Last night was the first official stream at the new place, keep in mind, I obviously did a test stream already this week, but good news, I’ve figured out a few improvements for this new one. The game was Marvel Champions as I took the …
Our news leads us into the topic of the multiverse on the MCU as we talk about rumors for Spider-Man 3. Plus information on MODOK and New Mutants and that when that is coming to digital. If you are enjoying the podcast, first of all, …
We’ve made it through another list this year. No spoilers as to what’s to come, what might have moved up, what might just be a new game on the list, so let’s get into this.
Plus a few notes on how I’ve put together the list:
- These are my favorite, you want what people consider best, see the Board Game Geek Top 100
- If a game you love isn’t on the list, it might be be coming, I might not have played it, and if I have, it’s 101
- If a game looks cool, I have links to buy it from CoolStuffInc or Amazon, or you can grab most at your FLGS
- There are a few games, Destiny 2 Player versus regular Destiny where if they are basically the same thing, I only do one of them
Starting here, we have a game that has dropped a little bit for me. Some of that is because I haven’t played it recently nor is it one that I can play more often than once every three or four years, because it is a legacy game. So there is a story element to the game that even when I played it the second time, I generally remembered the story and when the moments happened, though not always perfectly. The game play is really good, and even though it’s a legacy game, it is very much worth playing. It is a good building off of the main game, and it adds in surprising moments and some good twists along the way. The game is mechanically sound as well with nothing really throwing the game out of balance. Overall, it’s a game that is a great experience every time you pull it out while playing through the story, and at the end, even though you can’t use the board game, it doesn’t feel like a waste and you feel satisfied with how much you’ve played it.
Last Year: 3
9. Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon
New comer to the list, and one that I want to get to the table more. It might be the game that we play next after Gloomhaven because I think we’ll be able to play it pretty well over Zoom. In Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon, this is a dark fantasy game where you are exploring story, going across maps and finding new lands, fighting monsters, all of this while trying to survive and keep giant statues, Menhir, lit, to hold back the Wyrdness that is threatening the land. This game has so much story to it and it is really well written, the minis are great in the game, the game mechanics are really interesting, most of them are pretty straightforward, but the combat and diplomacy encounters are done in a really interesting way. This game really shines because of how much it offers in story, and with two more expansions coming from this Kickstarter, there is going to be tons of hours of game play to get through the whole story of this world. I’m very excited to get it back to the table.
Last Year: Not Ranked
This one shot up a long way, but I think that last year while ranking, I might have left it lower because it is just a light and silly game. But ICECOOL is a game that I love playing every time I get to the table. Whether it is just having a goofy time at a board game night or playing it somewhat more seriously at GenCon in a tournament, ICECOOL is always a blast. What is basically just a little flicking game, this game just works so well. The box is incredible as it comes apart to make this 3D high school (Ice cool, get it). The little penguin pieces are really nice, and the whole flicking thing just works so well. This is really a kids game, but it’s a lot of fun for adults, for kids, and for basically any setting. This is one that I’d definitely recommend to anyone, gamer or not, as a really fun time.
Last Year: 21
7. Dice Throne
Another one shooting up the list, this is one of my more played games last year. And it helps because there is a nice TTS (Tabletop Simulator) version that works well, and I was bummed because I was hoping to do a tournament of this game this year amongst my friends, but with Covid that hasn’t happened. Dice Throne is a battling dice chucking game where you are playing different types of characters, you might be something as simple as a Barbarian or a Paladin, you you can play a Seraph or an Artificer. While core mechanics might be similar in what you are trying to roll or what rolls are better, the game play for each character seems different. You’re looking for different things and trying to get that set-up right and the statuses on players at the right time or get them off yourself before you’re taken out. I like this game at two players probably the best, but I’ve been playing a lot of “King of the Hill” style with three players and that has been amazing as well. The game plays fast, and you feel engaged with it throughout. I am also really excited to see this battling style board game turned into more of an adventure game in Dice Throne: Adventures coming real soon.
Last Year: 19
Another new game to the list, and almost into the top 5, I’ve played Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game exactly 5 times, once for each case in the base box. And with that, I can’t really play the base box again. Well, I could, but I would more have to run the game for other people, which I think could be a lot of fun, make it into an almost role playing style experience for them. But even with that this game has expansions, I have two of them, and the game play and story itself were so good. You feel like you are in an NCIS or some sort of show like that, but while watching 13 season of something like that can get dry and repetitive, these feel unique and interesting. This is much more than just a procedural sort of mystery, it’s an experience as you unravel story old and new, and the database that you use, being able to look up real events online, and the story deck, all of it just works so well. If you like deduction/mystery style games, I cannot recommend this one highly enough, and if you want something that is easier than five tied together stories, there is a Season One with fewer cases and ones that aren’t intertwined as well.
Last Year: Not Ranked
Moving up a few spots, we have Mansions of Madness: 2nd Edition. This game, every time I play it, shows me something different. Yes, I can play different scenarios that are obviously going to be different, but even playing the introductory scenario, while I might know the story, how the places are laid out is different. This is my highest ranked Lovecraftian game, though I do want to try Death May Die, and I have Arkham Horror 3rd Edition waiting to get played on my shelf. This one I love because you have stand alone scenarios of different lengths and difficulties, and you can just pull out an app and tell it what you have, it’ll show you what scenarios are available and you can jump into playing so quickly. Now, there is some work when it comes to the set-up of characters and you’ll have to spend time to the board, but the app walks you through that and you discover and explore more as you go. This game has just been consistently good for me, even though my win loss record isn’t that great.
Last Year: 8
Now for a lot of people, this game will seem way to high. There are scenarios that aren’t that well balanced, it’s true. If a betrayer has all the good items or none of the good items, it’ll be over quickly when the haunt happens, also true. But there is just something about this game that I like so much and that just works for me. Some of it is because it just feels like a campy horror film as a group of misfits whom never should have gone into a haunted house together just have everything go horribly wrong and find something disturbing around every corner. And I like both parts of the game, the exploration part and the haunt when it happens. This game just scratches that bit of a horror in gaming itch that I have pretty often and that most games can’t scratch.
Last Year: 4
New one to the list, will be it be the highest, yes it will. But Marvel Champions has been a wonderful game for me. I won’t lie, I have a little bit of bittersweet feeling around it, though I do love it every time I play it, because it was the last time playing a game at a game shop before everything got stopped because of Covid. Even with that, I have played it a few more times, and I most certainly have picked everything up for it. This game is the superhero game that I wished Marvel Legendary was and completely knocked Marvel Legendary off my list. It’s not that I don’t have room for multiple superhero games, I do, and I love the Marvel theme, this one just makes you feel like you are playing a superhero instead of having a team of them that you build kind of at random. Here you can still have allies that help out, but you’re really playing Spider-Man/Peter Parker or Black Panther/T’Challa. You can flip between the two sides, hero and alter-ego, and you can play them in different ways. I haven’t gotten into the deck construction yet, but I know that’s something I want to explore as well. This game just is what I’ve been looking for in a superhero game.
Last Year: Not Ranked
2. Blood Rage
Not moving at all from last year, we have Blood Rage. This game is just an amazing game. There is area control, there is conflict, and there is card drafting, you go on missions, you recruit monsters and send them in to wreck your enemies, all of this while trying to balance out increases to your action points and to be able to get more troops on the board and get more glory for the battles that you’ve won. I also like that there are some different strategies you can take in this game, maybe you can draft missions well and end up scoring a lot, maybe you’ll get many a point in victory in battles. Or maybe you’ll do the Loki strategy and get into battles and let your clan die and go to Valhalla and get points from them when they leave. Depending on what you draft, that can determine what you’re going for in an age, and while you might want to focus on something, the other players can also draft to block you. This game is always fun for me and even having played it a number of times now, it feels like there is still so much more to explore.
Last Year: 2
Staying at #1 as well is Gloomhaven. This game is just about perfect to me, and most of the issues that I have are from the Forgotten Circles expansion which I’ve just about wrapped up, we’re on the final scenario. This game has so much that I love, there is a massive story campaign, there is a dungeon crawl focus and interesting monsters. It’s fully cooperative, and fighting in a given scenario is so interesting based off of the character that you have. You level up your characters getting different combat cards in, unlocking new abilities and generally changing up how you play until you retire and then you play a new character and get to discover everything they can do and how they play all over again. I think I’ve played over 200 hours of this game, probably easily over 200 pushing 300 at this point, and we haven’t done all the side scenarios or all the scenarios and story in the expansion, so there is just so much in this game. I can’t say enough good things, and honestly, I hope by the time I’m doing this next year, this is bumped to #2, because I’m so excited for Frosthaven and the city building piece of that as well.
Last Year: 1
So we have the top 100, I’m going to be putting up another article today with links to all the Top 100, look at what is new on the list, what is are the biggest movers and ask you your favorites overall. But in my Top 10 games, what are your favorites?
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Recording episodes back to back before a move, we we’re light on news, but I talk about a new expansion that has come out for Marvel Champions. Plus, I finish off my Top 10 Marvel heroes. Thank you for checking out the podcast, I hope …
Yes, I am limiting myself again, I wanted to do my Top 10 Marvel heroes, I considered for a moment Superheroes, but I will come back and do DC at some point. I also considered adding in villains, but again, that’s another list, and why would I blend them all together when I can get a bunch of lists out of them. Look for some talk about this on 10 Minute Marvel as I’ll probably start doing deeper dives into some of these characters.
10 – Deadpool
Deadpool is basically the only straight up comedy act on the list. Yes, he is hyper violent as well at times but he lives in a completely absurd world of his own in a lot of ways. I was resistant to him for a while just because he had such a following and didn’t play a major part directly in the comics. But the stuff I’ve read of his generally is a good amount of fun and he works as a character who is comedy and doesn’t spend his time bumping up against the main characters but is just off in his own little world doing his thing. And then when he does interact with other characters, it’s good entertainment.
9 – Ant-Man
Now, do I prefer Pym or Lang as Ant-Man, probably Lang, but both are good. I think that they both provide an interesting feel for Ant-Man, but this will be more about Lang since he’s in the MCU as Ant-Man. I like the idea of a criminal turned super hero, because you get that blend of things that shouldn’t be done and still trying to be better than he was before. Also Paul Rudd just does a solid job in that role with comedy but also creating a character who has a bit of a heart. Lang and Ant-Man are a good blend of comedy and heart, which I think you’ll see further on the list.
8 – Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch could probably be a villain as well, but I think that she works well in either direction. As a hero she’s a terrifying power that you’re worried about won’t be able to control herself. On the flip side as a villain, she’s even more scary. I like a character who has just an insane level of power but you don’t know if they’ll be able to control it, and while some heroes, like the Hulk, can smash anything, Scarlet Witch is so much beyond that, if she makes a mistake, or loses control that can just alter the world, alter the past or present and completely change reality as you know it. Add in the fact that she’s not all that stable mentally, it creates an even crazier power set for her and more interesting stories as you wait for her to break.
7 – Magik
Now, admittedly she isn’t a character that I’ve read a ton of stuff focused directly on her, but I like her character in the X-Men comics that I’ve read. Her powers are interesting and she just has an edgier look to her than a lot of the other heroes. In fact, she’s sometimes a little bit shaky as to how actually good she is. But with that, she also has a complex backstory and a brother, Colossus who is also part of the X-Men. So that adds in an interesting dynamic to her character. Her power set with sorcery and teleportation are very interesting as well as she kind of has a larger breath to her powers than a lot of other characters.
6 – Doctor Strange
So with Strange, I actually was interested in him before the Doctor Strange film came out, that movie definitely made me more interested and brought about more comics because there hadn’t been many or any for a little bit. But his power set is just so interesting to me. I like the magic that he can do and just the breath of what it can cover. But I also like that so much of who he is, is tied into who he was and how he’s had his “come to Jesus” moment where he realized that his pride and his goals weren’t fulfilling his life and when it was all taken away from him he didn’t know who he was. There’s another character who is always trying to prove himself against his past, but he’ll show up later and it is interesting to see how they deal with their hubris in different ways.
5 – Rogue
Now, Rogue might be a surprising character, and some of it might be that she fairly often ties closely to another character higher on my list. But I also find her power and character interesting. She can absorb other peoples powers and basically neutralize them, but it comes at a cost. She absorbs and that means that she steals from them and she can’t control it, it doesn’t matter if she wants to or not, she will steal their powers and drain their life force. So how can she have a normal relationship with a human being and that’s a very common struggle with her. I think you’ll find that I like the characters who have those human struggles, both with previous ones I’ve mentioned and ones coming up. It just makes them feel more like they could be real people and real heroes.
4 – Thor
Now, let me preface this by saying, I’m 100% Norwegian, so I like Thor some for that reason. But that’s not just it. For Thor, I like the fact that you can get some more epic and mythological battles going on. It isn’t just Thor versus some supervillain, it can be Thor facing off against gods and comsic beings, and I like that you get a wider scope with him. Now, clearly he isn’t the only hero who has that, but I like him better than most. Now, the fact that he’s also displaced kind of from his world and having to deal with humans is interesting as well. I like a fish out of water, and I like a character who has flaws when dealing with that, and Thor definitely has flaws. He’s a good blend of big action, big moments and still be caring that works well.
3 – Iron Man
Now, I can thank the MCU for making me like Iron Man so much, and as much as I like Iron Man, so much of what I like about Iron Man is Tony Stark. He is a deeply flawed character who desperately wants to do the right thing and always ends up doing the right thing poorly. If he knew he was doing the wrong thing and did it anyways, or if he was doing the right thing and it always worked out, that’d be boring, but he fails so often. And not only does he fail at the big super hero things, Iron Man/Tony Stark fails at the small normal life things as well, relationships, drinking, drugs, and he’s just not a great member of society. But every time that he fails in his life, in saving the world, whatever it might be, he gets back up and tries again.
2 – Spider-Man
Now, I will say, I’m done for good with Uncle Ben dying, but I really like Spider-Man as a character. Apparently I like the characters that provide a bit of humor. Spider-Man does it in a really fun loving way, and I just like how wholesome and earnest his character is. I also really like him because of the 90’s cartoon and because of the cast of villains that he has. Spider-Man has some of the best villains to go up against, and they have done a solid job with them in the movies, and they always do a great job in the comics with them. I think that Spider-Man/Peter Parker works as well because he’s so relatable for kids and people in general reading comics. Issues with school and friendship and balancing of his life abound, and while Iron Man has relatable flaws as well, Spider-Mans are just a bit simpler and feel more like everyday life.
1 – Gambit
Now this mainly comes from watching the TV show in the 90’s and then carried into reading the comics in the mid 2000’s and early 2010’s. Gambit is just a fun character for me. I like him as a bit of a loner who doesn’t play well with others. But he has a good heart, he just doesn’t want other people to know it. There’s definitely a bit of a vibe that is similar to that of Wolverine, stand-off-ish and not a team player, but while a lot of people love Wolverine, I like it when Gambit does it better. He has an awkward kind of charm to him where things end up in his favor, after normally not starting out that way at all, and it just works for a comic book character.
So who are your favorite Marvel heroes? Do you have any overlap with me? There are so many characters that it’s just hard to pick 10 and really think about what makes some stand out over others.
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Lighter news week though we have an Olivia Wilde directed Sony project to talk about, and a comic book coming out that might have been meant for an MCU tie in. Plus, I’m finally getting around to watching Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. If you are …
I was going to make this top 10 superhero movies, but from what I’ve seen, I don’t think any non-MCU movie would make the top 10 list. Batman Begins is the only DC one that I’d place that high, maybe, and that is probably just outside of a Top 10, plus, this is something I’m going to rehash at some point in time on 10 Minute Marvel, once I’ve completed my Marvel movie watch through. I’m also skipping the likes of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man for this just because I wanted to make it MCU focused.
10 – Avengers: Age of Ultron
This movie is very underrated, I think, when it comes to the MCU films. I think that James Spader does an amazing job as Ultron. Just his cadence and delivery as Ultron works so well. I also like that we get to see Tony Starks biggest flaw really played upon and something that pays off so well in Avengers: Endgame. He’s trying to save everything and everyone and in the end, that doesn’t really work for him in this movie. Plus, we get the best version of Quicksilver to show up in a movie, much better than the X-Men one, and we get the introduction of Wanda and Pietro. This film just builds well and I think while there are some jokes that don’t land, it also has some of the most meaningful interactions between characters. I know some people have an issue with some of that, but I think that it’s great and it plays really well throughout the movie and in the context. A few jokes land a bit flat though.
9 – Spider-Man: Homecoming
Watching this movie again it dropped a little bit on my list because I think that some of the jokes don’t hold together as well as I remember. But with that said, it is still really good. The scenes with Peter and The Vulture both knowing who each other are is a really great scene. It plays off of the awkwardness that you’d have with meeting the parents for the first time, and so to everyone else in the scene that’s what is going on. But for both Peter Parker and The Vulture it’s way more than that. Tom Holland also just does such a great job of being awkward in the films and though he isn’t a high school aged actor, he fits into that way more than any of the previous Spider-Man actors.
8 – Spider-Man: Far From Home
Back to back Spider-Man films, I give the second one a little bit of a nod. While I really like the performance of the Vulture, I think that Mysterio is a better villain in my opinion. I think how he gets close to Peter because Peter was close to Tony is interesting and works well. I know that’s an issue for some people because they want it to be more Spider-Man focused and less about Tony Stark, I think that it’s a good balance of both. I also like it for how it uses or doesn’t use Nick Fury in the film. In terms of Spider-Man himself, I think that we get to see him a bit more in action and as a bit more important to the story versus kind of getting in the way as he was in the first film, or kind of being that B-level player, now he’s an A-level Avenger having gone through and helped in Infinity War and Endgame.
7 – Guardians of the Galaxy
It’s easy to like this one, it has a good blend of humor and action, and while it might be lighter on character development than the second Guardians of the Galaxy film, it still has one. I think in terms of the Marvel movies that really use humor a lot, this one is very good and doesn’t have the jokes fall flat or not stand out as much on multiple viewings. I also like that this is a team-up film but not an Avengers team-up, and in terms of the non-Avengers titles, so Captain America films and Thor: Ragnarok, this does the team-up one of the best of those. I think what really makes this work is how well they cast the main characters in the film. Chris Pratt as Star Lord just works and Bradley Cooper as Rocket is hilarious. While I think you get to dig more into their characters later, you start to see the depth of them and how interesting they are in this film.
6 – Avengers
It’s hard to go wrong with the original Avengers film, not the earliest of the films to grace my Top 10, but definitely worth talking about. We get introduced to Black Widow and Hawkeye, we get a well done Battle of New York where each of them has a chance to shine, and we get some solid humor and solid character interactions. I think that’s the piece that works so well is that it’s very believable that those characters would butt heads repeatedly, especially when meeting. It isn’t a team that comes together because they all immediately mesh, it’s because they need to come together to save the world. And I think that makes the most sense for how you create a team like that, they need the pressure cooker to pull them apart but also bring them back together. It is also nice because this is the first time we get a good Hulk on screen.
5 – Doctor Strange
Probably the shocker of the list, though Age of Ultron might have shocked some as well, but I really like Doctor Strange. A little bit of a spoiler for the list, but I like it for a lot of the same reasons that I like the next movie on the list, Iron Man. Both of these films have a villain who isn’t really the villain. Sure, Dormammu is a bad guy and Kaecilius is a bad guy, but the movie is about Stephen Strange coming to terms with himself not being who he thought he was and not being able to be as selfish. I think one way that this differs from Iron Man is that Strange is technically doing something that is good already, he is saving lives, but he’s doing it for his own selfish reasons. He has to find a way to let go of that before he can truly understand his real calling. I also like Wong in the film and even Baron Mordo and The Ancient One. I think they all play off of each other well, and especially Mordo and Strange have some good interactions.
4 – Iron Man
As I teased, Iron Man is up next. For being the original MCU film, this really hold up well. I like that it teases something that we’re eventually going to get a payoff for with the Ten Rings in Shang-Chi, probably not intentional at that point. But I like how it’s a pretty straight forward story of Iron Man and about how he has to overcome some obstacles but one of them is coming to terms with that he and what his company have done and the fact that they are profiting off of war and death. The opening with the capture and building of the armor just works so well, as well, and while Obediah Stane is underwhelming as a villain, it’s again less about him as a villain and more about Tony Stark having to overcome his own past and overcome what is happening to him. Shows a bit of the age of the film in some of the effects and things like that, but they did a good job and holds up well for overall.
3 – Thor: Ragnarok
I’ve talked about team-ups and humor, and in terms of a non-Avengers team-up, this film does it best, and in terms of humor, this film is again probably the best. I think that the jokes just land well and the team-up works. All of that for this over the top techno colored film, it still manages to have heart to it. I think that Skurge who is currently traveling with the Asguardians of the Galaxy in the comics, has a nice arc in terms of character and Heimdall is given more to do and work with in this film, which is great because Idris Elba is great. There’s just so much that works because we have the Hulk start to realize that there are things that can hurt him, we have Banner hiding away or more so Hulk taking control and just the changing and growing dynamic of the relationship between Thor and Loki. Plus we get Valkyrie who is awesome.
2 – Avengers: Endgame
I don’t think there will be much surprise for the two that top this list, maybe just some question about the order, but for me Endgame is #2. The reason for that is that the ending doesn’t really stick with you the way that it does in Infinity War. It pulls a little bit of a Return of the King in terms of how many endings it kind of has, but it feels right still to send off all of those characters the way that they did. It also does a really good job of bringing the heroes back together again. I like how they use time travel, I like how they use Ant-Man, and I think the whole thing just makes an odd amount of sense. But really, this film is about closure and passing of the torch for Captain America, and for Iron Man, finally being able to know that he saved everyone and that he did the right thing which is what he’s been trying to do, for better or worse – it’s worse – throughout all of the films, he’s always trying to redeem himself for what started in Iron Man with him finding out that his company sold weapons to the enemy.
1 – Avengers: Infinity War
Finally, we have Infinity War as my #1 film. I think so much of this works because we get to see into Thanos brain, and we get to see how he thinks he’s doing the right thing. Now, there are massive issues with his plan, though less absurd then trying to impress Death like in the comics, but he believes in it, and he believes that what he’s doing is the right thing and a good thing. And we get to see the start of the Avengers coming back together. I like that it isn’t them fully back together in mindset, that doesn’t come until much later in Endgame, but we get to see all the main players come together to do battle again, and this film has some epic battles, which I think Endgame is lacking in some ways, as it’s more of a very entertaining heist film. Finally, I like it that they don’t win, sure, they might win in the end, but here, they don’t win and they don’t just barely lose, they lose so much and, again, we get to see the fallout from everything that was lost in this film in Endgame.
So, that’s my list, I’m sure for a lot of people films like Winter Soldier or Civil War would make the list, and probably some like Age of Ultron and Doctor Strange would be off the list. It’s okay to have your flawed opinion, but I am curious to know how other people would put their top 10, any major surprises that would make your list from how the films are generally seen?
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