Comic Gaming: Legendary

Posted: January 7, 2013 in Games, Marvel, Reviews
Tags: , , ,

By Alex Headley

This is what the game board looks like. It’s pretty big so make sure you have room to play.

Much like Cryptozoic’s DC Deckbuilding Game, the goal of Upper Deck’s Legendary is to hoard points and defeat villains. The two games play fairly different from one another though. For starters, Legendary has two kinds of points to spend: Recruit and Power. Recruit points help you buy heroes from the hero deck while power helps you defeat villains to gain victory points. But more than that, the game fights back. Legendary sets you against a Marvel villain Mastermind and a scheme. When the scheme goes off, you lose the game. It affects the game in other ways too, hurting the players or empowering the villains. The small time villains can attack as well, handing out wounds when they appear or escape across the board. You can face off against Red Skull, Magneto, Dr. Doom or Loki. Each plays a little different and can be paired with any scheme to keep things interesting. Furthermore, you create a custom villain deck to support the mastermind. This includes henchmen like Hand Ninjas but also bigger foes like Skrulls or The Masters of Evil. Each turn a nee villain appears on the table and makes its way across the city tiles. If they aren’t defeated before reaching the end of the board, they escape and harm the players in some way. They can also capture bystanders or empower the mastermind in some way. The masterminds attack with scheme twists and master strikes, the affects of which depend on the villain and the scheme. The hero deck will be a little different each game too. Before you start, you select 5 heroes, each of which comes with their own cards and affects. There’s Hulk, Hawkeye, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Deadpool, Storm, Emma Frost, Rogue, Gambit, Iron Man, Black Widow and Thor. Each card has a different rarity and the more rare the card the better the effect and higher the cost. This adds a lot of variance and chance to the game keeping the replay value very high. This is Legendary’s greatest strength, every single game will feel a little different even when facing off with the same mastermind.

The cards progress from common to rare. You can tell by the border. An open frame is the rare.

Because the game fights back it feels a bit more cooperative than DC and so gives it a separate niche to fill. DC is much simpler though so if I have some non gaming friends around I think it will be first pick. But for more experienced gamers I think Legendary offers a bit more. The replay value makes this an easy buy for me. It’s a good looking game too, with original art created just for the game on each card. The board is great too, it’s easy to read and thankfully labeled in a way that isn’t obnoxious or hard to decipher. Using a city as the backdrop for the invading villains is a nice touch that creates some cool game moments  in addition to looking cool. For instance, one of Storm’s cards gets stronger if the targeted villain is on the rooftop. Likewise, The Lizard wounds each player if fought in the sewers.

But for all it does right, its not perfect. For starters, setting up and breaking down the game is a bit of a chore. Especially the first time, once you get it organized its not so bad but the packaging of the cards is not the best if you want to play quickly. At least Upper Deck provides dividers to keep everything separated but mess that up it drop the box and you are in for a good -5 minutes of sorting to fix it. Another gripe for me is that all the card art is the same. It gets a little boring looking at the same picture of each hero very time they come up. It makes it harder to differentiate the various rarities and abilities and just feels like a lazy choice by the developers. One image for each rarity would have been greatly appreciated and helped to identify cards at a glance.

  1. raheadley says:

    A very good casual card game but I do agree with the art observation. This is comic book based and Upper Deck has made comic book trading cards many times before.
    Attention to detail is important.

  2. wwayne says:

    All those that wish to help Peter David in his treatment costs go to Not only do you get great reads but you help out the man who made them.

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