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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Thursday 14 December 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Legendary: Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Game: Legendary: Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Publisher: Upper Deck Entertainment

Designer: Travis R. Chance, Nick Little

Year: 2017

I have not watched many popular geek culture movies/TV shows. As such the many different versions of Legendary don't hold much appeal from a thematic point of view. I enjoyed Legendary Encounters: Alien from a gameplay standpoint, and we own Legendary Marvel, in which some of the characters are familiar. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a show that I have never seen and I don't understand a single reference, but I was surprised to find that my wife used to love the show and was keen to try it. So here is a review of Legendary: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the mechanics version!

Legendary Buffy is a deck-building game in which each player is forming a deck of good guys to defeat a villain and their evil plot. As with most deck-building games, each player starts with a small deck of very basic cards and it is typical to try and get rid of these basis cards as the game progresses and to replace them by purchasing  stronger cards. Some cards are focused on generating you the money to buy more cards, whilst others are focused on giving you attack points, which you spend to attack the mounting pile of smaller villains or henchmen. Ultimately you're trying to get enough hit points in a single hand to punch the big bad, since that is worth the most end game points and punching them 4 times will mean you collectively win the game.

Legendary Buffy is in the same style as Legendary Marvel, which means that it is a semi co-op game - you all need to defeat the villain, but you are also aiming to the the player that contributes the most to that defeat. The game plays 1-5 players and I'm sure many people will play it as a fully cooperative game, but we've always played with the semi co-op mode as we feel it's part of the balance of the game and a lot of villains would perhaps be too easy to defeat if you just played cooperatively.

Legendary Buffy has the playmat style board and has a few more areas to store cards that Legendary Marvel. However, you will also notice the screen capture art, which perhaps might not appeal to everyone, but I understand why Upper Deck wouldn't produce a whole new set of art for the game, it didn't exactly work well for Legendary Encounters Firefly.

Legendary Buffy introduces two new concepts that I really enjoy. The first is courage tokens. Courage tokens are available from some cards as well as via the next new mechanism I'll explain. They are a token you can keep from round to round that allow you a +1 money or hit point on a turn. You can hold as many as you like and use as many as you like on one turn, so it's an interesting way to boost the power of your hand. However, with some villains and scheme twists you have to be careful because amassed courage tokens may be taken away from you. The second new mechanic is the light/dark track. Different good characters and villains operate differently depending on your position on this track. It's typically good to keep the scale in the good side, but some good characters benefit from the dark and can even advance the darkness. Reaching the top and bottom of this scale can also have positive or negative effects respectively either for the individual player, or the game as a whole. This track brings about lots of possibilities for Scheme Twists and Master Strikes that really make this game different from previous Legendary games.

The introductory set-up of Legendary Buffy made for a really good gaming experience, the game was challenging and made us really think about how to manipulate the Light/Dark track in order to win. However, the combinations we have tried since have all had flaws - one that was just too difficult and the other far too fast and easy. We will keep Legendary Buffy on our shelves, but I'm hoping that as more people play it, a community will grow that start to recommend different setups with good synergies.

I don't think many people will buy this if it's not for someone who enjoys Buffy. However, if you have a friend or partner who is into the theme, then the game works well mechanically, so it won't be a hardship to play it with them. After our first few games, the Yellow Meeple gives Legendary: Buffy The Vampire Slayer 5.5/10, but I have higher hopes once we find some better card combinations in the game.

Legendary Buffy was a review copy provided by Esdevium Games Ltd. It is be available for an RRP of £59.99 at your friendly local game store or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk/.

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