Tabletop Tuesday: ‘Marvel Legendary’
Or ‘Legendary: Marvel’. It’s not clear and we’re seen it written both ways. Either way it’s an Upper Deck deck building game under the Legendary heading based in the Marvel universe. It’s always interesting explaining a deck building game to a new player because this particular game style, which is building in popularity, is somewhat counter-intuitive to what is an established game mechanic. Rather than all players drawing from a single deck each player has their own deck of cards form which they draw their hand and discard into. Much of the game is centred around making your personal deck as strong as possible so the hand you draw from it is worth playing.
In this particular game you have a random mastermind villain – either Loki, Doctor Doom, Magneto or Red Skull – and a random evil scheme they’re out to accomplish. Based on who the villain is, their scheme and some random factors you build a Villain Deck. On each turn the player draws the top card of this deck and it determine if the mastermind attacks, the story advances or an enemy turns up in the city. If enemies aren’t dealt with they escape and the players cop a penalty. On the flip side there’s the Hero Deck, made up of five randomly selected characters (from the 15 included in the core set, each having a group of 14 cards). At all times there’s five cards from this deck available.
Every card the players have give them recruitment points or attack points. From the cards in the players hand they use these points to recruit new cards that go into their deck or attack enemies. The stronger your deck gets the better the characters you can buy and the tougher enemies you can take out. The real challenge for the player is to put together the best team, and this is where Legendary stands out from similar deck building games. Rather than using weak cards to buy medium cards and then use them to buy high level cards there’s a greater focus on having characters that supplement each other. For example, some of Storm’s attacks are stronger when paired with a Ranged character, such as Gambit or Cyclops. In turn, many of Gambit’s cards allow you to add more X-Men to your hand. With the random selection of characters a major part of the set up you’ll need to identify your best approach in the first few rounds and build a strategy around that.
With four villains, multiple groups of enemy types, many types of henchmen, multiple enemy schemes, fifteen heroes and many, many combinations of them all the core sets gives you plenty of play time. But it gets better! There are already a bundle of expansion packs that will add such characters as the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Secret Wars story elements, playable villains, the Fantastic Four and more. I’m keen to add more X-Men to the set.
It’s a pricy game to invest in but your get a heap of varied play out of it. More importantly than that, it’s a bundle of fun. We’ve played it with 2 and 5 players and it’s always an enjoyable game that flows smoothly from turn to turn, with each player racing to get the characters they need to augment their team while working together take out the big bad of the day. Although co-operation is needed to win the day, everyone will want to earn the most points. The game strikes a great balance between co-operative and competitive, which is always a tough sell. If you’re looking for a big purchase for your collection this is a solid investment. If Marvel ain’t your style the new Aliens Aliens themes set is getting positive review and there’s a Predator version on the way. For us the team building dynamic suits the Marvel universe to a tee.