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Legendary: Civil War» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Civil War Review: Thoughts So Far rss

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Michael Green
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Now that I'm a few games in, here are my thoughts so far on the latest Legendary expansion. I've played with most of the content a couple of times now, and all of it at least once.

I'm an avid Legendary player with all the Heroes line expansions and I only play solo (dark city rules), as I have no-one who shares my enthusiasm for it to play with!

New mechanics:

Phasing (and other cards that mess with the top of your deck):
This expansion has quite a lot of cards that can mess with the top of your deck, most notably the phasing ones, but there's others too like Peter Parker's put-a-sidekick-on-top-of-your-deck card, or Redwing's ability to look at the top three, draw one and put the others back in any order. This is a welcome addition for me, these kind of abilities have been relatively rare so far, meaning the characters that work this way (eg Gambit, Daredevil, Spider-Woman) have had limited options for who they'll interact well with. This expansion really expands those options. Cost 2 phasing cards also open up options for Spider-Friends decks that rely on 2 cost cards, as you can keep swapping them back to the top of your deck with whatever card was there.

Divided Cards:
Probably one of the more controversial additions to this set. I do think the miniaturisation of the cards in order to fit two of them on the one card does leave them looking a bit small. Visually, when I started playing with them it felt a little like I was playing with some bad customs. I'm warming up to the look of them after a few games so maybe they just take a little getting used to. I can't think of a better way they could have done this.

I do very much like how they play though. Dark City's Versatile let you choose between Attack and Recruit, but with these you're also choosing which class and which ability to play and thinking about how those will interact with the rest of your hand/deck. For the most part I think the two options are designed really nicely to interact with other cards and present you with interesting choices, like whichever side of a Divided card you play will affect which of that Hero's other powers you can trigger. Overall I think the increased choice adds more to the game-play than you lose by their poor visual appeal. They work particularly well with Size-Changing (see below).

Size-Changing:
This is probably my favourite aspect of this expansion. I love this keyword. I think it works very well thematically. You 'shrink' the cost/attack value of a Hero/Villain card to make it easier to Recruit/Fight them. Heroes then 'grow' back to become higher cost Heroes in your deck. On Villains, I've seen it referred to as a watered down version of Cosmic Threat, but I don't think that's a bad thing. Cosmic Threat was a good keyword that is currently only used on one out-of-print Villain group. Either way, it's the Hero cards with Size-Changing that really shine for me. They really bring something extra to recruiting, you find yourself thinking about whether you want to buy a card now at it's higher cost, or wait til you can get it for cheap, or holding off on recruiting a card but instead recruiting other cards with the right class so you can get a good card at a reduced cost later. Size-changing cards are generally a little over-priced at their face value cost, but a bargain at their reduced cost.

Stature's Shrink to Nothing' card which can be recruited for free if you've played a Tech card is a particularly cool application of the mechanic. Goliath's uncommon which boosts off of high cost cards, which you've recruited at low cost is another nice, very thematic one.

Size-Changing works particularly well with the Divided cards, where your choice of which class to play is not only going to effect what abilities you can trigger, but what cards you can recruit from the HQ and which Villains you can fight.

Fortify:
A long time complaint with Legendary is that it doesn't punish you enough when Villains escape, and in some cases it's even advantageous as it helps you cycle the HQ.

BAM! Along comes Fortify! Fortify is mostly an escape effect and they can really punish you. Let one of these escape and you'll soon be crying into your starting cards (disclaimer: don't actually do this, you'll ruin them and they'll be a beast to replace).

My first experience with it was against the SHIELD Elite and Agent 13 escaped. One extra SHIELD officer with only 3 attack in the city, I thought, no big deal. Well, it was a big deal I was drowning in SHIELD officers and lost that game pretty quickly.

The only downside is that as this is mostly an escape effect and escapes don't happen all that often in solo play, I won't see them in action all that much. I do wish they'd come up with a couple more Ambush: Fortify effects, so I could have seen a bit more of this mechanic in action.

Special Sidekicks:
A good addition in my opinion because they water down the sidekick deck. Most of the Special sidekicks are actually not as useful as a regular sidekick. Some of them even have very conditional bonuses which won't always be useful to you.

So why is that good? Well, because Sidekicks were a bit too good. Switching your recruiting to focus on buying one side-kick a turn mid-to-late game was almost always a powerful, viable strategy, which tends to make games a little same-y and less varied. The addition of Special Sidekicks waters this effect down, making the game a little harder (good thing) and amping up the randomness and variety (which is fun).


Grevious Wounds:
Getting lots of wounds is relatively rare in solo play, so these haven't seen a lot of action yet. I'm glad they included a few wound-giving Heroes and Villains in this set to bring them out. I think I'd usually prefer one of these wounds to a regular one as the options for getting rid of it are more flexible. A minor but positive impact on gameplay from my opinion.

Heroes:

Stature, Goliath and Hulkling:
See section on size-changing. These three are great Heroes I'd be keen to use again and again. Stature's gimmick feels very thematic, the downside being that her abilities will be a bit limited in solo play as there are generally fewer low attack villains around. She's made for facing off against Maria Hill and the SHIELD Elite though. Goliath's set is simple but effective. Hulkling plays like a cross between Rogue and the Hulk, with cards that give and KO wounds for extra attack and a card similar to Rogue's copy powers.

Peter Parker and Captain America:
Base set Spider-Man's 2 cost card gimmick can be a bit limiting on how well he interacts with other Heroes. So I'm particularly pleased with how they've done Peter Parker, he seems deliberately designed as a 2 cost character who will play well with non 2 cost cards, whereas a lot of previous Spider-Friends decks really rely on sticking to 2 cost cards. Captain America, Secret Avenger has a 2 cost common and both he and Peter Parker boost off of Sidekicks and card draw so they seem designed to play particularly well together. Some people complain about multiple versions of popular characters but I think it's great to have versions of two such popular characters that will interact so well.

Falcon: Plays mainly off of what's in the HQ, which hasn't been done a lot yet. He's a good solid Hero who'll work well in most situations. He has HQ cycling and top-deck-manipulation abilities, which have thus far been rare and so in my opinion he is a welcome addition to the game.

Hercules: his set is a bit disparate, doesn't hang together great, eg one of his commons requires an Instinct trigger but he has no other Instinct cards. His Divided card is one of my least favourites, but the inclusion of Tech means you have a few more options regarding who he'll combo with. Having said that, his rare card is freakin' awesome, so maybe they made the rest of his set a little weak to balance it out. Also, he can rescue bystanders so he'll probably see a lot of play in leagues.

Tigra: decent commons giving card draw and KOing, but let down a bit by her uncommon, which is only really good if you have Villain groups with lots of ambush effects in play (think Deadlands, Infinity Gems or Kree Starforce). Mix that with a recruiting rare and she doesn't really have a way to pull out high attack numbers on her own.

Daredevil (Avengers):
Decent deck manipulation common, which combos well with his other common to give you side-kicks. The recruiting side of his Divided Uncommon is pretty useful and combos well with the commons, the other side will just give you a decent attack boost. Rare seems very variable, like it could go from not delivering much to producing infinite attack (not something I'm a fan of).

Speedball:
Revolves around rescuing or KOing bystanders, which I guess is thematic. His covert common packs a decent punch and his Divided Uncommon is useful, giving either card draw or some extra attack usable only against the mastermind. Nothing to write home about here, but he's decent.

Wiccan and Vision:
These two make the most use of the phasing keyword, and they're quite fun especially played together. Vision has a nice attack common, which boosts strongly off of ranged but has phasing, so if you don't have the trigger card, you can keep phasing it until you do. Wiccan has a recruit common that works in a similar way with Covert cards. I particularly like Wiccan's Divided card, it always seems to make me stop and think about which side I want to play.

The two Divided Heroes:
This set has two Hero decks where all the cards are Divided except the rare: Cloak & Dagger and Storm & Black Panther. Both sets have a similar design in that they play like two separate heroes and then the rare's are designed to bring them together. I'm not sure I love this design though as the 'two-separate-heroes' feel tends to mean you favour playing one side of the card as you'll have recruited cards to combo with that, which kind of defeats the point. Potentially, they open up options for building a deck that say focuses on ranged and covert, with Cloak and Dagger in the middle bringing it together, but I've not seen that work terribly well in the games I've played so far (maybe I'm just not playing it right).

Villains and Masterminds:
*sigh* More Heroes-as-Villains. Still, at least in this expansion some of the Heroes-as-Villains (like Baron Helmut Zemo and the Thunderbolts, or the CSA Special Marshals) are actually Villains-as-Heroes, so I can pretend they are Villains-as-Villains when I beat them up.

Overall, the Villains are decent and well-balanced, though I found some to be a little bland. The masterminds are at the tough end of the spectrum, with some very high attack values and/or restrictions on fighting them.

Authoritarian Iron Man & the Superhuman Registration Act:
I really like the Iron Man Mastermind, he's sporting a nice new mechanic which is interesting to play against (but a lot of people have had trouble interpreting his rules, see sloppy rules below). His Villain group the Superhuman Registration Act I found a little under-whelming on first play just because they only really get interesting if one of them escapes and none of them did. Iron Spider is the exception, he is super-annoying and the high attack values on the rest of the group work well with Iron Man's fortify mechanic to keep him unassailable. The art on this group is also exceptionally good I think.

Maria Hill and the SHIELD Elite:
They might seem like a push-over at first glance, but they integrate really well together, and the city can quickly be drowning in SHIELD Officers (very thematic), especially if Sharon Carter escapes (which she did easily on my first try). Maria Hill with this villain group is insanely hard to beat, much more so than you might think. Her fight restriction means you have to clear the city of officers and SHIELD Elite before you deal with her, and then still have two SHIELD cards left to discard for each time you fight her. Add to that the fact that you have to keep clogging your deck with SHIELD Officers. I felt pleased when I managed two hits on her. Her tactic that lets you KO as many of your SHIELD cards as you like is not as useful as it may seem either, because you've probably had to discard them all just to get a hit on her!

Great Lakes Avengers:
These are just a fun mix of fairly random effects. Squirrel Girl is particularly interesting because you have to beat her with one card. This becomes particularly problematic if she ends up in Iron Man's fortified space and you need 6 attack with one card, but then I have heard somewhere that she's supposed to be unbeatable...

Baron Helmut Zemo & the Thunderbolts:
I'll admit I found the Thunderbolts a bit bland, I don't really know any of the characters particularly, and I don't remember them giving me much trouble. They focus on dishing out wounds. Baron Helmut Zemo on the other hand is a great mastermind. His massive attack value reduces for each Villain in your Victory Pile, but then he keeps stealing those with his Master Strikes. It's especially annoying when you think you have enough to get him and a Master Strike takes a Villain away upping his attack. It's especially satisfying when you are one attack short of defeating him and another villain and you realise that if you take the Villain first...

Ragnarok and Registration Enforcers:
Ragnarok is a good solid mastermind. High attack but most of his tactics help you so quite well-balanced. Plays a bit like Arnim Zola in that you have to think about what's in the HQ to get at him. It's hard to get less than two classes in the HQ though so he'll usually have at least 10 attack. He's particularly tough with Divided cards (or multi-class cards) in play, which is fun for this set. The registration enforcers are again a little bland, most of their effects help you and they're not very high attack. Captain Marvel's fight effect is interesting, kind of allows everyone to phase a card in their hand. Deadpool is probably the best villain in this group though, and who doesn't want to punch him in the face?

Misty Knight and the Heroes for Hire:
Nice to see Bribe making a come-back. Misty Knight plays kind of like Kingpin, but her Master Strike has a bit more bite. Her most interesting tactic is the one that resurrects Colleen Wang and has her fortify the mastermind, where you have to beat her first before you can attack the mastermind again, but unfortunately this will be nerfed a lot of the time in solo play as you won't necessarily have the Heroes for Hire in the game (and there's some question of whether it should even activate in solo play). The Heroes for Hire have some interesting fight/escape effects, I already mentioned Colleen fortifying the mastermind. I thought Shang Chi seemed a bit lame when I saw his card, but I found him quite fun in-game actually, you can recruit good cards/gain side-kicks and then fight him to shuffle them directly into you deck. Tarantula is interesting in solo as the each other player effect applies to you so have to think ahead and retain two cards to discard or you'll end up with a wound.

CSA Special Marshals:
Decent group, somewhat bland. Penance and Venom are the highlights here. Venom has size-changing and can get stop you rescuing bystanders with his fortify effect if he escapes. Penance has a low base attack which rises for each Villain in your victory pile, so he's a push-over if he comes out early, but hard to hit if he comes out later. He'll be particularly fun for schemes that add extra villains, as that will give him more scope to get stronger.

Henchmen:
Two good Henchmen groups here, both with those much-needed KO effects. The Capekillers have SHIELD Clearance so are slightly harder to hit than the average henchmen, but that ensures you always have a SHIELD card in your discard pile to KO when you fight them. They can also be used for KOing wounds, which is helpful. Mandroids get stronger the more of them you've defeated, which is a nice idea but falls flat in solo play where there are only three of them in the deck. I tried them with Invade the Daily Bugle HQ the other day though and they were very cool.

Slightly Sloppy Rules:
I appreciate with a game as large as legendary it can be hard to fully play test or anticipate all card interactions and provide clarifications for them, but this set has generated quite a lot of rule queries on here quite quickly. Often the same questions coming up multiple times and not about obscure interactions but about fairly obvious ones anyone would come across in this set, like how Divided Cards interact with particular schemes or card abilities in this set, or how Iron Man's Master Strike works. I feel like a little more play testing in front of fresh eyes would have surely brought up some of these and they could have easily been clarified with minor changes/additions to the rule sheet. It's not a big downer on an otherwise great set, but there it is.

Schemes:
I've seen some complaints that the schemes in this set are just variations of old ones. That is obviously true for Epic Super Hero Civil War (though at least they included official rules for solo play, which are a bit harder than adaptations of the base set scheme), but I think the rest of what's here is good quality. I remember when the Cap expansion came out and I thought Brainwash the Military was a just a lame re-working of Replace Earth's Leaders with Killbots. Then I played it and realised it wasn't, the twist of having to recruit the SHIELD officers into your deck really changed things up.

I have felt like the schemes are on the easy end of the spectrum, I've had a few games where I never felt like I was in danger of losing, even if I couldn't bring down the mastermind before the Villain deck ran out. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though as it adds balance, the schemes in the last few expansions have been on the tough side, and with this box bringing some more tough masterminds into play, a few schemes on the easier side are welcome in my view.

Predict Future Crime: A villain escape scheme. I found this one more enjoyable to play than the 'play two more villain cards' schemes though, as you didn't get that chaining effect where it can get hard to keep track of how many more cards you need to play. Also, works really nicely with the Iron Man Mastermind as it provides Villains to sit in his fortified space.

United States Split by Civil War: A city management scheme. Keep the Villains in the Bank and Rooftops. Can be quite tricky (especially against the SHIELD Elite).

Imprison Unregistered Superhumans: another city management scheme, where you have to keep Villains out of the space fortified by the scheme. This one was not super-difficult, but I felt like it had a nice thematic feel of the Scheme moving across the city closing in on the unregistered Superhumans.

Nitro the Supervillain Threatens Crowds: kind of city management, take down the villains before their bystanders get KO'd. I found it on the easy side. I played through to a draw with Misty Knight and the Heroes for Hire and only saw about 6 bystanders KO'd (you need 15 to lose). Could be harder though with more villains that capture bystanders, or villains that don't have bribe.

Epic Superhero Civil War: Opinions on this one vary (see discussion in thread below, seems like it would be easier than the base set version in multiplayer). Timer-based scheme. For solo play, I like this version better than the solo-play adaptations of the base set. It kind of lulls you into a false sense of security with not much happening on the first few twists, and then suddenly you realise there's not much left in the Hero deck and another one or two Twists will finish you off.

Avengers vs X-Men: Primarily just a timer-based scheme, but makes recruitment more complicated. For solo-players you have twice the number of Heroes in the deck, which makes building a deck that combos well much harder, and added to that you know that if you recruit from both of the two affiliations in play you're probably going to pick up some wounds.

Dark Reign of HAMMER Officers:
May seem like just a variation of 'Build an Annihilation Army', but in that other scheme, the henchmen tend to give you beneficial effects. In this one the gathering HAMMER Officers have SHIELD Clearance and then clog your deck when you fight them, so this scheme is MUCH harder.

Reveal Heroes' Secret Identities: Similar to the AvX scheme this one mainly just makes recruiting harder, both by adding extra Heroes to the deck and then by increasing some of their costs as the scheme moves on. It is possible to nerf it so you can't lose by making sure the HQ is full of Heroes who have already been 'unmasked', but I didn't manage that when I played it, and even so with the recruitment complications it could be tricky to finish a mastermind off before the Villain deck runs out.

Conclusion:
So far so good. Some very minor niggles, but I'm enjoying this expansion and looking forward to playing more of it.
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Atnier Rodriguez
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Glad to see it's working out.

I haven't played it yet, but I did notice some stuff that was very interesting (Fortify) and some that were not that exciting (Size-Changing) but judging by what you said, it plays better than it looks on paper.

Some of the Divided cards work great in theme like Cloak and Dagger, but I feel like in other cases they were done just because those particular heroes were in this set, like Luke Cage and Hercules. It makes sense to share space with Jessica Jones and Amadeus Cho respectively, but their cards are bland. I wish they would have gone a little more creative with these "assist" cards.

Hercules' set is probably the most disappointing for me, as I was expecting a Strength-praising-bonanza set that both represented the bragging, charming personality of this goofy brute and his penchant for glorious shirtlessness. I guess I'll add it to my log of variants-to-be.

Sidekicks' pets are colorful and funny and I'll allow their silliness, but Zabu being one of the most physically imposing ones and not having any printed attack is a glaring oversight. They just wanted Sabretooth/Wolverine Instinct KO-healing instead of the actual Zabu. Sigh...

But, Fortify is a great addition that I hope sticks around for another set or more.
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Michael Green
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Re Hercules:

I think his Hero cards are a bit of a strange mix and his Divided card is one of my least favourites. I suspect they wanted to give him a little Tech so he could combo better with Goliath (I remember them working quite closely together in the Civil War comics, but maybe I have that wrong).

Having said that, his rare is awesome. I think he'll see a lot of league play with his bystander rescuing abilities.
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Ryan
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I agree that Hercules seems a bit like a let down. He's cards don't really work together (apart from the one common and rare). The biggest is his uncommon. Goofy brute = discard for high attack. Bragging = rescue bystanders for beating villains. I'm hoping when I try him out he'll play much better!
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Atnier Rodriguez
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redlion64 wrote:
I agree that Hercules seems a bit like a let down. He's cards don't really work together (apart from the one common and rare). The biggest is his uncommon. Goofy brute = discard for high attack. Bragging = rescue bystanders for beating villains. I'm hoping when I try him out he'll play much better!


Yeah, I'll still play him, I just hyped myself before the release and then was like "that's it?!"...
 
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Adelin Dumitru
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Very well written! Finally a good review, not only because it is a positive one, but because it reasonably highlights the weak and the strong points of the set. Thumbs up!
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Ryan
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okami31 wrote:
redlion64 wrote:
I agree that Hercules seems a bit like a let down. He's cards don't really work together (apart from the one common and rare). The biggest is his uncommon. Goofy brute = discard for high attack. Bragging = rescue bystanders for beating villains. I'm hoping when I try him out he'll play much better!


Yeah, I'll still play him, I just hyped myself before the release and then was like "that's it?!"...

Yeah, he's still in my first choice to play with when I get the expansion! Stature and Luke Cage too!
 
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Tomer Mlynarsky
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dontfeedthegreen wrote:

Schemes:
I've seen some complaints that the schemes in this set are just variations of old ones. That is obviously true for Epic Super Hero Civil War (though at least they made it harder and included official rules for solo play),


How exactly is that possible?
The scheme is clearly weaker than the original.



Are you sure you didn't just have a harder time cause the masterminds are stronger?
 
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Michael Green
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I haven't played it yet but I did the math. I posted my working on one of the other discussions. Can't find it just now as I'm on my phone, but when I have a chance I can track it down and re-post it here.
 
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Michael Green
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Couldn't find the original post, but here's the math again anyway:

4 Hero deck = 56 cards.

Super Hero Civil War:
8 Twists = 40 KOs + 5 to refill the HQ =45
You can recruit 11 Heroes without ever losing.

Epic Super Hero Civil War:
9 Twists = 45 KOs + 9 to refill the HQ =54
You can recruit max of 2 Heroes without ever losing.

Admittedly Epic gives you an easier start because you can choose which ones to KO, so it's not all about this, but that is my reasoning for saying that they made it harder.
 
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Michael Green
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Also, played it this morning with Ragnarok as Mastermind. Got four hits on him but lost before I could land final blow.

Think this one is designed to give you a tense finish, with the way the KOing ramps up late game.
 
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Tomer Mlynarsky
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Your math is wrong. One thing, you forgot the fact that when a twist is out you KO a card regardless of the scheme. (Only in Solo do you put a card at the bottom of the deck)

So, going with a 2 player setup (since original didn't allow solo play)

Original:
8 twists, each one KOs all the HQ so when 8 twists are out, you KOed 6 cards each (1 for a twist in general, 5 for all heroes in the HQ) for a total of 48 heroes are KOed from a deck containing 4 x 14 = 56 cards.
Or in other words, 8 twists will remove roughly 85% of the hero deck.


Epic version:
9 twists. Each twist KO number of twists that came out (+1 for general twist).So after 9 twists you KO 2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10 = 54 cards out of a deck containing 5 heroes x 14 = 70 cards.
Or in other words, 9 twists will remove roughly 77% of the hero deck.

So basically it takes less twists for original scheme to take out a bigger percentage of the deck and you are left with even less cards (8 cards in the original, 16 cards are left in the epic version).

So, sorry, but I really don't get how one can say the scheme is harder. It's clearly not.

The fact that you even choose who to toss out makes it absurdly easier. The "Epic" portion of the scheme title has to be sarcastic.
 
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Michael Green
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As I stated at the start of the OP I was talking about advanced solo play. Many people use the base set scheme with advanced solo using four heroes and 8 twists. I believe my math is correct for that scenario.

I think it is also correct for a 2 player game. You do not KO a hero on a scheme twist in multiplayer games, unless I've missed a rule somewhere, which is possible as I only play advanced solo. As far as I'm aware the only version of the rules where you auto KO a card on a Twist is with the base set solo rules.

Also, your math ignores the need to refill the HQ after the last twist to avoid meeting the Evil Wins condition of the Hero deck running out.
 
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GrandMasterFox wrote:
Your math is wrong. One thing, you forgot the fact that when a twist is out you KO a card regardless of the scheme. (Only in Solo do you put a card at the bottom of the deck)

Wait, what? I thought you only KO'd a Hero in the HQ when a Villain escapes. (Or if a card says so, of course)
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Michael Green
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dontfeedthegreen wrote:
As I stated at the start of the OP I was talking about advanced solo play. Many people use the base set scheme with advanced solo using four heroes and 8 twists. I believe my math is correct for that scenario.

I think it is also correct for a 2 player game. You do not KO a hero on a scheme twist in multiplayer games, unless I've missed a rule somewhere, which is possible as I only play advanced solo. As far as I'm aware the only version of the rules where you auto KO a card on a Twist is with the base set solo rules.

Also, your math ignores the need to refill the HQ after the last twist to avoid meeting the Evil Wins condition of the Hero deck running out.


Actually I notice there are some problems with my math for the advanced solo, you just need to add the five in the starting HQ, not 9 to refill, so you have 11 cards to play with in the base set and 6 in the new one.

Also I realise I'm assuming 4 Heroes for a 2 player game as in the old scheme, but the new one doesn't say that does it, so it would be 5 Heroes and you're right it would be easier.
 
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Michael Green
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Added a few more thoughts to the OP after a few more plays
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Michael Green
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Added my last update to the OP now that I've played everything at least once.
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