Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday 29 November 2016

Title: A Pun About the Game:- Legendary: A Marvel Deckbuilding Game

Game: Legendary: A Marvel Deckbuilding Game

Publisher: Upper Deck Entertainment

Designer: Devin Low


Marvel Legendary is a 1-5 player semi-cooperative deckbuilding card game in which you create a force of crime fighting superheroes to prevent a supervillain from completing their dastardly plot. The game plays out much like other deckbuilders, you have a currency for recruiting new heroes from a central pool and then a fight value that you use for defeating villains. Villains you defeat go into a victory point, the stronger villains being worth more points. Ultimately there can be only one winner, but if you lose then you lose together.

Perhaps the biggest joy in Marvel Legendary is the replayability, there are a number of villains each has their own attack, then you pick a scheme, each having unique gameplay and a way for the villain to win. Then you select some villain groups that they use as minions, add some innocent bystanders and get going. On your side you pick a handful of heroes, each having a unique deck, shuffle these together to make the pool that you can recruit from. All this variation is great, but making the decks and setting up for a game does take longer than I would like, you need to give all the decks a very good shuffle to get a good game out of them as card clumping up can ruin the game balance.

A game part way through, in this game the bystanders are actually another kind of villain and we lose if too many escape, unfortunately the scheme twists strengthen them and we drew a lot early on!
I found the fun in each game variable, some villain/scheme combinations aren’t as well matched as they should be, but when they come together well the game is an absolute blast, I particularly enjoyed the one where the skrulls were pretending to be heroes, we felt suitable overrun and at risk until the very end of the game. It is natural for a game with so many scenarios and variations to end up having the odd weak link, but it's still disappointing when it does occur.

The game has a good combo system. Heroes have colours and team allegiances and many cards get boosts if you play a card of the right colour beforehand or play off other team members. In addition each heroes deck tends to combo well with itself. For example Gambit cards tends to manipulate your deck, you may have cards that let you change the order of your deck, then other cards that let you play the card off the top of your deck, which naturally work well together. This means you can easily make a deck themed off of 1 hero you like, but you can also build a multi-hero team based around a colour or two and either way you should end up with something good.

The art in the game is good, really bringing out the comic background, however it’s also lazy, each card for a character has the same are which I really feel is a missed opportunity, it’s not like it’s hard to find a few different drawings of spiderman! Each character has a special card that represents their best attack, but even this is just a standard card with the border removed. While I’m complaining about relatively minor things, why, of all the possible things, did they package the cards in decks that alternate through characters completely randomly? I can only guess they thought that they wanted to prepare players for all the deck sorting you’ll need to do in this game. I know it’s minor, I know it doesn’t effect the game in the long run, but dammit if I have to spend an hour sorting the game’s cards into the separate hero decks, then maybe... maybe you should have just packaged them pre-sorted into decks.

The 15 heroes in the basic game cover most of your marvel favourites, though more are available in expansions.
Overall Marvel Legendary is a good game which I keep coming back to, sure I wish the setup was a touch less painful, but it’s worth enduring for the sheer joy of blasting bad guys with Cyclops and co. The semi-cooperative nature gives you a few chances to actually hurt your teammates in order to try and win, but if times are tough you can all pool together to prevent it being a total loss. I wish the game was more consistent, most missions have felt a touch too easy, and the game can often end abruptly if someone finally pulls off a good combo. Perhaps my biggest problem was that I played Alien Legendary first and I found that more fun, shame that a better version of this game is tied to a theme with less universal appeal!


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