Sentinels of the Multiverse, the popular superhero themed cooperative card game, is getting a brand-new edition with completely revised art. Sentinels of the Multiverse: Definitive Edition will include newly polished and streamlined rules, plus even more heroes and villains than the original version of the base game. Best of all, the creators at Greater Than Games tell Polygon they expect it to be in retail stores by the end of 2021.
Of course, that’s not stopping Greater Than Games from putting the game up for pre-order at Kickstarter on March 30. The $59.95 game will be available on the crowdfunding platform for $50, and backers will get their copies first. In a break with crowdfunding tradition, there will be no stretch goals for this campaign, no unlocks, and no deluxe collectors editions.
“For this re-erelease, we don’t want to have extra little promos,” co-creator Christopher Badell told Polygon in an interview last week. “We don’t want to have mini expansions for one or two things. We’re collecting everything into this big box, and we have plans for big box expansions to this.”
Sentinels of the Multiverse is one of those weird success stories that could only come out of the world of tabletop gaming. Badell and his friend, artist Adam Rebottaro, wanted a certain kind of superhero board game that just didn’t exist at the time. So they made one up from scratch to fill that void. In 2011 when they showed up with a booth at Gen Con, the nation’s largest tabletop gaming convention, the line was out the door and a franchise was born.
But they didn’t just make up the game. They made up a rich history as well.
Their universe inserts a third major publisher next to Marvel and DC. It’s called Sentinel Comics, and it shares some of the same trials and tribulations in its own 70-year coming-of-age story. The characters that players inhabit at the table are derived from the rich, completely made-up history of this fictional publisher.
“I have this giant spreadsheet of every comic book [Sentinel] ever published,” Badell said, “what year and what month it came out; what books were published at the same time; what the editorial staff was and who the writers and artists were on all these books; and what the storylines across all these books are. We’ve got various real-world events that altered the way the comics were at that time. We created this entire nonsense, fake history.”
But it’s that fake history that caught on with fans, in a way filling the gaps between movie releases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and ... whatever DC has been doing this whole time. That’s why there’s also now a Sentinels of the Multiverse board game, a tabletop role-playing game, and a successful video game.
Aside from the streamlined rules and other new gameplay features — several of which haven’t been announced yet — Badell said he’s most happy with the new art. Every piece on every card was made by co-creator Adam Rebottaro, whose own capabilities have only grown since the game launched 10 years ago.
“Adam’s art styles are so good and so different that he is able to really chameleon-like ape all these different eras,” Badell said. “There’s arts of characters in comics from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, up until the late 20-teens, and the art styles really changes. You can tell by looking at a card what era it comes from, and really the types of stories are being told and what the focus of the writers and the artists were just from that.”
This new art treatment will further enhance the game which, Badell says, much like Magic: The Gathering and other popular collectible card games, builds a different kind of story with every game.
“We’re not trying to do prescriptive gameplay,” Badell said. “We’re doing emergent gameplay where we give you this box of Legos and everything you do adds to the richness of the story at the table. So you are both playing a hero, but also partly a storyteller at the table when you’re playing this game.”
Of course, unlike Magic, Sentinels has never been a collectible game in the traditional sense. Nor is it a Living Card Game in the style of the games that Fantasy Flight Games produces. Instead, it’s a kind of anthology. The base game will come with cards for 12 characters, six villains, and six different locations for their epic battles to take place. Those decks will all remain the same for the life of the game. Meanwhile, Greater Than Games has six more big-box expansions slated to release over the next six years.
The street date for Sentinels of the Multiverse: Definitive Edition is aggressively planned for Gen Con 2021 — currently scheduled for Aug. 5 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Backers should expect to receive their copies beforehand. Badell said that a retail version should reach stores before the end of the year.
You can find out more later today on the Greater Than Games website, and sign up for the newsletter to be alerted as soon as the Kickstarter campaign goes live.