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UPPER DECK'S VS SYSTEM 2PCG has just taken on a whole new amount of fun! MARVEL'S A-FORCE 200 card expansion contains 2 x 100 card decks from which you can build 2 x 60 card (the maximum number of cards you may have in a personal deck) decks and face them off against each other. Of course you'll need one of the VS SYSTEM core sets for the Rules and possibly later on to change the build of your personal Deck(s), but for now as long as you have the Core Rules and the double-sided Rules Sheet that comes with the A-FORCE expansion you can play a more than admirable game featuring some heavy-weight in talent female Marvel Stars, though going slightly off PC and maybe also perhaps a bit sexist it could be said that the illustrator of Titania had the first three letters of her name in their mind when they painted the card art - don't blame or accuse me, just look at the picture.

OKAY I should explain a lot more about the A-FORCE expansion set. To begin with it introduces two new teams of adversaries, the Femmes Fatales (the Fatal Women) versus the A-Force (some of Marvel's best known heroines). There are also some nice additional and new rules and interpretations, such as Daze meaning also Stun and AKA (Also Known As) which means you can use Supporting Character cards of either of the character's aliases. The example given on the rules sheet is the quickest and easiest to quote: "Captain Marvel" aka as "Ms. Marvel" though a speedy flip through the Femmes Fatales Main Characters shows "Dark Phoenix" can use the Supporting Characters of "Phoenix"; note that these AKA characters are like dual-personalities in a way and so can use a mixture of their Supporters in their Deck.

SOME of these Main Characters have new super powers which are similar but not exact duplicates of earlier and/or original super powers. For example: SHE-HULK has the new super power "REACTION" which is quite similar to the original NULLIFY and ROGUE can absorb the Keyword and Super-Powers of Supporting Characters that she has KO'd. This is very much like the super power, MUTANT POWER DUPLICATION. Keywords have always been a very important part of the VS System and TITANIA's "DURABLE" allows her to prevent Stun or Combat wounds to herself. A character with MOBILE can move a non-combatant character to a different Row in your three Row setup, Front Row, Back Row, and Supply Row.

OUT of the annals of myth and history comes the sublime MORGAN le FAY whose own super powers depend on how many times you have used the Growing Magic power in the game; you are better to not depend on her, she is after all only a Supporting Act, but clever plsy or careful play with a well designed deck can bring her to the fore of your planning. The game sheet offers you 2 good Deck Lists that you can build from the cards within the A FORCE expansion; these are excellent for first time users of this set and even for first time players - though I would recommend that brand new players use the core set cards and only start a first game with this expansion if one of the players is experienced, mainly because of the rule additions and the new Keywords on some of the cards which may be confusing for inexperienced players.

WHEN you open the expansion; try to open the box carefully and you can continue to use it and keep your expansion cards separate - at least until you totally integrate them into the Core set or your overall card collection. Remember when you play MARVEL VS SYSTEM you need a Hero or HEROINE and a VILLAIN or VILLAINESS and supporters for them (not necessarily the absolute correct supporters) - the AKA characters being the exceptions of course, and boy are there some super super-heroines/villains in this set - who said women were weaker than men? He hadn't met this little lot that's for sure. Therefore, however you keep the cards that you play with, ensure that the support character cards are kept safe and separate, your other cards, such as Locations and Plot Twists, can be part of any deck but it's still a good idea to keep all same type cards together in your Core game box, using the sponge pieces that come with it. If you have the time, and inclination, or you are a little OCD, then also put them in alphabetical order - each card type not every card. 

THERE are two sealed 3 card Special Packs that come with this expansion, as well as the previously mentioned two x 100 card sealed decks. These two, 4-card packs will bring delight to fans of MARVEL and particularly to players of this entertaining card game which is really neither a Tradeable or Collectable ccg/tcg as such. The cards I speak of are: Bullseye, Winter Soldier, Kingpin and Venom, and Daredevil, Luke Cage, Dr Strange and Ghost Rider. If you need them, you can find the Bullseye, Winter Soldier, Kingpin and Venom Supporting Characters in The Underworld faction of the VS SYSTEM expansion set The DEFENDERS. In the same expansion, the DEFENDERS faction, you can find the Ghost Rider Supporting Characters, and the Supporting Characters for Luke Cage, Dr Strange and Daredevil are available in the VS SYSTEM 2PCG The MARVEL BATTLES Core box set. 

I HAVE kept the A-FORCE and FEMMES FATALES cards separate from each other and in card types as already mentioned. There are two cards, a Level One and a Level Two, for each Main Character in both factions; this is usual for VS SYSTEM games main characters as you gain experience through playing and eventually you are able to swap your Silver lined L1 to the Gold lined L2, often upgrading to a more powerful ability while losing a weaker one, but more importantly gaining extra ATTack and DEFence.

I have played several times, mainly against the same opponent I admit, but with each of us alternating between V-Force and Femmes Fatales and each time using different Main Characters, and the sides are quite well matched with generally a player error or a piece of bad luck bringing the game to an end. I am a fan of the VR SYSTEM even though I am not particularly great at building game-winning decks. Next time I play, which will be soon, I will be attempting to introduce some of the other cards I own into the decks. This will probably bring about some rather erratic nuances but I am quite looking forward to it. 

Deck Building is an art and there are players who can, it seems, always select the best cards to form a winning deck. I usually put cards in because I like the effect they have if they come out at the right time (and yes there are times when I select cards because of the illustration on them) but my general deck building is pathetic. The good thing is though no matter how poorly I play or how bad my deck is after I have meddled with a perfectly good deck provided by the expansion, the game is always enjoyable and fun to play, and that is what I ask of any game. If you build the Femmes Fatale deck carefully you can make your main heroine almost invincible. To do this you need to use the supporting cast that add the counters to build up strength and power, rather like when MtG players create themselves a "weenie" deck. Check out this website for some great ideas on deck building. 

CAST of Characters:
A-FORCE MAIN: Captain/Ms Marvel.  She-Hulk.  Sister Grimm.  Phoenix.
FEMMES FATALES:  Black Cat.  Dark Phoenix.  Enchantress.  Mystique. 

PLOT TWISTS:  FF: Heroines of Arcadia.  You Won't Like Her When She's Angry.  Build A Better Woman.  A-F:  Main Strength.

SUPPORTING Characters: 4 of each card
A-FORCE:  Dazzler.  Loki.  Medusa.  Meggan.  Miss America.  Phoenix.  Pixie.  Rogue. She-Hulk.  Singularity.  Sister Grimm. Spectrum.  Spider Woman. Wasp.
FEMMES FATALES:  Black Cat.  Demon Goblin (Token).  Enchantress.  Goblin Queen.  Lady Deathstrike.  Madame Masque.  Moonstone.  Morgan le Fay.  Nebula. Satana.  Silver Sable.  Sin.  Spiral.  Titania.  Viper.


AS YOU would expect, the artwork is absolutely excellent visions of fantasy. Filled with fire, action, passion and something else, something indeed that will cause the puritan players some distress - the heroine in burlesque style costumes, a throwback to the chainmail bikini girls that have angered so many righteous folk throughout the years. Yes these illustrations show a lot of bosom, larger than life, larger than comfortable (especially if you are a girl and an adventurer) but you need to see past them (if you are easily offended) and concentrate on the other parts of the cards, the game details and symbols. This is too good a game to let any possibly contraversible artwork put you off playing. Once you get to playing you soon discover that your eyes are perusing the card information - the illustrations are quickly lost in the pace and excitement of the game play.

TAKE the time to read up online about the VS SYSTEM and then checkout your LOCAL GAME STORE for a copy of V-Force (@ £25.00), being positively sure that you have a Core Game (@ £35.00) first. If you like a card game that is NOT Magic the Gathering based, but instead is designed around the World's favourite Marvel Super-Heroes, then it is definitely worth while looking at VS SYSTEM's MARVEL A-FORCE 2PCG.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2021