Village of Legends has a lot of good things going for it and very few negatives. First, the artwork in this game is amazing! From a purely visual standpoint, this game has got it going on!
Second, each of the different classes in this game features their own variable player powers. This is very useful for guiding you in strategizing which cards to obtain from the market and which ones to leave alone, what skills you should be focusing on, and how you might want to develop your deck overall. For instance, the Mage has very high intelligence, but very few hit points, so this player will probably want to focus heavily on obtaining spells and healing potions. The Paladin gets a bonus for using swords, so they will most likely be trying to obtain those. A clever player can also use this public knowledge as a guide for removing cards from the market that might be useful for other players. Variable player powers in any game are typically really good things to have as they help to keep the game fresh and exciting from one play to the next. This holds true in Village of Legends as well.
I also enjoy the leveling aspect of the game. I found myself hoping and praying that someone would drop a Monster card on me so that I could hopefully get a few more experience points to unlock the next ability on my character sheet. Being able to heal a free hitpoint or draw an extra card on each turn is an invaluable ability to have at your disposal and having a goal to work towards is always a useful thing to have in any game.
Another thing that I really enjoy in this game is that there are multiple methods of “deck thinning”. At any time on your turn, you can sell as many cards from your hand as you like (the terms “sell” and “remove” mean to remove the card from the game) to gain half of their market value as income for the turn. This gives you a handy way of getting rid of cards that might not be useful to you anymore so that you can more quickly get to the ones that are helpful. In any deckbuilder, having an ability that can help you thin your deck is an incredibly useful thing to have access to. Village of Legends gives everybody this ability right off the bat and I heartily approve of this decision.
However, not everything about the game is perfect. For one thing, this game is completely built around a player elimination mechanic and that might not sit well with a lot of people. The mechanic is held in check somewhat by the limitation of only being able to attack the person to the left of you. However, if you’re unfortunate enough to be eliminated early on, you could be waiting awhile for a victor to emerge- especially at higher player counts.
This brings me to another downside. Even though I really enjoy myself when I play this game, this isn’t necessarily true for everyone else at the table and this is because this game can be rather long. At some point, if you’re playing against a player that has invested heavily in healing potions and spells, this becomes a game of attrition. You whittle away their health. They restore it. Rinse and repeat ad infinitum until someone eventually manages to land a few lucky blows and bring the game to an end. Albeit, this is precisely the point of investing heavily in healing and defenses, but still, it can take awhile. So, be forewarned.
My last gripe is a relatively small thing that doesn’t really affect the gameplay very much. Still, it bothers me a bit so I feel like I should be honest about it. It’s actually a two-parter. The rules state that damage to Monster cards will carry over from one round to the next if the damage done was insufficient to eliminate the Monster card. There is a single tracker at the top of the market card which is supposed to be used to track this Monster card health, but this is never mentioned in the rule book. Aside from this one single tracker, there is no method provided in the box to keep track of a Monster card’s health. That being said, the campaign’s very first stretch goal is tailored to address this very thing. If the campaign succeeds and the goal gets unlocked, then this will become a non-issue.
The second part of this is that there is also no method in place for tracking who controls a specific Monster card. Typically, this isn’t going to be much of an issue since you’re only allowed to attack the person on your left. However, there is a 4-player team variant. In this variant, each person on a team sits across from the teammate. It is entirely possible that one of these team members could be eliminated forcing the remaining teammate to face down both opponents at the same time. In this rare instance, it is conceivable that there could be multiple monsters played against that player and there would be no method for distinguishing which Monster card belonged to which player without some agreed upon method of placing the cards on the table. It would be much simpler to have a control marker of some sort that could be placed on top of the Monster cards.
Overall, though, I really enjoyed Village of Legends. It’s a very solid deckbuilder with some clever and unique ideas. It’s very well designed and the classes are evenly balanced. The variable player powers provide the game with a decent level of replayability and the rules are clearly written and easy to understand. Also, in case you missed it earlier, the artwork in the game is phenomenal. I cannot stress that enough. If you like what you’ve read here and wind up backing this game, you won’t be disappointed.
FOR THE FULL REVIEW IN WHICH I GO INTO MORE DETAIL ABOUT THE COMPONENTS AND GAME PLAY, CLICK HERE: http://www.meeplemountain.com/reviews/village-of-legends-rev...