A few years ago, Marvel Studios released Avengers: Age of Ultron, a movie that gave us some great new characters and a fantastic villain in the form of Ultron. Shortly afterwards one of the best ever superhero movies was released in the form of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and gave us some other great characters that really stood out from the rest of the MCU.
Two of the real stand out characters in both movies were Vision and the self titled Winter Soldier himself, both had life breathed into them and seemed as if they leapt right out of the comic book and onto the screen itself.
Of course there are a few liberties with the movies, from the comics. Some die-hard comic book fans get annoyed when they see the android Vision being created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner in Age of Ultron, and likewise some long time fans really didn’t like the fact that Bucky Barnes who was introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger was not a scrappy kid, but a seasoned soldier!
Putting those niggles aside though both movies did a great job of introducing two really great characters to the MCU and putting them front and centre were new fans could discover them for the first time.
Now both Bucky and Vision have been given the Marvel Crisis Protocol treatment that they justly deserve and have just been released here in the UK following some shipping problems with parent company Asmodee. In this review I will take a look at both characters in the expansion and what makes them work well, who they work well with and my over all thoughts as well as my video unboxing of the product below.
So where to start? Well both characters have been around for a long time in the comics, with Bucky Barnes being around since 1941 (though the Winter Soldier only first appeared in 2005) and Vision being around since 1968! Seeing as he is the new kid on the block I will take a look at Bucky first!
The Winter Soldier
James Buchanan ‘Bucky’ Barnes begin his comics journey way back in Captain America Comics #1 in 1941. The teenage sidekick of Steve Rodgers Captain America, Bucky was to Cap what Robin was to Batman, little more than a sidekick who got into trouble a lot. Created by Joe Simon and Jack ‘King’ Kirby, Bucky was just a teenage kid who found out that Steve Rodgers was really Captain America and more or less tagged along with him on missions. He was well trained, having grown up on military bases and would fight alongside Captain America and The Invaders!. He finally met his demise in the same accident that froze Rodgers in ice for decades and after thawing out in the 60s Captain America was devastated at the lose of his friend.
Of course in comic books nobody stays dead, and it turned out that Bucky didn’t die but was found by the Russians who thawed him out and began to program him to become the killing machine that would simply be known as The Winter Soldier. Created in 2005 by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting the character would go on to become the perfect assassin with his memory gone and replaced by his handlers and his arm lost in the accident and replaced by a bionic one, Bucky would become a deadly assassin working for Department-X of the Soviet intelligence. He was reprogrammed to obey instructions from his handlers and would go on to a major thorn in the side of S.H.I.E.L.D. before finally being freed of his mind control by his long time friend Steve Rodgers.
Vision, while not as old as a character as Bucky Barnes, has been a stable of Marvel Comics since the 1960’s. Created by Roy Thomas, Stan Lee and John Buscema and making his debut in The Avengers #57 (October 1968). The character differs drastically from his movie counterpart. An artificial life form created by the mad AI Ultron, (who in turn was created by Hank ‘Antman’ Pym) as the “synthezoid”,and used to destroy the Avengers! His brain patterns were those of former Avenger ‘Wonderman’ Simon Williams. He eventually turns on his creator and choses to side with the Avengers and is dubbed Vision by Wasp. For many years he would be a valued part of the Avengers, even going as far as marrying Scarlet Witch at one point and raise a family with her (though it was all a grand scheme in the long run, it is a comic book after all). He is extremely powerful and can phase his body through solid objects, can fly and is almost invulnerable to normal damage.
The two characters that we get in this expansion are highly detailed and very easy to assemble, with no few small parts that could cause any real issues.
Bucky is posed with his trademarked automatic rifle in hand, as well as his bionic arm! The animation is excellent and he looks like he really has been through hell and back. The facial detail is pretty accurate to the comic book and he even has his iconic racoon mask.
Vision is sculpted with a section of wall that he is phasing through, with one leg being partially phased through the brick and the whole body being supported by the wall itself. The detail is pretty fantastic and the face is stoic and emotionless as one would expect from an android!
Team Tactics Cards
The Vision and Winter Soldier Expansion comes with four brand new Team Tactics cards for use in your games.
Field Dressing: This is an active card that is unaffiliated. If an allied character is Dazed and is within range 2 of another character it may spend 4 power to play this card. The Dazed token is removed as well as one damage token!
Tactical Analysis: This is an active card that is unaffiliated. The active character may spend 2 power to play this card and then choose another allied character within range 3 of this character and that character may advance Small.
Psychic Shielding Device (P.S.D): This is an active card that is unaffiliated. Any character may spend between 1 and 5 power to play this card, during this round while within range equal to the amount of power spent of this character any allied characters that are targeted by Mystic attacks add one die to their defense rolls and may not be pushed or advanced by the effects of enemy Mystic attacks or superpowers!
Till the End of the Line: This is an active card that is unaffiliated. Winter Soldier and Captain America my both spend 2 power each to play this card. While they are within range 1 of each other this round, they cannot be moved by enemy effects and combine their defensive dice pool when defending against Physical or Energy attacks.
Winter Soldier Character Card
As with all of the other characters in the core set, this expansion comes with character cards for the models provided.
Stamina. Winter Soldier begins the game with stamina of 5, and once he has taken enough damage to flip he has a further 6 stamina!
Movement. Winter Soldier has average speed for his size and his movement is Medium
Size. Winter Soldier is a human-size coming in at 2.
Threat. Winter Soldier i has a threat level of 3 which makes him a good choice as a supporting character in your roster due to his ranged attacks!
Defense. Winter Soldier is average at most defense and has a Physical, Energy defense of 3 and though is weaker against Mystic attacks with a Mystic defense of 2.
Abilities and Powers
Assault Rifle: This is an physical attack that has a range of 5, damage of 4 and power cost of 0. If the attack is successful then the character gains power equal to that dealt out! On a roll of a Wild the target gains the Bleed special condition
Red Fury: This is an physical attack that has a range of 2 and deals 7 damage at a cost of 4 power. After the attack is resolved the target character is pushed away from this character Short . Winter Soldier may then make and immediate Assault Rifle attack targeting this character!
Hydra Tactics: (Aactive): This power costs 2 power and allows Winter Soldier to choose another allied character withing range 2 and move Winter Solider to within range 1 of that character!
Got Your Back: (Reactive): If an allied character is Dazed or KO’d by an enemy effect, then Winter Soldier may use Got Your Back for a cost of 2 power after the effect is resolved. Winter Soldier may then make an Assault Rifle attack against the enemy character that caused the effect!
Rouge Agent (Innate): This character counts as an affiliated character when building your squad.
Spetsnaz Training (Innate): This character may reroll one die when either attacking or defending against a character that is within range 1.
The only change to the Winter Soldier card when flipped is that he gains 1 extra Stamina giving him a total of 6!
Vision Character Card
The second character card in the expansion is for Vision! His card details are examined below.
Stamina. Vision begins the game with stamina of 6, and once he has taken enough damage to flip he has a further 6 stamina!
Movement. Vision has average speed for his size and his movement is Medium
Size. Vision is a human-size coming in at 2.
Threat. Vision has a threat level of 4!
Defense. Vision is weak at most defense and has a Physical, Energy defense of 2, though is much stronger against Mystic attacks with a Mystic defense of 4.
Abilities and Powers
Solar Energy Beam: This is an Energy attack that is Beam 4 and has a damage of 5 and power cost of 0. If the attack is successful then the character gains 1 power On a roll of a Wild before damage is dealt the target loses 1 power for each Wild rolled in the attack and Vision gains power equal to that amount!
Synthezoid Avenger : This is an physical attack that has a range of 3 and deals 7 damage at a cost of 4 power. The defending character may not add critical results in its defense roll and cannot add additional dice to its defense via criticals as usual!
Calculated Trajectory: (Aactive): This power costs 2 power and allows Vision to choose an interactive terrain feature or enemy character of size 3 or less and within range 2 and throw it Medium. This superpower can only be used once per turn!
Synthesis: (Aactive, Action): This power costs 0 power and allows Vision to use an Action to gain 2 power!
Rapid Phasing: (Reactive): When Vision is targeted by an enemy attack, the character may use this superpower at a cost of 2 power, Vision then removes the current Phasing Type and chooses a new Phasing Type
Phasing (Innate): During the Power Phase Vision choses a Phasing type.
- Enhanced Density: This grants three additional dice when defending against Physical attacks, and Vision cannot be pushed until the start of the next Power Phase!
- Phased: This grants Vision three additional dice when defending against Energy attacks and Vision doesn’t suffer collision damage until the start of the next Power Phase!
Flight, Immunity [Bleed, Poison] (Innate): This character can fly and is treated as size 5 for moving over Terrain. This character cannot suffer the effects of the Bleed or Poison special conditions!
There are no changes to Visions character card once he takes enough damage to flip his card over!
So Vision and Winter Soldier are finally here and both are ideal additions to your rosters and both have strengths and weaknesses. Vision has a pretty good stamina starting out at 6 and flipping over to 6, but his defense is very low against most attacks. Seeing as at the moment the majority of characters have either Physical or Energy attacks and only a few have Mystical attacks, this leaves Vision pretty much wide open to an assault from a powerhouse like Crossbones or Killmonger! Of course you can change his Phase type for a cost of 2 power and get an extra 3 dice to roll, but that wont help that much when Crossbones uses a Haymaker.
His basic attacks are pretty good, with a Beam at attack that will reach out to range 4 and inflict 5 damage all for a cost of zero power! Add to that if he rolls wilds he gets to drain power from the target which can then be used to Rapid Phase if needed and it kind of balances him out a little.
His big attack is the Synthezoid Avenger which has a pretty good range of 3 but deals a huge amount of damage rolling 7 dice and the poor sap who is the target cant count Criticals or benefit from rerolling Critical dice as is usual! This can be a pretty nasty surprise and leave a really sour taste in your opponents mouth!
Winter Soldier is an excellent all round character, He has good defense against most attacks but is pretty weak against Mystical (he is brainwashed remember!) and his movement of Medium means he is quick enough to take objectives and strong enough to hold onto them.
HIs two main advantages however are his low cost of 3 threat which makes him ideal to take in any roster and the Rogue Agent ability which means he always counts as Affiliated to whatever squad he is part of. He is very cheap for what he can do, with that nasty range 5 Assault Rifle attack which costs zero power and can cause Bleed and Red Fury really makes him someone to watch out for due to the 7 dice damage it can lay down, followed by another 4 dice Assault Rifle attack against the same character!
The ability to reroll dice in combat against a character within range 1 is again another bonus to the Winter Soldier and for 2 power his Got Your Back ability can see him putting down even more firepower if a comrade goes down!
Winter Soldier will fit in well with nearly any faction in the game due to his Rogue Agent ability, at a low cost of 3 Threat he is someone to boost teams like Wakanadans or Cabal and if you add some of their Affiliation abilities he will benefit from them.
Vision works really well when combined with The Avengers, and is best used to try and rush objectives. His low defense stats mean you have to calculate the risks but if you play it right, you can get Vision into a great position early on in the game and use hard hitters like Captain America or Captain Marvel to keep those bruisers away who would lay down Physical attacks, or Iron Man to keep the Energy based attacks away!
Another great set and hopefully Asmodee have now got their shipping problems to Europe resolved and we should see the next new releases for March hitting stores soon.
Stay in and stay safe
Please check out the links below for more Marvel Crisis Protocol