As Marvel continues to go from strength to strength on both screen and page, it’s no great surprise that it isn’t far behind in the realm of tabletop games. If you can fight your way (kapow!) past dozens of cheap and tacky mass-market spinoffs, there are several cracking Marvel board games out there. These run the gauntlet from full-on miniature skirmish action experiences to far more cerebral engine-building board games.
In every Marvel board game, you get to control your favourite comic book heroes in epic battles against evil, furnished with classic comic-book art. Unsurprisingly, a lot of Marvel games are cooperative, with players working together to tackle a foe, but there are plenty of great competitive strategy board games too. Once you’re done with the seven below, check out our 20 best board games list for more tabletop inspiration.
The best Marvel board games are:
- Marvel: Crisis Protocol
- Marvel United
- Splendor: Marvel
- Marvel Champions: The Card Game
- Legendary: A Marvel Deck-Building Game
- 5-Minute Marvel
- Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power
Marvel: Crisis Protocol
If you’ve ever played or watched a Warhammer 40k match and wished you could replace the Space Marines with superheroes, this is the game for you. Marvel: Crisis Protocol comes with ten detailed sculpts of Marvel characters, including Iron Man and Ultron, and some urban scenery to set up which includes a Daily Bugle stand. Once assembled, it’s time to go toe to toe with some epic tabletop skirmish action.
Tactically, the game is about managing energy tokens: characters accumulate one per round, but their most spectacular and thematic powers tend to cost several. To get more you can either hang back or, in a curious flip, earn them by getting stuck in and taking damage from the enemy. If the battle bug bites you, then you can try painting miniatures or add more heroes and villains to your collection from a plethora of expansion packs.
Publisher CMON is famous for its plastic-packed productions, but when you crack open Marvel United you’ll either be delighted or appalled by the chunky but divisive chibi-style figures inside.
The game is a simple cooperative battler where your heroes work together to beat a villain controlled by an AI card deck. Its clever twist is that on the hero turn you each play one card into a timeline, and each card also re-activates the icons and abilities on the one before. This turns the fight into a cool puzzle where you’ll need to plan carefully to make the most of each action chain to beat down the bad guy before they do the same to you.
The original Splendor was a great card game about investing in gems to create resources that allow you to invest in even bigger gems. So it’s not a huge adjustment to turn that into a game about fitting stones into Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet.
Both Splendor and Splendor: Marvel share a beautifully simple core of collecting tokens that you use to buy cards, which then count as a bonus towards future purchases. It’s a race, essentially, and the winner is whoever can tune their token-buying engine to run with minimal wastage. This Marvel version adds some minor tweaks to gameplay and replaces the po-faced art with vibrant comic strip alternatives.
Marvel Champions: The Card Game
This is a ‘Living Card Game’, which is like a collectable card game such as MTG, but rather than blind boosters, you know what you’re getting in every box. Unlike most such games, deck construction is very simple: you combine cards associated with your hero with some representing a thematic ‘aspect’, like justice or aggression. Then you fill up the few remaining slots with cards of your choice.
Players then take their decks and work together to battle a villain, who also has their own deck representing their devilish scheme. A core aspect of the game is that players have to choose when to flip between their hero and their alter-ego, with different cards and effects usable by each. Heroes can attack, for example, but only alter-egos can rest and heal.
Legendary: A Marvel Deck-Building Game
Beware! The ‘deck-building’ in the title doesn’t mean constructing a deck before you play, as you do with a collectable or trading card game. Rather, it means that you build your deck as you play.
In Legendary, your initial SHIELD Agent cards can be used to recruit new cards to your deck, some of which give you additional purchasing power. Long term, though, you want to get cards with an attack value that you can use to start clobbering the villain and their sidekicks. These are controlled by a separate deck which includes not only the goons but various schemes to thwart and bystanders to rescue.
While players need to work together to beat the boss, and all lose if they fail, this is one of those co-op games where someone’s still the winner.
5-Minute Marvel is yet another cooperative Marvel board game, this time pitting you against the clock as well as a series of villains. Essentially, defeating enemies requires players to play cards with matching symbols from their hands. Easy, right? Except the five-minute timer is very tight, there are no player turns, and there’s no time to politely check what everyone else is holding.
This means the game becomes a chaotic free-for-all as you blindly slap down cards in real-time while hoping your partners aren’t crossing off exactly the same symbols and wasting those precious, precious seconds. Featuring some unusual heroes like Squirrel Girl alongside lots of fun art and in-jokes, this is five minutes of guaranteed fun.
Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power
No one expected the original Villainous, a game about the antagonists in classic Disney movies, to be the big hit it was. But playing the bad guys can be very compelling, especially with a clever design that sees you trying to advance your wicked plans while throwing spanners into those of other players.
There are now several franchised versions of Villainous, including this excellent Marvel version where you can pick from villains ranging from Killmonger to the mad titan Thanos himself. Each character has two unique decks, one which you draw from to gain minions and advance plans, and a fate deck which others draw from to push pesky heroes into your path.