Welcome, Zach to our Marvel Champions 20 Questions Hotseat. Thank you for taking time out of your day to answer our questions.
Always happy to chat about Marvel Champions!
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?
My first experience with Marvel centers on the ‘90s cartoons (X-Men and Spider-Man particularly). I have a couple older brothers and cousins that had the comics, but I was too young to be allowed to handle them. I was, however, old enough to be the fourth member of the team for the Avengers video game! Superheroes were something I was into on and off again, but I absolutely loved the first Sam Rami Spider-Man movie. From there, the string of fantastic Marvel movies helped keep me engaged with the universe. It actually wasn’t until recently that I started reading the comics with Marvel Unlimited!
2. Moving into Marvel Champions, where and when did you learn about the game?
I learned about it at Gen Con 2019 and was lucky enough to immediately get a demo of the game just after the In-Flight Report at press hour!
3. Before playing the game, what was your first impression?
I was excited about the possibilities of a Marvel-based, cooperative LCG, but being honest, I was a bit turned off by the art. At the time, I thought I would rather have had more art inspired by the movies (spoiler… I was wrong!).
4. When did you play the game your first time and how did it affect your first impression?
As I mentioned, we got a demo right after the In-Flight report where the game was announced. From there, we were joined by Evan, frequently the host of FFG live, for a live gameplay video for our channel. After my first playthrough, I really liked the alter-ego and hero flipping and the resource mechanic. I knew it was a good sign when after a very long day, I was immediately ready to play again after the first game!
5. Clearly you love the game enough to do content for it, what was the final push that made you want to do content?
After our first couple of games at Gen Con, I couldn’t wait to get it back on the table! So, when we got an early copy a few weeks later we wanted to share our early experiences with anyone who was as interested in the game as we were. It’s an incredibly fun game to play and discuss, so we really don’t need much more of a push to keep featuring it on the channel!
6. Speaking of content, what kind of content do you do for the game and where can people find it?
We regularly discussing and reference Champions on our podcast (The Covenant Cast, new episodes every Friday), but we’ve also streamed gameplay videos featuring every hero and villain (Team Covenant on Facebook or YouTube). From time to time when we have the bandwidth, we also do live discussions of new hero announcements.
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?
Anytime I have to explain my thinking about a deck or a play verbally, which having live chat on streams all but requires, I find I have to understand my thoughts a lot better than when I’m just working on decks at home. It was also super helpful early on because the people watching were incredibly vigilant in helping us ensure we didn’t get a rule wrong or make rules mistakes.
8. Diving into the game itself, who is your favorite hero to play as, what aspect is your favorite and why?
My favorite hero, in general, is Captain America, but I’ve had the most fun playing as Spider-Man. He’s super agile, as he should be, and doesn’t require a lot of setup to start being effective. He’s also flexible enough to pair with any aspect, which I love so that I can play as him no matter the aspects my friends choose to bring to the table.
If I had to pick a favorite aspect I’d probably say Leadership, but Aggression is a close second!
9. How about the villain side, who is your favorite villain to play against, which encounter set is your favorite so far and why?
I really dig the ingenuity of each villain, especially of Wrecking Crew, but I ultimately find myself coming back to the villains that offer the greatest challenge. Right now that’s Klaw and the second scenario of Green Goblin on Heroic Expert mode!
10. How do you prefer to play and if it is not alone, what does your playgroup look like?
I really love playing two-player, which is what we typically do whenever we stream Champions. Socially speaking though, I really love grabbing coffee or beer and playing the game with a table of four people. It really increases the social interaction, as there is a bit more time between each of your turns to interact with the rest of the table. It also makes absolutely insane turns possible, both for the heroes and the villain, which leads to those big, epic, Avenger-style moments.
11. Do you customize your gaming experience anyway that goes beyond the official rules for the game, if so how and why?
We were exploring a game mode really similar to the ‘Heroic’ mode introduced by FFG, which was just to ensure we were continuing to be challenged. I love that Champions is super accessible, but sometimes the game can definitely be a bit too easy for my more familiar playgroups. One thing I really love about cooperative games is that I feel so much more inclined to alter the rules to whatever they need to be for our group to be having fun!
12. As is, how does Marvel Champions stack up to other games you play or have played? Champions is currently really high on my list. As I mentioned, I love how accessible it is. This is a game I’ve found myself playing with people who I typically don’t get to play games with, so it fits into a really unique pocket for me. For that reason alone, it is likely to hit my table a lot. Given the limited number of villains and hero cards though, I don’t find myself as obsessed with the deck building for Champions as I am for other games, but I’m happy to be patient for us to get more content to keep it interesting.
13. Is there anything you would change with how the game currently is? If so how, If not why not?
Outside what I’m expecting the Campaign Expansion to add, not really. I think this game hits the nail right on the head for what I want out of a cooperative, Marvel-based card game.
14. What was the craziest game you’ve had so far or your favorite memory from playing the game to date?
Honestly, part of why I love Champions so much is how often crazy games happen! My most recent epic moment was against Klaw on Heroic Expert. We were streaming and it took everything we had after three tries, and we barely made it out with our lives! The feeling of accomplishment after overcoming a challenge across the table with someone else is really what makes Champions, and any cooperative game, so special.
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?
I’d lean very heavily into the narrative aspects of Champions. Any time you’re doing organized events for a cooperative game, the more you can make a big group of people assembling together relevant, the better for me. There’s nothing wrong with playing a game alongside a lot of other people playing it, but when you can get a room full of people to feel like they are on the same team, the feeling of accomplishment I was referencing in the previous question is only multiplied. With Marvel, there is a tremendous opportunity to create those epic ‘Avenger-style’ moments and really unite a community together, something cooperative games have struggled with in the past.
16. If you could bring any hero into the game, who would they be, what would they do and why?
My top choices would be Cyclops, Wolverine, or Venom. If I were designing Cyclops, I’d want him to have a somewhat similar role as Captain America, but with a higher risk-reward profile. One of the biggest liabilities as a character is losing control of laser eyes, so I’d want that represented with the potential for huge attacks combined with the risk of losing control and causing himself or his team damage.
17. If you could bring any villain into the game, who would they be, what would they do and why?
Given that I mentioned Venom in my previous answer, a lot of my favorite characters are villains turned hero or anti-hero. Beyond those, I’m particularly excited about all of the Spider-villains making their way into the game, as they have always been some of my favorites thanks to the ‘90s Spider-Man cartoon.
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?
This is a tough one to answer! I love getting to see myself in various ways through all the heroes and help realize myself through the decks I create and decisions I make. While I’d love to think I’d get to be a hero, if I was forced to make myself into a card I’d most likely end up in the ally slot. I’m not sure how much it maps to me as a person, but I’d love to be as consistently useful as an ally like Maria Hill or an insanely epic as an ally like Hulk. But, who gets to be Hulk besides hulk, you know?
19. Time to head towards the conclusion but we need to touch on the MCU. What is your favorite MCU film and why?
Endgame was impeccable, but I think The Winter Soldier will always be my favorite MCU film. The movie was so much more than it was required to be and the messaging behind it just really struck a chord with me. Seeing Cap leave his fate and the fate of the world in the hands of everyone working at S.H.I.E.L.D. When the odds are many of them were Hydra and his unwillingness to fight Bucky at the end was peak Captain America for me.
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?
Given how often we’ve created content for Champions, I’m not sure there’s much left to reveal! I will take this chance though to say thanks in particular to people like you, JGG, who have worked incredibly hard to make this community what it is. Speaking of the community, I’d also like to give a massive thanks to the entire community for the overwhelming positivity and support since our very first steam of Champions back at Gen Con. The interactions we’ve had to anything we do with Champions, including our content, subscriptions, and Cosmic Components, has been truly amazing and I’ll be eternally grateful for it.
Thanks again Zach for answering our questions. We wish you the best in your content and would like to thank you for giving back to the community.
You can find Zach here:
Team Covenant’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/teamcovenant
Team Covenant’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/teamcovenant/
Thank you readers for reading this article and stay tuned for our next entry into this series, coming Monday. Till then, we wish you nothing but the best and stay safe out there.