Hiding in Plain Sight in an Intergalactic War
Captain Marvel: Secret Skrulls is a hidden identity game by USAopoly. Based on the game mechanics of the wild west card game, BANG!, with updated MCU art by Rick Hutchinson, Captain Marvel: Secret Skrulls allows players to become some of their favorite Marvel characters and experience the Captain Marvel film come to life.
Captain Marvel: Secret Skrulls is a hidden identity game where players take on the roles of their favorite Marvel characters, including Captain Marvel herself, to defend Earth in an intergalactic war against shape-shifting Skrulls in disguise. Players must decide whom to trust, defend their alliance, and restore the planet’s virtue.
Captain Marvel: Secret Skrulls is based on the game mechanics of the original BANG! card game, which recreates an old-fashioned spaghetti western shoot-out. Players randomly chose a Character card which determines their special abilities, and a secret Alliance card to determine their goal.
There are 7 Alliance Cards (1 Captain Marvel, 2 Ally, 3 Skrull, 1 Skrull Defector) with 4 different roles, each with a unique victory condition. Captain Marvel is victorious if she eliminates all Skrulls and the Skrull Defector. The Ally’s job is to protect Captain Marvel and eliminate the Skrull and Skrull Defector. The Skrulls’ objective is to eliminate Captain Marvel. The Skrull Defector’s goal is to be the last one standing… “Having left the Skrulls, this person is neither an ally to the Skrulls nor Captain Marvel and must work independently to accomplish their own objective,” according to a press release for the game.
Because all of the Alliances, except Captain Marvel, are secret, players must use social deduction to figure out who is an Ally and who is a Skrull, and attack accordingly. If the wrong player is eliminated, it may be more difficult, or impossible, for a player to reach their winning condition.
During gameplay, a player’s Alliance card is kept secret, except for Captain Marvel. Character cards are face up on the table, revealing their special ability. Place Health Tokens on the track on the player board, which also determines the players’ hand limits throughout the game.
Turn order is as follows: At the start of each turn, the active player will draw two cards. They can play any number of cards. At the end of their turn, the player will discard excess cards to their hand limit, which is equal to their current health.
Players remain in the game until they lose all of their health. When a player loses their last health token, they may immediately play a Heal to survive. Otherwise, they are eliminated, and they reveal their Alliance card. This will help the remaining players narrow down the roles of the others left, and narrow down their targets left to eliminate for victory. The game ends when either Captain Marvel is eliminated, or if the Skrulls and Skrull Defector are eliminated.
When playing cards, there are two types of cards. Red cards are played and discarded immediately. Blue cards, which are weapons and other equipment, are played face up in front of the player and are considered “in play”.
Players can only play one Attack per turn (unless their character’s special ability or equipment says otherwise). A player can only attack another player that is within their range. Range is the minimum number of spaces between two players in either the clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. All weapons have a range that they can reach. If a player is eliminated, their position no longer counts in determining the range.
When playing a blue weapon or equipment card, a player can have only 1 copy of any one card of the same name. Also, they may only have 1 weapon in play at a time. “in play”. The effects of these cards remain until the card is discarded or otherwise removed. As some weapons have a higher range that will allow them to reach players further away, there is also equipment that can increase or decrease the range of players.
My favorite part of this game is the integration of the theme. BANG! is a card game that was originally released in 2002. There have been a few other iterations (including one for The Walking Dead), but I think that the Captain Marvel adaptation is the most clever and successful.
“From our decades of experience with the Marvel license, we know how to adapt the iconic moments from the big screen to compelling tabletop game experiences for fans of all ages. With its gorgeous illustrations and engaging gameplay, ‘Captain Marvel: Secret Skrulls’ is bound to become a new favorite among the MCU fandom and beyond,” said Candace Brenner, USAopoly’s Vice President of Marketing, in a statement emailed to Deseret News.
For those that have seen the blockbuster movie, Captain Marvel, it is apparent that the secret roles and alliances, character abilities, and weapons represented in the game fit perfectly with the theme. And for those who have not seen the movie… get out there and do so! It’s amazing!
The Not As Good…
My only real complaints about this game are the components. Most of the pieces are acceptable. The cards are average weight, and the player boards are pretty thin. So if the components aren’t handled with care, they may show wear fairly quickly.
The rulebook is good, but there are a few details that are not as easy to remember, and players may overlook during gameplay. For example, you cannot play the Captured card on Captain Marvel. This is a game-changing rule that we did not realize during our first run-through, and probably caused the person playing as Captain Marvel to lose the game. The rulebook mentions this in the Cards in Detail section in the back of the rulebook, which more experienced players may skip. It would be beneficial to have this printed on the actual Captured card.
There are also a couple of Penalties and Rewards that are mentioned in the rulebook. If Captain Marvel eliminates an Ally, she must discard all of the cards she has in her hand or in play. If a player eliminates a Skrull, they receive a reward of 3 cards from the deck. Both of these are easily forgotten on early plays. It wouldn’t have been much to print this info on the player cards.
This is a great game for a group of people, with a player count of 4–7 players. It’s always great to find a game that can accommodate a larger group, and that is easy enough to accommodate a wide level of experience, yet still be fun to play. And if the group is already familiar with the original BANG! game, then it is an even easier teach.
It’s a great gift for any Captain Marvel or MCU fan. It’s also readily available, including at Target and Amazon.
- Release Date: 2019
- MSRP: $24.95
- Playing Time: 30 minutes
- Age Range: 8+
- Player Count: 4-7