The basic premise of Sentinels is a team of superheroes are trying to defeat a villain. It is a fully co-operative game, with the villain and the environment turns managed by playing cards from a deck. The ultimate goal of the game is to reduce the villain card to 0 hit points before your superhero team is knocked out. At the outset, it is a very simple game with a nice laid out set of instructions on how to play. If you were to cut the fluff and examples out of the rule book, the rules could be reduced to maybe three pages of comic sans 13 point text.
The complexity of the game starts showing once cards start hitting the table. Heroes all have ongoing cards that help other heroes or themselves. Villains have cards that block and redirect damage. Environment cards can make it easier or harder to fight, depending on what is in play. And once you hit your stride with following this information, it becomes this wonderfully complex superhero story of fighting a villain.
Battles will occur with the out of control sentient robot Omnitron at Wagner Mars Base, where the heros not only have to contend with his robot horde, but a self destruct mechanism and the caches of stockpiled weaponry that the villain uses to bolster his army. Or you could be fighting Grand Marshal Voss on Insula Primarus, having to hold off dinosaurs and getting swamp muck in your gear.
The basic Enhanced Edition box comes with ten heroes, four villains, and four environments to play. It also has tokens to track damage, various combat bonuses and negatives and nice dividers to keep it all in the box. The new Rook City / Infernal Relics box has both of those expansions, giving you four more heroes, ten more villains, and four more environments to play in. What makes the new box nice is that while the Enhanced Edition box had room for it all, plus a little bit, it didn't support sleeving your cards. This is something that I and a fair number of other players commonly do, and getting a second big box means there is room to sleeve all the cards, plus the other two expansions and promos and mini expansions and still keep them neatly stored.
I'm going to admit right here that the art initially kept me away from this game. It is art that resembles early amateur comic book art and I wasn't originally fond of it. After I sat down and played the game, the art has grown to be part of the charm of this excellent game. For people looking for a 'vs the board' kind of co-operative game (group or solo play), I can wholeheartedly recommend this game.
Tom Tjarks is a Fort Worth native and avid game player (PC, Console, Board Games) He has previously written for GamingTrend.com and can be found asking lots of questions about games on Boardgamegeek. @tntjarks on twitter, Dreamshadow on Boardgamegeek and other forums.