Funko Games’ Marvel BattleWorld: Mystery of the Thanostones is a cross between a board game and a blind bag collectible, and would absolutely have taken over my entire life when I was seven. Not only does BattleWorld offer the opportunity to collect adorable multiverse Marvel characters like Captain Americat, Spider-Ham, and Throg (Thor, but a frog), but you aren’t allowed to crack open the blind bag (called Thanostones) until you earn the characters by playing the game.
BattleWorld creates exciting moments of heroism when you free a new character from their Thanostone and discover who they, then instantly gives you a huge advantage in the cooperative board game thanks to a powerful new ally. It’s a great game and an even greater collectible, and I already raved about it in my review.
The first expansion items for BattleWorld are here, but rather than adding a “Series 2” of new characters to collect, Funko has expanded the game with a new mechanic called the Thanos Ship Showdown. In perfect harmony with BattleWorld, the Thanos Ship Showdown expansion is two things at once: a new game mechanic and a unique dice tower.
The toy is pretty genius. You get a new Thanos figure that can be attached to his thrown on his ship. The “floating” ship is expelling some kind of purple energy that splashes on the ground below it, creating a bowl. Pressing down on Thanos releases a die into the bowl.
Here’s how it works. The Thanos Ship gets places onto the board touching any of the other face-up Battle Card. Anytime a hero wins a challenge against a neighboring Battle Card, the Thanos Ship takes one damage, indicated by flipping over one of the panels on the side of the ship (which will show a red broken fuse). Once the Thanos Ship takes five damage, Thanos is defeated and the heroes earn an additional victory. At the end of every danger phase, the Thanos die is rolled and the Thanos Ship rotates around the board, increasing danger wherever he lands.
Thematically, it’s a brilliant addition to the game, which is based on Thanos’ Battleworld story-arc from Secret Wars. Finally, BattleWorld: Mystery of the Thanostones has Thanos! It’s kind of the perfect expansion because it’s not mandatory, it doesn’t fundamentally change how the game is played, but it does add a lot to the experience of playing the game. The standard game board made up of paper hexagons isn’t the most exciting thing to look at, but with the addition of Thanos in his giant ship, the play area finally has the focal centerpiece that it needs.
I have to comment on the lack of storage once again. All my figurines, dice, coins, Battle Cards, and now my Thanos Ship are just stuffed in a gallon ziplock bag. I would love for Funko to introduce some kind of storage for all the game pieces. I recognize that BattleWorld is both a collectible and a board game, but it’s the only board game I own that I have to keep in a ziplock bag.
Additionally, Funko also released the BattleWorld Travel Portal. The Travel Portal is a cool little backpack hanger that you can keep any one BattleWorld figure in and take with you. It also has a built-in spinner that you can use instead of dice, which is neat if you have all the figures and cards and coins but no dice, I guess. It also comes with an exclusive Gold Ultron figure. So ya, I’m sold.
Marvel BattleWorld continues to impress me with clever mechanics and absurdly collectible figures. If you’re picking up a starter pack for Christmas, The Thanos Ship Showdown is a great addition that really brings the board game alive.
A Thanos Ship Showdown and Travel Portal were provided to TheGamer for this article. You can learn more about Marvel BattleWorld on the Funko Games website.
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Eric Switzer is the Livestream News Editor for TheGamer as well as the lead for VR and Tech. He has written about comics and film for Bloody Disgusting and VFXwire. He is a graduate of University of Missouri – Columbia and Vancouver Film School. Eric loves board games, fan conventions, new technology, and his sweet sweet kitties Bruce and Babs. Favorite games include Destiny 2, Kingdom Hearts, Super Metroid, and Prey…but mostly Prey. His favorite Pokémon is Umbreon.
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