- 200 Asset Cards
- 40 Key Cards
- 1 Card Stand
- 8 S.H.I.E.L.D. Cards
- 8 HYDRA Cards
- 7 Neutral Cards
- 1 Double Agent Card
- and 1 Thanos Assassin Card
Two opposing teams are competing to be the first to identify all of their team's Marvel Asset Cards from among 25 cards displayed in a 5 x 5 grid.
Each team has a Director (who knows the location of each one of the Asset Cards their team is trying to find) to give clues in the form of code words telling their Agents where to find the cards.
Be careful! Decipher a code incorrectly and you might help the other team! It's a race to identify all your team's cards first!
Players split up into two teams of similar size. At least four players (making two teams of two) are recommended. Each team chooses one player to be their Director. Directors sit on the same side of the table while the Agents (guessers) sit across on the opposite side.
Randomly choose 25 Asset Cards and place them on the table in a 5 x 5 grid. The grid corresponds to the Key Card that identifies to the Directors which cards are assigned to their team. It is recommended to use only all pictures or all words.
Pictures should be oriented so that the images face the guessers, and the word side should have the large words facing the guessers.
Each game will use one Key Card that shows the location of the Asset Cards for each team. The Directors choose a Key Card randomly and place it (any side up) on the stand between them. DO NOT let Agents see the Key Card.
The Key corresponds to the grid on the table. Red squares indicate cards that the HYDRA (Red) Team will try to identify, and blue squares indicate the ones for the S.H.I.E.L.D. (Blue) Team.
The purple squares indicate neutral cards that do not belong to either team. The yellow square with an "X" indicates the Assassin Card that all players try to avoid.
The example is viewed from the perspective of the directors who are seeing the key card at right.
Therefore, the cards portrayed above appear upside down as they would be seen on the table by the directors.
The color bars outside of the grid on any Key Card indicate which team starts (example circled above). The team that starts has 9 Asset Cards to identify, and the rival team has 8 Asset Cards to identify.
The starting team also gives the first clue. (Giving clues is explained later).
Each Director will have 8 of their own Team Cover Cards in front of them, and the starting team will also use the Double Agent Card as the 9th Cover Card with their color and icon face-up.
The HYDRA Team Cover Cards are placed in front of the the HYDRA Team Director and the S.H.I.E.L.D. Team Cover Cards are placed in front of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Team Director. The Neutral Cover Cards and the Assassin Cover Card are placed in the center near the Key Card on the Stand.
The Double Agent Card is added to the starting team's Cover Cards.
Teams take turns, beginning with the starting team. On your team's turn, your Director gives a one-word clue and the Agents may make one or more guesses. The clue the Director gives relates to one or more of the Asset Cards on the table.
After a Director gives a clue, Agents try to guess which card or cards their Director alluded to with the clue.
When an Agent touches an Asset Card, the Director identifies if that card is one of their team's, one of the rival team's, one that is neutral, or the Assassin Card, and covers it with the appropriate Cover Card.
Their turn ends when they guess wrong, decide to stop (after at least one guess) or when they have made the maximum number of guesses according to gameplay, which is the number given by the Director plus one.
End of the Game
The first team to identify and cover all of their Asset Cards wins!
It is possible to win on the rival team's turn if they guess your last card or the Thanos Assassin Card.
Giving a Clue
If you are the Director, your job is to think up a clue that relates to one, or better yet, some of the cards your team is trying to guess. Your clue consists of one word that relates to those cards and one number that tells how many of your cards are related to that clue.
Example: A good clue for the two cards below might be GREEN : 2.
Although your clue must have only one word and one number, the number part of the clue may be 1 or more. It is really fun and beneficial toward winning when your team has the opportunity to guess more than one Asset Card.
Getting multiple cards with one clue is a big accomplishment!
Keep a Straight Face
Directors are expected to give only one word and one number. Do not preface with additional comments! For instance, "I don't know if you'll get this unless you've seen the Avengers films" reveals way too much information.
Directors should not appear to be staring at one part of the table, and they must never touch or point toward the cards on the table after they have seen the Key Card.
Directors are also expected to keep a straight face when Agents are guessing. Do not reach for a Cover Card when your Agents begin discussing a card. Wait until they actually touch it.
When an Agent chooses a card of the correct color, you must act as though that was the card you meant even if it was not. If you are an Agent, you should focus on the table when you are making your guesses. To avoid non-verbal clues, avoid making eye contact with the Director.
When the information is strictly limited to one word and one number, then you are playing fair.
After a Director gives a clue, their Agents try to figure out what it means. They can debate it among themselves, but the Director must keep a straight face.
Agents indicate their official guess when one of them touches a card on the table. The Director identifies whether that card is their own team's, the rival team's, a Neutral Card, or the Assassin Card.
If a player touches a card belonging to their team, the Director covers it with one of their team's Cover Cards. Agents may continue making guesses, but they do not get another clue.
If a player touches a card that belongs to the other team, the card is covered with the rival team's Cover Card. This ends the turn. (AND helps the other team!)
If a player touches a card that is neutral, the Director covers it with a Neutral Cover Card. This ends the turn.
If a player touches the Assassin Card, the Director covers it with the Thanos Assassin Card. This ends the game, and the rival team wins!
Number of Guesses
Each team's turn always consists of the Director giving exactly one clue.
A clue consists of one word, and one number. The number is determined by the Director based on how many of their own cards are related to that clue. The guessers on the team always make at least one guess.
Teams can stop guessing at any time, but usually you want to make as many guesses as the number the Director indicated. Sometimes you might even want to guess one more. The maximum number of guesses a team may make is always one more than the number indicated with the clue.
For example, if your Director says PUNCH: 2, you can make as many as three guesses, provided you get the first two guesses correct. This does not make much sense on your first turn, but later in the game it could be very useful.
For instance, you might have been given some clues for which you did not find all the Asset Cards. You may guess cards for these earlier clues instead of OR in addition to Asset Cards related to the current clue.
Remember, your clue needs to be one word, no hyphens or spaces.
If you're not sure your clue is one word or not, ask the rival Director secretly. If the rival Director will allow it, the clue is valid.
All word play is allowed. For instance, you can use the word knight to lead teammates to a picture of a sky with moon and stars, OR a picture of a medieval warrior dressed in armor.
If the occasion arises, or the teammates ask, spelling the word out is allowed.
In general, clue giving can be trivially simplistic like identifying an object in the scene. Although a little creativity spices it up for everyone, like saying Patriot or Soldier instead of Captain when trying to lead your team to a picture of Captain America.*
The clue must be about the card (picture or word), not about the patterns that the cards make on the table, or the letters in certain words. Here are two examples of what should be considered invalid clues:
Close : 2 - meaning the two closest cards to the teammates.
S : 3 - meaning three cards that begin with the letter "S".
Singing, funny accents and foreign words are generally not allowed, unless your group decides to allow it.
Game Play Example
Let's say the Red Team starts, as per the Key Card that was drawn (at right), with the Asset Cards randomly placed on the table as shown here.
The HYDRA Director wants to give a clue for three cards. The clue given is ANIMAL: 3. The HYDRA Agents study the grid and see several possibilities, including Lockjaw, Female Thor (with the horse), Scorpion, and Rhino.
They think all are good guesses, but decide to touch Lockjaw first. This is a neutral card (per the grid card), so it gets covered with a Neutral Cover Card, the turn ends, and the HYDRA Team does not get a second guess. It is now the S.H.I.E.L.D. Team's turn.
The S.H.I.E.L.D. Director gives the clue CHAIN: 2. The S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents successfully guess two cards (Ghost Rider and Ghost Rider's Chain) according to the clue given and end their turn.
The grid now appears as shown here, and it is the HYDRA Team's turn again.
The HYDRA Director now gives the clue FEMALE: 3. The Agents again study the grid and see several possibilities.
Remembering the previous clue of ANIMAL : 3, they think that Female Thor (with the horse) is the best possibility, and Black Widow and She-Hulk also work for the Female clue.
They agree that Female Thor is most likely to be right, so that card is touched. The Director covers it with a HYDRA Card, and the Agents are allowed to make a second guess.
They correctly guess She-Hulk which is covered by a HYDRA Card and allows them the third guess. They correctly choose Black Widow which is also covered with a HYDRA Cover Card.
The HYDRA Team has made three correct guesses, which is the number specified by the clue FEMALE: 3, so they are allowed to make one additional guess.
They can now try to identify another card from the first clue.
The guessers touch the Scorpion card for their final guess, which gets covered by a HYDRA Card. It is now the S.H.I.E.L.D. Team's turn because the HYDRA Team has used up all their guesses.
The grid would appear as shown hereafter these three turns.
If there are only two of you, you can play on the same team. This two-player variant also works for larger groups who don't feel like competing with each other.
The object is to get a high score against a simulated rival. Set up the game as usual. One player will be the Director and the rest the Agents (guessers). The other team has no players, but you need their Team Cover Cards just the same.
Your team goes first, so be sure to pick a Key Card that makes you the starting team. Play your turn as usual by trying to guess your team's cards, avoiding the Neutral Cards, and the Assassin Card.
The Director simulates the rival team by covering one of their cards each time they get a turn! The Director chooses which card gets covered, so a bit of strategy may factor into it.
If your team chooses the Assassin Card, or all of the opposing team cards are placed, you lose. If your team identifies all their Asset Cards before either of those things happen, you win!
If you would like to keep score, count the number of rival cards not yet placed when you win, and refer to the chart below:
Three players who want to be on the same team can play as described in TWO-PLAYER GAME. If two players want to compete against each other, they can be rival Directors while the third player is the guesser for both.
Setup and game play are as usual, except that the single guesser is working for both teams. The winning Director is determined the usual way with the guesser doing his or her best for both teams.
Alternative Game Play
Expert players may want to take advantage of some alternative game play options described below.
Expert Clue : Unlimited
In this variant, as Director you can allow your Agents to guess as many Asset Cards as they want by saying unlimited instead of a number. For example, FURRY: UNLIMITED. This is especially helpful if you have given clues for multiple cards that your team has not guessed yet.
The disadvantage is that Agents don't know how many cards relate to the newest clue. The advantage is that they may guess as many cards as they want (with the usual risks).
Expert Clue: Zero
In this variant the Director is allowed to use zero as the number part of the clue. This would tell your teammates that none of your team's cards relate to that clue.
For example, FEATHERS: 0 means "none of our cards relate to feathers".
If the Director gives "zero" as the number part of the clue, the usual limit on guesses does not apply. Players may guess as many cards as they want (as long as they keep guessing right, of course), however, they still must guess at least one card.
For Marvel Experts
In this variant, Directors cannot give clues that include the name or part of the name of the Asset to which the clue refers.
Optional Infinity Gauntlet Rules
In this variant, set up the Neutral Cards so that the Infinity Gauntlet is at the bottom of the stack, and therefore the last Neutral Card to be placed.
If a team picks the seventh and final Neutral Asset in the grid, their Director covers it with the Infinity Gauntlet, ending the game. Thanos now has the full power of the Infinity Gauntlet, and the rival team wins!