04th Aug2021

‘Crisis Protocol: Ghost Spider & Spider-Man Expansion’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

I recently reviewed the Black Widow and Hawkeye pack for Atomic Mass Games’ Crisis Protocol, and I remarked at the time that it was the first expansion I had encountered that featured a re-release of a character that existed in the core box. Where Black Widow was concerned, the updated model and character card featured the same alter-ego (Natasha Romanoff) and therefore only one Widow model can take to the field at once. That’s not the case for today’s review, for Spider-Man and Ghost Spider, because this Spider-Man is Miles Morales (compared to the Peter Parker of the core box) thanks to the multiverse storyline. Two Spider-Men (and a Spider-Woman)? Very interesting!

The original Peter Parker Spider-Man from the core box is a pretty tough customer, weighing in at a surprisingly high four threat. Miles Morales Spider-Man costs just three, and both variants have three physical, energy and mystical defence dice. Where Peter Parker moves long, Miles Morales moves medium – presumably to represent his lack of experience in the role! Both Spider-Men have five health on their healthy side, so no variation there in line with the level of defence dice. This is where the similarities end, and it’s in the abilities where we see the reason for Miles’ reduced Threat cost.

Morales Spider-Man has a better overall (albeit slightly weaker) basic attack than Peter Parker’s. Parker has a range-two, five-strength attack that generates power equal to the damage dealt. Morales attack also generates power, but it is range three and strength four. The reason I find it better than Peter Parker’s is that in addition to the extra range (and near as dammit attack strength) he also throws an opponent up to size three for short. In summary, it’s a longer-range attack that will usually do more damage between the four dice and the throw.

For three power, Morales also has Venom Blast – a range two, seven strength attack that causes a target model to drop any objective tokens it is holding. This attack is huge for a three-Threat character, and whilst the objective-dropping aspect is situational, it comes up often enough to be useful. The only downside here is the lack of inflicting Venom, which feels like a thematic miss if nothing else. Once per turn, Morales can also use his Webline Swing (for two power.) This allows him to be placed up to range three away, and it also allows him to add two dice to a basic attack performed afterwards (taking it from four dice to six, plus the push.)

Morales also has the same Spider-Sense ability as Peter Parker, allowing him to reroll two dice when dodging or defending against physical or energy attacks, and he is stealthy (meaning he can’t be targeted from over two range.) Finally, Miles Morales has the Great Responsibility power, with an affiliation with the Web Warriors (other Spider-People, plus one or two others.) This ability allows affiliated characters to reroll one defence dice when attacked, and to reroll skulls (or modify them) as long as they are holding an objective token.

Whilst Miles Morales is great in games with objective tokens and when affiliated, Ghost Spider (alter-ego Gwen Stacy) is quite a different prospect. She shares the same five health and three defence against all damage types as both of the Spider-Man variants, but she also shares the long movement range of the Peter Parker variant. She also weighs in at Threat three. Her Spider Technique basic attack is range two and strength four, also gaining power equal to damage dealt. She also adds three more dice if this is the second attack on the same target, and if she has already moved this turn, she can move long after the attack. This gives Ghost Spider some unique hit and run potential, and packs quite a punch.

Impact Webbing is her second zero cost ability – this one being range four and strength four, gaining one power after resolution (regardless of damage) and then pushing a size two or small character short. It’s a decent long-range attack that you shouldn’t rely on, but it can help you in a bind and push enemies into range of your other characters. Freestyle Beatdown is a more serious attack, on the other hand, with two range and six strength, Aside from its high base strength, this attack also throws a size three or smaller character short, which usually means more damage on top of the six dice already dealt.

Web Line and Life-Saver round out Ghost Spider’s arsenal, with the former pulling (or technically pushing according to the rules) a character up to range four away towards Ghost Spider. This basically brings them into range for Beatdown or Spider Technique, if needed, and costs two power. Life-Saver (which also costs two power) basically allows Ghost Spider to yank an allied character out of the range of an enemy attack, before it resolves. In many cases, this allows the enemy character who’s attack was interrupted to “reactivate” but it also means that they may have lost their only target and have to relocate. They also lose any power spent in the attack, so this is a useful skill that comes up more often than you might think.

Ghost Spider and Miles Morales Spider-Man make for a couple of interesting characters and when assembled with Peter Parker’s Spider-Man and other Web Warriors affiliated characters, they are flexible, versatile and fun to play with. There’s a lot of movement and board manipulation across their skillsets, and the characters are designed to combo at a moderately complex level – for example to make the most out of Ghost Spider’s Spider Technique, someone else needs to advance or place her (using a skill.) I don’t use these guys regularly because I prefer more straightforward characters, but they are great to see in full swing all the same.


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