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Subject: Thoughts on Shadowrift vs. Legendary Encounters? rss

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Jeremy Garza
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Just considering buying one or the other, and just wanted peoples thoughts. From what I've researched Legendary encounters is simpler, and the Alien theme is cool. Shadowrift seems harder, and it seems unique in the ability to pretty effectively build classes. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks,
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David Jensen
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I would go with Shadowrift, but wait for 2nd edition.
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Mark Bigney
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I would also go with Shadowrift and I wouldn't bother waiting for second edition. Legendary Encounters didn't do much for me, and you're right that Shadowrift is unique and awesome.
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Jonathan Meltzer
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madpaintballer wrote:
Just considering buying one or the other, and just wanted peoples thoughts. From what I've researched Legendary encounters is simpler, and the Alien theme is cool. Shadowrift seems harder, and it seems unique in the ability to pretty effectively build classes. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks,


Are you talking about Shadowrun: Crossfire here? As I recall, you cannot build classes in Shadowrift, though it is a fun co-op game.

We have all three, and enjoy them, but they are very different games. Feel free to ask any questions, either here or in GM, if you want to discuss it more.
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Jeremy Anderson
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I think what we're talking about is buying cards such that your deck represents a character class - Lightning Daggers and Thieving Strike for a rogue, or the like. From that perspective you definitely can build classes in Shadowrift.
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Jeremy Garza
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karishi wrote:
I think what we're talking about is buying cards such that your deck represents a character class - Lightning Daggers and Thieving Strike for a rogue, or the like. From that perspective you definitely can build classes in Shadowrift.


This was exactly what I was talking about. I'm intrigued buy shadowrift, but I feel like legendary encounters is a safer bet. I've played Marvel Legendary, and while I was pretty unimpressed with it, it seems like Legendary Encounters is a different game built on the same system, which was pretty straight foreward. The thing that interested me in shadowrift was that it seemed really co-op heavy, where the players needed to rely on each other. After reading some reviews in Legendary, it seems it also does this. So like I said, I was just looking for some thoughts. If it's helpful, perhaps people could tell me what they like better about shadowrift than Legendary.

Thanks to everyone that's responded.
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Jeremy Anderson
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Disclaimer: I'm biased as all heck. It's my game, I made it, and I designed it to be the kind of game I'd never get sick of. Years later, that's working out pretty well for me. I always, ALWAYS enjoy another game of Shadowrift.

Shadowrift is strong on theme. Every card is designed to match its title directly, from demons who specifically kill priests to the flanking skill which gives anyone who attacks your target a bonus damage to the sage who can teach you new Spell cards. By contrast, consider Thor from Marvel Legendary. On the whole the skill set and flavor of the Thor cards feel somewhat Thor-like. However, it's not clear why the card called "Odinson" does what it does. The theme-mechanics attachment is looser, in Legendary.

Shadowrift is strong on cooperation. Where you can individually build up an awesome tsunami-powered deck in Legendary that crashes down on a villain's head for 4 kills in one turn, most monsters in Shadowrift can't be killed by one person in one turn. To kill a monster in one turn everyone has to pitch in and coordinate their attacks. And some monsters are too big to kill in one turn at all; You have to take them down in multiple consecutive assaults.
Given how much Legendary listened to their audience and improved just between their first print run and their first expansion, I wouldn't be surprised if Legendary Encounters is way better about requiring actual teamwork rather than individual doom-engine-building prowess. I'll admit I haven't played it.

Shadowrift shifts style based on number of players. It's a cooperative deckbuilder, overall. But it's more of a deckbuilder with fewer players, and more of a cooperative game with more players. With a full 6 players you kind of have to do the coop stuff full-tilt, because there's more starting power for the heroes (there are six of you, after all) but far less time to deckbuild (the monsters arrive at a pace based on the number of players).

Hope this helps! Meanwhile, I ought to go find a game of Legendary Encounters to join in on, if only so I can deliver a better pitch!
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Game Salute
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We vote for Shadowrift, for all the reasons Jeremy said!

Though Legendary Encounters is also a great game.

However, we still say Shadowrift

- Michael
 
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It depends on the group.

IMO the biggest advantage of Legendary Encounters over Shadowrift is that Legendary Encounters is significantly less procedural than Shadowrift. However Shadowrift feels more like you are taking on roles in a team and building characters.

Legendary Encounters is a big step forward from Marvel Legendary. The cards have better theme, the pacing is much better, and you actually do cooperate (although not as much as in Shadowrift).

Both are strong games, but I actually get Legendary on the table far more often. This is certainly due to Legendary being less procedural than Shadowrift. I personally prefer Shadowrift.
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Rob Judy
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I would also say Shadowrift. Each turn players have so many more decisions to make (what villager to use, how to use the 3 different commodities, which monster to attack...etc) LE doesn't have that complexity of decisions. Also, Legendary is turn based (with minor interaction from cooperation cards), in Shadowrift, players take their turns together with much greater interaction and cooperation.

It also seems to me that in SR, you build your engine faster and can do more earlier in the game then in LE. In LE my experience is you never feel like you have a powerful deck before the game is ending. LE has player elimination and SR does not.

This small box packs a BIG game! ninja
 
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Jeremy Anderson
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Bassfisher44 wrote:
I would also say Shadowrift. Each turn players have so many more decisions to make (what villager to use, how to use the 3 different commodities, which monster to attack...etc) LE doesn't have that complexity of decisions. Also, Legendary is turn based (with minor interaction from cooperation cards), in Shadowrift, players take their turns together with much greater interaction and cooperation.

It also seems to me that in SR, you build your engine faster and can do more earlier in the game then in LE. In LE my experience is you never feel like you have a powerful deck before the game is ending. LE has player elimination and SR does not.

This small box packs a BIG game! ninja


Ew, seriously? Like, thematically I understand why a game based in the Aliens universe would have player elimination, but it's such a bad mechanic for most games.
Probably my favorite alternative shows up in Eaten by Zombies, where if you get turned into a zombie your objectives change from "survive" to "be an awesome zombie."
If I were to use the Aliens universe, I'd probably have a set of backup characters available (I think Arkham Horror does something like this for if your character gets killed before the endgame?) to act as an old-video-game style shared set of continues.
 
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Steven Fletcher
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Why not buy both? What I would do is buy Legendary Encounters and then buy Shadowrift when the 2nd edition comes out. By the time you get Shadowrift 2nd edition, you'll probably want to play something other than Legendary Encounters.

Even though Shadowrift is my favorite game, I can't recommend buying a game twice. I'm going to buy the 2nd edition when it comes out, and then my old version of Shadowrift will only be used for extra zombie cards or something.

To be fair, I've already got more than my $50 worth of enjoyment out of Shadowrift, and I'm sure I'll get another $50 worth of enjoyment out of the 2nd edition. It's far different from games like "The Game of Life: Adventures Card Game" that I didn't get my $5 out of and can't trade to anyone.
 
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Jeremy Anderson
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I feel the same way about Beetlez, which I got for maybe $2 at a yard sale. Paid about $2 and half an hour too much for that game.
 
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Fedor Ilitchev
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Hey there, I own both games and I actually think that both are just ok.

The last time I played Shadowrift was almost two years ago. I had the following complaints against it:

1. Very very procedural - there were too many bits to move for my enjoyment, it felt like work.

2. The duration was too great - my two player games clocked in at 1:40... which is a bit ridiculous when a two player Ghost Stories game clocks in at 00:45 and offers way more awesome in that 00:45.

3. Quite a bit of text to read.

4. There comes a point where you kind of know that you're dead, it's just a matter of waiting for those wounds to surface - that's just not very fun... even if you somehow squeak out a win it still feels kind of lame.

I purchased LE a few weeks ago.

That game plays smoother and easier. However, I don't consider it to be a deep game (I can't remember what I thought of Shadowrift in this reguard - as I didn't list the lack of depth / puzzle as a complaint, I assume that this didn't bother me). There are some decisions in LE but nothing compared to Ghost Stories. Also, the theme is slightly more abstract than in Shadowrift. It isn't as well done in this regard, imo.

However, LE is very accessible and does provide good light fun and little memorable moments (like that time last week when the priest destroyed four alien eggs in one turn - a rampaging priest among the eggs - a fun image... I can't recall if Shadowrift had too many of those).

To be honest, both games have made me think that deck-builders are inherently limited in the amount of theme they can hold. "Awesome amount of theme for a deck-builder" = "ok amount of theme for a different kind of game"

Even the very process of shuffling cards all the time (in the case of Shadowrift, we're talking several decks) is kind of zombifying for the player. That is, it makes you feel like zombie-like.

If I want a pure co-op, Ghost Stories remains untouchable.

If I want something even more thematic, there are quite a few very interesting dungeon crawls out now. I haven't tried them yet but I expect them to be more thematically satisfying than either of these deckbuilders (specifically, Omega Protocol sounds like a better Aliens).

Of course, maybe what you're looking for is precisely a co-op deckbuilder in which case you've probably found the correct two games for comparison.

As for me, I expect that LE will stick around as a light experience game to be played with people who don't like to think too much. As for Shadowrift, it's actually in a different country right now... it would be fun to break it open though and play again, just to see if my feelings about it have changed.

Hope that some of this has been useful.
 
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Jeremy Anderson
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I can definitely respect these complaints against Shadowrift. Personally I prefer Shadowrift with 4 players given a chance - like many games, it plays with 2 and some will like it best with 2 but 2-player Shadowrift is a very different game from 4-player Shadowrift, which is a very different game from 6-player Shadowrift.
One big benefit of 4-player is that the procedures can be split up further - one player is progressing the Travelers while another is laying out the new Town, and another is reading what the Monsters are about to do and grimacing and shaking his head while he prepares to give us the bad news.
Playing 2 hands of Shadowrift as a single player is almost too procedural for ME, and I designed the darn thing.

Ghost Stories is an excellent co-op, and it's possible that for "pure co-op" there isn't a way for deckbuilding to be as elegant, simply because deckbuilding is a fairly complex mechanic with its own set of requirements.
Actually, if you want to try a pretty cool cooperative deckbuilder that comes at a bunch of the design elements from a totally different angle, give the board game Spellbound a play. I also give props to the Pathfinder Card Game for expanding the deck construction concept out further.

And if you want a great Aliens-style experience in co-op card game form, I'd also recommend Space Hulk: Death Angel (Sometimes called Death Angel: The Space Hulk Card Game).
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Fedor Ilitchev
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Ooof... I hated that Death Angel thing - my lowest rated game. It tooke forever just to play it solo! ...and then there was luck and lame-ass 40k space-marines. When I saw Rhado list it as his favourite Ameritrash game, I knew I could no longer trust his opinions.
 
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Jeremy Anderson
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One of the toughest things about gauging others' opinions is that people can love or hate a game for almost any reason. I've had people say they loved Monopoly and when pressed they clarify that Monopoly was the time when they got to really interact with grandma.
Because I instantly associated the Space Hulk scenario with the movie Aliens, the 40k theme really wasn't a part of my equation.
Worse still, many (I might go so far as "most") games deliver extremely varied experiences - If I play one game of Pandemic and everything happens to go right, I might not even realize it's a difficult game, and toss it in the "kid's game" pile with Forbidden Island.
There are also a notable number of games I'd never play solo regardless of whether the game says they can be played that way. Death Angel is definitely on the list. Shadowrift would be on the list, except I have to test each new card several more times than I have local friends.
...Maybe I should set up a "test realm," as the VG crowd calls it.
 
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Errol Wilde
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Yeah, hating on people's options is lame, it just shows how short sighted you are. For example I think LE is probably a " better" game, but I personally prefer shadowrift because I tend to enjoy more thematic games better. A game can be somewhat boring and tedious mechanically and I could. Love it because it oozes theme. But at least I can see and respect people's opinions when they say this game isn't good even though it has good theming.

So in my opinion, go with shadowrift... That is if you like good theming, LE if you're more into interesting mechanics.
 
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Does anybody know when the second edition is supposed to be releasing? I was thinking of buying but not sure if it's worth the wait. Is there anything significant being altered between the editions?
 
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Jeremy Anderson
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Things I'm pretty certain of:
We can't really run a kickstarter for 2nd Edition until we deliver on the Shadowrift: Archfiends kickstarter.
It takes about 6 months, assuming you've got the files all ready to go when the Kickstarter begins, to get the printing and shipping completed. About half of that is just coming overseas on a very slow, very large boat.
Archfiends arrives this summer.

So it doesn't seem possible for 2nd Edition to be physically in hand for about a year, if my math is right.


The art is getting an update. The new updated graphic design allows more space for said updated art.
Cards will be shifted to standard poker size and stock.
Monsters will be killing classifications of villagers rather than naming individual villagers. So instead of killing "the smith," a monster will kill [workman symbol] which might kill the smith, or farmer, or gravedigger, or stonemason. The villagers themselves are being color-coded and given such symbols, to make this work.
Power cards are being revamped so that they're independently annoying, rather than being half of a combo that almost never triggers.
The Drow are being modified lightly to make them a little more dangerous. It wasn't so much that they were easy as that when they were easy it was a little boring.
A lot of clumsy wording is getting codified and cleaned up.
And, of course, the rulebook will be better written and include more and better diagrams.

So...to me, it seems like the changes are huge and significant. But I'm the designer, so everything about the game seems significant.
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