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Legendary: Big Trouble in Little China» Forums » Reviews

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Steve Crow
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Picked up my copy at GenCon. Sat in on a demo game at the UD booth, then helped out some players running a personal game in the open gaming area.

Big Trouble (BT) is basically Marvel Legendary with a few tweaks. In other words, it's a coop game that you have to beat the Mastermind before the Scheme comes to fruition. But the person with the most points is the winner of the game if the players survive.

I'm going to proceed assuming that readers are familiar with Marvel Legendary, and just lay out the tweaks:

1) You get 6 recruit starters, 4 combat starters, and 2 "Mediocre Hero" (MH) starters. The 2 MHs per player are each drawn from a random pool of the MHs. A MH is worth 1 Recruit, but gets a bonus when a particular circumstance is in play. "Lawyer" gets a +1 recruit if a Villain is in Chinatown. "Jerk" gives you +1 cbt if you have no Victory Pile cards. And so on.

2) The third and fourth squares of the City are collectively known as Chinatown. Some cards trigger off of their location in or out of Chinatown.

3) Uncle Chu is the "Shield Officer" of the set. Recruit cost 3, gives 2 recruit, and heals a wound if you didn't fight someone that turn.

4) The Final Showdown, an optional part of Marvel, is an official part of BT. Everyone plays one hand after the 4th tactic is defeated. High total gets the actual Mastermind card and the victory points therein. Then you count up the VP totals.

And... that's it. The only other tweak is a minor variation that is different but really doesn't change anything. Jack and Wang each get 3 sets of 5 Common cards. You choose two sets to use if you use either or both of them. Alternately, you can just shuffle all 15 together and draw 10 for the Commons in that deck.

IMO, there's not really enough to differentiate it from Marvel. If you liked Marvel, you'll like BT. If you don't like Marvel... well, you probably won't like BT unless you're anti-comic and pro-Kurt Russell, or John Carpenter, or whatever.

The bit about Chinatown isn't very clear, and is found in the FAQ. The UD demoer had to explain it at some length, and the private group later didn't understand it until I explained it to them. It's buried in the back in the FAQ-like section, and the playmat isn't _that_ clear. The groups I watched thought "Chinatown" applied to all five locations.

Chu is a pretty strong backup, as his healing can negate an early run of bad luck/wound infliction. Later, when you're knocking off bad guys regularly, he's not as useful but still handy.

The Mediocre Heroes make a nice starting variation. Some are a lot easier to meet the objective than others.

The Final Showdown rules are easy to miss, and you don't have to play with them. The rules writer says that they were added because they were "appropriate." You wouldn't miss them if they were skipped.

FYI, the box is the Dark City/Secret Wars/Civil war size. Rather than the Villains/Alien/Predator size. Which means that while a play mat is provided, the box isn't long enough to hold it without folding it as well as rolling it up.

I'm impressed with the new batch of heroes, villains, henchman, masterminds, and schemes that the writer came up with. It can't be easy coming up with entirely new ones, but the designers did it again. Rather than go the easy route of just redressing previous Marvel cards.

The artwork is... okay. I don't expect photo realism so most are adequate. However, Gracie doesn't look anything like Kim Cattrall.

The five colors are present as always in Legendary games. In this one, Blue represents Magic, and Tech is... Tech. Unfortunately, because of the self-limiting descriptions, there aren't too many of either of these. Since there's only one magician, there's not a whole lot of blue. Pork Chop Express is the only piece of tech. There are a few others of each scattered throughout, but get used to seeing Green, Red, and Brown. A lot. Which I suppose is appropriate to a martial arts-based game.

Overall, BT is a... nice addition to the Legendary line. There's nothing really momentous here: Firefly twists the format a lot more (and is Alien/Predator style, rather than Marvel). With some cosmetic changes, most of the BT cards could be just another Marvel standalone set like Villains.

Heroes: 7 decks of 14, plus Wang and Jack with 19 cards each (a third set of 5 Commons).

Masterminds: 4

Villain Groups: 4

Henchmen: 3

Schemes: 12

Bystanders: 32 (23 "normal", 3 each of 3 special types)

Mediocre Heroes: 22 (11 sets of 2: eight of the sets are mediocre versions of 8 of the 9 heroes: the other three sets are different versions of the 9th hero, Jack Burton)

Uncle Chus: 25

All the other usual stuff: Starting recruit, starting combat, master strikes, scheme twists, wounds, etc.

Total Cards: 400
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Mike K
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Excellent and on point review! Do you do these for each set? As I wouldn't mind a quick scan of them. Most followers of a game like legendary know of the source mats, but don't get a very detailed break down of in the box stuff, I take to you tube most times and find various vids ranging from super-amateur to really polished, but you don't get that overall feel as your usually trying to take in the images as they flick through everything.

Thanks again.
 
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Adelin Dumitru
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Do you have a picture of how the mat is stored?

It sounds awful! Who came up with the idea to release a box in which the mat has to be folded? I know mats are generally solid, but folding it over and over again will be quite damaging after a while.

Just when I thought I decided to get this game, and know I hear this.. awful production if that's the case!!!!
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Steve Crow
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Sadly, while I can take photos, it requires more work than I had the energy for after a six-hour drive back from GenCon. Maybe tonight...

I do reviews when I have the time and energy to do them. I think I did one for Predator, and one for Guardians of the Galaxy, but that's about it.

As far as I can tell, the mat has to be loosely folded in half after you roll it up, to get it into the box. Maybe there's some master of Escherian topology out there who can do it more effectively, but that's the best luck I've had.

I thought listing the card contents was important since this is a standalone set (although you could combo it with Marvel, mostly...). I figured potential buyers were less concerned with what the materials looked like, then what they were getting as a Marvel Legendary Mark 2 expansion.

Oh, one other thing BT (and Firefly) do is a lot more other-card referencing by name. In other words, the Jack Burton card "Sleeveless Jack" is triggered by Gracie Law or a Green card.
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Steve Crow
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Let's put it this way.

The playmat is 14-1/2" long on its short edge.

The box is 11-1/4" long.
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Stacy F
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AdelinDumitru wrote:
Do you have a picture of how the mat is stored?

It sounds awful! Who came up with the idea to release a box in which the mat has to be folded? I know mats are generally solid, but folding it over and over again will be quite damaging after a while.

Just when I thought I decided to get this game, and know I hear this.. awful production if that's the case!!!!


I was also upset with the mat storage. I wish I had snapped a picture of the unboxing, but didn't think to do so. What I can tell you is that it left creases. I'll most likely just pick up a mat tube from Amazon because I refuse to store my mat folded and rolled.
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Stacy F
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I think it's worth noting that the manual says it's for one to five players, but gives no special rule variants for solo play. The small blurb at the end of the booklet basically says the game was designed with a focus on player interaction.
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Tyler Jenkins
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Thanks for the review. I keep hesitating on getting a Legendary game for several reasons. Would this be as good as any to grab as my first? From your description, it is similar to the others and I am old enough to have loved the movie since its release. :)
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Steve Crow
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Tyjenks wrote:
Thanks for the review. I keep hesitating on getting a Legendary game for several reasons. Would this be as good as any to grab as my first? From your description, it is similar to the others and I am old enough to have loved the movie since its release.


It's a good starter set, overall. However, it is a bit more complex than the starting Marvel Legendary set. There's a fair amount of deck manipulation involved, and drawing of other players' hands.

As sorta noted above, Alien, Predator (the first half), and Firefly are a different game than Marvel, Predator (the second half) and BT. There are a lot of similarities because they all run off of the Legendary engine. But the basic differences are that:

1) The APF games are fully co-op, in that you're basically trying to survive and that's it. Marvel and BT are semi-coop, in that you're trying to beat the mastermind, and if you don't, you all lose. However, if you beat him, the person with the most victory points win.

2) The APF games, you are playing a single character, an "Avatar." Which means that you can potentially die. Marvel & BT, you the player are a more nebulous "guy in charge" who can't "die" per se.

3) The APF games, the cards you have to deal with are initially hidden. You then spend combat to reveal them. The other games, your opposition is all out-front from the get-go all the way through.

(The Predator Predator version has a lot of other differences as well from Marvel and BT, but that's another issue.)

-----

So what game you buy may depend on which approach you want to take. I'd need to know more about making a recommendation, but the factors above are the biggies.
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Steve Crow
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Tyjenks wrote:
Thanks for the review. I keep hesitating on getting a Legendary game for several reasons. Would this be as good as any to grab as my first? From your description, it is similar to the others and I am old enough to have loved the movie since its release.


But if you like the movie and don't mind a bit of complexity for Legendary as a whole, I'd recommend it, yes.

Otherwise I'd probably say get the first Marvel Legendary set.

If you're looking for a more... co-op experience and can stomach the artwork, get Firefly.

If you want something that splits the difference, get Predator.
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Tyler Jenkins
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Gislef wrote:
Tyjenks wrote:
Thanks for the review. I keep hesitating on getting a Legendary game for several reasons. Would this be as good as any to grab as my first? From your description, it is similar to the others and I am old enough to have loved the movie since its release. :)


But if you like the movie and don't mind a bit of complexity for Legendary as a whole, I'd recommend it, yes.

Otherwise I'd probably say get the first Marvel Legendary set.

If you're looking for a more... co-op experience and can stomach the artwork, get Firefly.

If you want something that splits the difference, get Predator.


Great thanks! I don't mind the added complexity and yes, the movie is a long time favorite. I have seen the Firefly artwork....I think I will pass. :)
 
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Steve Crow
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The group I played with yesterday, seeing BT for the first time, was also confused at first about the Chinatown thing.

It really isn't very obvious. The pillar art just isn't distinctive enough to distinguish the two squares from the other three.
 
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Steve Crow
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AdelinDumitru wrote:
It sounds awful! Who came up with the idea to release a box in which the mat has to be folded? I know mats are generally solid, but folding it over and over again will be quite damaging after a while.

Just when I thought I decided to get this game, and know I hear this.. awful production if that's the case!!!!


I suppose the issue is, to package it like Villains/Alien/Predator in the bigger mat-friendly box, would have cost $10 more. Since those games cost $60, but you can get BT for $50. (list prices)

So they chose to make it $10 cheaper and a little more wallet-friendly.
 
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Mokey D Luffy
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I would have paid ten extra dollars if it included a box that can properly hold then playmat. I was a bit disappointed that I had to fold it, and have considered just leaving the mat outside the box.
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Brian Morris
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Gislef wrote:
AdelinDumitru wrote:
It sounds awful! Who came up with the idea to release a box in which the mat has to be folded? I know mats are generally solid, but folding it over and over again will be quite damaging after a while.

Just when I thought I decided to get this game, and know I hear this.. awful production if that's the case!!!!


I suppose the issue is, to package it like Villains/Alien/Predator in the bigger mat-friendly box, would have cost $10 more. Since those games cost $60, but you can get BT for $50. (list prices)

So they chose to make it $10 cheaper and a little more wallet-friendly.


I think it's a good stretch to say that the Villains/Alien/Predator boxes cost $10 more than the box they ended up using. A more accurate statement would be that Upper Deck decided to save itself a few dollars by packaging the game in a slightly cheaper box. Upper Deck is known for pinching pennies with Legendary with for example not including dividers in Marvel expansions but selling them separately.

Mind you the answer for this is not that expensive and I would not pass on buying the game over this. Someone in another thread posted this answer to the mat issue. You can buy play mat tubes at most game stores these days for about $4. Pick one of those up and roll your game mat up and store it in that.

*edit*

Here's a picture of a play mat tube I just found online. These are pretty cheap.

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Brian Morris
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Tyjenks wrote:
Thanks for the review. I keep hesitating on getting a Legendary game for several reasons. Would this be as good as any to grab as my first? From your description, it is similar to the others and I am old enough to have loved the movie since its release.


I would say go with the theme that you enjoy the most. I now have Aliens, Marvel, Villains and Big Trouble in Little China. I really enjoy the game and all play a little differently. I hadn't planned to pick up anymore games in the Legendary family myself (I have no plans to get Predator or Firefly) but BTLC is one of my favorites so I couldn't resist.
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mrbeankc wrote:



I think it's a good stretch to say that the Villains/Alien/Predator boxes cost $10 more than the box they ended up using. A more accurate statement would be that Upper Deck decided to save itself a few dollars by packaging the game in a slightly cheaper box. Upper Deck is known for pinching pennies with Legendary with for example not including dividers in Marvel expansions but selling them separately.

Mind you the answer for this is not that expensive and I would not pass on buying the game over this. Someone in another thread posted this answer to the mat issue. You can buy play mat tubes at most game stores these days for about $4. Pick one of those up and roll your game mat up and store it in that.

*edit*

Here's a picture of a play mat tube I just found online. These are pretty cheap.



What I did was just take the mat and put it in my Villains box. Since the cards only take up one side and the rest is just wasted space, why not? It's not like I don't keep all of my Legendary games all together, so it's not a big deal to grab the mat out of another box.
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Does this at least come with dividers? Please tell me it does...
 
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Adelin Dumitru
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It is an actual (mousepad-like) mat.
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Niquilibrium wrote:
BTiC is one of my all time favorite movies, so I would probably buy this game regardless (unless it just got horrendous reviews) but one question regarding the play mat. Is it an actual may or just a paper one? I've never played a Legendary game before so not sure if the components.


All of the stand alone games (Encounters, BTLC, Marvel base, Villains) have their own neoprene mats. This particular one came with the mat folded up, so we are all discussing ways to store it.
 
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Steve Crow
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xLVNx wrote:
Does this at least come with dividers? Please tell me it does...


It just comes with the standard Upper Deck cardstock dividers.

The Files section here has a PDF of a fan-made set of dividers w/art that is pretty good.
 
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