I've now played through two random battles and I've not yet reached any stunning conclusions about the nature of the game. I like how the board setup is like the synopsis of a comic book "The infernal emissary Apostate is up to some dastardly scheme and his arch-enemy, Fanatic, along with her allies - Unity, Nightmist, and the Argent Adept, confront him in the ruins of Atlantis, and fight his demonic hordes."
It's pretty cool. It's also a strength that originated in the tabletop game. Another great thing about the game that originated in the tabletop version is the diversity and creativity of the hero decks. Nightmist is a high-risk deck that trades character life for card advantage, Unity is tricky to set up, but when she gets going, her bots can put out massive damage, The Argent Adept is a great support character who makes the whole team more powerful, and Fanatic is an incredible tank that can absorb punishment and then get more powerful the closer she is to the edge.
I'm having a lot of fun, though I can't help but wonder if Sentinels of the Multiverse has any virtues specific to its video game incarnation. In single-player mode, you have to control 3-5 decks at a time, and I can't decide whether this is a good or bad thing. Because the game is turned-based, I don't mind the extra complexity. However, I worry that I may not be playing the individual decks optimally, simply because the portion of my head devoted to strategic planning is getting split 3-5 ways. Though, perhaps I'm overthinking it. I've won all of my games so far (though the specific example I mentioned in this post was a real squeaker), so perhaps relentless optimization is not strictly necessary.
What I need going forward is a plan to brace with the game's material. There are 14 villains, 16 heroes, and 10 environments. That's roughly 70,000 game setups with 3 person teams, and roughly 600,000 game setups with 5 person teams. How should I deal with the sheer combinatorial diversity?
Well, for one thing, it's likely that many of these combinations are only trivially different. How much, really, would my previous game have differed if my fourth hero was The Scholar instead of Nightmist (who I've noticed have similar card-drawing focus)? It wouldn't have played out exactly the same, but I doubt it would have felt like a dramatic change.
So, I guess the first thing to do is try and systematically test each of the hero and villain decks. What I'll do is pick an easy villain deck and play four games against it, with four 4-person hero teams, divided alphabetically. Then, I'll assemble my favorite team of heroes, and try to play all 14 bosses. All of this will be done in the simplest environment, and then when I complete that, I'll take my favorite hero vs boss match-up and try it out in all nine remaining environments.
By that time, I should be at or near the 20 hour deadline. In fact, given the speed with which I've played my games so far, these 37 games should take me to nearly double my normal playtime. Perhaps I'll only do the first part of the experiment, and then take on random setups afterwards. It's not systematic, granted, but I also wouldn't be stuck on a track.
I'll need some time to think about it. Luckily, it should take hours just to get through all 16 heroes.