Gen Con 2020 has come and gone. Regardless of how you feel about the way it handled, it was something we all needed if only for a few days. While a couple companies did not do much beyond the bare minimum, a handful of companies went above and beyond to give gamers something to enjoy or look forward to. Jasco was one of them, and I discussed their big announcements earlier this week. The other company that impressed was Atomic Mass Games. William, Dallas, and the rest of the crew delivered some great painting and hobby videos, Q&A’s, and most importantly – new character releases.
First and foremost, was the big X-Men related announcement that was teased early in July. The announcement was a recorded announcement featuring William Shick finally announcing the long awaited (and constantly asked about) X-Men:
They expectation going into the announcement was that we would be receiving a new 2-player core set for the game’s anniversary that would be focused on Marvel’s Mighty Mutants. We even discussed our theories on what the announcement would be here. What we got was a bit of our theories and a surprise decision or two.
First, we aren’t getting a new starter. In place of a singular release, Atomic Mass is giving us four 2-Character Packs:
CP40: Wolverine & Sabertooth – We said they wouldn’t be included in a starter because they would sell their own boxes by the truck load. Technically, we were right on this one at the very least. The two look like they are part of an epic diorama when facing one another. Wolverine includes an alternate maskless head sculpt.
CP41: Cyclops & Storm – In an interview published after the announcement video, Will stated that both the X-Men and Brotherhood would ship with two options for leaders, a first for the game. Both Storm and Cyclops represent possible leaders of the X-Men (Gold and Blue) out of the box. Cyclops includes an alternate head sculpt featuring the full cowl similar to his original appearance.
CP42: Magneto & Toad – Magneto looks fantastic and appears to offer a new mechanic (potentially) with the two additional pieces of debris on their own bases. Could this be a minions mechanic people have been asking about? We figured Toad would be a starter box character has he probably wouldn’t sell his own box, so including him with the Master of Magnetism. The Brotherhood of Mutants is getting two leaders as well, but we are hard pressed to think it’d be Toad as the second one.
CP43: Mystique & Beast – This is probably the one we are most excited about, if for no other reason than the possibilities of the hobby. Mystique, the possible second leader of the Brotherhood, offers a wide range of ideas. Replace the extended leg with a Captain Marvel or Proxima Midnight leg, or swap out her non-gun arm with Loki’s or Drax’s arm. Beast includes an alternate head sculpt with glasses and an alternate arm holding a book. We are already looking at screen shots of the animated series to decide on what book to make it.
They stated that the plan is to get the X-Men on our table tops for the game’s anniversary. That’ll put us in Q4 2020 for the releases as the original core came out November 15, 2019. The reasoning behind not giving a second starter is to have a narrative cohesion between releases and to not confuse players as to if there is a second game. They want all players, new and old, to know that everything is one game.
That being said, we think the loss of a new core starter isn’t the best idea and probably the only thing we haven’t agreed with about their game since the announcement. First, so many players at our local shop and online have stressed an interest in the game but only if there is a dedicated starter. The lack of a starter puts those new players who would want to join the game at a disadvantage either in cost (because they’ll have to buy the four packs plus a starter they aren’t interested in) or game play wise (those boxes won’t have a fraction of the Tactic Cards or Crisis Cards a starter provides). Second, with the exception of one or two figures from the original Core Box, many of them have become quickly obsolete by the natural power creep of the game.
But we digress. Ultimately this is their game. They are beholden only to themselves (and the license holder) for their decisions.
They did say that in order to get these eight to us for the anniversary may cause a gap in releases of the mutants. So if you’re favorite X-Men or Brotherhood character weren’t shown, you may have a little bit of a wait on your hands.
Their X-Men teaser also ended with a tease of what could possibly be our next mutant sighting- Deadpool!
Before we move on to the other reveals, we have to discuss the bridge display in the background of the video. Why, you ask? Well there are a bit of a mystery hidden in there that we’ve all been trying to figure out. Sadly, due to Atomic Mass Game’s blanket “we cannot comment on unreleased content” mission statement (not a jab, we totally get it), we will probably never know.
On the bridge, we have 3 mystery figures that there have been several guesses but none that we can say 100% for certain.
First on top, to the left, we have a figure between Doc Ock and the Green Goblin. It is a rather bulky looking figure. The most popular guess has been Mysterio. The second mystery figure is at the top as well, but to the right, immediately behind/beside Spider-Man (Miles Morales) but before Ghost-Spider. Popular theory is Black Cat, but I have a guess that it is actually Dagger. Why? Because there is a third mystery figure behind Black Widow 2, directly behind Thanos and to the right. That figure peaking out looks like a wavey, dark cloaked figure. So…Cloak?
Following that, we get an official look at the Punisher and Taskmaster that we were given a brief look at back in GAMA 2020 (in the time before time):
Then we were treated to a handful of visual teasers for other models yet to be officially seen anywhere. Earlier in the year, an UK distributor listed these models but we hadn’t seen anything official (again, because they don’t comment).
She-Hulk was ultimately the most exciting of the teasers as the other three had been leaked by the distributor. Knowing they were already coming took a little wind out of the sails for us, but not in a bad way. Seeing the models in full was great, however.
Dare Devil looks dynamic. Kingpin stands proud and cocky atop a destroyed Nelson and Murdock sign. Bullseye is taking aim (though hoping for some alternate hands with playing cards). She-Hulk looks like she is about to smash someone’s face in. Her reveal image and Kingpin’s both have a second reveal teaser all around them.
That looks like some fun scatter terrain that’ll help round out a lot of players’ boards. Some people were concerned that the two vehicles would be an either-or-assembly, similar to the Oscorp/Trash Truck from earlier this year, but they will both be buildable in a single set. If reasonably priced, this could be an easy double purchase.
Rounding out the miniature reveals, we have finally seen the last two Asgardians (and Guardian) from their respective affiliation cards- Angela and Enchantress.
Both models look fantastic, though we had to give the edge to Angela. She looks like she is effortless gliding into battle. There is some concern within our gaming group that Angela may be brittle, but there are way to reinforce her to her base. The Enchantress looks great too, descending upon the battle field in a green mist. Both models will surely be a delight to assemble, and hopefully they will be as fun to play.
The reveals didn’t end there. During a painting stream, the Defenders team roster was revealed:
The biggest surprise on that list is the original Heroes for Hire themselves, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. While we haven’t seen anything for Iron Fist, we have been gifted the tease of Luke Cage’s card art:
Speaking of cards, the reveals were rounded out to also tease us with Dr. Strange, Wong, and Wasp’s cards:
All in all, it was a great weekend for the game. Even through out the pandemic, the crew at Atomic Mass Games has continued to have one of the best relations with their community out of so many other games. The amount they showcased was just as impressive. And while not everyone will agree with the lack of an X-Men core starter, no one can say that the rest of 2020 and early 2021 isn’t looking fantastic.
Though…can we get the Fantastic Four, please…? Seriously, when are the Fantastic Four coming…?
Let us know in the comments what your favorite reveal was. Were you as excited for the X-Men as everyone else? Did the knowledge of the leaked street level heroes disappoint their official reveal? Are you as mad as we are that that sweet Xavier School terrain is custom and won’t be sold?
Until next time, keep your dice warm and happy gaming!