cards in their deck. So far in my plays, I have found that the heroes can play very differently, with some like Ra and Hakka being better at dealing straight damage, whereas others rely much more on support powers enabling heroes to ignore certain amounts of damage, deflecting damage, healing or employing minions to aid the battle. Players cannot choose the order of play so turn order is clockwise. Heroes also draw a card from their deck at the end of each turn, unless they choose to miss both playing a card from their hand and their power phase, in which case they are able to draw two cards.




Finally in the environment phase, once again any start and end phase abilities are resolved in the relevant order and a new environment card is played and resolved. Environment cards can interact with both heroes and villains, implement persistent effects and damage or heal targets. The environments can offer quite different gameplay with some dealing quite significant damage to the target with the highest health points (often the villain) or forcing heroes to act in a certain way to prevent events from happening.


The game continues until either all of the heroes have been defeated or the villain is taken down. When a hero drops to zero health points this does not automatically eliminate them from the game, but instead their card is flipped and on their turn they only have a choice of a few basic options instead of their deck of cards to play. These options I have found to be quite powerful boosts to remaining allies.


There are 12 different heroes to select from in the Definitive Edition, six villains to take down and six environments to play with. There is a lot of scope for mixing and matching and an awful lot of variety of gameplay.


Other modes of play


Provided in the Definitive Edition are hero first appearance cards, which are variations of the hero cards and provide a slightly different ability to play with. In addition, if you're finding the game too easy (so I definitely have NOT played with this variant!!) there are advanced rules on the villain cards which allow them to do something a little bit extra on their turn.


Event cards and critical event cards are also included in the box. These offer players the chance to further immerse themselves in the world by playing through certain events that happened in the comic book story history, and offer a way to play through them chronologically as a form of campaign. Playing this way also allows players to obtain rewards that can be used in future games. The critical events provide further challenge to the villain if you're looking for something meatier.


Solo perspective thoughts

The first thing to mention when talking about the solo game of Sentinels of the Multiverse Definitive Edition is that you need to multihand a minimum of three heroes to play the game. This game cannot (or at least has not been designed to be!) played at less than this and I have personally found this to be a lot to handle when learning the game from scratch. There is nothing particularly complex going on in the game at any stage, but learning the nuances of three different heroes simultaneously alongside controlling the villain and environment, and then also trying to keep in mind any persistent effects that are going on is very overwhelming.


I have also felt this game to be very challenging when playing with three heroes, and looking at other peoples' experiences, I believe this may be alleviated slightly by playing with a greater number of heroes. Therefore, it would seem that, for the average player, a typical solo game using three heroes is the most difficult mode to play. I was not particularly tempted to try this game using more heroes, as I felt that it was already admin heavy.


In the games I did win, I found that I was able to get only one of the heroes running in a sustainable way to enable them to last the battle. Often, I had only one hero left standing very early on, which would have meant, if I had been playing multiplayer, the other players would have been sat there practically doing nothing at all for most of the game. This also meant that I did not actually learn much about a lot of the heroes in my games as they died so quickly I didn't see many of their cards!


I found myself losing extremely easily on some of the lower difficulty villains and winning at some of the higher difficulty ones, and similarly finding some of the less complex heroes tricky to get up and running. I feel it would have been much better to give a couple of indications of suitable hero teams to use just to get you going. There is a starter villain with the villain deck played in a prescribed order, so this definitely helps to ease entry and I greatly appreciated that and thought that worked very well, I just needed more guidance around the heroes to make a suitable team!


The turn order of this game is designed that hero turns are played clockwise, always in the same order. I feel it would be better if this could be switched up according to the situation so heroes could bounce off each other's strengths and create a deeper layer of strategy. I definitely found this aspect a little restricting.


My solo plays of this game on average took between 60 and 90 minutes, and I feel that that's a little too long for what this game provides. The shorter plays were when I had lost against the villain, and it often felt like I was just waiting for the inevitable for a few turns with no real way to catch up. The times I did manage to scrape a win took the full 90 minutes and as mentioned before, were when I had only one hero left standing, and by that time I was ready for the game to end.


Overall gameplay comments


Some other observations from this game often boil down to the difficulties I had running this game solo and finding an overall strategy to employ.


The villains do have some variation in gameplay, but I would not say a huge amount. Most of the differences boil down to how much health they have and a couple of situational changes i.e when something happens in the game, flip the villain card to reveal a different side with slightly different powers.


Sentinels Of The Multiverse - Game Review - Omnitron Deck

One villain I particularly enjoyed going up against was Omnitron, which is a robot that deploys devices to do damage. Omnitron can only be defeated if it is the only device left in play, which was a more interesting way to play the game as you needed to carefully balance the damage dealt to both the devices and the main villain. However, on the flip side, I really did not enjoy playing against The Matriarch. The Matriarch deploys bird or 'Fowl' cards, but when each bird card is revealed, this triggers another card to be revealed and so on. This meant that the villain had almost her whole deck played at one time, and meant that the villain turn took an inordinate amount of time to resolve and completely took me out of the gameplay. So overall, I feel that some of the villains are very hit and miss here in terms of enjoyment but this could have been due to the fact, as a solo player, I was the one resolving every aspect of their turn. Finally, I completely gave up on trying to defeat Akash'Bhuta (supposedly the second easiest) with their whopping 200 health points. After the first villain turn of the game, before any hero even had a turn, each of my heroes had less than half of their health remaining and there was nothing I could do about it! Not a very encouraging start!


I have enjoyed playing with different heroes and seeing how their card abilities differ, even if I haven't managed to fully grasp their intricacies and best strategies. Tachyon for example has a card that allows you to deal damage to a target for a value equal to the number of cards in your discard pile, which is incredibly satisfying to pull off! To start the game however, heroes only have a hand of four cards, and each turn also only draw one card (unless they skip their turn or play a card which allows them to draw additional cards). I have found sometimes this hand size means that some heroes are rendered pretty useless for the first few turns, and you're just waiting to draw particular cards and I found this to be quite frustrating.


My final comments are about the damage types and irreducible damage. Upon reading the rulebook initially, I was quite excited to learn that there were multiple damage types in this game including all sorts of elemental damage, the usual melee damage and even psychic and infernal damage. However, throughout my plays of this so far, I have not really encountered the effects of any of these at all. Yes, when damage is dealt, it literally tells you the type of damage dealt, but unless there is an effect in place, the type of damage makes no difference whatsoever. I have seen an effect take place only once in all of my plays, where a villain was immune to one type of damage (fire) for that round only. Other than that, the damage type has not affected any of my actions at all throughout all of my plays, which is thoroughly disappointing and I think, a real shame as this could really enhance the strategy for cards to play and even which heroes to bring into a battle. I do understand that this would also greatly enhance the admin of the game, but I do have to question why it is present at all in the game when it's used so little. Quite a few hero abilities are able to alter the damage type dealt so I have ultimately found these abilities mostly useless.


Looking back at all of my comments, I realise this sounds very negative but ultimately I do not think this is a bad game, I just don't think it's a good solo game. Sentinels of the Multiverse is a well loved series that has been tried and tested over a good number of years now, so I realise that these problems are most likely a 'me' problem. I think Sentinels of the Multiverse is not a title best fitting a solo gamer that is unprepared for a 'lifestyle' game that requires many playthroughs to understand the strengths, weaknesses and nuances of the heroes and villains, and so I have found this game difficult to get into as a result. I do think this game would be a lot more enjoyable controlling one hero only so you can really sit down and run with that character's strategy. The playtime I could imagine would also be a lot more palatable.



Sentinels Of The Multiverse - Game Review - an overhead shot of a game n progress


Production

When you have so many decks of cards it is essential to have a good way to organise these when storing the game, and the insert design and card dividers make this very sleek and easy. Each hero, villain and environment has a divider so set up is a breeze.


The card quality in this game is excellent, with the card stock of the decks and cardboard tokens to be thick and well produced. The hero and villain cards are thinner but they never need shuffling so that's not a particular concern.


I will say that there are a couple of odd choices here in that, although the insert is excellent when it comes to storing those decks of cards, there isn't actually any dedicated space for the villain or hero cards which are larger in size, which essentially means they lay on top wherever they can fit. In addition, in my solo game, I actually ran out of one damage tokens, so there's not nearly as many of these as there should be. There are very helpful tokens to indicate when heroes or villains have particular buffs or resistances (which are so essential in trying to keep track of everything), but personally I found there's not always the right type. There are tokens in the box to indicate when a target is resistant to all damage, but not when resistant to one type of damage, like melee. I have only come across a situation where a target is resistant to one type of damage at a time so I found myself having to remember this across the round where it would be extremely helpful to have tokens to eliminate this additional admin.





There are health trackers for heroes and villains, which are extremely useful rather than using tokens, but the production of these suffers some of the quality issues that can be typically seen in this type of component. Some of the dials are too loose and can move unintentionally, and the villain tracker dials are too close together which makes moving one wheel only very difficult.


The overall look of this game is very thematic and immerses you in the comic book world that you are fighting in. The hero cards contain flavour text from a particular comic issue and the artwork of the hero depicted on the whole reflects the 'era' in which that issue was published, so earlier issues appear much more vintage looking than the latter issues. This is a really clever addition that really helps to elevate the theme but I have noticed on some of the cards this isn't consistent throughout. The artwork however on the whole is very well done, very bright, colourful, clear, and encapsulates the comic book feel entirely.



Conclusion


Replayability

There is a lot of content in this box, and equally a lot of combinations to be tried to make each play feel very different. The heroes are interesting and fun to learn, so I feel this game would be best picking one or two of your favourite heroes and really getting to know them battling through each villain. On top of that the advanced mode, event cards and critical events provide even more gameplay. Replayability therefore I feel is quite excellent in terms of content, but I do feel that villains play a bit too similarly for my personal preference.


Production Value

The world building in this game is really great and the whole box feels like a complete comic book experience. The components are mostly very well made with the occasional issues as mentioned with the health trackers, but most components look and feel amazing.


Theme

I think the theme really comes through in this game. The aesthetic is spot on and, in most cases, turns are quick and punchy as you'd expect to find in comic book battles. To enhance this further, the box comes with a Lore book where background information is provided for each hero, villain and environment to really flesh out this theme. This book also provides an indication of how each of these plays and how tricky they are to play with, which is great at face value, but as a new player to this genre of game and this theme, it wasn't quite enough for me. The Lore book provides great background and really fleshes out the experience to make this universe come alive.


Complexity

Gameplay here is very simple and logical - simply activate abilities in their relevant phases and carry out the action, play a card with effects, draw cards etc. Learning how to play the game takes little to no time, but learning how to play well is an entirely different kettle of fish. I would say some of the heroes are complex to handle on the basis that I couldn't see a way to allow them to last more than a few rounds in a game! The admin side of this as a solo game is where this ultimately falls down for me most of all, there is just too much to handle at once and when you're activating the villains 10th 'do 1 melee damage to the target with the lowest health points' ability, it just felt convoluted and too much.


Rules

The rulebook is quite clear with a good glossary of keywords to easily look up terms as you play. I do feel the rulebook is a little too light on examples and gameplay situations that would have helped me see earlier on in my plays that I was in fact playing correctly, I was just playing badly! A couple player aids would have been great to have but are unfortunately not provided.


Uniqueness

This is the first game of this type that I have played so I am not sure how this holds up against other card battlers. Looking at the rules in the first instance with all the damage types I did imagine this would feel more unique in that you needed to employ quite deep strategy (I imagined situations where we could weaken a villain to a particular damage type before employing a huge attack of that damage type to bring them down!) but ultimately this aspect felt very lacking and not employed to its full potential. Therefore I do think that Sentinels possibly does not do anything too different than other similar games, but the theme, overall world building and ability to mix and match enhances appeal.


Value

I would say pretty average for this type of game. At present I can find this game for around £50-£55 so perhaps a little on the higher side, but if you know you love the theme, there are an awful lot of hours of gameplay to be had here.


So final wrap up - ultimately I feel as a solo player Sentinels is a challenging game to get stuck into unless you are willing to put many, many hours into this. I really do feel this is more of a lifestyle game and I was not expecting that at all. I feel Sentinels would be best played by 4-5 players controlling a hero each, with different players resolving the villain/environment cards each round to keep the admin to a minimum. The designers have done a really great job of creating this comic book world and weaving the hero and villain stories into the fabric.


Because of my overall feelings - I do think I need to give two different ratings for this game!

A d6 die face showing two pips each pip the Diary of a Lincoln geke mascot Ink the imp

Solo rating - 2/6

A d6 die face showing three pips each pip the Diary of a Lincoln geke mascot Ink the imp

Potential multiplayer rating - 3/6

Rhiannon - Solo Gaming Specialist


Multiplayer perspective of Sentinels Of The Multiverse:

Firstly we would like to thank Greater Than Games (https://greaterthangames.com) for sending this to us for review, so join me as we prepare to embark on a adventure hero-filled journey alongside your pals in Sentinels of the Multiverse! Each of you will channel a unique hero, armed with special abilities and powers, as you team up to defeat a diabolical villain and save the day. With countless heroes and villains to choose from, every game promises a different experience that'll leave you on the edge of your seat.


The multiplayer feature of the game is an absolute blast! Designed for 3-5 (and solo) players, this cooperative game thrives on teamwork and communication. Each player gets to control their own badass hero, but the real secret to victory lies in synchronising your actions and abilities with your sidekicks / fellow heroes. It's all about playing together like an epic symphony, which is probably why this plays better as a team rather than solo (not detracting from Rhiannon's fantastic review).


But wait, there's more! Sentinels of the Multiverse takes you on a wild ride through a variety of unique environments. Each game reveals a different setting, complete with environment cards that bring extra challenges and obstacles. Don't underestimate the power of these environments – they can mess with both heroes and villains, adding a whole new level of strategy to the mix. It's like playing chess against Mother Nature, and she's got a wicked sense of humor!


Get ready for some seriously interactive multiplayer madness! Not only can you chat strategy and coordinate with your friends, but you can also share resources, abilities, and lots of laughs as you fight to defeat the dastardly villain and keep innocent bystanders safe. This game is all about synergy and working together, making it a perfect choice for game nights or those random get-togethers with fellow super hero enthusasts.


In a nutshell, Sentinels of the Multiverse delivers a multiplayer experience that'll blow your mind and maybe your budget! While it has lots of replayability, it has a log of cards and with lots of expansions (available here: https://greatergames.wpengine.com/product-category/sentinel-comics/) you can certainly justify it with its cooperative gameplay, vast array of heroes and villains, and mind-boggling environments, it's a rollercoaster ride of excitement and interaction. Whether you're a superhero aficionado or just looking for an unforgettable cooperative game, Sentinels of the Multiverse is an absolute must-try. Trust us, you won't be able to resist its charm!


A d6 die face showing four pips each pip the Diary of a Lincoln geke mascot Ink the imp

For me it is a solid 4/6 for superhero fans - it's worth a play for sure, if your're not then maybe skip this one. Like Rhiannon said the lack of storage for the larger cards drops the score, and the production points Rhiannon makes I totally agree with.

Mr Chris - DOALG Founder

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page