Thanos Rising

2-4 players, Cooperative, Tyrant Prevention, Dice Building

Designer: Andrew Wolf

Artwork: Rick Hutchinson

Publisher: The OP

Overview of Gameplay

Your mission is to prevent Thanos from acquiring all the infinity gems and defeat 7 enemies along the way. To do this there is a deck of cards that is drawn from and placed around the Thanos board. This is the asset deck. As you perform dice rolls battling Thanos around that board you have the opportunity to either damage enemy cards that are drawn from the asset deck or collect more heroes to add to your team. Each hero added also adds an entirely unique ability that you can utilize going forward and some heroes work better off others and so on so you can strategize a bit on your technique.

But beware! Thanos has a couple dice exclusive to him as well! Before each player turn you roll the 2 Thanos dice to see the damage he causes and what infinity stone he is pursuing at that moment. This is really exciting, so one of the dice he gets shows what kind of attack he does/which way he turns. So, for example if you roll it and it pops up “R” then you would rotate the Thanos mini figure around to the RIGHT in the middle of the board and now he is focusing on an entirely new quadrant. In that quadrant he will then do 1 damage to all the heroes there and also activate any enemy’s special abilities if there are enemies there as well. The other dice you roll for him is the infinity dice. It shows the color of which infinity stone you need to place a token on for that round. If any one stone gets 5 tokens then you place the really cool little plastic colored infinity stone token on the gauntlet board and flip the pad it sat on. From now on anytime you roll that color then something disastrous happens! Whether it’s healing all the enemies or preventing healing of your heroes etc.

Win Condition /Length

The goal is to kill 7 enemies and you win! That sounds easy enough but when you think of what Thanos must do to win it becomes much more complicated. Thanos has 3 options when it comes to winning. He can either kill a total of 10 hero cards, completely kill a player or collect all the infinity stones. So, let’s think about this for a second. Every roll he takes he is working towards collecting the stones, luckily there are 6 of them and he only gets 1 token for 1 stone each time he goes so it will take a bit for him to collect them all luckily. He kills off hero cards much quicker as he is basically doing damage to multiple heroes every turn BUT again he needs 10 of them so again, take a little while. The killing of the player is where it becomes strategic. Each player starts with 1 hero card. So, a player will need to focus on collecting more heroes to not only power up their team BUT then survive. You can’t jump in all willy nilly killing enemies and forgo collecting more heroes for your team and expect to survive. If Thanos kills your one hero and you don’t have another there, he wins.

The game really doesn’t run that long either. A little over an hour at 4 players was my experience. You can whip out a super quick 2 player game even faster.

Setup/Takedown

So, the setup isn’t just your typical board game board. You have one hex shaped-ish board that has a picture of the infinity gauntlet with colored spaces for each infinity stone. Along the outside edges of this board sits circular pads with each different infinity stone on top of them. The other board is also hex-ish shaped with a pretty large Thanos plastic mini in the middle. That board is broken into 3 different quadrants with a total of 9 game cards set around the outside edges.

The setup is actually pretty fast and once you pick which of the 4 starting classes you want to use you are ready to roll. The starting classes consist of locations which determine your starting hero. You have The Sanctum Santorum (Dr. Strange), Knowhere (Gamora), Wakanda (Black Panther) and of course the Avengers headquarters (Captain America). Each location starts with a distinct set of dice they are able to roll starting out and a different exclusive ability based on dice rolls. So replayability is there for multiple play through’s as a different starting local. Also the take-down is a breeze considering the impressive insert the game comes with. Everything has a spot. 

Components/Game Board

The components are all great quality especially the dice. The cards are of the slick nature and bend easily which could be better but everything else is top notch. I really like the heft and feel of the dice as it feels like they are resin and not acrylic which I prefer. The game boards themselves are just a couple cardboard pieces that are used to mark the placement of the cards and infinity stones. They are a thicker cardboard and also a good quality. All in all very satisfied with the production aspects. 

However there is one thing that I have noticed in almost every game I played. There are not enough plastic damage tokens. I’m always running out if playing with all four heroes. Once you teams get big enough damage can run rampant and I’m always having to supplement the yellow tokens in their place. 

Box/Storage

The box is also really nice with some spot UV parts on the cover and a glorious insert inside that holds everything perfectly. They really did an outstanding job on the overall production of the components and box with this one. It’s not overly large and actually more on the smaller side when compared to most newer board games. 

Visual Appeal /Theme

It looks as expected considering the theme involved. The cards are adorned with the movie representations of the heroes and villains. I especially like the cover art of Thanos, reminds me of the comic version more so than the movie. Not much to be said about theme here, if you like the comics or the movies based around them, you will more than likely enjoy the theme held within. 

Personally I am a pretty big-ish comic nerd, well I was years ago but it still sticks with me. As such I enjoy the theme but it’s not like blowing me out of the water over here. 

Rulebook

The rules were kinda a slog to read. Lots of paragraphs with a few examples and pictures, luckily the game is very simple to learn and play and as such the instruction booklet is short. 

Table Talk/Fun Factor

The game does generate a decent amount of table talk considering you are all working together to bring Thanos down. You will need to coordinate to decide who is attacking who and what heroes to try and recruit to your particular teams. This does lend to more fun and the dice rolls add more excitement to the game even after you final decision. Being able to assist other players with collected tokens as well is another nice touch. 

Optimal Player Count/Replayability

Playing with all 4 main heroes is my preferred method as you get a nice rounded out balance of all the kinds of dice. That said this game is super easy enough to manage that you can easily play this game solo with all 4 hero cards as well. 

The replayability though….hmmm well you can easily pick this game up and play it again and again but…..nothing ever changes other than your dice rolls. The card draw pile isn’t massive so a lot of times you will end up seeing almost every hero and villain in each game drawn out, just in a different order each time. 

The Fuzzy Llama Silver Seal of Distinction

Positive Final Thoughts

For me this is a really fun and exciting game AND the best part even though it says 2-4 players on the box you can easily play solo just by controlling 2 or more different characters cards. It’s super easy to manage them and even though the 1 game I played by myself I lost, I felt that same excitement if I was playing with others.

Negative Final Thoughts

That said, this is a game that will become considerably easier every time you play it. I’ve gotten to the point where I go through and defeat all 10 villains in the deck before I win, which coincidentally is a difficulty variant in the back of the manual. And I don’t even break a sweat doing this. Not a secret brag topic but once you play a few times you will work out a strategy that will make you unstoppable. 

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