Marvel Comic books are filled with all sorts of strange and wonderful characters, some are forgettable, while others remain in the collective zeitgeist. Two of the most instantly recognisable characters from the comics though haven’t always been that way, and both have changed a lot since there debut, and its thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that more and more people recognise Rocket Racoon and Groot!
The folks over at Marvel Studios took a real gamble when they decided to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a comic book franchise that was long forgotten by many fans, and only had a very small die hard following, but none the less Guardians of the Galax was a huge success for the company and much of this was down to the loveable characters, with Rocket and Groot at the forefront.
Like many characters in Marvel Comics, both Rocket and Groot have been around for a long, long time. Rocket first appearing in Marvel Preview #7 way back in 1976 and being created by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Keith Giffen, while Groot is even older, making his debut way back in Tales to Astonish #13 in 1960 (making him older than Spider-Man) and created by the giants of the industry messers Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby. While both characters would appear in many titles down the road, its perhaps their current incarnations that they are better known for their roles in the rebooted Guardians of the Galaxy from 2008 onwards.
Rocket who was originally dubbed Rocky in a homage to The Beatles song Rocky Racoon, was a genetically modified racoon law officer, who was a peace keeper on the planet of Halfworld, a home for the mentally ill were animals were modified to give them intelligence and other anthropomorphic attributes so that they could care for the residents. Rocket eventually found his way off Halfworld and ended up joining the Guardians of the Galaxy and fighting alongside Earths mightiest heroes The Avengers.
Groot is well known now to modern audiences, many down to the characters portrayal in the movies by Vin Diesel, and for the fact he only says one sentence over and over again.
Groot is a very old character in the Marvel pantheon and has been around for sixty years this coming November. A member of a species of sentient tree, Groot is a Flora Colossus from Planet X, and due to his unique physiology can only speak in what sounds to non-Flora Colossus ears as the same sentence ‘I am Groot’, though actually is a very intelligent being. Starting off as a villain sent to capture humans for experimentation, and able to speak normally (if very overly dramatic at the time), Groot has changed over the years to become a hero and was fleshed out more in the rebooted Guardians of the Galaxy comics in 2008.
Both characters are much loved now, despite them being pretty much obscure to all but the most ardent of comic book fans, and the guys at Atomic Mass Games have now added them to the Guardians of the Galaxy faction for their excellent Marvel Crisis Protocol game.
My review of the expansion follows my video unboxing on my YouTube channel below!
Currently the smallest miniature in the Marvel Crisis Protocol game (though that’s about to be beaten by Ant-Man and Wasp when they come out!), Rocket Racoon is a tiny wee miniature that is posed with his larger than life gun and standing on a root, conveniently provided for him by his pal Groot. The miniature is pretty much straight forward to assemble though it must be noted that there are again small parts which can be fiddly to put together.
The pose is pretty dynamic and looks great, though I don’t think that the root works very well and a lot of folks on the Facebook groups have been basing their Rocket miniatures on garbage bins for very dramatic effect.
Other than the small parts, the miniature goes together very easily.
A much larger miniature than Rocket Racoon, Groot is a very simple and straight forward miniature when it comes to putting him together and he has no real problems or issues with the assembly.
Posed with one huge arm shielding his face from an incoming attack, while the other is thrusting into the ground (leading to the root that Rocket is standing on), with great animation and detail.
Team Tactic Cards
The Rocket Racoon and Groot Expansion comes with two brand new Team Tactics cards for use in your games.
Deadly Duo: This card is an active, unaffiliated card that may be played during the activation of and allied Rocket Racoon. An allied Groot character must be within range 2, and both characters need to spend 2 power to use this card. Rocket Racoon may immediately perform up to three plasma rifle attacks but each attack must be against a different enemy character.
We Are Groot: This card is an active, unaffiliated card that costs 3 power for Groot to play. Groot and any allied characters that are within range 4 of him remove 2 damage counters!
Rocket Racoon Character Card
This is a quick break down of Rocket Racoons character card
Stamina. Rocket begins the game with a stamina of 3, and once he has taken enough damage to flip he has a further 3 stamina!
Movement. Rocket has the average speed for his size and his movement is Medium
Size. Rocket is tiny and comes in at Size 1
Threat. Rocket has a very low threat level of just 2 but is really designed to be played along side Groot.
Defense. Rocket has a pretty low physical and energy defense at just 2 and his mystical is 3.
Plasma Rifle: This is an energy attack that has a range of 5, damage of 5 and power cost of 0. After the attack is resolved, the character gains power equal to the damage dealt.
Hadron Enforcer: This is an energy attack that has a range of 5, damage of 7 and power cost of 4. On the roll of a Wild and before damage is dealt it causes Vortex. Any other enemy characters within range 2 of the target suffer 1 damage and are pushed towards the target Small.
Booby Traps (Reactive): When an enemy character ends its movement within range 3 of Rocket, he may spend 3 power to use this power. The enemy character suffers 1 wound for each critical or wild rolled.
Personal Bodyguard (Reactive): When Rocket is the target of an attack and an allied Groot is within range 1 of Rocket, this superpower may be used. Groot then becomes the target of the attack regardless of range or line of sight.
Small Stature (Innate): Rocket always benefits from cover.
There is no change on this characters card once it is flipped.
Groot Character Card
This is a quick break down of Groots character card
Stamina. Groot begins the game with stamina of 7, and once he has taken enough damage to flip he has a further 7stamina!
Movement. Groot is large and lumbering and as such as a movement of small
Size. Groot is larger than a standard human and as such is size 3
Threat. Groot has a threat level of just 3, but is really designed to be played alongside Rocket.
Defense. Groot has a physical defense of 4 which is higher than most threat 3 characters, and a energy of 2 and mystic of 3.
Strike: This is a physical attack that has a range of 2, damage of 5 and power cost of 0. After the attack is resolved, the character gains power equal to the damage dealt.
I Am Groot!: This is a physical attack that has a range of 2, damage of 8 and power cost of 6. Before damage is dealt Groot may throw the target medium. After the attack is resolved, the target gains the Stagger special condition.
Living Plant (Active): This superpower costs 2 power. Removes 3 damage from the character
Tangling Vines (Active): This superpower costs 2 power. Chose a target within range 3 and the target gains the Root special condition.
There is no change on this characters card once it is flipped.
So that is the Rocket and Groot Expansion, sorry that it has taken me so long to get this review out, but being home for over thirteen weeks and looking after a stir-crazy four-year-old is not as easy as it sounds, especially when you are shielding yourself.
I was expecting Groot to have a much higher threat value than 3 when he was announced and was pretty surprised when the pack was revealed by the guys at Atomic Mass Games on their live stream a few months (sorry again its been that long) ago. Groot is pretty much a tank of a character due to being able to take 7 damage (gaining 7 power) and then shrugging three of those off for 2 power with his Living Plant superpower, and there is no limit on how many times he can use this per turn either.
While he can absorb a lot of incoming firepower, its Rocket that really steals the show, with his Booby Traps superpower which again has no limit on the card. In effect Rocket can fire his plasma rifle for 0 power and then do a possible follow up attack against three targets if the conditions are triggered. If you add Hadron Enforcer to the equation and he manages to roll a wild on one of the 7 dice, then he will be able to move other enemy characters towards the target which can in turn, trigger Booby Traps.
Being a size one makes him really hard to hit as he gets cover from most terrain with ease and is difficult to target.
The best way to take either Rocket or Groot is together, they have a synergy that works well and though you could fit either with another team, it is perhaps best if you don’t separate them and keep them together. They really benefit from Star-Lords abilities and the Crew of the Milano card gives them an extra edge, and when used with the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy, this faction really does excel well!
Great looking miniatures and good gameplay, make this a must-have pack if you are collecting Guardians.
Please check out the links below for more Marvel Crisis Protocol
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