The Umbrella Academy Game Review

16 July 2021
The game went from broken to merely boring

When looking at superhero and card game crossovers, Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game is a good starting point. It seems that Scott Bean, the designer of The Umbrella Academy Game, must have given Legendary at least a cursory look because the two games share a basic structure. You play as a superhero from a series, attempting to defeat villains by playing attack cards from your hand. However, it is not always possible to prevent every single attack and enemy cards not dealt with will return to haunt heroes later in the game. The game ends in the last stand boss battle, which if heroes survive, they win the game. That is the entirety of The Umbrella Academy Game.

Maybe this would have been enough if the game had a twist on this basic premise as Legendary did with unique hero decks and deckbuilding elements. However, whatever modicum of personality the gameplay of The Umbrella Academy Game has, namely through unique hero powers, it is underutilised and used more as a band-aid for a particularly bad attack, instead of an integral part of the strategy. From there the game devolves into a simple maths exercise, where the bigger value defeats the lower. There is no way to influence or modify the decks, you get whatever you’ve drawn, and if your hand is bad – tough.

For the license that has so much personality and unique character, it is a marvel that The Umbrella Academy Game managed to recapture almost none of it.

The artwork does most of the heavy lifting – which is no surprise as it comes from Gabriel Bá, who pencilled the comic book series.

Also, feel free to throw away the rulebook that comes with the game box, because the game’s rules changed following feedback from players after the Kickstarter. While addressing criticisms is certainly something to be applauded, the game went from broken to merely boring, and that is still a great shame.



Designer: Scott Dean

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Publisher: Studio71

Time: 20-40 minutes

Players: 1-6

Ages: 12+

Prices: £25

This feature originally appeared in Issue 57 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.

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