“Fun isn’t something one considers when balancing the universe. But this… does put a smile on my face.”
Coinciding with the release of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos Rising is a cooperative dice and card drafting game for 2-4 players. The game has the players trying to recruit heroes and defeat a set number of villains before Thanos can either obtain all 6 Infinity Stone or defeat 10 heroes. The game’s difficulty is variable and can be set before play offering players a choice of how long to play and how hard the gameplay is.
The overall goal of Thanos Rising is to gather a team of heroes and defeat 7-10 villain before Thanos can obtain all 6 Infinity Stones or defeat 10 heroes. There are two main boards to the game: one containing 3 Deployment Zones with the Thanos figure in the center and an Infinity Gauntlet board with 6 sub-boards, each with an Infinity Stone track. At the start of the game, each player will take an HQ Card and the hero associated with that card. The rest of the cards are shuffled to create a draw deck. 3 cards are then drawn and placed face-up for each of the 3 Deployment Zones, while Thanos is set facing 1 Deployment Zone at random.
Each turn players will first place their Player Marker on a Deployment Zone then roll the Thanos and Infinity Stone dice to determine Thanos’ actions and to advance one of the Infinity Stone tracks. Thanos can rotate, cause villains to use their special powers, or even force an extra roll of the Infinity Stone die. Thanos will also deal damage to whatever heroes are in the Deployment Zone he’s facing. If, at any point in the game, an Infinity Stone track is filled that stone is moved to the Infinity Gauntlet and its track is flipped over to reveal a power. Then anytime that color is rolled on the Infinity Stone die the power is put into effect instead of advancing a track.
The current player now rolls their base set of dice (located on their HQ card) along with any other dice provided by heroes they’ve recruited. The end goal of these dice rolls is to either match the symbols on a hero or a villain in that zone. If a player can match symbols on a hero, that hero is recruited. If they match those of a villain, that villain takes damage and the player earns a bonus token. When a hero is recruited or a villain’s health is depleted it’s removed at the end of the turn and new cards take their place.
That’s the basics in a nutshell, with the full details located in the full rules. Players keep taking turns until the required number of villains is defeated, or Thanos obtains all 6 Infinity Stones or defeats 10 heroes.
- Box ⭐
- 42 Asset (Hero and Villain) Cards 👍
- 4 Team Base/Summary Cards 👍
- 4 Team Deployment Tokens 👍
- 15 Power Dice 👍
- 1 Thanos Dice 👍
- 1 Infinity Stone Die 👍
- 50 Damage Counters 👍
- 30 Infinity Stone Control Counters 👍
- 30 Bonus Tokens 👍
- 1 Deployment Zone 👍
- 1 Infinity Gauntlet ⭐
- 6 Infinity Stones ⭐
- 1 Thanos Figure ⭐
- Rules 👍
(👍 = Good, 👎 = Bad, ⭐ = Exceptional)
USAopoly really pulled out all the stops with Thanos Rising. I have to admit I expected more of a cash-in considering it’s a game tied to a major motion picture release, but the game is not just a top-notch production, it’s an excellent game. It blends luck mitigation and card drafting with a constant threat that constantly looms over players’ heads. The tension in the game is palpable, even on easier difficulties and this really drives the theme of the game home as players race to defeat the game by trying to balance recruiting more heroes and defeating villains.
There’s something for everyone in Thanos Rising. Casual gamers and those just picking it up because they’re a fan of the movies or comics will find an easy-to-learn game based off a popular IP. Hobby gamers will find a game with enough depth, choices, and consequences to satisfy their gaming itch and provide a satisfying overall experience.
USAopoly really surprised me with this one.
A review copy of Thanos Rising was provided free for review by USAopoly.
Thanos is a sack-face.
Media personality Rob “Devar-TTY” Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of Devar-TTY’s Pawns Perspective, Dev now focuses mostly on video games and TTRPGs. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.