Review: ‘The Umbrella Academy’ Game is a Strategic Blast

Image courtesy of Studio 71 Games

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Calling all Hargreeves siblings fans! Here’s your chance to get in on the action and team up with your friends to defeat the evil enemies with the help of the Umbrella Academy.

Last month, Dark Horse Comics paired up with Studio 71 Games to create The Umbrella Academy Game, launching a Kickstarter that was funded in less than 24 hours. The team behind the game sent us a Standard Edition copy for an honest review.

The game can be played solo or with up to six people ages 12+, and takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. It’s definitely a great way to begin say … a The Umbrella Academy season 2 watch party, or a watch party for the whole series again which is basically a monthly thing around here.

If you can splurge on the game board option, do it. As a very visual and organized person, having designated spots for the cards just helps me with gameplay (and it features beautiful artwork of The White Violin a.k.a Vanya) and I wish I’d had one. Plus, you get a bunch of other cool TUA merch, with one having The Umbrella Academy Book One with a brand new cover by comic artist Gabriel Bá. It’s certainly not a deal breaker to go without, however.

You start by picking your hero card (my Klaus/The Séance card is already worn down because I can’t pull myself to betray him as much as I’d like to experience another character) and from there gameplay is simple enough — you utilize your heroes attack cards to defeat the villain attack cards, with a few surprises from the Dysfunctional Family Deck and Story Cards peppered in. Depending on your number of players the amount of cards dealt for each category will vary, and you’ll progress through the rounds defeating villains one-by-one, using attack cards, your heroes special powers, and story cards. If you manage to defeat all the villain cards, you’ll have to make it through the final battle to reign victorious. And it’s no easy feat.

Image courtesy of Studio 71 Games

The gameplay itself is definitely a little bit different, and don’t be ashamed if you need a few practice rounds to really nail down how it works. It has a lot of moving pieces, but that’s what keeps it exciting — no two rounds are the same. Strategy is key, especially in team play, and again, if it takes a few games to figure it out that’s normal. Or at least I hope it is because I needed a few.

I played both solo and with a friend, and while solo was still a great time, the magic lies in playing with a group. It is a cooperative game, so scheming with your friends and trying to decide who’s more chaotic — you all or the Hargreeves — was half the fun. The good news? It’s still a great time even if your friends aren’t fans of the comics or the show — and hey, maybe this will convince them to finally come out from under that rock they’re living under and see what all the hoopla is about.

The artwork of the game is stunning, using Gabriel Bá’s comic renditions of these characters. With 199 cards, it’s an impressive display of Bá’s versions of the Hargreeves and their enemies at its best. For fans of The Umbrella Academy, it’s also a great homage to their dysfunctional nature as a family, and as a team, when you flip over those Dysfunctional Family Cards to have your own well-planned efforts thwarted by our favorite anti-heroes. Another great little addition is the use of each of the sibling’s powers alongside your attack and story cards — a small detail that goes a long way.

So, if you haven’t already, head over to Kickstarter to reserve your copy of The Umbrella Academy Game right now, because even Number Five won’t be able to bail you out if you miss that deadline. Kickstarter ends September 4.

Kaity

Written by

Kaity started with Harry Potter in second grade and it’s been a losing battle ever since, or maybe a winning one ... She lives in New England with a small herd of cats, two dogs, three chinchillas, and one daughter. Her main fandoms are Marvel, The Umbrella Academy, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings, with special emphasis on one vibranium shield-wielding Super Soldier. You can find her on Twitter at @RogersThatCaptn. Contact: Directors@Nerdsandbeyond.com.

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