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Subject: Something like Legendary rss

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Brian Morris
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I managed tonight to talk my wife into playing the new Legendary: Villains – A Marvel Deck Building Game. My wife rarely plays games but I managed to get her to play tonight so I could test out the new game with the promise to her that the game would last less than 30 minutes. Superheroes are not her cup of tea by any stretch.

To my shock and surprise at the end SHE suggested we play again which we did. In the end she admitted she enjoyed the game and likely would play it again if the theme were something other than Marvel superheroes.

That's where I stand. Here's the problem. I know some of you are going to recommend Ascension or Dominion. I HATE Dominion. It's like playing 4 player solitaire. I've read a bit about Ascension but I've heard that "there are much better games of this type out there".

So we're looking for a deck building game. A fair amount of interaction or perhaps co-op (she liked that aspect of Legendary). Theme would be fantasy or mystery. Maybe a touch of horror but no Lovecraft.
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Brook Gentlestream
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Ascension is my favorite deck-building game by far, especially for two players. It has similiar mechanics to Legendary, but I feel the card effects are better and more interesting. Every time I play Legendary, I'm thinking to myself, 'Why don't we just play Ascension instead?' The simplistic nature of the cards in Legendary, the fact that they combo primarily with themselves, and the thematic inconsistencies frustrate me when I play Legendary. The card effects and combinations just don't seem interesting to me.

I can understand the mixed opinions on Ascension, though. Chronicle of the Godslayer seemed very light when I first bought it. But I bought an expansion anyway, and suddenly found the game "fixed". It wasn't until I got Soul of Storms that I feel the game "took off", and I recommend starting there and perhaps getting a small expansion. It really did need a large pool of cards to "take off". Mix any two large boxes together and you have a wonderful game.

One thing that we really like about Ascension is that there's no setup. Most deckbuilding games take a long time to setup, and Legendary in particular involved a lot of looking for particular cards. In Legendary, Dominion, Nightfall, and others you have to decide which cards you will have to play with in each game, setting aside 80% of your collection to play with another day. With Ascension, there are a couple of little decks to seperate (the equivilent of Bystanders and Shield Officers) but for the most part, all the cards are shuffled together in one big deck and you begin playing by drawing off the top. You don't have to decide which cards to play - because they are all played with. Consequently, setup and take-down is a breeze.

That being said, some people find the theme of Ascension disturbing. It's kind of a darker fantasy. I'm not sure if your wife would prefer that to superheroes or not.

Are you looking to play mostly with 2 people? If not, I could recommend Eminent Domain and Nightfall, which are excellent deckbuilding games but best played with more players.

Two excellent 2-player card games I can recommend that don't have too-geeky themes are Innovation and Nature of the Beast: Prairie vs. Polar, though the former plays a lot longer and the latter can be hard to find. Both of these games have a "building" element to them that a lot of people tend to like, in that you are placing cards and arranging them in your own little private play area that you can see right in front of you, as opposed to having your construction efforts hidden in your deck.

Another card game you may want to consider is Lord of the Rings LCG. Many women seem to like Tolkien fantasy even if they don't like other types of fantasy, and like Legendary, it involves the two of you working together to beat a common villain (or in this case, go on a common adventure). It's a total co-op game, so you two can work together to defeat the quest, and they are usually VERY hard to defeat. It's an LCG though, so you may have to build the decks ahead of time if she's not into deck construction. Unlike most other game, this game seems like it was built with the two-player co-op experience in mind.

Another co-op game to consider is Robinson Crusoe. In this game, you are stuck on an island and have to figure out how to survive. There are various random challenges and different scenarios to play out. There's also a tech tree, where you gather supplies and combine them to invent new stuff, which I've never seen in any other game.

My favorite two player games are: BattleCon, Innovation, Blood Bowl Team Manager, Ascension, Robinson Crusoe, Love Letter, Pixel Tactics, Mage Wars, Sentinels of the Multiverse, Race For The Galaxy, and Marvel Dice Masters.


* Oh, and pick up Love Letter. Everyone should. You won't regret it.
 
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Brian Morris
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I have Robinson Crusoe but it hasn't hit the table yet. Might be more than my wife would want. I just recently got Dungeon Petz for us to play but haven't broken out the rules yet.

I would regret Love Letter. I've played it and if I am lucky I will never play it again. Little bit of filler fluff. I really don't see what people see in that.

This would definitely be for 2 players. For my gaming friends we generally are a wargamers group. Legendary is popular on card game nights with the guys along with things like Naval War and Pacific Typhoon.
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Jurn
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Not so much fantasy or mystery (space theme), but Star Realms plays a lot like Legendary but is more confrontational and plays fast too! You can try it out on android for free.
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Brad vanVugt
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I would also second a vote for Ascension. My wife and I primarily play this two player and it has yet to get old for us. The new set, Realms Unleashed, is especially good as it introduces many new combo abilities for cards in the same faction that reminded me very much of Legendary in many respects.

I'd also recommend Trains. This is for me a more interesting version of Dominion, as the core gameplay is similar but Trains adds a mechanic that makes the game far more interactive than Dominion in the map board that you are expanding your rail line on. Better yet, there is a standalone expansion coming out for it this year that will contain some 2 player specific game boards.
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Brendan Lapsley
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I would suggest looking for Star Realms.
It's a bit of a pain right now to get, but the reprints are almost here.

It's a $15 deckbuilder vs game. Setup is very quick, games are quick, theme is generic space battles (artwork is great though).
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Steve Mccabe
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Thunderstone Advance is a fantasy themed deck-builder. i would describe is a semi co-op, and with little player interaction aside from small "take that" kind of things. overall it does feel like a multiplayer-solitaire, but definitely a more rewarding and interesting one than dominion. Still, i found it enjoyable. especially with the "Epic" variant.

also, please note i have only played thunderstone advance: towers of ruin. there might be other versions/editions/expansions that make it more cooperative or more interactive.
 
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reaching out from the in-between spaces...
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Dark Gothic has just been released. However, it's still up in the air if it's any good.

Jorune
 
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Mark Halsey
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Though not technically a deck builder, the game Splendor gives a deck builder feel and I had a very similar experience to your own.

My gf loves to play this game and it is easy to get to the table.
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Ryan Trepanier
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+1 Splendor
 
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H G
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It's not co-op, but I highly recommend Star Realms
For one thing, it's only $15 for a 2-player game. Set-up is about 2 minutes, and it shares a lot of similarities with Legendary.

Your deck starts with ships that either attack or have gold to buy from a row of 5 cards. You buy cards, add them to your discard pile. When you run out of cards to draw, you shuffle the discards for a new hand. There are different factions and having cards of the same faction often gives bonuses. It takes about a minute to learn if you know Legendary.

It isn't co-op though (you are going against one another)and games are under 30 min long. My wife loves Legendary and prefers co-op games, but she 1) says she'll never bother with Dominion again thanks to Star Realms and 2) prefers SR because Legendary's set-up/take-down time is too long.
 
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Jonathan Bruton
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Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game is not out yet, but if aliens is 'light horror', the game is the same.
 
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Brian Morris
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That's actually what I am thinking at this point. Ascension has no interaction so I am leaning towards Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game. She already likes the system. Not exactly the theme I wanted but better than the superhero theme for her.
 
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