Today was Al's birthday. When he opened Marvel Heroes his first words were "Wow . . . WOW!" Z was literally jumping with excitement as I popped out the figs (a huge pain).
It took quite a while for us to work through the rules, which we found a bit jumbled, requiring three trips to BGG for clarifications.
Al and I struggled through a learning game, with Z stopping by to help roll the dice and add color commentary. We caught on to the basic mechanics quickly, but there is a lot to remember. Reviewing the rules afterwards, I see that we forgot a lot and played a few things wrong.
I had read many comments that the game was too dry and abstract. We didn't find this to be true at all. Both Z and Al are comic super hero fans, and brought the richness of the knowledge of that fandom to the table. They narrated each headline and provided a play by play for each combat.
"Toxic gas cloud released over the city! It's Storm to the rescue. Using her wind control, she blows the gas into the upper atmosphere, where it becomes harmless. But what's this? It's the Green Goblin trying to make an escape. Storm hits him with a lightning bolt. He retaliates with explosive pumpkin bombs, releasing more toxic gas. . .etc."
I do see, however, how ignoring the flavor text and focusing on the numbers could turn this into a mathematical exercise of "I'm going to the 6 headline. I'm using my red power to roll 5 dice. You use your yellow power to roll 4 defense dice. . ."
I agree that the story track was gamey and disappointing. I also agree that Marvel Heroes feels unnecessarily complex. I think we may play without the story track, the mastermind mind rules, or the power-ups for awhile. We are going to consider those elements as the expansion. I think this will allow us to more quickly master the mechanics and strategy of the base game and make it easy enough for our daughter to play.