CRITICAL HIT: "Legendary"

Dary! And if you are clicking on the direct link, that made no sense. Click back to the home page, and reload, then I'll begin!

Legendary

Publisher: Upper Deck

Designed by: Devin Low

Publisher's site: Upper Deck

Deck building games are a bit of an interesting concept. Unlike the Collectible Card Game mechanic espoused by games like Magic: The Gathering, where each player is responsible for obtaining their own cards; Deck building games have everyone competing for the same basic cards, after being given an initial starting pool. So, ultimately, no one has an advantage because they have more money than someone else, and can buy all the good cards. Nope, in a deck building game, your only allies are luck, and strategy. 

 "Legendary" takes this model, and in my opinion improves upon it. Whereas games like "Ascension" offer a single level of play, "Legendary" offers a two-tiered structure, that has you balancing recruiting, and fighting. This creates a robust game, that has so much replayability, it is ridiculous.

The base game contains: 

  • 1 Game Board
  • 1 Rule Book
  • 40 Shield Agents
  • 30 Shield Officers
  • 20 Shield Troopers
  • 56 "Villain" cards (7 Villain groups, 8 cards each)
  • 210 "Hero" cards (15 Heroes, 14 cards each)
  • 40 "Henchman" cards (4 Henchman types, 10 cards each)
  • 20 "Mastermind" cards (4 Masterminds, 5 cards each)
  • 30 Wounds
  • 30 Bystanders
  • 5 Master Strikes
  • 11 Scheme twists
  • 8 Schemes
  • 60 Dividers (more on these later)
  • *Partridge in a pear tree not included

Then the first expansion pack adds: 

  • 238 additional "Hero" cards (17 Heroes, 14 cards each)
  • 48 additional "Villain" Cards (6 Villain groups, 8 cards each)
  • 20 additional "Henchman" cards (2 Henchman types, 10 cards each)
  • 25 additional "Mastermind"  cards (5 Masterminds, 5 cards each)
  • 8 additional Schemes
  • 11 additional bystanders
  • 0 additional dividers

All in all, you end up with over 900 cards between the two sets, a sizable amount, especially when you consider you will only use less than 1/3 of them in any given game. That is where the replayability shines through!  Each time you play, you have different villains, different heroes, different masterminds, and different schemes. All in all, there are so many combinations, you could easily play the game 100 times without ever getting the exact same combination!

Some basic set up is involved, and sadly, I think I am going to leave the rule book to explain that, otherwise, this post will become a short novel. Suffice to say, there are elements involved in the randomization phase, that effect later portions of the set up. There are also set ups based solely on how many players there are. When you add in the expansion pack, even more possibilities are unlocked, including set ups that make the game more difficult.

Once you get over the initial shock of the system, it is actually very easy to play, and encourages a competitive sort of cooperation. Actually, this game is very much like the friendly competition between Legolas and Gimli in "Lord of the Rings", all players are working together, but in the end they want bragging rights for who defeated the most. 

Also, for those of us that are hermits, and rarely get a chance to play the game with friends, this game offers one of my favorite types of variations, Solo Mode. Yes, if there is no one to play with, there are rules in the book to make it so you can play alone. So, if you want to lead your team into action by yourself to stop the Red Skull from unleashing the power of the Cosmic Cube, you can do that! 

All in all, this is a fantastic game. Loads of replay value, variations available for when someone biches that the game is too easy., and loads of awesome art. However, there are some drawbacks, that keep the game from being perfect.

Remember those divider cards I mentioned earlier? If you buy just the base game, you have way too many, and if you add on the expansion, you suddenly find yourself lacking. Like with all deck building games I have played, sorting the cards out after a game can be a bit of a hassle. Then there is the dreaded High-power enemy opening, when the first groups of villains you draw are entirely too powerful for anyone in your group to even hope to defeat, which can be a little frustrating in the initial rounds.

Recomendation:  

If you have a deck-building itch that needs scratched, and happen to be a huge fan of Marvel comic books, this is the game for you. It's easy to play, fast to pick up, and offers a satisfying team dynamic. Not only that, but the replayability is stellar. The price of admission is a little high, if you want the base game and the expansion right away, but at the end of the day, you're actually getting a really good value.

Final Thoughts: 

This is a fun game that is enjoyable for a wide variety of ages. There are no player tokens to have to fiddle with, all you need is the cards and the board... and maybe a friend or two. The game does one thing with the expansion that I sincerely hope is a joke of sorts. Once you've got the expansion, you'll have two different Wolverines, which might explain how he manages to be in every team imaginable.  

Critical Hit Score: 4.5 out of 5 (Critical Hit)