Game Overview: Legendary heroes who have fought to protect humanity had stepped aside as peace prevailed globally.  However, the world is on a verge of a crisis as renegade factions seek to destabilize the central government.  Players have a head to head battle with one controlling three heroes representing the Guardian Network who defend an incoming attack from the other player who is controlling three renegade forces as they battle across four different locations.

Box Contents: Included in the box are 122 total cards and 64 cardboard tokens.  This includes ten unique character decks with each having eight cards along with 14 oversized location cards that players will be battling for control over.

The quality of the cards is definitely acceptable as we have played the game ten times with no sign of wear across any of the cards.

The art on the cards is especially well done and includes something that I think a lot of people may over look in that quite a few of the cards include other characters from the game beyond the one that you are using.

Clarity of Rules: A twenty page rules document does an excellent job of explaining the game and provides multiple examples of game play along with detailed directions throughout it.  This is one of those rule manuals that leave little question about how to play the game once you have read through it and is very easy to understand.  The biggest challenge is just knowing the key words and what they do, which are all listed with descriptions in the back of the manual.

It also provides information on the background of each character, which is something I really appreciate and helps put me in the mindset that game developers were trying to create for players.

Game Play:  When setting up the game, each player will be selecting three of the heroes to use.  When selecting them, you will set aside their ultimate move card and you will shuffle all of the other cards together to form a single deck.

You will also be randomly selecting four of the oversized location cards and placing them onto the table.  They will have a value between one to three points.  Controlling the locations is the key to winning the game.

Players take turns placing their hero cards to any of the locations and multiple heroes can be placed at a single location.  Each hero card will have a health and attack value and a power that is generally passive and in place all the time.

Each turn is broken down into five phases.

Control Phase-  If you control more ready (not exhausted) heroes at that particular location than your opponent, you can move the control token one space towards you.  The cards worth a single point will only have three total control spaces where a three point location card has seven total control spaces.

Ready Phase-  If you have any characters that were exhausted from your previous turn, you ready them by turning them upright.  In addition, if you had any heroes knocked out the previous turn, you can now place them at any location.

Action Phase-  This phase is where everything happens between the heroes on each team.  You are allowed to perform up to three of the following actions:

·         Attack- If your hero is readied; you can use the attack value on your hero and put that much damage on an opposing hero at the same location unless an ability or card allows it to be placed on a different location.  If at any time a hero has more damage then their life, they are removed from the location and will return during the players next ready phase.  Along with that, you will move the control token two spaces towards your side.

·         Move- You are allowed to move one of your readied heroes to an adjacent location.

·         Draw a card from your deck.

·         Pay an action cost found on a card or location.

During your action phase you will be using cards from your hand that you have drawn.  Each hero has the same number and types of cards in their deck (action, reaction, or utility).

The cards being played must be played on the character it belongs to with each character being unique from all others.  For the action cards, these will require the hero to be in a ready state and will require the use of one of your three actions for the round.  Each of these cards once played and resolved will provide you a single charge.  Charges are placed on your Ultimate card that you set aside at the start of the game.  Once they have the required number of charges and if that character is ready, you can use that ultimate ability as one of your three actions for your turn but must then be flipped over as it is a one time use.

Each hero has a single utility card and does not require any type of actions to be used and will be played on your turn.

Reaction cards are going to be spent in response to any action card that has been played, including cards you have played on your turn.

Some cards will allow you to place condition tokens on heroes in play.  It may shield them from any damage for a turn, prevent them from moving to another location for a turn, or prevent them from playing any cards for that particular character.

Score Phase- If the control token is on the final spot on your side of the location card, you place the card face up on your side of the board and replace it with a new location.

Draw Phase- Draw a single card from the top of your deck.

These actions continue back and forth between the players until a single player has earned nine points from the location cards they have won.  At that time, the game is immediately over.

Replay Ability: The base game provides ten characters that you can mix and match with each player using three of them, the replay ability is pretty high as long as you experiment with mixing up different characters and you don’t stick to the same ones.

There are fourteen location cards and throughout a game and you typically see around ten of them.  Additional replay ability could have been provided with having even more locations as this mixes things up from game to game as they do affect game play at times.

There is also an expansion available which provides an additional four characters which when added will added even more replay ability to see how different heroes work together.

Appropriate Audience: The game suggests 13+ and you can easily go well under that and the younger kids would understand how to play the game.  There is a lot of strategy here though and some younger kids may not always recognize what they should be doing.

What We Liked/Didn't Like: Recently in our PvP game reviews, we have been playing a lot of games that use a 3 v 3 lane system.  Guardians switches it up and uses that fourth location that you are battling over with just three characters.  This simple addition was a game changer for us and introduced so much more strategy.  Do you allow someone to sit out by themselves and capture or a location or challenge them and give up what you were trying to do?

Mixing and matching of the different characters and seeing how you they interact with each other was the most enjoyable part of the game for us.  Depending on who you have, you may be looking to do more attacking than anything else.  Other times you may be trying to manipulate the control of the locations by moving characters around.

Some of the simplistic decisions made in the game design also helps it stand above other similar games as they typically all handle the situations the same way.  Some examples are only being able to ready the character at the beginning of your turn or with a card you played instead of using that refresh as an action and how you only control a location with having more ready characters than your opponent.

The theme was also fun for us as it felt kind of like a video game being played out with how characters come back after being defeated, powering up your ultimate ability, along with other things that seemed familiar.

The one aspect of the game play that I didn’t like was that at times the cards you have drawn are just useless and the situations occurring in the game just don’t allow them to be played.  When that happens, the other player may be gaining a big advantage with being able to play their cards and adding charge tokens to their ultimate cards.

Sometimes we would forget to take actions that were required when someone moved to that location.  I would have liked to seen a token that could have been placed on the those specific locations as a reminder to read the text at that time.

The box is something else that I was not a fan of.  When you have multiple sets of cards, I prefer to sort them separately so it is easy to set up and get the game to the table.  The box only allows you to store the cards laying down as the box itself is too short to stand the cards up where you could come up with a solution to hold them in place.  I did not want to sort ever single character before every game with the box moving the cards around everywhere, so I was forced to trash the cardboard insert and use a baggie for each individual set of cards.

Add-ons/Other Releases:  One expansion is available, Guardians: Uprising and adds four additional characters and additional abilities that are new to the game.


  **A review copy was provided to us.