Interview

The Marvel Champions 20 Questions Hotseat, Issue #1: KennedyHawk

Welcome, Kennedy to the first issue of our new series, The Marvel Champions 20 Questions Hotseat. Thank you for taking time out of your day to answer our questions.

Hi Everyone! I hope everyone is being safe during the quarantine and getting in lots of games of Marvel Champions! I’m stuck at home in a bottle episode with the kids during all this so I’ve snuck games in while Thomas or Peppa the Pig are playing, but I’ve really been enjoying playing online with others from the community during this time.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

1. Let’s kick this off with your history with Marvel. What was your history with Marvel, if any, before you discovered Marvel Champions?
I have a long history with Marvel and comics in general. I started collecting comics in my youth, I had an uncle purchase me a subscription to Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog starting with issue #1. He passed away just a few months later and his wife encouraged me to keep reading and continued my subscription eventually giving me my Uncle’s old collection. So even back in high school I had collections that included full runs of some classic X-men and Avengers books! I’ve collected comics ever since to honor my late Uncle and now I enjoy reading them with my kids. In the Marvel universe, I’ve mainly stuck to X-men, Fantastic Four, and the Cosmic Stories (like Annihilation). I’ve traveled to many comic conventions, cosplayed, and even worked at a comic store for a short stint.

2. Moving into Marvel Champions, where and when did you learn about the game?
I learned about this game at GenCon during the in-flight FFG preview. I was immediately obsessed with the game. I’m fairly certain I demoed it more times than is healthy. I’d been wanting and requesting a Marvel LCG for a long time. I’ve played every other LCG released by FFG so I was stoked to find one of my dreams came true. Now, if Nate French could get to work on a competitive Super Smash Bros. LCG, life would be complete.

3. Before playing the game, what was your first impression?
I was really excited. I had played the other co-op LCGs and seeing an overview of the game and the hero deck building system it was the perfect blend of what I loved about other pod/kit based LCGs and with the perfect IP. I was sold (except they weren’t selling it yet.

4. When did you play the game your first time and how did it affect your first impression?
I was blown away. It was with the provided starter decks, I played Captain Marvel. My wife played Iron Man. I just passed her cards each turn until we took down Rhino. It was the perfect LCG for us as it seemed to have a good balance at 2 players. I was excited and wanted to immediately try another character.

5. Clearly you love the game enough to do content for it, what was the final push that made you want to do content?
I only have made real “content” for one other game, Star Wars: Destiny. It was a fun independent endeavor. I think maybe 3 people watched my videos. I was also in the middle of writing a graduate school dissertation so I didn’t have a ton of time. It gave me just enough of a preview to know it was something I’d enjoy. Now that I have more free time I decided I would wait until the perfect game came along and this was it. I was lucky the Marvel Champions Monthly Podcast team came together or I’d still probably be making youtube videos with 1-3 views for myself.

6. Speaking of content, what kind of content do you do for the game and where can people find it?
A few places, we have a few co-hosts for the Marvel Champions Monthly Podcast. We are aiming to put out monthly audio podcasts discussing the game, current released, and fun deck builds. We splash in some Marvel lore and general discussion about card games. 

You can find that content on Podbean (or any podcast platform): http://marvelchampionsmonthly.podbean.com/

We also write somewhat weekly articles on the same website. I also do a fair bit of youtube I’m no pro but you can find my channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQagB2ueJmpn4_uNoVJZ_mA

I also do a lot of custom content generation. You can find my google drive link on the custom content discord (see the bottom of this article), but my favorite entries are listed here:

Namor (team designed villain to fill content voids): https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cNmre6WDsBt-JXFRAAd3YmFUAusfIVBj

Challenge Environments (1 card additions to spice up current villains):
https://drive.google.com/open?id=10RCs-Vf3jU0GyHG-z7JN_U0ZqNYXaiDc

7. Has doing content for the game taught you anything about the game or yourself that you may not have learned? If so what was it, If not why not?
One thing I’ve learned is that everyone enjoys games for a different reason. Some people (like me) want an impossible challenge that they really have to struggle to win. Some want a game to play casually with family and friends. What I learned is that Marvel Champions is able to be both of those things. Unlike previous LCGs that really seem to miss the mark for player entry, this one is perfect with standard, expert, and now heroic mode!

8. Diving into the game itself, who is your favorite hero to play as, what aspect is your favorite and why?
I love combo decks, because of this I first thought I would love Iron Man. I’ve found later on that what I really like is Black Panther. I think he is such a versatile character. I can show up to the store and not know the scenario until I sit down but I get the chance to pick the optimal starting upgrade each time and I think that optimal pick changes based on: player count, villain scenario, aspect presence, etc. I really like deck thinning so I like aspects that help me draw and ton and get a lot of cards on the board.

My favorite aspect is Leadership because having access to Shuri 4 times in my deck is wonderful. I’ve recently been playing T’Challa with a lot of aggression combos and it’s been great fun as well.

9. How about the villain side, who is your favorite villain to play against, which encounter set is your favorite so far and why?
My favorite villain is Klaw. When I host demo nights I let everyone play against Rhino we usually win. Then I say: “That was a generic villain, how could they change it up, let me show you!” Seeing Klaw just burn through his encounter deck has led to a lot of dropped jaws and nervous demo plays. I think he consistently provides a lot of pressure because of his high thwart and high minion count.

My favorite encounter set is either Legions of Hydra or Running Interference. I like Legions because it really helps the villain a lot, both with additional encounter cards and with guard minions. Seeing more of the villains’ encounter deck is challenging and fun. Running Interference scratches a different itch as it forces players into very awkward situations with alter ego and hero actions. It’s a very unique puzzle and I like that.

10. How do you prefer to play and if it is not alone, what does your playgroup look like?
I have 4 primary methods to play Marvel Champions. I do a lot of solo play, probably 50% of my games are solo. I play 2 players with my spouse about once or twice a week. Every other Friday our local game shop hosts a Marvel Champions Night, we usually have 2-3 tables of 3-4 players going. I also have a ton of play multiplayer on Tabletop Simulator (friend me as redeadkennedy on steam and we can catch a game!) I think the game shines most at 2-3 players but is also very fun in solo.

11. Do you customize your gaming experience anyway that goes beyond the official rules for the game, if so how and why?
I mentioned above the custom content I create. Other creators on discord do a great job constantly putting out villains and modular sets to test out. I’ve mainly stuck to custom villains when I want to modify my experience and custom challenge environments. The team that designed Namor is working on a few other custom villain packs to fill the content void right now so hopefully we can get something out while we all wait for the next FFG release!

12. As is, how does Marvel Champions stack up to other games you play or have played?
I didn’t mention other games I play yet, but I’ve played almost every card game out there. From the Munchkin CCG to Dice Masters from Magic the Gathering to the X-Men: the Movie TCG. I’ve tried them all. I think Marvel Champions is pretty top tier. My biggest complaint is we need more villains to challenge our decks against. I play a lot of Marvel Legendary I will never run out of villain scenario combinations there and hopefully won’t here either with the recent Rise of the Red Skull reveal!

13. Is there anything you would change with how the game currently is? If so how, If not why not?
I would change very little. I like what the creators have given us and I find it very enjoyable. I wish there was a way to tell more of a narrative in the game. In Lord of the Rings LCG the players progress the quest. In Akrham we have Agenda’s and Acts progressing so the games lend themselves to really interesting storytelling. I have faith FFG will bring the same charm to Marvel Champions and I’m excited to see it. If they were to do anything I would like to see them make some packs to increase villain difficulty, return to packs if you will. For now I’ll make my own custom ones when I want a challenge. (Spoiler Alert! The next project I have planned is “Return to…” packs!)

14. What was the craziest game you’ve had so far or your favorite memory from playing the game to date?
I can’t contain myself so I’ll tell you two stories.

Story 1: Captain America attacks for 40-50. Our 4 player playgroup likes to set up hilarious combos. We played a 4 player leadership game where everyone ran leadership with the goal of pumping Captain America to as high a level as possible. Using cards like Morale Boost, Lead From the Front, and Avengers Assemble we were able to get Captain America’s attack up to a value of 11. I then rattled off 4 attacks to Klaw’s face using his ability to “Do This All Day” and two copies of Tenacity. The entire table cheered and then Klaw threated out the next round due to an advance!

Story 2: Never-ending Wakanda Forever. I mentioned liking combo decks. I made and played a solo deck for a while that was all about thinning Black Panthers deck and playing Wakanda forever as many times as you can in one turn. I was able to flip Green Goblin to his III stage (dealing myself 3 encounter cards), then kill him before they resolved. It was pretty funny.

15. If FFG came to you and said they wanted to put you in charge of creating OP for this game, how would you do it and what would that look like?
It’s hard to say without knowing how OP currently works. But here’s what I would do. OP campaign kits come out quarterly. 

The kit would include:
-1 playmat (given to the friendliest player)
-4 copies of a new encounter in a continuing campaign
-A list of achievements to attempt against that campaign
-4 copies of two different reward cards
-4 copies of a comic book recapping the heroic story the players are about to play
-4 copies of an alternate art villain

Players would get to play a new scenario in a continuing campaign. The instruction sheet might specify certain play conditions like heroic 1, or a certain encounter card starts in play. Players are encouraged to fight against this villain and record their deck which can add one of the two reward cards depending on if players win or lose the game. After the event stores would submit results to a website where the worldwide stats would be published and shown to the community. Based on whether more players defeated or lost to the villain the next quarters kit would include more difficulty or easier set-up instruction (maybe if too many players lose the villain begins the next game stunned, if too many win, the heroes begin the next game confused!) Each year would be a 4 issue campaign that would conclude in a final showdown. Packs would be available print on demand direct from FFG 1 month after the event launches so you can play the campaign anytime you want. Tell your friends at FFG make it happen!

16. If you could bring any hero into the game, who would they be, what would they do and why?
This is really hard! I would likely pick some obscure X-men character (or a New Mutant perhaps). What I would like is a very simple character, like Spider-Ham. One that has simple text and abilities so small kids could play it once they learn to read. Then, I’d have a character my kids can play without too much coaching and I’d get to play twice as much Marvel Champions! If I was picking a character it would be Mirage from the new mutants. She would be able to create illusions to confuse the villain and force it to attack itself or minions. Her nemesis would be the Demon Bear, that thing caused many childhood nightmares.

17. If you could bring any villain into the game, who would they be, what would they do and why?
I got asked this recently and I didn’t know who I should say. Having more time to think about it, my answer is definitely Doctor Doom. He’s one of my all-time favorite villains and he would be a really fun Villian to pit against. Hopefully he would show off some sorcery and have lots of doombot decoys.

18. If you had to turn yourself into a card for the game, what kind of card (it can be a hero, upgrade, event, hero, villain, minion, etc) would you be, what would you do and why?
Maybe this is cheating. Upperdeck made an awesome card you could play in VS System 2PCG, it was called “Me!” and it was an “event” like card that put a copy of the player in the game. I’d love to have something like that, but more likely I would be a helpless hostage being attacked by the villain. So I guess I’d be a Treachery card “Attack the Hostage” When revealed (hero): The villain attacks you. This attack gains overkill and must be defended by an Ally if able.” The boost would definitely be 2 boost icons and add overkill to the attack. I’m a bad leadership player. I want my allies to suffer!

19. Time to head towards the conclusion but we need to touch on the MCU. What is your favorite MCU film and why?
My favorite MCU Film is definitely Ant-Man. I rate that film very near the top of my list. I’m also partial to both of the Guardians of the Galaxy films because I loved their comics so much but Ant-Man just hits home for me. My son also loves the Thomas the Tank Engine battle scene so we can talk him into watching that one quite often. Physical humor is one of my favorite styles and Ant-man has a ton of that. For shows, I really enjoyed Agent Carter and the message it sent out. I wish it had more than 2 seasons!

20. Before we get out of here, what is something you would like to share with our readers that most of them may not know about yourself?
I always like to end these with two truths and a lie, so I’ll let your reader’s guess and reveal it in the comments on your blog!

  • I have a PhD in Engineering Mechanics studying Nonlinear Vibration
  • My kids are named after comic characters and famous female STEM figures
  • I have never fully read an issue of a Batman comic

Thanks again Kennedy for answering our questions. We wish you the best in your content and would like to thank you for giving back to the community.

Thank you for asking me to do this interview. I really enjoy Marvel Champions and all the awesome creator content out there. If anyone is ever interested in making some content, reach out to one of the creators. The community in these co-op LCGs is pretty awesome and we are all willing to help you get content set-up and running. Engage in your local playgroup and spread your love for this game. I’ve seen too many great games come and go because people didn’t help the game along. Marvel Champions won’t survive without a strong community and this one has a great start!

If people would like to find you or your content, where can they find it?
Obligatory list of links:
Podcast and Article: http://marvelchampionsmonthly.podbean.com/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQagB2ueJmpn4_uNoVJZ_mA
Podcast Discord:  https://discord.gg/epAzHdw
Homebrew Discord: https://discord.gg/MqQBuf4
Twitter: @MarvelMonthly
Facebook: fb.me/MarvelChampionsMonthlyPodcast
Steam: redeadkennedy (add me and lets play!)

Thank you readers for reading this article and stay tuned for our next entry into this brand new series, coming Wednesday. Till then, we wish you nothing but the best and stay safe out there.

-JediGeekGirl

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