Previewing: HoMC: Sidekicks & Storylines

There’s an age-old debate in the comic book world. It deals with the deep and philosophical question that has plagued many heroes over the years – what is the role of their sidekick, exactly? What purpose do they serve as a physical character, and what do they represent on a larger scale? And are they even needed?

The pro-sidekick argument hinges on the idea that the characters provide camaraderie to the more stoic, insular, or otherwise basic hero, or, alternatively, they provide some sort of moral or comedic foil to the hero’s thoughts and actions. In many cases, a good sidekick is essential to the hero’s survival. Where would Batman be without Robin, Iron Man without War Machine, Green Hornet without Kato?

But we get it. There was a period of time the sidekick thing was a bit overdone, and there’s also many cases where the sidekicks cause as much trouble as they solve.

Nevertheless, we’re here to talk about the cool side of sidekicks. Specifically, the Sidekicks & Storylines expansion to the co-op superhero-themed deckbuilder, Heroes of Metro City.

Prototype Shown

“Shut up Wesley.”
Prototype Shown

In Heroes of Metro City, players create their own unique superhero based their imagination (and the cards in play). The game comes with stacks of various powers that players use to tailor who they want their hero to be. Will you be The Jade Monkey, emboldened with the powers of Rooftop Leaping and a Devastating Uppercut, or Spitfire, imbued with Accelerating Super-Speed and an Elemental Blast?

The card stacks also represent the health of Metro City, the place you’re trying to save from your archenemy and their vile lackeys. Each turn you use your cards to activate powers, defeat bad guys, and buy more powerful cards. Then, the bad guys counterattack on the city itself. If you take too long – or are not as super as you claimed to be – then the city is eventually destroyed and everyone loses. Defeat the archenemy, and your team will be revered by the city’s denizens.

Sidekicks & Storylines is a continuation of this idea. In addition to providing even more randomizing options for your characters in the forms of new cards, it adds to the game in four areas. First and foremost is the inclusion of sidekicks, represented by a new Power subtype. These cards focus on utility effects such as preventing enemies from attacking or boosting the effect of another one of your powers. This allows a player to tailor their character even more to their liking from a mechanical standpoint, while also personifying the idea of someone giving you a hand flavor-wise.

Prototype Shown

“You have learned much.”
Prototype Shown

Moreover, many Sidekick cards reinforce the ‘team’ aspect of a of superhero team by introducing the Persistent ability. Cards with these abilities stay out instead of being discarded at the end of the turn and last till next round (think the Duration cards from Dominion’s Seaside expansion). Doing so provides a small benefit to each other player during their turn such as getting to draw a card or do extra damage.

Third, it adds more cards that benefit from chaining – stacking multiple cards on one another for added effect. It’s something that happens in the base game already, but now there are additional payoffs for doing so.

Lastly, it replaces the Storyline deck (the basic currency of the game). Instead of a large stack of Origin Story cards which are worth a measly one Plot point and do little else,  the new Storyline cards provide a variety of Plot points and have actual abilities now. These cards let you create even more of a backstory for your plucky hero, and it adds some actual incentive to occasionally buy Storyline cards instead of just having them be villain damage fodder. Cards like this:

Prototype Shown

“I have…connections”
Prototype Shown

All told, Sidekicks & Storylines is very aptly named. It does exactly what you want an expansion to do: take what was already there and make it better. It doesn’t tinker too much with a game that already works. Aside from more card variety, its largest benefit is infusing more flavor into the game’s theme. The inclusion of Sidekick companion powers and the ability to create characters with more supporting roles accentuate the co-op nature of the game even more. Heroes of Metro City has everyone working to defeat the archenemy, but each player had little they could do to aid their fellow do-gooders. Now you can.

Of course, only one hero can still deliver the knockout punch, but now even if it isn’t you, you can still stand tall and feel proud about being a highly useful sidekick. Face front, true believer – you can find out more about your new companions and more about your own mysterious hero origins right now over on their Kickstarter!

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