The Marvel United expansions typically include an array of new components to add to your games: Heroes, Villains, Locations, and often a challenge mode.
Return of the Sinister Six is remarkable in that it’s an expansion of only Villains. Continue reading our Marvel United: Return of the Sinister Six review to learn more.
Marvel United: Return of the Sinister Six Overview
Return of the Sinister Six features 6 new Villains that players can face in any Marvel United game. Furthermore, this expansion introduces a unique game mode in which players take on the ultimate heroic battle and fight all 6 Villains at once!
In this review, we’ll only cover what’s included in the Return of the Sinister Six expansion, not the basic game’s rules. Head to our Marvel United review to familiarize yourself with the core set’s gameplay.
The Sinister Six
Each Villain in Return of the Sinister Six contains all the components needed — Villain Dashboard, Master Plan cards, and Threat cards — to play against them in any Marvel United game.
As you would expect, each Villain has a unique play style that embodies their nefarious essence.
Kraven stops at nothing when it comes to hunting down the Heroes and damaging them.
The feeling of being constantly under threat is brought into the game with his “Obstinate Hunt” Master Plan cards and his special rule — if Kraven doesn’t activate his “BAM!” effect, he plays another Master Plan card.
Vulture takes on the characteristics of his namesake; his gameplay tactics mimic him flying around the Locations and terrorizing the Heroes.
Unlike many Villains whose primary goal is to damage the Heroes to defeat them, Vulture collects “Spoils” instead.
During setup, 3 Crisis tokens (“Spoils”) are added to each Location. Throughout the game, Vulture steals spoils from Locations to achieve his villainous plot: to obtain a certain number of spoils according to the player count.
Electro is a Villain that does a little bit of everything; he’ll damage Heroes, add Crisis tokens to Locations, play additional Master Plan cards, and regenerate health.
However, the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” doesn’t apply to him. Thanks to the way he “uses” electricity, Electro is adept at everything he does, making him a challenging adversary.
Unlike the other Sinister Six Villains, Sandman doesn’t begin the game as powerfully. However, with a turn or two, he builds himself up into an insurmountable force.
Sandman has 2 objectives that work in conjunction during the game: deal as much damage to the Heroes while gaining health for himself. He wins the game if he ever reaches 20 health.
Doc Ock’s goal is to create havoc in Locations to the point where it becomes so chaotic that the Location itself is destroyed. He accomplishes this by adding Crisis tokens to Locations with his “BAM!” effect and his “Master Planner” cards.
When a Location has 3 Crisis tokens, it is destroyed and no longer used in the game. If ever 4 Locations or more have been destroyed, the Heroes lose and Doctor Octopus has achieved his villainous plot.
Ever the illusionist, Mysterio is all about luring the Heroes in with his special effects before striking.
Mysterio’s Threat cards begin facedown on their Locations; on your turn, you may spend an action of any type to flip a Location’s card faceup.
Heroes need to do this because Mysterio is immune to damage until a “Broken Illusion” Threat card is revealed. The pitfall is that the other Threat cards cause negative effects when revealed.
Mysterio is even more difficult thanks to his 2 “Holographic Technology” Master Plan cards that shuffle all Threat cards in play and put them back facedown on random Locations.
Sinister Six Mode
The Sinister Six mode of play can only be used with the 6 Villains included in this expansion since this mode of play changes how the Villains behave and activate.
Instead of individual Villain Dashboards, Threat cards, and Master Plan cards, the hexagonal Sinister Six Dashboard is used.
All relevant information is on this Dashboard (i.e., each Villain’s health, Weak Spot cards, “BAM!” effects, and special rules).
Since Threat cards aren’t used, the “End of Turn” effect on a Location is available. However, if a Villain is present there, they prevent Heroes from using it.
There are no missions in the Sinister Six mode, so Villains begin the game “Under Pressure” and will play every 2 Hero turns. However, they aren’t vulnerable to damage just yet.
Each Villain has their own Weak Spot card that depicts 3 action icons; when a Hero is at a Villain’s Location, they may spend the required actions to place tokens on the Villain’s card.
Once a card is filled, it’s removed, and the Villain can be attacked.
The Sinister Six mode uses a unique deck of Master Plan cards.
On a Villain turn, 1 card is drawn as usual and resolved as follows:
- Only the 2 topmost active Villains are triggered. (An active Villain is one who has yet to be defeated.)
- First, the topmost active Villain moves the indicated number of Locations, activates their “BAM!” effect, then adds 1 Thug token to their Location.
- Then, the next active Villain moves and activates their “BAM!” effect, but they add 1 Civilian token instead of a Thug.
You win the Sinister Six game if you defeat all 6 Villains. You lose if the Master Plan card deck is empty and you must draw a card or if any Hero starts their turn with no cards in their hand or deck.
Marvel United: Return of the Sinister Six Review
Marvel United: Return of the Sinister Six is an expansion full of Villains — and gameplay brilliance. Facing off against each Villain in this group makes for a tense and thrilling gaming experience.
What’s more, their villainous qualities come through in their play styles.
Against Kraven, you get the sense that you are the prey he’s actively hunting. This is especially true when his villainous plot triggers another Master Plan card to be played, creating a cascading effect that leads to multiple Heroes being “KO’d” or severely wounded in a single turn.
Vulture is quite tricky to defeat, especially if you’re a team of slow-moving Heroes, because he goes everywhere. He also steals Crisis tokens quite quickly and in several ways.
Of the 6 Villains, Vulture’s gameplay seems to ramp up the fastest; one moment, everything feels under control, and the next, you’ve lost the game.
Since Electro dabbles in a bit of everything, defeating him can appear difficult initially. However, with the right team of Heroes, it can be done.
Of the SinisterSix Villains, Electro is the one that felt the least unique in his gameplay style, probably because he “borrows” elements from the other five.
Sandman is a tough Villain. His “Harder,” “Better,” “Faster,” and “Stronger” Master Plan cards that play off each other are no joke.
On top of that, his Threat cards use the sand element to make it more difficult to move out of Locations or protect him from damage.
Yet another challenging Villain, Doctor Octopus is an expert in destruction; nothing and no one is safe from him in Marvel United.
Everything he does is infuriating — in a good way — and if you’re not playing with a Hero or Location that removes Crisis tokens to minimize his wreckage, you’re in big trouble.
All the Villains have a great thematic flair to them when you play, but I feel it most against Mysterio.
Because you never quite know what’s real, it can be hard to plan and strategize against him. However, this doesn’t detract from the experience if you go into it knowing you’ll need to adopt a more tactical approach to battling him.
Sinister Six Mode
I really love the Sinister Six mode.
The game usually begins with players feeling daunted and overwhelmed, wondering how they could achieve anything. This feeling gradually fades as you get more accustomed to the change in the game’s pace.
The designers have done an excellent job of making players feel like they’re embarking on an impossible challenge without that feeling of hopelessness that usually accompanies it.
Moreover, they’ve taken each Villain’s play style and pared it to just their essence. So, when a Villain activates, they feel like they’re carrying out their own unique agenda.
The way the Villains activate and their actions take a few turns to get used to, but once you do, you get into a nice rhythm, and subsequent turns flow smoothly. (It’s around this point, too, that you’ll feel you’re making gains in the game.)
Marvel United: Return of the Sinister Six is an excellent expansion that boasts not only quantity but quality. Whether you’re looking for more (challenging) Villains or a unique new mode of play against the Sinister Six, this is an expansion to check out.
You might also be interested in the following:
- Marvel United Review
- Marvel United: Rise of the Black Panther Review
- Marvel United: Deadpool Review
- Marvel United: Enter the Spider-Verse Review
- Marvel United: X-Men — X-Force Review
- Marvel United: X-Men — First Class Review
- Marvel United: X-Men — Blue Team Review
- Marvel United: X-Men Review
- Marvel United: Tales of Asgard Review