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Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game» Forums » General

Subject: Grasping for a Narative rss

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Kirk Monsen
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It has been described that this game lacks narative, aka ... just what are you and your deck supposed to represent, since everyone uses the same heroes, but each player uses them differently.

I've been dwelling on this, as it bugs me, and I think I have a way of explaining it.

You are all Shield Project Managers / Field Commanders. Your deck is what resources are available to you, but your hand is only the resources currently available (those not currently on downtime or other missions). How you play your cards is your current mission.

So how do heroes work into this? Well, the cards aren't the heroes, but your personal relationship with the hero (how much, and how, the hero trusts you for sending him on missions). If you only have Recruit Points for a hero, then that hero only wants to do photo-ops with you, and doesn't trust your battle instincts, whereas if you only have combat points, then that hero doesn't care about the fluff pieces and only wants to get down and dirty (he has someone else that he goes to for publicity). Having a mix of both means the hero is buddy buddy with you.

The heros in the game are the ones upper management has decided are the best for handling this crisis. It is your job to convince the heroes that you have the right information and battle plans for handling the crisis.

-Munch "thoughts, comments?" Wolf
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Martin Samocha
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i love the narative in this, at first it feels like the villan has this huge uper hand and then you slow start to get enough power to beat the bad guys and it really feels like there is an arc to the game even if there isnt a story per se
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John Sinodinos
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MunchWolf wrote:
It has been described that this game lacks narative, aka ... just what are you and your deck supposed to represent, since everyone uses the same heroes, but each player uses them differently.

I've been dwelling on this, as it bugs me, and I think I have a way of explaining it.

You are all Shield Project Managers / Field Commanders. Your deck is what resources are available to you, but your hand is only the resources currently available (those not currently on downtime or other missions). How you play your cards is your current mission.

So how do heroes work into this? Well, the cards aren't the heroes, but your personal relationship with the hero (how much, and how, the hero trusts you for sending him on missions). If you only have Recruit Points for a hero, then that hero only wants to do photo-ops with you, and doesn't trust your battle instincts, whereas if you only have combat points, then that hero doesn't care about the fluff pieces and only wants to get down and dirty (he has someone else that he goes to for publicity). Having a mix of both means the hero is buddy buddy with you.

The heros in the game are the ones upper management has decided are the best for handling this crisis. It is your job to convince the heroes that you have the right information and battle plans for handling the crisis.

-Munch "thoughts, comments?" Wolf

Honestly; that's the way me and my gaming group have been looking at it -well said MunchWolf!
 
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Thomas King
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I had put it more or less the same way in another thread somewhere around here. You're not Captain America, or Thor, nor are you somehow, ambiguously all heroes on your team at once, you are a SHIELD operative who is getting heroes together and coordinating missions with them. Recruit points are the time and resources spent coordinating with a given hero.

I'd still dig a "leader card" that you can choose from and your team is being led by said hero, but being a SHIELD agent makes sense, and ties in well with the Avengers movie.
 
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Bah, you don't need a narrative. The central function of a board/tabletop game is to provide a good game to play. Gameplay is what matters, everything else is relatively (key word) unimportant, for the most part.

It's not trying to be a book or movie. To me, anyway, it seems a bit ludicrous to worry about finding some sort of story backround or narrative as opposed to just hoping for the game to be really, really good (which Legendary seems to be).

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Kirk Monsen
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When you have a gaming group trying to decide on a game, having a narative is useful in getting your game to the table.

-Munch "it's also good for immersion" Wolf
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Thomas King
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wytefang wrote:
Bah, you don't need a narrative. The central function of a board/tabletop game is to provide a good game to play. Gameplay is what matters, everything else is relatively (key word) unimportant, for the most part.

It's not trying to be a book or movie. To me, anyway, it seems a bit ludicrous to worry about finding some sort of story backround or narrative as opposed to just hoping for the game to be really, really good (which Legendary seems to be).


To each their own. I don't care for abstract games, it just gets boring. I value theme quite a bit, even in video games, I like being immersed.
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I can agree with having a fun or intriguing theme, Thomas. But narrative is different from theme - narrative would imply a storyline framework behind the gameplay.

To say that a game is less "good" than another game merely because that game doesn't offer some sort of story-based narrative for players to follow along with, seems unfair or perhaps unreasonble, would be a better word.

While people drive cars for many reasons (for enjoyment or practical reasons), the most important, integral aspect of the car-driving experience is that the car functions to get you to wherever you were going for whatever reason you were going there.

I can understand wanting a cool theme (for my money, Pandemic is probably one of the best at matching the theme with the gameplay mechanic) but narrative is different from theme and I don't agree with the mindset that any game, along with providing great gameplay and/or production values, is also supposed to play the role of a hand-holding parent, walking its players through a narrative experience.

No, I see that job as being one for the players to develop rather than worrying about whether the game conveniently provided one for them.

Just my opinion though...
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MunchWolf wrote:
When you have a gaming group trying to decide on a game, having a narative is useful in getting your game to the table.


I suppose that would depend on the group - it's certainly not a central truth of gaming in general. My friends and gaming buddies (the few that I have) would prefer the freedom to craft their own interpretation (not entirely on their own - the game can offer some hints or guidance within the theme and gameplay mechanics) rather than having that freedom swapped for an experience where the game shoehorns some sort of narrative upon them.

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William Bowers
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wytefang wrote:

While people drive cars for many reasons (for enjoyment or practical reasons), the most important, integral aspect of the car-driving experience is that the car functions to get you to wherever you were going for whatever reason you were going there.

you've clearly never own an old British roadster. ;) But can't we assume that a car(game) meets at least the basic requirements? I mean, you may own a Type E Jag, but if it doesn't run, what fun is it? Likewise your Prius may run forever, but at the end of the day it is a Prius. (and to display my preferences I would rather have a Type E that didn't run than a Prius that did.)
My (belabored) point is that I would think both components are usually necessary to create a good game.
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Rodney "Watch It Played" Smith
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I tend to think it's entirely relative to the gamer in question:

- A player who craves narrative will miss it when a game does not have it.
- A gamer that does not crave narrative won't care if it's not there.

And neither will completely understand the others opinions on the abundance or lack thereof.

Two cents.
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Well my main issue, I suppose, is simply that there's a difference between "narrative" and "theme" in games.

I don't think that any game should be responsible for providing players with their own unique sense of creativity and interpretation. Games should provide a good theme, somewhat matched to the gameplay but (imho) they have zero responsibility providing some sort of forced, artificial narrative to the players.
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William Bowers
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Wytefang,
I don't necessarily disagree with you. I will say that Mice And Mystics does a good job of providing a narrative which I think elevates the game above its mechanics and theme, but I don't believe this is mandatory for a game to be good.
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Matthew Bylsma
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"You...are Agent Phil Coulson! Recruit heroes, send them on missions, and save the world! Just watch out for Joss Whedon!"
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Thomas King
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wytefang wrote:
Well my main issue, I suppose, is simply that there's a difference between "narrative" and "theme" in games.

I don't think that any game should be responsible for providing players with their own unique sense of creativity and interpretation. Games should provide a good theme, somewhat matched to the gameplay but (imho) they have zero responsibility providing some sort of forced, artificial narrative to the players.

Even if we're just talking story, as opposed to theme, I will usually enjoy a game more if it's there. It doesn't need to be there to be a great game, but for me, it's a greater game for having it. A good game might have good mechanics. A great game might have good mechanics and strong theme. A bar-raising masterpiece, for me, will have good mechanics, strong theme, and a narrative that flows with the gameplay seamlessly.

But, again, to each their own. Some people would call Chess the end all of tabletop games, and that theme is even meaningless compared to pure strategy. Others will thrive entirely on theme, and the underlying game itself may not even be very good. But what ever we have fun with. I like that Legendary can be a solid game with strong theme and even a narrative that makes sense and doesn't muddy up the game.
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