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Marvel: Damage Control

It sounds like good news when superheroes turn up to take on the supervillains that are terrorising your city. Good news, that is, until they physically clash. As they trade punches and use their powers, they almost inevitably leave destruction in their wake. Tho' it was in the DC rather than Marvel Universe, this was most graphically shown in the movie Man of Steel (2013) and to best effect in the great opening of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). In WizKids' Marvel: Damage Control, the 1-4 players represent clean-up crews working through the rubble following a hero/villain conflict.

Designed by Omari Akil, with art by Darren Calvert, Damage Control is notionally a deck building game, in that players all start off with a small deck of very basic action cards that they'll add to during the course of play. You have a hand of four cards and you must play all four on your turn. In most deck builders, players are buying cards from a face-up display. Not so here. In keeping with the theme, the more powerful cards in this game are rubble dropped into the game's 'destruction zone', the size of which is varied in accordance with the number of players. There will be just a few face-up cards; the large majority of cards will be face down. Cards will certainly overlap each other.

You can play a card with an Uncover icon to flip a face-down card provided the central 'radar' symbol on the card back is visible in its entirety. To pick up a card and add it to your hand you need to play a card with an Extract icon. Playing the Discard icon lets you remove a face-up card from the rubble and receive 2 'influence' (currency). The Vault icon lets you place a card from your hand to your vault, where it will add to your end-game scoring. Tho' some cards have a zero cost, the majority require payment of 'influence' in order to play them. There are various effects that can be triggered by event cards, and when you encounter Marvel characters you can recruit them provided you meet their prerequisites.

You're playing as demolition contractors rather than Marvel characters so players may not be trading blows, Marvel style, but there's a lot of 'take that' interaction in Damage Control. That's even the case if you're playing in solitaire mode (where card effects that target another player target you instead!). The game can be frustrating too because if you Uncover a particularly desirable card without being able to Extract it, you could be handing a gift to an opponent. That said, Marvel: Damage Control is certainly very distinct from the large majority of other deck building games. And if you're a Marvel fan you'll need little prompting to add this game to your collection.

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