By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Kickstarter ends in 7 days.
The Umbrella Academy has become quite the sensation! Not only has it transitioned from comic book (by Dark Horse Comics) to a successful Netflix show, it’s a card game too! A lot of it owes a debt to writer/creator Gerard Way‘s story of a dysfunctional family of superheroes and Gabriel Bá‘s artistic style.
The game exceeded crowdfunding expectations, and if you want in on an early release, now is the time to visit the Kickstarter page..
Playing the game brings forth those key elements together in a narratively fun way and playing the maximum of six players is required to get the most out of it. There are fourteen heroes to choose from–like Space Boy, The Rumor and The Kraken–and I found this game is not as fun solo, and neither is having two or three players. The recommended number is definitely four or more so teaming up against the cacophony of villains (all wonderfully drawn Bá) by is all the more challenging.
Players have three stacks to draw from when challenging the bad guys. One is the Dysfunctional Relationship pile, the Villain Attack deck and the Bad Guys you meet. Depending on the number of players involved, you draw from five to ten opponents. The hero cards (your card hand) have numbers to indicate whether you can successfully defeat the boss, and by teaming up, each of them can be taken down in successive order.
The point of the game is to talk to teammates! The only time they can get penalized is when the ‘Family Secrets’ card is drawn, otherwise it’s a battle to the end during each round. Life points are lost, the choice to keep fighting or be healed are options.
This game is almost like playing Champions the RPG. You meet your opponent, take hits, heal and keep on fighting until one is down. The mechanics are different but the flow is very familiar.
Fans of this franchise will enjoy this game a lot more than the casual. The cards are made of thinner stock and can be easily bent. I recommend investing in sleeves so another set doesn’t have to be bought for those who plan on regularly playing this game.
The review edition I received didn’t come with the box. The eventual release is complete with a tray to organize your cards. Whether the slots are big enough to hold them with sleeves, that’s a detail still to be revealed.
Other editions, according to Kickstarter, reveals better card stock is used. The Deluxe version comes with a beautiful looking game board, and that alone is enough to make me consider picking up the final product when it hits retail. It’s expected to release December 2020.
Sept 7, 2020 Update: If you missed this Kickstarter, that’s okay! Coming soon will be Umbrella Academy: The Board Game from UK based Mantic Games! This announcement was made to folks to who contributed at the end of their Hellboy the RPG campaign, and they teased with an image of the miniature Kraken. This company said please stay tuned to their social media channels!