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Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Legendary vs Sentinels of the Multiverse rss

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Tim Jesurun
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I had the chance to play these two games, Legendary and Sentinels of the Multiverse, back-to-back a few nights ago. Both of them are predominately card based games with a superhero theme, and so I expect that comparing them will be of interest to some people. I will admit here on the front end, I played Legendary once and it was my second time playing Sentinels. I hope that my comparison of these two games is still helpful to some people.

Components:

Legendary of course has the upper hand here. The artwork is fantastic on the Legendary cards. The Sentinels artwork I like as well. The Legendary art is very contemporary, just like you would see in a comic book you bought today, while the Sentinels artwork is more nostalgic like what you would see 50 years ago. Both good, but Legendary has the quality edge.

The Legendary component are good. My only complain is that the card dividers are unmarked, making it hard to find the decks you need and to put them back at the end. The Sentinels components are not of as high a quality, but still work well.

Theme:

The games are nearly identical in theme. In both games there is a team of super heroes fighting a single villain. The heroes involved change from game to game, as does the villain. The only difference is that Legendary uses Marvel characters, while Sentinels has original characters.

Gameplay

Though the theme of the games is basically identical, the actual game play is quite different. The most important difference is that player in Sentinels take the role of a single superhero, while in Legendary the players use cards representing multiple heroes. In Sentinels your deck represents your superheros abilities, and playing cards or activating powers represents the actions of your superhero. In Legendary, a player's deck represents something more like commands issued to one or more superheros. On my turn I make the Hulk do something and on your turn you make the Hulk do something else.

Following on this distinction is that Sentinels is a deck-management game while Legendary is a deck-building game. In Sentinels your deck is determined by the hero you choose. The skill comes in knowing how to use, or not use, the cards you draw to their best effect, while also working as a team with the other players at the table. If you've read other reviews, you'll know that Legendary has a market, called in this game the HQ, which is a pool of cards from which you can “recruit” (buy) cards and a city track, where villains will appear and who provide a variety of effects, including victory points if defeated. In Marvel the skill comes in deck building: buying cards that go together, trashing weak cards, and putting together chain effects from your hand. The cards that go together and chain are not cards of the same hero, but cards of the same type (i.e. tech, range, instinct, etc). One of my chains was playing an Iron Man tech card followed by a Black Widow tech card.


Bottom Line

While having nearly identical themes, as games these are very different. In Sentinels you play a single hero making the best of his or her abilities via the cards you draw. In Marvel you share command of a team of heroes through deck building. If you love superheroes, and you like both kinds of mechanics then there is definitely room in your collection for both.

My Opinion

For me, a superhero game should really give me the feeling of being a superhero. I get that in Sentinels; I am Tempest or Bunker when I play those decks. Legendary does not give me that same feeling. I feel like I am playing a game which happens to have comic book art on it.

Also, I am not the biggest deck building fan. I enjoy a game of Dominion, but deck-building does not get me excited. For that reason, I think, I saw the mechanics instead of the theme in Legendary. If you like games like Ascension and Thunderstone this game is probably right for you. For me, it didn't click. I would play Legendary again, but given the choice I would choose Sentinels.
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Bill Hartman
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Although I'm not well versed in the actual comics, I think of myself/other players as the governmemt officials that Nick Fury has to report to in the Avengers (Basically, Fury's bosses). That way you can stay with the theme, as each person on the "council" would probably have varying opinions on how best to tackle the threat at hand, ie what type of team to build. That takes care of all players in Legendary (1-5).
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Tim Kizer
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I couldn't agree more. After having played Sentinals and only seen reviews for Legendary the theming in Sentinals is absolutely perfect and Legendary looks like a re-skinned Ascension.

I can't get over the fact that Legendary has different actions all using the same art. Even things like the card for The Legacy Virus not having any mutants on the card when the virus only affected mutants in the books. And having copies of the same big named villan at different locations in the city at the same time. How does Marvel not use all of the art and charters it has access to so the game looks and feels as good as possible.

Terrible job theming the game. I suspect Legendary was made by someone that isn't a big comics fan and was hired to make a game that used the latest board game idea of deck building. So they played a couple games of Ascension and made a very similar game. While Sentinals was created by people who know and love both gaming and comics.
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Itai Rosenbaum
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Velmer wrote:
How does Marvel not use all of the art and charters it has access to so the game looks and feels as good as possible.


I've seen this complaint pop-up in several places, and it irked me every time I saw someone make it, so I decided to finally speak my mind.

This game has original art, every piece of artwork was drawn specifically for this game. Sure, UD and Marvel could have just reused pieces from the various books, but I think that would have hurt the game experience. To me, it's less immersive if I recognise the artwork from book X. That's what the DC DBG did, and it really affects the experience. So yes, the art repeats itself - but at least it's not the cover to X-Men #1 which we've seen in thousands of other places.

Another note that has to do with the originality of the art - as this isn't recycled, an artist was commissioned to do this work. Someone had to be paid to draw each of these cards. This takes money and time. Also, if you're familiar with how comic books are made - there's a chance that there's more than one artist at work here, what with inking and colouring. Point being, if you want an original art piece on each and every card - you'd pay a hell of a lot more for the game. It's a fair trade off, imho. We get a more-than-decent amount of original artwork, that we've never seen anywhere else.

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I suspect Legendary was made by someone that isn't a big comics fan and was hired to make a game that used the latest board game idea of deck building. So they played a couple games of Ascension and made a very similar game. While Sentinals was created by people who know and love both gaming and comics.


Read 1 interview with Jason Brener, watch the video from GenCon of him demoing the game, or some of his comments on this board and see how untrue this statement is.
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Mr G
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A major caveat from me is that I haven't played Legendary. I have read about it and watched the videos. I have played SOTM a few times now.

Playing a single hero with core abilities just feels so right, I don't fancy the Legendary approach. I play Thunderstone and have dabbled in Ascension. I just prefer the themed nature of SOTM, which I guess is easier with a fixed deck per hero. If you want supergroup action, play solo using three heroes ( or check out ABBA on YouTube).

Playing SOTM feels a lot like playing the pc game, Freedom Force, which is HIGH praise indeed.
 
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I'll touch on this in my review but I think the complaint about the art in Legendary is more related to the fact that they use the same art for each character for all of that character's moves and stuff. It's a thematic opportunity lost to not have art that shows off each hero's particular moves and such.

I appreciate the original art they used but their art is just SO good that I'd love to see more of it and a better variety! I'm just greedy!
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Bill Hartman
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wytefang wrote:
I'll touch on this in my review but I think the complaint about the art in Legendary is more related to the fact that they use the same art for each character for all of that character's moves and stuff. It's a thematic opportunity lost to not have art that shows off each hero's particular moves and such.

I appreciate the original art they used but their art is just SO good that I'd love to see more of it and a better variety! I'm just greedy!


I'd love to have seen more too, but not at an increased cost, which is what would have happened. I'm extremely grateful for the high quality board and that they included dividers though.
 
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Tim Kizer
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Sentinals uses original art on every card and costs less then Legendary. You don't want to see art you have seen before but you are willing to look at the same art on every deferent Spider-Man card every time you play one.

Marvel has literally hundreds of thousands of pieces of art to chose from that they already own. You might have recognized a few pieces of art but I doubt anyone would have recognized most of it if they had done it right.

Dont get me wrong the game looks like a lot of fun but anyone that thinks this isn't just a slightly modified reskin of ascension isn't paying attention. If the designer is a comic fan then I put the theming fair on marvel. Someone there didn't understand what would make his game as good as possible.
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B'Cup x
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Velmer wrote:
Sentinals uses original art on every card and costs less then Legendary. You don't want to see art you have seen before but you are willing to look at the same art on every deferent Spider-Man card every time you play one.


to be fair, even though I LOVE Sentinels, and have not played Legendary, you cannot compare the art between the two, they are on completely differnt levels x
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Bill Hartman
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Sentinels is not licensed art, it's too different to compare. I'm sure the comic artists cost a lot more than whatever artist(s) worked on SotM. Also, does Sentinels come with a really nice board and enough dividers/space for many expansions? I really appreciated that about Legendary.

I'd like to try Sentinels as well, but I think the 2 games seem different and can't really be compared like that.
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Tim Kizer
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I love the art in Sentinals. It has a great silver age feel that goes great with the stories. The art in Legendary is cool too it just doesn't make sense with what the card says a lot of the time. For instance Rogue's art is perfect for her copy powers card but doesn't fit with her other cards at all.
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Tim Kizer
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Sentinels doesn't need a board and it does come with labeled dividers for everything in the game and it even comes labeled dividers for the cards in the expansions.
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Itai Rosenbaum
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Velmer wrote:
Sentinals uses original art on every card and costs less then Legendary. You don't want to see art you have seen before but you are willing to look at the same art on every deferent Spider-Man card every time you play one.


That's not licensed art, there's a HUGE difference in the costs for original licensed art and unlicensed art.

Quote:
Marvel has literally hundreds of thousands of pieces of art to chose from that they already own. You might have recognized a few pieces of art but I doubt anyone would have recognized most of it if they had done it right.


Again - original art. As in - never been seen before. Ever.

Quote:
Dont get me wrong the game looks like a lot of fun but anyone that thinks this isn't just a slightly modified reskin of ascension isn't paying attention. If the designer is a comic fan then I put the theming fair on marvel. Someone there didn't understand what would make his game as good as possible.


I'm not saying there aren't similarities to Ascension. There are, no one can make the argument that there aren't. BUT I also don't think it's merely a "lightly modified reskin". There's plenty that Legendary does different - separating the Heroes and Villains for one, Schemes and the use of the city track. The latter two are the game's strongest selling point, in my opinion, and I hope the expansions find new and creative ways to utilise these two elements to set the game even further apart.
 
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Jeff Kayati
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FunkyFlyChicken wrote:
Also, does Sentinels come with a really nice board and enough dividers/space for many expansions? I really appreciated that about Legendary.


The second, or Enhanced Edition, of Sentinels is vastly superior to Legendary when it comes to the box. As stated previously, a board isn't needed for SotM, but the box comes with dividers that are LABELED with each Hero, Villain, or Enviroment. This makes setting up a game ten times easier than Legendary. The blank dividers provided in such an expensive game as Legendary are really rather pathetic.

The SotM Enhanced Edition box holds the base set, the first two expansions, and all the promo sets of extra heroes, villains, and enviroments. If you sleeve cards, then the box is very, very tight, but you can make it works (with the right sleeves).

I don't think Legendary is a bad game, but it's nowhere close to as good as a game as Sentinels of the Multiverse. If you want to feel like you're part of a superhero team, Sentinels delivers. If you're a fan of the Marvel world, Legendary gives you that world, but not a very compelling game experience.

If this theme really appeals to you, these two games are so different you can own and play both without feeling like you're playing the same thing over and over.
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Bill Hartman
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Well, I haven't played Sentinels so I can't and won't comment specifically on it's gameplay, but myself, MY WIFE (who isn't a major gamer and reads zero comics) and my daughter absolutely love Legendary. I'm sorry that some of you didn't seem to enjoy Legendary/as much, or find such fault with it. For myself, my group, and my family, we weren't bothered by the "negative" points that were made and greatly enjoy it. I'm sure we would probably enjoy Sentinels as well, but that wouldn't diminish our love of Legendary.

Also, the dividers don't bother me. In the pre-labled ones from WoW for instance, I didn't like the labels and wanted to organize more/differently. Besides, UD has stated it was a mistake at the printer and supposedly is working on some kind of "fix". Just doesn't bother me, personally.
 
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I have yet to play Legendary, but I am reminded of one key difference. In Sentinels you play a hero. In legendary you play a team. Playing a hero gives you a more intimate experience with that character. Playing a team does not feel like playing a hero. It seems like typically, people want to control 1 character more than they want to control a team. So, for anyone who likes playing a hero more than a team, may feel the theme come through less.

So I'm not trying to support or deny the claim that one has more theme than the other. I'm also not trying to say that theme is all important. I'm only trying to say that if you are one of the many who prefer controlling a single character, the theme problem may be compiled for you in Legendary. That doesn't make legendary good or bad if you like controlling a person or a team, it's simply something to consider.

I'm very excited to play Legendary, and reserve making an opinion until I do.
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Benj Davis
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I get what you're saying about how commissioning three times as much art would have added to costs, but I just don't see the value of it being "new art, never seen before!" as ... valuable?
As long as they're cool pictures of Captain America, I don't mind that they're pictures of Captain America I may have seen before.
I'd rather the cards were more easily distinguishable.
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Vincent Lalyman
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One thing not to forget : Sentinels is fully co-operative. The Villain is the ennemy, and you need to cooperate to win. No victory point tracking.

From what I've seen, the two games are very different in the way they handle theme.
Sentinels is all about playing a hero, feeling like a hero fighting a villain with his team.
Legendary is more about enjoying playing in the marvel universe - and, in some way, you feel more like you are reading/writing a comic book than being a character in it.
Depending on your tastes for theme and mechanics, you'll enjoy one or the other, or both.

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Itai Rosenbaum
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Jlerpy wrote:
I get what you're saying about how commissioning three times as much art would have added to costs, but I just don't see the value of it being "new art, never seen before!" as ... valuable?
As long as they're cool pictures of Captain America, I don't mind that they're pictures of Captain America I may have seen before.
I'd rather the cards were more easily distinguishable.


It's not a question of value. For me, it's a question of immersion. If I see an image I recognise from a cover of issue X or a stand-out panel or an image that has been used in other promotional stuff - it takes me out of the experience.

Chances are that if the game would have used pre-existing art, it would have used art we've all seen before, exactly for the reason that we've seen it before - it's iconic, memorable, and powerful. So you'd have the cover to the first new-52 issue of Aquaman - because it's a kick-ass image of Aquaman. But I immediately spot it as that.

The question of multiple instances of the same piece of artwork in the game doesn't bother me because I associate this particular piece of artwork with the game. So this image of Cap is "Legendary Cap" rather than "Captain American #25 Cover". And it's not like Thunderstone is any different - it reuses artwork just the same. It makes sense financially and it makes sorting the cards a hell of a lot easier.
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Tim Kizer
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Having an image you have seen before would remove your immersion? But seeing the same image on every card wouldn't?

It is the exact opposite for me. It is a comic book game and using great art from comics would only add to my immersion. Hell it would have been great if each hero card was a cover from a comic with the name of the comic replaced with the name of the card in the same font as the original. That would have looked great.
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Josh
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Velmer wrote:
Having an image you have seen before would remove your immersion? But seeing the same image on every card wouldn't?

It is the exact opposite for me. It is a comic book game and using great art from comics would only add to my immersion. Hell it would have been great if each hero card was a cover from a comic with the name of the comic replaced with the name of the card in the same font as the original. That would have looked great.


I have to throw my hat into the ring with this one for design choices. Considering the gobs of art available, it's doubtful someone would have sene it all. I think Nick Fury leading a team of Shield troopers in a gunfight for his attack card, Nick Fury ordering people around for his recruit card. Iron man blasting someone for repulser blast, etc. would have definitely added to the feel of the game.
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IronSyndicate wrote:
Jlerpy wrote:
I get what you're saying about how commissioning three times as much art would have added to costs, but I just don't see the value of it being "new art, never seen before!" as ... valuable?
As long as they're cool pictures of Captain America, I don't mind that they're pictures of Captain America I may have seen before.
I'd rather the cards were more easily distinguishable.


It's not a question of value. For me, it's a question of immersion. If I see an image I powerful. So you'd have the cover to the first new-52 issue of Aquaman - because it's a kick-ass image of Aquaman. But I immediately spot it as that.


That's a form of value. It's just one that doesn't matter to me.
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Michael A

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Have them both, love them both. But unless you have 3 people one of you is not playing a single hero in SotM so for anyone playing solo the games will feel much more similar. However mp is where they really start to change, when playing Legendary MP it feels more competitive as we are both fighting for VP as well as the villain, an it can get harder if you turn up the difficulty. SotM with 3 or more really gives you the feeling of being that character and the interaction between the hero team and villain/environment cards can be very tense. In Legendary once you have a powerful deck it be becomes a race against time, defeat the villain before the last twist. In SotM you can be winning/losing early then have some card pulls that turn the tide of the battle one way or a other, and this happens multiple times a game and leads to some great tension and teamwork.
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Mike Whalen
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I have them both as well, and played both quite a bit. SotM is much more complicated. There are a lot of modifiers to keep track of, some of which don't stop at the end of the turn. Each hero has his/her own feel and abilities. Some are great at damage, some healing, some for soaking damage (hey, Tank, Healer and DPS...wierd).

Legendary is much more straightforward. I don't think the comment about a "reskinned Ascension" is completely unwarranted. I would say if you are a super fan like myself, they are both excellent games. Legendary is much simpler and games tend to go a little quicker. SotM has quite a few more things to keep track of, a bit more difficult, and games tend to take a bit longer.
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Jeremiah Power
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It's funny that the biggest complaints seem to be about the artwork and that it's basically an Ascension clone. I loved the mechanics and simplicity of Ascension, but I hated the artwork so much that I couldn't play it anymore and sold my copies. (Call me shallow if you like, I'm fine with it.) But then Legendary comes along with the same mechanics, fantastic artwork, and a Marvel universe theme? Yes, please.
I think we all agree that each card having it's own artwork would have been great, but I really like the game as it stands. As long as we get a Marvel Knights expansion with Blade, Punisher, and Ghost Rider.
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