Everyone under one big

Welcome to the Umbrella Academy!

The kickstarter has shipped, and now the game is up for pre-order on the Mantic web site.

So who or what is the Umbrella Academy.  This game is based off the comic book series by Gerard Way (yes, that Gerard Way, the lead vocalist of My Chemical Romance) and Gabriel Ba.

It is a not so classical superhero story - where one day across the world 43 women all gave birth despite not having been pregnant earlier that day.  Sir Reginald Hargreeves adopts as many as he can, training them to be the Umbrella Academy, a group of superheroes.  They end up as a dysfunctional family of adults later (and hijinks ensue).

As is the case so often, you are probably more familiar with the Netflix series (which just announced that the fourth and final season is coming in 2024).  The game is based on the comic instead, which is, well more comicy.  The characters are simply less 'realistic' being in a true comic book world.  But the essence - the story of a family struggling to get along with each other, remains the same.  I highly recommend all three collected editions from Dark Horse comics if you enjoy the show - Apocalypse Suite, Dallas, Hotel Oblivion and the announced but unpublished Sparrow Academy)

I did the full kickstarter version, so let's take a look at it!

First off, the kickstarter was for the exclusive Collector's edition box, which is bigger than the retail edition and contains ALL the expansions (I'm not sure how the expansions will be packaged for retail).

First I love the cover for the box - it is a direct homage (if not a straight copy) to the 4th issue of the Dallas story arc

For those not in the know, this is the Rumor, who at this point is unable to talk, so must communicate via a notepad and pen.

It is a decent size box, about the same size as the Hellboy : Box full of Evil expansion for the Hellboy Board Game.

Inside are the rules and some tokens

Some cards for the expansion villain missions

More counters (with the unbrella academy logo on the back)

And the board.  The kickstarter edition has an exclusive two sided board.  Either side can be used, but the kickstarter side changes up the locations (and the abilities of the locations), changing up the game.

The back is the 'normal' board (though using the word normal with any part of the Umbrella Academy doesn't really make any sense :-) ).

Then there are trays of miniatures.  The first one is heroes and villains

The second tray is all minions (each of which has a single version in the other tray)

The last tray (and in my box I put this one above the other two) has the cards and the larger miniatures for the game.

One note - Mantic has gotten VERY good at packaging their board games.  The three trays are solid, and each also has a transparent lid to keep the pieces from falling out in transport.  Not only that, but the three trays each have a semicircular indent that matches the lid - so you can easily make sure you have have the correct lid for each tray (ok, that isn't really needed, as all three trays are the exact same height and width (though the final tray is a bit deeper)).  Still a nice little attention to detail there.

One cool addition is that with the kickstarter version you can play with the heroes as adults (as we are used to seeing them), or as children.    When playing as children, you don't have the issues that they will have later as adults, and in fact have extra powers.  However they have special mission cards that deal with their 'father' that they must deal with in addition to the villain they are fighting.

So lets take a look at the miniatures for the game.

First of course is number one, who took the name Luther, but is known as Spaceboy.  He was terribly injured, and the only way to save him was to transplant his head onto the body of a gorilla.  He has spent the last few years on the moon.  His is one of the large minis, though his child version is just that, a child.

Number two, who named himself Diego, is known as Kraken.  He is an expert with all weapons

Number three named herself Allison, but is known as Rumor.  In my opinion she is the strongest of all the heroes - her power is if she whispers "I heard a rumor . . ." then whatever she says HAPPENS.  From her daughter falling asleep (in the tv show) to my favorite scene of the kids in the comics when they are fighting the living statue of Abraham Lincoln.

Number four is Klaus, known as Seance.  He can communicate with the dead, and may be immortal himself (and he can levitate)

Number five is simply that.  He was lost in time before he had a chance to give himself a real name, or a code name.  However he has lived several lives, and is now the oldest of the family, though he is back in his 13 year old body.  One of the allies you can find in the game is the old man version of number five as well (so he has three minis, old, current, and as a kid).

These are the base characters for the game (at least the standard adult versions).  However the kickstarter added two more

Number six is Ben, who has the codename The Horror.  He is one of the kickstarter bonus figures (with full playable rules, of course).  He can call forth huge tentacles from inside himself.  (I think he should be called Kraken, but then I play Trident Realm for Kings of War and love when I "unleash the kraken" on the tabletop).  Ben died when he was young (but that doesn't stop Klaus from talking to him).  He is definitely my favorite child mini, and his adult one is pretty cool as well.

Number seven is Vanya.  While it was originally thought that she didn't have any powers, in fact she is extremely powerful, and became the super villain the White Violin.  So you get her as a child, but get the cards to play her as a hero instead of a villain (though of course you can't use her as a hero in the White Violin scenario).

In the game, any hero that you are not using can also be found as an ally.  In addition, the kickstarter added additional allies (and miniatures for all of them).  Pogo is in the base game, but Reginald Hargreeves and Mom are added for the collectors version.

The base game has three scenarios, and each scenario includes miniatures and cards to play it.

The first scenario Super Villain Mission is Hazel & Cha Cha.  These assassins wearing animal masks are nothing but trouble, and while they do not have any minions, they don't really need them.

The second mission is the White Violin.  This used the Vanya and White Violin miniatures.  Again she is tough enough that you don't need anything but her.

The final mission in the base game is the Orchestra Verdammten.  The Orchestra Conductor is the one responsible for Vanya becoming the White Violin, but isn't so strong by himself, so he has his members of the orchestra to help him.  There is a male and female member (5 of each, 4 in the standard edition).

There are four new super villain missions - each with appropriate cards and miniatures.  All the new expansion rules are on 10" x 6" cards, with a villain on each side (my guess would be that they would be sold as pairs in the retail expansions).

The first two are from the future

The Terminauts - deadly robots from the future - five of each sculpt

Then there are the Temps Aeternalis - who are basically goons from the future.  Like the terminauts they don't have a single major villain, but must be defeated as a group (again 5 of each sculpt)

The second pair of scenarios starts off with the Murder Magician and his Murderbot

On the back of that card is A Monumental Problem - yes, the status of Abraham Lincoln comes to life!  This was probably my favorite stretch goal.

********** COMIC SPOILER ALERT ********************************

If you haven't read the comics and don't want them spoiled, then skip this section.

As I mentioned above for the Rumor, probably my favorite scene in all the comics is when the children are fighting old Honest Abe.  He is very tough and is kicking their little butts, until Rumor gets up next to him and whispers in his ear, "I heard a rumor you were assassinated Mr. President").  At which point a giant marble John Wilkes Booth just appears and shoots Lincoln in the head (before disappearing).  I could not stop laughing from that!

The only other thing in the box is a first player token, where they give you a plastic one to replace the cardstock.

I haven't had a chance to actually play the game yet, but it looks like a lot of fun.  Feud cards are added into each player's deck to represent the fact that while family, they don't really get along.  When fighting in a location there are both Advantage and Hazard cards to help and hurt you.  Each player starts in a different location (named and numbered, in case you are using the kickstarter board).  You have a deck of half advantage and half hazard cards you will be going through, and somewhere near the middle you will get the "Save the World!" card, which flips the villain card over, and shows you how to defeat it before it destroys the world (by gaining too many wounds, by having too many areas with active hazards, or by the main deck of cards running out).

So this looks like quite a bit of fun, with seven missions and seven different heroes (and even a solo mode).

If you can just get along with each other in time to save the world.

Because it is all fun and games . . .