To set up, the Skarov player arranges the nine double-sided game board tiles into a 3x3 grid, with his control room in the center space. Each player takes her character sheet, miniature and 7-10 action cards. These characters enter the grid on one of the side tiles and need to advance around the square – confronting minions and traps along the way – in order to achieve whatever objectives are in place for this game, such as thwarting a nuclear missile attack.
Each turn, the hero players play 1-2 action cards; each card shows both a special power and modifiers to that hero's inherent statistics – movement, attack, defense and mental – and the played cards can be used for either the special power or the modifiers. Each hero player has four actions in a round, and the players can play in any order they wish; the actions are move across the base, attack an enemy, or use a special power on a played action card or the hero's character sheet.
Professor Skarov then receives a number of action points based partially on the heroes' actions, and he uses these to activate himself, his minions, or his robots, with these figures also performing move, attack, or special power actions.
As the players complete (or fail to complete) objectives, the newspapers report on who did what, and the sum of those reports determine who comes out on top.