What is this game about?
Sentinels of the Multiverse is a cooperative card game from Greater Than Games in which each player chooses a superhero (or one player chooses multiple heroes!). Then, you all throw down against an evil supervillian and his or her deck of minions. On top of that, you deal with an environment deck that presents new challenges every turn.
Sentinels is not a deck building game, nor it is a deck construction game. Each hero and villain comes with a pre-made deck for players to become familiar with—and each deck works a little bit differently, giving plenty of variability as you experiment with different combinations of heroes, villains, and environments. Not only does the base game include plenty of gameplay, but there are several expansions, all of which come together to form an overarching storyline.
The characters in Sentinels of the Multiverse are more than just faces on playing cards. There is an entire comic series devoted to their exploits, and it's awesome. So much thought has gone into the world of this game, and it's something that really shows when you play it.
How does it play solo?
Technically speaking, Sentinels of the Multiverse is supposed to be played with 3–5 heroes. That means that in solo play, a single person needs to track the cards, health, and damage bonuses of at least three different characters, as well as run the enemy and environment decks. And I will be real with you--Sentinels can definitely be fiddly, given that several cards offer damage bonuses or decreases. There are also several different types of damage to which various characters might have vulnerabilities or immunities.
That said, I LOVE to play Sentinels of the Multiverse solo. I don't really mind the bookkeeping, and finding interesting combinations of heroes is a ton of fun. You really do feel like a team of superheroes going after a bad guy, and win or lose, it's a total blast. I wish that Marvel and DC superhero games could be this good.
Other than the fact that it's fiddly, Sentinels of the Multiverse is a fantastic game. The turn order and rules are super clear and simple, and after setup, you're good to go with just the reference on the back of the rulebook and the text on the cards. The gameplay is solid and so much fun. You can choose to play simpler characters who do straightforward damage, or you can go for more complicated characters who offer you new and interesting ways to fight.
If you want to try Sentinels of the Multiverse but don't want to deal with the full amount of bookkeeping, you actually have two options. First, there is a truly excellent app for Sentinels, so gameplay is a breeze anywhere, anytime. Second, there is a companion app (Sentinels Sidekick) that helps you track damage for multiple heroes and minions while playing the tabletop version of the game. I personally love the companion app, and using it has made me feel a lot more open to app integration in tabletop games.
Do I recommend it?
YES. Enthusiastically. Sentinels of the Multiverse is great solo, with friends, or even with kids if they are comfortable reading. (And it's cooperative, so you can help them out if they need it.) Unless you either hate superheroes or truly loathe tracking damage for multiple characters, this is a game you ought to try. It will never leave my collection.
Overall Rating: 5 stars
5 stars — I love it!
4 stars — I really like it.
3 stars — I like it.
2 stars — It's okay.
1 star — Meh.