Social Distancing and Marvel Champions

Attention readers! The world is in a scary state right now, many countries around the globe are instructing citizens to not leave their homes except for essential reasons. At the MCM Podcast we take this situation very seriously in our personal lives and wanted to provide a brief guide for how-to play Marvel Champions with friends even when not at the same table! Read this article or browse to find information about the method you want to try out. Disclaimer: First, we encourage you to buy a physical copy of Marvel Champions. There’s nothing anyone can do to support the company that makes this game better than purchasing the game and playing it. These are some alternatives to playing the game with friends, when a physical setting isn’t possible.

Method 1: Tabletop Simulator

Tabletop Simulator is a game system you can purchase and download through STEAM workshop. Within Tabletop Simulator (TTS) you’ll find hundreds of free games and paid DLC. You can pay a small fee to purchase fully support versions of board games like Wingspan. There is also a huge community of people who create custom games or mods on TTS. This is where you will find Marvel Champions. 

To get started:

  • Create or login to a STEAM account
  • Purchase and download Tabletop Simulator
  • Search under the TTS workshops for Marvel Champions
  • Subscribe to one of the free mods (detailed below)
  • Load up Tabletop Simulator and the mod of your choice… START PLAYING!

There are three primary mods that I will point out:

  • -=SoF=- Crimson’s Mod –
    • This mod is managed by MCM co-host Crimson! It has everything you’ll need to get started played Marvel Champions on TTS including all the currently released heroes and villains! In addition Crimson’s mod has a big focus on custom content. In addition to the custom challenge environments if you scroll north of the table (UP) dozens of custom heroes and villains from the homebrew discord are available for testing!
    • This mod is best suited for 1-2 players
  • Anesthesia’s Mod (NOw defunct!)
    • This mod offers a large table and all currently released content. It has sufficient space for 4-5 players and offers a lot of unique trays and features. This mod focuses on just the game as released by FFG so you won’t see a ton of custom content and because of that it will load quite a bit faster. I use this mod when playing large multiplayer games as it offers optimal space.
  • FunkyMonkeyMonk’ Mod
    • This mod is the beginning of an automated mod. Whether it’s small automations added to the villain turn or great scripted features (like loading a deck from marvelcdb!) This mod is really a great start at an automated masterpiece. I’ve been testing this mod out and it grows better each update. I’m excited to see where the villain automation goes!

All three of these mod managers are on discord so feel free to reach out to them with requests or feedback on their amazing work! I’ll end the TTS section with a list of shortcuts and commands, a screenshot of Crimson’s mod with some information about where you may find the components you seek, and a brief youtube tutorial video!

TTS Tip List

  • Make sure you select a color to have a seat at the table (click on your name on the top right to do this)
  • Use a playmat to define your play area
  • Don’t forget to mix in your obligation!

TTS Shortcut List

  • P – change camera view
  • WASD – Pan Camera up, left, down, right
  • Q/E – rotate a card counterclockwise or clockwise the angle displayed at the top
  • R – shuffle a deck or randmoize a dice roll
  • Click and hold, then drag – move a pile of cards
  • 1, 2, 3, etc – when hovering over a pile of cards draw 1, 2, 3, or etc cards

Here is the tutorial video, we’ll probably do an updated one soon and we’ll update this blog entry accordingly. UPDATED with new tutorials by both Crimson and KennedyHawk.

Method 2: OCTGN

Another digital platform option is OCTGN. I’ve used OCTGN a lot in the past for playing other LCG’s remotely with friends (Star Wars, LOTR, etc) but it had been a while. So I loaded up the platform and got acquainted with the Marvel Champions set-up. To begin you’ll want to download OCTGN from their website. Once you have the program installed run it and you can install Marvel Champions from within the app! Most games natively come with text cards instead of ones with images. You can download and install the image packs from OCTGNGames website here. This entire mod is curated by twitstedsistem who you can find on the main Marvel Champions discord.

OCTGN is perfect for scripting and allows easy automation. The Marvel Champions mod for OCTGN is still rather new so there is not a ton of automation but there is  enough to be really helpful. When you create a game you can choose how many players to allow, once in the game simply right-clicking on the game mat allows you to load a deck, you can even just input a URL from MarvelCDB to have your entire deck loaded.

Once loaded you’ll be able to load a villain and modular set in the same way with a final screen having both your hero and the villain in play! From here you’ll be able to mulligan cards from your deck and get started with your first turn. The area near the bottom that shows where the hero and villains HP are tabs so you can tab back and forth between your deck and the villains deck!  Automation is still somewhat limited but a few things have been incorporated. Pressing F12 will toggle between a players turn and the villains turn, it will ready all your hero’s cards and draw up to your hand size (if you have an increased hand size from say Asgard you’ll have to fix that manually.

On the villains turn you’ll need to tab to the villain area and increasing the threat. Double clicking on the villain will draw a boost card for the foe and you can go on your way completing the villains turn. As more is automated in this system the OCTGN implementation of this game is sure to be rock solid. We’re excited to see where it goes!

Here’s a quick list of tips and hotkeys for OCTGN

OCTGN Tips and Hotkeys

  • F12 – toggle end the current phase and move to the next (swap from villain to hero or hero to villain phase)
  • Up, Down – while hovering over a card this will add or subtract 1 damage token
  • Right, Left – while hovering over a card this will add or subtract a general purpose token
  • Double click on a player card (hero/ally/support) – exhaust the card
  • Double click on a villain – deal a boost cast
  • Delete Key – while hovering over a card this will place the card into the appropriate discard pile
  • Right-click on the table – option appear to load a hero/villain, defeat a villain stage (and load the next), complete a main scheme phase (and load the next!)

Be sure to try out OCTGN if you are looking for something a little more automated and speedy to get through (especially once you learn all the shortcuts)! I’ll be making a tutorial video for this program shortly so we’ll update this article with the video when it goes live!

Method 3: Skype/Video Conferencing

The final way I’ll list here is my favorite way to play Marvel Champions when social distancing. You won’t need any fancy software, just a camera, and some way of video conferencing. You can use a lot of platforms, facebookLive, GoggleHangout, Skype etc. Find a way you can send video and voice feed from your phone or webcam to a video conferencing system and you are good to go. We use Skype in our house to play Marvel Champions remotely with friends all over the world! There are a couple things to consider. Everyone will need cards, but only one player will need a villain deck to stream to the group. You can purchase a webcam clamp mount which will also work with a tripod cellphone adapter. I linked the one we use for our cameras! Not the best image but we have a computer off to a table on the right, we can adjust the camera to capture two players set-ups and play remotely with friends who may be managing the villain deck.

Players on the Magic reddit have shown their set-ups for use during this time of social distancing. You can get as janky as you want including this set-up I saw on the MTG facebook group, all of these work and provide a fun experience for playing Marvel Champions during this critical time of isolation.

Just because we are isolated doesn’t mean we can’t game together. If you are looking for a game consider joining one of the many discord servers and arranging a game with one of us or one of the many active community members. The best way to keep this game alive is to keep playing it during this time, so try out some interesting deckbuilds from marvelcdb. Or pit your best deck against a custom hero from Hall of Heroes. Until next time! Thanks for reading.

Marvel Champions Monthly discord…

Deck-celsior Podcast discord…

Main Marvel Champions Global discord…