Jeremy Yoder
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I've played this game solo (as 2 players to learn it; not with the solo variant) and I think it'll be a blast when I play with friends. I can already tell we'll play competitively for points -- partly because we like competing, and second, in my 2 games, it was very easy to defeat, so there was no tension. Hence, tension will be getting more points.

I know that will change with other setups... and all it takes is a bad shuffle for schemes to appear faster... and I know there are tweaks to make the game harder, etc. But the point of this post is to toss out 3 things that make the game easier to defeat... yet it seem they should hurt you rather than help you.



1) Villains Escaping: Assuming there's no "escape" ability or bystander (vast majority of the time) this is a good thing. All it does is get rid of weaker Heros from the HQ, which is a plus. To me, it seems there should be a penalty, rather than a reward. (KO the best hero in the HQ? Players gain new negative card in your play deck than gives you bad PR, such as -1 recruiting?)

2) Defeating Mastermind: When you defeat the mastermind, you draw one of his 4 mastermind tactic cards... and it helps you. I had to change my perception to view this as a reward for defeating him. Yet I can't help but think it'd be better to hurt you, especially when 1 reward gave me bonus attack points... with which I just turned around and defeated the Mastermind again, gaining yet another bonus. Just seemed a bit odd.

3) Separate VP deck: Your deck rarely gets clogged with bad cards. I know other schemes and villains will give more wounds, but the only negative card you can get is a wound, which is a bit lacking. Even so, some hero abilities benefit from them, so they can be a plus. I know other deck-building games (DBG) are influencing me, but it seems odd that all point cards go to a separate point deck, and not your play deck. So your deck becomes a lean, mean, killing machine, with nothing to slow it down, allowing massive combos, like one time I had 22 attack, wiping out everything and ending the game.

EDIT: Also, an aspect I like in other DBG for clogging your deck with points is it slows down your deck a bit, allowing others a bit more catch up time. Otherwise, if you have a power deck sooner than others, you can keep pounding away here, gaining only VPs, and nothing to slow you down. (However, I guess if you play coop only, it doesn't matter.)



Again, the game is fun (the most important thing). The design is solid, and the Marvel universe shines through. But like I said, these 3 items, while they don't ruin the game (at worst, 1 or 2 may feel a bit anti-thematic) just seem they should slow down your momentum rather than ramp it up.

I also realize that tweaking any of these (especially number 3) would throw the game out of whack as you need to get powerful quickly before all the schemes come up, or evil wins. So I have no "solutions," especially since I'm not calling them "problems."

In the end, I may just need to adjust my mindset to accept that the game almost constantly assists the players, even when it seems it shouldn't. But I'm curious for other thoughts from players, the designer, etc.
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Garth Boucher
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Agree on all counts. I enjoy the game but those exact three things initially puzzled me as well. During my first game, when I first defeated the mastermind, I drew the tactics card with suspense wondering what I was in for... and I was rewarded. Hmph. I felt kind of let down.

But, as you say, you adjust your perception and expectations. And the game is easy to make harder...
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Daniel Corban
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1) I, too, found this odd. This may be due to the current game being the "starter" edition, and future expansions will add more escape effects.

2) In a true co-op game, the benefits may be too large. When played competitively, there would otherwise be little incentive to attack the mastermind. Even with the bonuses for attacking the mastermind, I found myself more drawn to gathering victory points by attacking villains.

Think about this: if the incentive to attack the mastermind were not large enough, the game may always end with a win for evil. Only one person at the table is "winning" (personal victory points). The other players have no incentive to battle the mastermind until they are "winning". This results in the currently winning player being the only one with a reason to attack the mastermind! The other players are already losing (in VP), so why would they care if evil triumphs?

3) I prefer it this way. The game as designed becomes more hectic as time goes on. Evil schemes progress and more bad stuff happens, similarly to Pandemic. You want the player decks to become more focused and powerful as the game goes on, not diluted and weaker!

I also believe the fewer players in the game allow decks to become highly focused, increasing their power. You have fewer players competing for a particular hero/villain, and less chaos between turns. You can more easily predict the game state on your next turn, select heroes that help you most, and defeat villains that reward you best. Four-players will probably be my ideal player count here.
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Itai Rosenbaum
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What if, to fix "problem" number 1 - you would randomly discard a hero from the line-up when a villain escapes.

As it stands - you will always choose the worst hero in the line-up which, as you said, is often more of a help than a hinderance. But grabbing the 5 cards in the line-up, shuffling 'em up, and throwing one in the KO pile can be devastating. Especially if it's a Rare (and yes, I'm ignoring the "less than 6 cost" rule).
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Viet Tran
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I agree with your points, although I never thought about having VP in your deck like other games. I think one thing that seems odd to me is the personal VP track, which shows up in some of the cards. For example cards that allow you to fix your partner (opponents? draw) to maybe mess them up so you can get more VP then them? Or the Dr Doom card "monarchs decree" that lets you either make your partners discard a card or draw a card.

The game has a weird dichotomy between winning together and possibly being the best hero. I feel like they promote both and, for me, it splits the gameplay.
For instance, what you said about having the mastermind give you bonus for attacking them instead of being punishing. At first I thought it was very strange as well that I would get rewarded when im going to fight the big bad boss.
But i think dcorban made a good point that hadnt occured to me about the VP perspective, it gives double incentive to be the best hero. (although 5 VPs is a lot already it might just make you "win more")

anyway i agree that some of the events in the game had me puzzled when they occurred. Still a great game though!
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Jeremy Yoder
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dcorban wrote:
Think about this: if the incentive to attack the mastermind were not large enough, the game may always end with a win for evil.


It seems the big VPs on the MM are incentive enough, but maybe not, given the VPs on other cards. But again, I don't have nearly enough experience with this game to comment wisely. These are just first impressions, and wondering what others think, and if I just need to accept it.

Glad for all input.



IronSyndicate wrote:
What if, to fix "problem" number 1 - you would randomly discard a hero from the line-up when a villain escapes.


Could be a nice variant. But I'm not going to change anything until I've played it multiple times with friends as I don't know if my observations are warranted yet, but just thematic jarrings and/or unfair expectations on my part.






As for #3 (the separate VP deck) one thing I should have also said... an aspect I like in other deck-building games for clogging your deck with points is it slows down your deck a bit, allowing others a bit more catch up time. Otherwise, if you have a power deck sooner than others, you can keep pounding away here, gaining only VPs, and nothing to slow you down. (However, that assumes you aren't play coop only.)

Again, just thoughts.
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Daniel Corban
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JYoder wrote:

dcorban wrote:
Think about this: if the incentive to attack the mastermind were not large enough, the game may always end with a win for evil.


It seems the big VPs on the MM are incentive enough.

In my first game, I was already getting points from fighting villains, and I had the card that gave me +3 for each Hydra I defeated. It was more worth my time to fight Hydra! I didn't fight Red Skull a single time. The game ended with the winner having fought Red Skull three times, and I only lost to him by a single point.

With the fight points you use against the mastermind, you can fight several villains. Some may give you bonus points, as in my last game. Some have bystanders. Some help you/hurt others when you defeat them. I feel that even with the bonus from fighting the mastermind, a player could claim an individual win without fighting him at all!
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R N
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I agree with the OP on the first two points, villains seem to be helping the heroes in both cases.

The separate VP deck is a matter of personal taste. The game does not have a negative feedback loop, which basically means there is greater emphasis placed on the early game. I bet if you make the game harder this will become less of an issue since players will need to work together more to win. My thinking is that this will lead to less cases where players split attack types (making everyone better) and making the eventual win feel more coop with a secondary emphasis on being the best hero.
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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I hate games where VPs clog your hand. I think of it as anti-design, because the 'win' part of the game (accumulating VPs) runs counter to the 'fun' part of the game (building an efficient deck, and playing a zillion cards in a single turn ). Some people might like this dichotomy because they come from a Dominion background and maybe find intellectual pleasure in figuring out "oh, is my Province-buying engine good enough now to start buying them or should I wait another turn because it will run out of steam later", but for a fan of CCGs like me, I want my deck to *do* things. It's okay if wounds or other effects from the game or opposing players starts messing up my deck against my will, but I don't want to have to choose between improving my deck or going for my win condition.

For villains escaping, I think it's fine as is. There's a Scheme where that's a way to lose the game. In other games it's less of an issue and may in fact be an advantage in some circumstances. I'm fine with that changing depending on setup.
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Shane Julius
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What set up did you play with (Scheme/Mastermind)?

I can tell you some are down wright vicious to play against. I had a group of four playing the Loki/Midtown Robbery and the game won after I believe 8 to 10 turns in. Even after we tried it again, it wasn't a walk.

Also our wound deck in two of the three games played was drained by half time (more so once we had Hulk in the mix).

I guess I didn't see the ease of the game when I had four wound in my hand and had to put two of my six cards back on top, but that could have been our draws. Then again, I never felt the game was overly easy on us. Those Master Strikes and Scheme twists hit at the worst time.
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Devin Low
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Hi gang!

Excellent topic, and one I could see writing several articles about someday. To summarize, the original poster's question is:

"[There are] 3 things that make the game easier to defeat... yet it seem they should hurt you rather than help you."
"1) Villains Escaping"
"2) Defeating Mastermind"
"3) Separate VP deck"

Each of these topics was considered closely during design.
Here is a behind-the-scenes look on the game design decisions behind question #1.
I’m happy to talk about #2 and #3 in separate posts as well if there is interest.

Villains Escaping
There are three primary design reasons why Villains KO Heroes when they escape:
A) HQ Churn
B) Coopetition
C) Flavor

A) HQ Churn smoothes out the game
Some churn among the Heroes in the HQ helps the game run smoothly. It's nice to have new choices showing up in the HQ throughout the game, instead of having some Heroes sit there for a long time and clog up the HQ. Some HQ churn comes naturally as players recruit Heroes and new Heroes show up in their place. But in early design playtesting, there were a couple of cases where the natural HQ Churn of players recruiting Heroes wasn’t sufficient by itself:

Expensive Heroes
In the early turns, there can occasionally be a case where the HQ has tons of expensive 5 and 6-cost cards, and no cheap 2 and 3-cost cards. In that case, it helps the game run smoothly to have some of the 5 and 6 cost Heroes in the HQ get KO'd, so that cheaper choices are revealed. Tying this to Villains escaping is a good fit for the game’s pacing, since Villains escape most often in the early game, and that’s when that potential clog of expensive Heroes most needs to be unclogged.

Heroes No Player Wants
Which other Heroes don’t naturally leave the HQ through players recruiting them? Heroes that nobody wants. Sometimes each player is building a particular deck of sweet combos, and some cards in the communal Hero Deck don’t fit into anyone’s choice of combos this game. Then no one wants those Heroes in this session. Having those unwanted Heroes clog up the HQ the whole game is not great fun. So having a way to churn those Heroes out of the HQ is helpful. So I was confident the game wanted a recurring way for Heroes to leave the HQ without going into any player’s deck.

B) Coopetition
Some groups play Legendary very cooperatively, focusing on the group victory. Other groups play very competitively, focusing on individual Victory Points. And many groups focus on some of each. Choosing which Hero to KO when a Villain escapes has proven to be a pretty fun way to help or hurt other players.

When playing very cooperatively, people ask things like “I’m going to KO this guy. Was anybody going to recruit him?” If somebody says “Wait wait, not him!”, it feels good to take the opportunity to be nice and collaborative and pick a different Hero to KO.

On the other hand, when playing very competitively, it feels good to notice which Heroes other players really want, then savagely KO those Heroes from the HQ right before the other players can get them. Gotcha, sucka! It’s also very strategic to try to figure out which Hero cards other players are going after and correctly decide which Heroes to KO to hose those players.

C) Flavor
So I knew I wanted some Heroes to be KO’d from the HQ regularly, allowing players to choose which ones would be KO’d. What is a flavorful way to do that? What could cause mighty Super Heroes to get KO’d from a Super Hero HQ? A flavorful answer is…rampaging Super Villains!

In addition, for a group playing in a more competitive style, when one player has a Villain escape, that player will probably KO the exact Hero that the next player wanted most. This makes the Villain escaping and KO'ing a Hero feel especially villainous in flavor. The player choosing the KO gets to take the brief role of an evil Super Villain and cackle madly, while the player who got hosed can curse that escaping Villain (and player!) for their evil ways.

When a group is playing in a more cooperative style, KO’ing a Hero can definitely give a gameplay advantage. However, the act of KO’ing a Hero from the HQ still feels very villainous in flavor, since a Hero is getting knocked out, even if you are finding a way to turn it to your strategic advantage. So it still fits the flavor of an escaping Villain well.

And of course, there are plenty of Villains with nasty “Escape” special effects that cooperative players will definitely want to stop from escaping! Since those Villains tend to be the tougher ones, sometimes they only way to stop them from escaping is to beat up the less powerful Villains to buy time.

>>>>>>>>>>

Well, I hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look on the game design decisions behind why escaping Villains KO Heroes from the HQ. And I hope you continue to enjoy Legendary! (And tell your friends! )

Devin Low meeple
Designer, Legendary
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Dicky P
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devinlow wrote:

I’m happy to talk about #2 and #3 in separate posts as well if there is interest.


Yes please!

Edit: and some great insight. Thank you for sharing, and also to the OP for a great question/observation.

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Itai Rosenbaum
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Thanks for the awesomely informative post, Devin!

I, for one, would love to hear about the motivation behind the other two.
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Shane Julius
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Thanks for the insight Devin. I couldn't say for others but the group I play with for Legendary is definitely a combination of both Competitive/Co-operative play. During our Loki run we had a couple Captain America's get KO'd just because one of the group didn't want others to have him.
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