24th Oct2023

‘Marvel: Crisis Protocol – Earth’s Mightiest Core Set’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

When I reviewed the original Marvel: Crisis Protocol back at the start of 2020, I had no idea what would be coming later that year – several lockdowns later and I’d had so much time at home playing Marvel: Crisis Protocol either on my own or with my wife and eldest child that I truly felt I could have taken on anyone in the world at the debut miniatures game from Atomic Mass Games. Now, some three and a half years later, Atomic Mass Games are back to market with a brand new core set – known as Marvel: Crisis Protocol – Earth’s Mightiest Core Set.

With its new sculpts, updated graphic design and new, higher RRP, this brand new set fits the classic definition of a mid-life reboot, but unlike some of the re-releases, reboots and rehashes that we see around this time in the lifetime of many products, Marvel: Crisis Protocol – Earth’s Mightiest Core Set remains respectful of those already deeply invested in the product range. You see, Marvel: Crisis Protocol – Earth’s Mightiest Core Set does not replace existing characters or change the ruleset completely; rather it builds upon what has been established – and if anything this is testament to the success and popularity of this excellent game.

Marvel: Crisis Protocol – Earth’s Mightiest Core Set contains thirteen miniatures and represents eleven characters. Among these are the full roster of characters from the original core set, but because each named persona in Marvel: Crisis Protocol – Earth’s Mightiest Core Set is new to the Marvel: Crisis Protocol series, they are actually regarded as completely new and different to those instances of Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America (and so on) that already exist within the game. This isn’t completely new, and we’ve already had several models (and character cards) for Spider-Man (of course), Black Widow and a few others.

There is one completely new character (at least in respect to inclusion in a core set) in the form of Winter Soldier: Operative, and two new models which introduce new mechanical elements to the series. Firstly, Captain Marvel returns with two sculpts and two character cards – representing both her “normal” form and her “binary” alternative. Whilst only the “normal” form will typically be deployed at the outset of a fight, the Captain can transform into her Binary form later, at which point both the card and the model will be replaced. This is a neat touch, and something I am sure we’ll see more of in future expansions and sets.

Ultron also returns to the Marvel: Crisis Protocol – Earth’s Mightiest Core Set, but unlike in his previous forms, he now comes with a single base for himself and then a second that includes a handful of his minions. Whilst I haven’t played every Marvel: Crisis Protocol set available, I am yet to see any minion ability to date, and so unless I am mistaken, this is a new feature. Of course, whilst Ultron presents a real threat to the forces of good in his own right, his minions are considerably less tough and mainly serve to slow down and tie-up heroes, although some synergistic abilities can allow them to get more powerful if left unchecked.

There are also some minor updates to the affiliations of characters in this set, with Iron Man now an option for the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D (which didn’t exist as an option to build when Marvel: Crisis Protocol first launched) and Doc Octopus as a leader for the Sinister Six. There are also new Crisis Cards that now feature more information than they used to – where previously a player would need both a Crisis Card (to set the scene) and a map card (to actually build the scenario), now all this information can be found on a single card. This aids setup, makes it faster to get games up and running and enables players to get a better understanding of what they are doing throughout the game.

In addition to the new miniatures, new character cards and other bits and bobs, Marvel: Crisis Protocol – Earth’s Mightiest Core Set contains all the tokens and bits and bobs that you would expect a core set to. Some of these are visually enhanced versus those in the original release, but once again there is no material change here. What has changed a lot is the additional scenery – something which has always been a bugbear of mine in respect to miniatures games (for example Star Wars: Legion or Star Wars: Shatterpoint.) In Marvel: Crisis Protocol – Earth’s Mightiest Core Set players get loads of stuff to work with – two cars, a wrecked building, two JCB’s, a crashed car and loads of smaller pieces. Whether this is your first set, or an addition to what you already have, Marvel: Crisis Protocol – Earth’s Mightiest Core Set adds everything you’ll need to get started.

Marvel: Crisis Protocol – Earth’s Mightiest Core Set remains one of the very best miniatures games I have played – if not the best. Every character is recognisable (whether major or minor) and the way that Marvel: Crisis Protocol uses a points-based system to genuinely differentiate between those who are strong and those that are weak. Teams with more characters will have individual weakness, whilst those made up of larger, more powerful characters (like Hulk, Captain Marvel etc) will have fewer models that are each capable of holding off two or three minis by themselves.

If you’re considering getting into a miniatures game, then Marvel: Crisis Protocol – Earth’s Mightiest Core Set is the one to go for. If you were considering getting into Marvel: Crisis Protocol specifically, then this is the only way to do so now anyway. That’s not a bad thing though, because from the artwork on the box, to the revised sculpts and new scenery, there’s nothing that Marvel: Crisis Protocol – Earth’s Mightiest Core Set doesn’t improve upon over the original core set. Personally, I don’t like the “busier” style of the new character cards, but then again, the rules are now clearer and for many this has to be an improvement. Overall, this is an exceptional set for any miniatures gamer, and as an intro to Marvel: Crisis Protocol, you can’t do any better than Marvel: Crisis Protocol – Earth’s Mightiest Core Set.

****½  4.5/5

A copy of Marvel: Crisis Protocol – Earth’s Mightiest Core Set was supplied for review.

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