Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday 28 August 2018

This game is a snap:- Thanos Rising

Game: Thanos Rising: Avengers Infinity War

Publisher: USAopoly

Designer: Andrew Wolf

Year: 2018

Thanos Rising is a 2-4 player cooperative dice game in which you play as a super-hero team attempting to stop Thanos from collecting all the infinity gems. You will spend your time recruiting more heroes, each with their own abilities and fighting lesser villains. Thanos himself is untouchable, but if you defeat enough of his army before he collects all the infinity stones, or kills too many heroes, then you can claim victory.

Each turn you choose one of 3 areas on the board to deploy your team, this determines which 3, of the 9 available, cards you can interact with this turn. You then roll both the Thanos dice, one simply has a colour of infinity stone, add 1 cube to the counter for that colour, should it reach 5 then he has the stone and any future rolls of that colour give him a unique power. The second dice determines where Thanos faces, should he face your segment then he will attack you, but he will also attack any heroes in that area, non recruited heroes can die too!

Once the Thanos dice have been dealt with you can roll your dice and perform any special actions your heroes give you. Everytime you roll dice you must assign at least 1 to the matching symbol on one of the 3 cards you can interact with this turn. You then can re-roll any remaining dice, again assigning at least 1 die. If you ever can't assign a dice then you turn ends immediately. Shoudl you have assigned enough dice to match the requirements on a hero then you will add that hero to your team. Do the same to a villain and you deal 1 damage to it and draw a bonus token, deal enough damage and a villain is defeated, should you defeat enough villains then you win the game. If any player finds themselves with no living heroes, or if Thanos gets all the stones, or if enough heroes die then the game is lost.

Thanos Rising is a fairly simple dice game, but it's also a mean one. We particularly found that the biggest issue is getting off the starting block. Early on you have a low number of dice and no rerolls or bonus tiles to help you out. It's easy to have 1/2 turns of bad luck and find yourself remaining in this disadvantaged state. Some heroes and villains are simply harder to interact with than others, of course these have better abilities, but should you have a lot of these early on it can feel almost impossible to get your engine started. Worst of all in a coop game this can lead to 1 player being far behind the curve compared to everyone else and feeling a little useless in comparison. It hurts to be rolling 4 dice when everyone else is rolling 7.

While the gameplay of Thanos Rising may be simple, it is by no means easy. Heroes dying wasn't often a major issue in our experience (there are enough heroes that can heal), but instead it was the time limit of Thanos collecting the stones. It's hard enough to complete the 'easy' objective of 7 dead villains as often you can only target 1 villain a turn and usually need 2-3 rounds to kill 1 villain, and that's assuming you roll well enough to achieve anything! This slow pace of success is compared to Thanos getting between 20-40% closer to getting a stone every turn. This does slow off near the end of the game when he has most of the stones, but at that point you are suffering so much under his power that it certainly doesn't feel like a reprieve.

In many ways Thanos Rising reminds me of Elder Sign. If anything Thanos Rising is a little more forgiving to failure, but both are games that prove that luck can be a fickle mistress. There is a lot of fun to be had from Thanos Rising, it feels great to get some heroes that combo off each other, and equally devastating to see that great hero crushed under Thanos' boot. The game certainly has table presence, with a large statue of Thanos looming over the main board. The model certainly could use a better paint job, and I do wish that the gems for the infinity gauntlet actually properly fitted into their slots on the board. Bar these minor gripes the game is very well presented, with a solid layout for cards and clear iconography. Ultimately Thanos Rising is slightly lacking in the gameplay department for me, but that's not to say it's a bad game. For a mass market game based off such an iconic franchise it does a great job of presenting gameplay that is easy enough for anyone to pick up, making it a great gateway dice-chucker for non-gamers.


Thanos Rising was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is available for an RRP of £46.99 at your friendly local game store or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk/.

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