Collectible mystery packs continue to be popular and while many of them offer play experiences beyond the unboxing moment, few become an actual game. Playable by 1 to 4 players and suitable for ages 6 and up, Marvel BattleWorld: Mystery of the Thanostones transforms the fun of the Marvel universe into an exciting game with mini figures, cards and die. Whether you’re playing with just one battle ball or incorporating playsets, there’s lots of fun to be had.

This small Battle Ball contains everything you need to play the game. For the suggested retail price of $9.99, players receive 1 hero figure at random and a second trapped inside a Thanostone, hence the game’s subtitle, “Mystery of the Thanostones.”

The Battle Ball also includes 5 battle cards, a hero card for each hero (the card that corresponds to the hero trapped in the Thanostone is sealed in a black wrapper), an attack die, tokens and instructions for how to play.

Instructions use easy-to-read steps and pictures to make the game easy to play. The rules change slightly depending on if you’re playing alone or with other players, mostly just adding turn-taking steps to the battles.

The included battle cards get shuffled and laid down at random. Depending on the strength of the foe, there are between 1 and 3 attacks that must be made by your hero in order to proceed. Each enemy has symbols that correspond to the types of attacks that work against them and the hero card lists a potential additive to the dice roll, meaning addition is necessary to play the game.

The hero I received in my Battle Ball is Doc Green, a persona of Hulk. Obviously his smashing power is high, but he also allows players to get a second roll of the die once during a battle against an enemy susceptible to smash power. For every lost roll of the dice, a danger token is placed on the red spaces at the top. For each battle won, players move their hero figure to the next blue space. If they reach the final blue space before the danger meter is full, they win the battle.

When a foe is defeated, their card is turned over the a danger token placed on it. Winning three battles allows players to free the hero trapped in the Thanostone.

Fittingly, the hero trapped in the Thanostone that came with Doc Green was Red King, a former enemy turned ally of Hulk. It’s fun to break open the foam Thanostone and learn more about your hero from their card.

You don’t necessarily need to keep purchasing Battle Balls to play more games, with the instructions suggesting choosing a hero to be trapped by Thanos to play for in future games. But with a collectible aspect to the game, players will likely want to build their team of heroes. In a nice addition, the Battle Ball packaging becomes a display stand for the heroes and their card, reducing plastic waste.

Battle Balls can also be used to transport heroes and cards to a friends house or a school playground to play with friends, but the Travel Portal accessory, which comes with an exclusive Ultron figure, is another option that makes the game even more portable. It allows fans to turn any figure into an accessory that can be clipped to a bag, but also includes an alternative to a die that can’t be lost.

The “Attack Spinner” on the base can be used to spin it and land on a number or symbol in the game. The only thing it can’t carry is the hero card and attack tokens, which could be stored in the bag the figure is clipped to.

With a subtitle like “Mystery of the Thanostones,” the game will make players want to have Thanos and the only way to get him is through another accessory called Thanos Ship Showdown.

The Thanos Ship Showdown is not a game in and of itself, but can be combined with a Battle Ball (or a Mega Pack) to change the gameplay.

It adds Thanos as another foe to the game. With his own die that gets launched from his ship into a tray below, players move the Thanos Ship adjacent to different cards. When it lands on a red number, Thanos attacks, making it harder for heroes to win.

There are four panels on the Thanos Ship that get flipped each time a hero wins an attack against it. If all four are turned over with the battle damage, a final fifth blow defeats the ship.

With 30 heroes to collect in the first series of Marvel Battleworld: Mystery of the Thanostones, there are endless possibilities for this Funko Games release. With a low price point, parents can use Battle Balls as a reward motivator. And with math as a primary element of the game, it also includes a hidden academic component that kids won’t even think about in all the fun of battling foes and releasing new heroes from their Thanostones. Funko Marvel Battleworld: Battle Ball Series 1 – Collectible Adventure Game Funko Marvel Battleworld: Series 1 Travel Portal – Gold Ultron: Funko Marvel Battleworld: Series 1 Thanos Ship Showdown Marvel Battleworld: Series 1 Mega Pack – Negative Zone Spiderman