I have been waiting for this day. I am a huge fan of the card game Sentinels of the Multiverse and have really been enjoying the digital version put out by the people over at Handelabra Games. I have been enjoying it so much that I am not really comfortable advertising how many hours I have put into the game.
For those not in the know, it is basically a game where you and your friends play a super hero and fight a bad person in a particular type of environment. What I like best about the game is the co-operative element and the fact that no one has to play the bad person.
Anyway, I recently found out I was part of the Beta Testing of the Multiplayer for this game. Excitement doesn’t feel like it completely encapsulates the feeling in my heart, but it is the best I can do right now. I plan to lead you through my first thoughts on trying out the Multiplayer Beta and hopefully convert some non-players into players when this is over. Before we get to that, lets lay down some groundwork.
Part 1: Backstory
While the card game has been a lot of fun to play and also introduce to new people, the digital version has been interesting because you can find new combos that maybe you hadn’t thought of before, have a computer take care of all the bean counting, or just have complete control over what happens. I am honestly interested to see how adding the multiplayer aspect, which is one of my favorite parts of the card game, into the digital version changes things. This is because there have been times I have been accused of maybe, just possibly, trying to control how another player plays a particular favorite character of mine whenever we play the card game.
The digital version gave me, and many other players, the chance to control all the heroes that the normal card game usually didn’t give us (unless you played the game solo. Multiple times. In the basement.).
With that said, I am also interested to see how this compares to the normal card game. Do you get the same feel with playing just 1 character? How good will the communication be between players, since this is a co-operative game? What actual choices will I have since this is only a Beta? These questions, and many more, will (hopefully) be answered below.
Part 2: Actually getting to play
I play the game through Steam, so there are a few steps I have to do to setup this game. Lets see how easy this is.
*beep* *bop* *boop* *boop*
Okay, that seriously was super easy and probably doesn’t even deserve it’s own part.
Part 3: Playing the Game
First screen shows promise, as I am introduced to actual people being online looking for a game. This may not seem like something important to some people, but some beta versions of games have actually had 0 people online, or not working servers at all. So, this is a major win already.
It keeps the theme, which isn’t even necessary in a beta version. Lets jump into our first game.
I join into an already created game. I want to pick Argent Adept, but seeing as I want to be writing at the same time, I think I should start out strong and simple and go with Legacy.
While I sit and wait for the game to start I start wondering “how do we communicate?” and just as that thought enters my head I see a little speech bubble appear. So far, so good. The communication is simple and easy and, at this point, isn’t filtered in any way. I hope it stays like that for the release.
Our first game will be against the Spite: Agent of Doom.
Heroes: Legacy, Tempest, Unity, Tachyon, Nightmist.
Environment: Ruins of Atlantis
- Game is going pretty smooth and plays very similar to the normal digital edition. I am even surprised to see there is still the “rewind” function. So far it looks like this Beta has everything the normal version has, but they simply just added multiplayer. Nice and simple, I like it.
Differences from the Digital Version:
- First thing you notice is you can’t see other players cards. Personally, for me, that was actually kind of strange. When I play the card game we actually play with all our cards face up on the table so we can better plan our turns. When I moved to the digital version getting to see everyone’s cards just seemed normal to me.
- This is in no way a bad thing. This actually makes more sense and honestly makes it more like the card game.
- Voting on choices:
You may notice the little bubbles above the cards with different numbers inside. These are players votes. In this instance we were voting on which cards when back into the players hands. This is a simple and nice addition.
- Players Quitting: Sad that I had to find out what happens during this in the first game, but it isn’t very surprising. When someone quits the leader can simply assign the character to another player. This means the game can keep going on and some random doesn’t hop into a hopeless game and get upset. This is also a nice feature.
- I actually had all the other players leave the game. This made me the new leader and I assigned all the heroes to myself and barely pulled out a victory.
This game I am going to join another random and see how that goes. I have to of course pick Argent Adept.
While waiting for the game to start I notice the options:
I see that they have already included the option of seeing everyone’s hands, which I was talking about earlier. It looks like they really put a lot of thought into this Beta before even putting it out there. I am really liking this so far.
Heroes: Dark Visionary, Argent Adept, Redeemer Fanatic, America Legacy, Unity
Environment: Pike Industrial
- On turn 1 someone quits. The person assigned to take over his character can not see the cards. We agree to start another game.
Heroes: Argent Adept, America Legacy, Redeemer Fanatic, Expatriate
Environment: Realm of Discord
- From the start things seem to work pretty smoothly. I haven’t unlocked the Redeemer Fanatic yet, so it is nice to see her in action.
- As usual, I use the Adept to boost others and control the environment. Luckily the rest of my team are good at doing damage.
- I am starting to notice some instances where the “suggestion” box with a number gets hidden behind other graphics, but considering this is a Beta I am not really disappointed.
- Bug Reporting: We did find a bug during this game. Shock rounds attached to Expatriate’s shotgun did not activate when she used that power. It may have been because it was activated when it wasn’t her turn, by Argent Adept, who’s power was activated on Legacy’s turn. Seeing as how confusing that was I am not surprised. Luckily, the reporting a bug feature is really simple. Sadly, during the time it took me to report the bug, 2 of the other 3 players left.
- This game went on a little long, but me and the 1 other guy pulled through.
Game 4ish: Final game
This being the final game of this discussion, I decided to go ahead and take a hack at being the team leader and seeing if I found anything new.
Environment: Wagner Mars Base
- While waiting for players to join, I do notice that each game gets its own little comic title. Ours was “Justice Comics #386”. It is a nice little flavor touch.
- I select the “open hands” option so we can see other peoples hands. I am interested if any of the players will say anything.
- Voting Options:
- Majority: The game proceeds when more than half of the players have voted for one option.
- Plurality: The game proceeds when all players have voted and one option receives more votes than any other, or when a majority is reached.
- Unanimous: All players must vote for the same option to proceed.
- I pick Majority to keep things simple.
- Trying to host my first game does not go as good as planned. I can not see other players select their heroes and do not have the option to start the game. Will restart the game and see if that improves.
- No idea if what I did fixed it, but 2nd time works perfect.
Heroes: Visionary, Legacy, Ra, Unity
Environment: Wagners Mars Base
- I found out during this game that players can play multiple characters. That is a nice little surprise.
- Only 1 time during this game did someone suggest in the chat box what another player should have played instead of what they actually chose.
- This game doesn’t take very long.
Part 4: Conclusion
This was a very smooth Beta that makes me excited for the release. There are a few kinks to work out, but that is what the Beta is for.
- For a Beta this is very good. It keeps all of the basic games abilities and adds in the multiplayer. Pretty simple and works great.
- Options for how choices are made.
- Options for card reveal.
- Bug reporting is easy.
- Easy communicating with other players.
- Nothing crashed.
- Hosting a game was a little wonky. First few attempts did not run smoothly. But a simple restart of the game seemed to fix that.
- Ambuscades face.