R.J.
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(This game was begging for that "How I Met Your Mother" reference.)

I hadn't really looked into this game at all. I knew a Marvel deck-building game was coming, and that was about it.

I showed up at a friend's house for game night, and he had this setup on the table. After a quick rules explanation, we were on our way.

-------

I'm not a rules explanation guy, but here's the Cliff's Notes:

(Note, I don't own the game, so terminology may differ from whats in the rules, but you'll get the gist)

You pick a scheme which will determine the end condition, and cards that are added to the villain deck that behave in a certain, not-good-for-the-players way.

You pick a Mastermind villain, and a villain group that associated with him. Then you pick a few more villain groups and some henchmen groups, based on the # of players. You then mix in a few cards that trigger an ability for the villain (not good for the players again). Also, you toss in some bystanders. You mix the villain deck stuff together.

Then, you pick X number of heroes based on the number of players, and shuffle them together. Each hero has minor and leader cards, and each interacts with other cards in different ways. There are different colors, different factors (Xmen, Avengers, etc)... each hero can have different colors within the deck.

There are two currencies... attack power and influence. Influece allows you to buy hero cards, attack power allows you to fight villains.

You start with a deck of 12 cards... 8 with 1 influence and 4 with 1 attack power.

You draw 6 cards each turn (unless otherwise specified by other cards).

Each turn 5 hero cards are available (replenished immediately in case you are able to buy more). Also, each turn, at the beginning, a new card from the villain deck comes out. It's usually bad, though sometimes the bystanders are a sigh of relief (except in the scheme when they are kill bots who get tougher and tougher to beat as the game progresses ... THAT was an intense first game).

There are 5 spots in the city the villains progress through if they are not attacked, until they escape. The scheme card determines after how many of which type of villain card escapes, the game ends and players lose.

also, villains have different triggers... either when they come out, when you fight them, or if they escape. (Some are good for you, and some are not, and some o good or bad depending on the situation).

You play the cards from your hand. The order you play matters, as if you play a card of a similar type after you have played another card, that can trigger additional attack power, or other abilities. Fun combos can be made.

Sometimes you have to take Wound cards to your deck, which clog it up (unless you are playing Hulk or Wolverine, in which case they can be used for benefit).

You want to work together to defeat the villains or everyone loses, but you have to focus on yourself too, and the more villains (and more powerful villains) you beat, the more points you get. You can also fight the mastermind villain to get a possible bad card, or a good card, but 5 victory point either way... which is a large amount.

(so much for a short rules explanation).

-------------------

Wow... I wasn't sure what to think going into the game. After the rules were explained, it felt like Ascension. The guy who taught me it said it's a lot like Penny Arcade, but I wouldn't know.

I really, really liked the competitive co-op aspect of this game.

I like co-ops, and Flash Point is one of my favorites. The problem that can come in that game is the "solve this puzzle" feeling on everyone's turn, where there is usually an obvious best play. Even with well-intentioned people, it can become a game where one or two are playing everyone's turns.

This game is nothing like that. Everyone has to work together to defeat the villains in the middle or you will all lose. Which villains you fight, when you have options, can really hurt the team, but help you.

In one instance, I could have killed a certain villain that helped give me bonus points for another villain I already killed. By killing that villain, it triggered more villains coming out, causing us to get closer to losing. I went for it, and we won, and I "won the most".

We didn't play the suggested first game layout, we just did some random layout. The first game we played was very intense. We finally got to a point that we were able to turn things around and we ended up winning, but it was intense and we really felt like we were going to lose.

The second game has the same turning point from the losing to the winning, but it wasn't as intense, yet it was still fun.

Having to balance (or intentionally not balancing) the two "currencies" was interesting.

In both games, I was able to get rid of cards and keep a very small deck (in the second game, I had 14 cards total in my deck at the end). This is essential, since the cards can feed off of each other, and if you have a small deck, the interaction between the cards can really intensify to lead to those killed combos.

I'm not a big theme guy... I like a fun game. I enjoyed reading comics as a kid, but I am not a comic universe guru by any means. The heroes and villains in the decks that game with the game are great. Expansions will make it even better.

Enough rambling...

Things I loved:
-- You probably won't play the same game twice... sure, you COULD, but if you just picked stuff randomly, you probably won't, between the different scheme cards, the masterminds, the villain and henchmen decks, and the heroes you pick. Great variability. Aside from me winning both games we played, things played out very differently from card prices, to villain strength, to game pace, etc...
-- The competitive co-op feeling as described above... you do have to work towards beating the villains, but if you can maximize the benefits for you while hurting others, even slightly, it can really give you a good chance of winning.
-- The game pace is intense at times... every time you flip a villain card over (which is each person's turn), it could be bad, and sometimes even lead to more villains being turned over. If too many come before you can beat them, they start escaping and that triggers the end conditions.
-- The card interactivity is awesome... the various factions can work together, the card colors can work together, and each heroes various cards usually work well together. Some are more for fighting, others for income, some for working together with other cards. It is a really neat system.
-- I like the built in required balance. Some villains hurt you unless you have a specific type of card (color or faction). So, you need to have a mix of factions and colors, or risk losing cards.
-- I sometimes am willing to play a game I enjoyed again right away... I definitely wanted to play this one right away, and I would have played a 3rd time in a row had it not been for our own time constraints. (Not just because i won both games either... I really had a fun time).

Things I didn't like:
-- Setup/tear down... you have to pick out a certain number of piles for the different decks, and mix them together. This can take a little while choosing the cards, then making sure you get a good shuffle... then all of the cleanup, sorting everything back into their piles. This isn't horrible, but it does take a bit to get it all setup.

Yes, a lot of rambling (sorry), but it's my first review here on the Geek, and I really enjoyed this game.

Hopefully you'll see something in this review that will stand otu to you and you will think "Hey, I like that in a game!"

I plan to buy this game or ask for it for Christmas. I really enjoyed it.

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Drinky Drinky
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Mr. Cat. Hold on I think I know my next move, just give me another minute....NO!!!!!!!
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But do you all "suit up" to play?

Solid review. Really

As someone who owns both Sentinels and Ascension, I'm curious in the hero category in how the game plays.

For example in Sentinels when I play Tachyon, I feel like I am playing that hero with powers all her own (similar to "The Flash"). If I am buying powers that come from a community pool, do the heroes feel "samey". Does it descend into how the hell did Gambit get eye beams that could shoot like Cyclops? I think this is the bigest concern for me. I would rather be Captain America picking up more powerful Captain America specific moves. I do not want all of a sudden have Captain America discover he can fly on turn 6 of this game.

As for the Attack/Influence Mechanic, it sounds dead on like Ascension.

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Matt Evans
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I think a lot of comparisons are first going to drawn to Sentinels of the Multiverse because of the obvious super hero theme. However, in play they are completely different games. In Sentinels you are choosing a hero to play. You have an entire deck of unique cards and abilities that only you have access to. You take on the role of that character and play equipment cards, power cards etc to make yourself and your allies stronger to eventually defeat the villain.

Legendary is far closer to Ascension than Sentinels of the Multiverse. In Legendary you never truly "play" as a superhero. You're shuffling 5 hero decks (14 cards each) together to make one large hero pile. That ends up being your "center row" deck and where nearly all your cards to build your deck will be purchased. This way every player has access to the same heroes. By the end of the game every player has a large mix of heroes in their deck that (hopefully) chain off of one another and create some powerful effects. Whoever has deck with the most powerful synergy will end up with the most victory points at the end. The difference between Legendary and Ascension is that in Legendary you're also (kind of) working together to defeat the Mastermind and various villains before the Scheme defeats everyone. It creates a very interesting semi-cooperative nature where you don't ALWAYS want to help your fellow players. In my last game we had a Scheme where there was a very limited number of wounds available for the game. If at any point ALL of those wound card were drawn, the virus would be released and we'd all lose the game. This left us with tough decisions at a few points during the game. For example my wife had several of Hulk's cards in her deck and some of his cards give all players wounds when triggered. Normally you'd never use a card like this in a cooperative setting but in this case it gave her enough attack to defeat the Mastermind a few times and gain the rewards. The semi-cooperative / competitive aspects of the game don't necessarily fit with the theme that well, but the game as a whole works extremely well.

To quickly compare to Ascension, I'll say this. Think of playing Ascension but instead of using a generic "draw 1 card" hero, you're playing Iron Man's "Endless Intervention" to draw a card and triggering his super-power (thanks to Nick Fury) to draw a second one.

The magic of Legendary comes from the fun and interesting card combos featuring your favorite super heroes in a semi-cooperative setting. The magic of Ascension comes from really interesting card combos with a MASSIVE deck of completely random cards.

That being said I still think they're different enough that they can co-exist in a collection.
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R.J.
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krechevskoy:

Yah, it is dead on like Ascension... A little difference I did notice whie playing was that there wasn't a default, low attack, easy to beat up on villain to give you a little VP every turn. If you have 2-3 attack power and all villains on the board are 4 or more, you are screwed.

In Sentinels, you play as a specific hero. In Legendary, you are not a specific hero. While this doesn't give you the feeling that you would in Sentinels, it also does not give you the feeling of Gambit having eyes beams that shoot like Cyclops. In Legendary, you are recruiting the different heroes to fight for you (not creating a hero). While in the short term, the feeling of being that specific hero as in Sentinels can have the thematic payoff (I'm not a theme guy as mentioned above, but I can see the appeal), I think in the long term, the Legendary approach will payoff much more enjoyment. Here's why:

After playing a certain hero in Sentinels a few times, the next time you play with them, it's probably going to play out in a similar fashion. This could be a good or bad thing, but it will probably be a very similar experience. In Legendary, you probably won't play the same game twice. Different combo of heroes, different villains, plus whichever cards happen to be on the table, will all dictate how your deck is constructed, and the cohesiveness between the heroes you are able to recruit.

Which leads me to my last point... the Legendary approach allows you to create some killer combos in attacks. It's not Gambit shooting eye beams... It's a Gambit power AND a Cyclops power. Depending on the color of the cards, they could create a bonus effect as well on one of the cards, depending on the order you play them. There is a "leader" for each of the heroes, that costs the most and has the best power. I am pretty sure in the first game I had the leader card for Cyclops, which allowed him to become even stronger for each X-men I had (from memory so don't quote me on this). I also had some X-men cards in my hand that allowed me to draw more cards, and keep it if it was an X-men faction. That combo on that turn allowed me to have 27 hit points (it could have been well over 40 if I had drawn the 1 card our of the 6 card deck I had left, a Rogue card that would have duplicated the Cyclops leader card). Considering there were hands early on that I couldn't scrape together 4 attack point to beat someone, 27 was a massive amount. I never saw anything like that in the second game, because of the way it played out. Creating that killer, game-changing combo was an amazing feeling, that required powers from multiple heroes, all coming together at the right time.

To create the combos requires picking cards that work well together, thinning your deck so those combos come out more often, and a little bit of luck as it is a blind draw.

While I can understand the appeal of the Sentinels approach, I think after many more games, the Legendary approach, at least for me, is much more solid and replayable, even if it doesn't give you the immersed feeling of playing a specific hero.



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R.J.
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mattamd wrote:
In my last game we had a Scheme where there was a very limited number of wounds available for the game. If at any point ALL of those wound card were drawn, the virus would be released and we'd all lose the game. This left us with tough decisions at a few points during the game. For example my wife had several of Hulk's cards in her deck and some of his cards give all players wounds when triggered. Normally you'd never use a card like this in a cooperative setting but in this case it gave her enough attack to defeat the Mastermind a few times and gain the rewards. The semi-cooperative / competitive aspects of the game don't necessarily fit with the theme that well, but the game as a whole works extremely well.


Wow, that Scheme sounds devious and awesome.

And your wife's dilemma can be rough. In our second game, I was giving everyone wounds as we weren't in danger anymore, so I wanted to clog up their deck, and I had Hulk and Wolverine that gave me benefits when I had Wound cards, so I was getting as many as I could.

Great response and it came to basically the same conclusion as mine (which I was slower in typing).

Having read some threads on this game last night, the semi-coop/competitive feel is actually more thematic than you would think, as there is some in-fighting that occurs in the comics... battles for who gets the glory, etc... at the end of the day, they are working to defeat the villains.
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Itai Rosenbaum
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krechevskoy wrote:
If I am buying powers that come from a community pool, do the heroes feel "samey". Does it descend into how the hell did Gambit get eye beams that could shoot like Cyclops? I think this is the bigest concern for me. I would rather be Captain America picking up more powerful Captain America specific moves. I do not want all of a sudden have Captain America discover he can fly on turn 6 of this game.


From my understanding, this is how the new, forthcoming DC deck-builder works. Where you're playing a single hero and you buy powers. Not sure how you avoid Batman having heat vision, but that's what seems like from the videos I saw.

The chaining cards sounds like an awesome mechanic, it's basically the game equivalent of doing the world-famous "Fastball Special". Which makes me wonder if there's a Wolverine card that gets a bonus for a strength hero.

If not - that's what expansions are for.
 
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Alywin Fruge
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I've been trying to wrap my head around how the game mechanics "fit" the narrative and I've settled in on the notion that there is only one of each hero ACTUALLY involved in the game and they are not unique to any of the players. Players more closely represent story beats or moments where the cardplay reflects moments of teamwork and coordination between heroes or singular efforts by a single hero.
To my mind, the players are all working to tell one big adventure and once I settled on that notion I've been sold enough to order a copy.
In fact, this line of thinking best rationalizes why one player should "win" at the end...they pulled off the best "descriptions" of story moment's and "painted" the best picture of a story moment.

Granted this doesn't rationalize how the recruitment element has been presented but I can live with that.
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This game is just begging more expansions...more expansions...loads of EXPansions!!
 
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Jared Voshall
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alywin wrote:
I've been trying to wrap my head around how the game mechanics "fit" the narrative and I've settled in on the notion that there is only one of each hero ACTUALLY involved in the game and they are not unique to any of the players. Players more closely represent story beats or moments where the cardplay reflects moments of teamwork and coordination between heroes or singular efforts by a single hero.
To my mind, the players are all working to tell one big adventure and once I settled on that notion I've been sold enough to order a copy.
In fact, this line of thinking best rationalizes why one player should "win" at the end...they pulled off the best "descriptions" of story moment's and "painted" the best picture of a story moment.

Granted this doesn't rationalize how the recruitment element has been presented but I can live with that.


My take on it is actually very similar to yours, except mine is the group is a team of generic, mid-level SHIELD operatives who start with a small team of troopers and operatives and build up influence to be able to give particular heroes particular orders. Of course, in the chaotic flow of battle, not all heroes will be in contact with their handlers, or won't be able to perform the particular order that you may want, which handles the random nature of the card draw.

devinlow wrote:
Awesome review R.J. I'm psyched that you guys are creating a lot of sweet combos and exploring which Heroes work especially well together!

-Devin Low meeple
Designer, Legendary


There are definitely some sweet combos in the game. From Spidey plowing through your cheap cards (really, Spidey combos incredibly well with himself), to Deadpool giving a villain a Bystander so Black Widow can take them down, there's just a lot to love in terms of combos.
 
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Dave Maynor
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alywin wrote:
I've been trying to wrap my head around how the game mechanics "fit" the narrative and I've settled in on the notion that there is only one of each hero ACTUALLY involved in the game and they are not unique to any of the players. Players more closely represent story beats or moments where the cardplay reflects moments of teamwork and coordination between heroes or singular efforts by a single hero.
To my mind, the players are all working to tell one big adventure and once I settled on that notion I've been sold enough to order a copy.
In fact, this line of thinking best rationalizes why one player should "win" at the end...they pulled off the best "descriptions" of story moment's and "painted" the best picture of a story moment.

Granted this doesn't rationalize how the recruitment element has been presented but I can live with that.


Look at it this way... you are a comic writer/artist, fighting for that freelance gig. Other creators are writing the same story arc, and who evers books are best received by fans get the gig... so each Issue you do (your turn) you try to out do your fellow writer, but still have to make the entire story arc a success, or none of you get hired!
 
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