“They made ANOTHER Fantasy Realms game?”
A friend of mine saw the list of review games to be played recently, and I had to admit the truth: yes, you are right. We were going to play another version of Fantasy Realms.
WizKids, publisher of the Fantasy Realms line of games, is back with yet another spin on Fantasy Realms with the release of Marvel: Remix.
Here at Meeple Mountain, we have become experts on the line—we’ve reviewed Fantasy Realms, the Fantasy Realms expansion module The Cursed Hoard, the spinoff Star Trek: Missions, even Red Rising, which is a Stonemaier Games production based on the Fantasy Realms concept.
Marvel: Remix takes the Fantasy Realms format and layers Iron Man, Black Panther, and Thor on top. Does it work? It works just like all of those other games, for better and for worse.
“Wait, Justin—in all of your other reviews, you cover the rules, the production, the gameplay; did I miss the middle section?”
You did not, my friends. If you want to know how these games play, feel free to read any of the other excellent reviews I linked above. All these games use the same core gameplay loop.
Here’s the bottom line—Marvel: Remix is absolutely average fare, meant only for those who truly love Fantasy Realms but would prefer a lower-scoring version of that game with Marvel characters.
Below is a picture of the back of the cards. Plain as vanilla ice cream. The cards come in two decks—Remix, which has everything but Villains, and a Villain deck—and the team at WizKids didn’t bother to invest in interesting cardback art at all. Like, look at this: there’s just plain ol’ “Villain” written on the backs of those cards.
Why couldn’t they have silhouettes of some of the villains in the game? Or just a couple of pictures of the coolest villains in the game, like Magneto, Ultron or Mystique? Nothing. The Remix deck doesn’t even have the Marvel logo. How about artwork with some of the more famous heroes exploding towards the outer edges of the cards, or something else creative on the back.
I don’t even think of this as hack work. I think these decisions were made because it allowed for speedy production and even faster distribution of a game that has moved into Madden/Call of Duty video game territory for WizKids: release a very slight reskin of a popular game a couple of times each year.
Just like the base game, each card works best with just a few other cards, so you are playing Marvel: Remix in the hopes of finding those combos.
Those card families are certainly easier to understand if you are a huge Marvel fan (I land somewhere in the middle on Marvel films, fading after movie #15 hit theaters and deciding I wanted off the Marvel train). In my first game of Marvel: Remix, I had Black Panther and Killmonger in my starting hand, and when another player discarded Shuri (a prominent character from the film Black Panther), I simply decided to lean in hard and start collecting Black Panther-themed cards.
That got me a win, since I knew what I was looking for, even if I had no idea how many Black Panther-themed cards were in the deck.
So, Fantasy Realms is still Fantasy Realms, and Marvel: Remix IS Fantasy Realms. These games are simple to teach, you’ve got to find a great seven-card hand, you don’t know your odds, nor do you have any sense of how your hand will score against the other players at the table. Some games will take 10 minutes; others, maybe 20-25 minutes.
The artwork is fine (on the face-up side of the cards, anyway), and despite the lack of flavor text on any card, you’ll mostly be in good shape if you have been anywhere near the world of comics/movies/TV shows the Marvel world has captured.
(That said—I have no idea which property the villain “The Leader” is attached to. Even a little hint of which comic he is from would be nice, I guess?)
Marvel: Remix is safe to skip unless you are a) a Fantasy Realms completionist, who wants all the flavors of the same game, b) a Marvel gaming completionist who needs to own everything under the sun branded with Marvel logos, or c) a person who enjoyed Fantasy Realms but wanted a be-all, end-all version of that game with a Marvel reskin.
Many of the people who joined me for a game of Marvel: Remix have given me that “meh” feeling when it was over—not bad, wouldn’t buy it, but would play it if they have a real passion for the Marvel universe. I feel the same way, and I think this will serve as my retirement from Fantasy Realms games!