Monday, March 31, 2014

Legendary: A Marvel Deckbuilding Game, by Devin Low

Welcome Agent Phil Coulson to S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ.  Today we need you to bring a team of young agents to the field and have them assist you in the apprehension of some of the biggest villains in the world.  You will not be alone as you will be joined by up to 6 different super heroes in the field.  You will need to utilize each hero’s strengths and work with them to exploit the villain’s weaknesses.

Now that you have been briefed let us dive right in to the world of Marvel Legendary Deck Building Game by Upper Deck.

Marvel Legendary is a 1-5 player game.  The game does get more difficult with 4-5 players. The game set up can take a little bit to work with. Once you play multiple games you will learn different ways to tear down and set up different games quickly.  There are also applications for IOS and Android products.  You can go to I-Tunes or your Play Store and locate the Legendary Randomizer by 3Doubloons.  It is a FREE application and works well in set up. The application takes into account the different types of heroes that you will need to defeat the masterminds and villains.  

So who are the different heroes that I can choose from you ask, well I have listed the different ones that are available in the Base Set are Black Widow, Captain America, Cyclops, Deadpool, Emma Frost, Gambit, Hawkeye, Hulk, Iron Man, Nick Fury, Rouge, Spiderman, Storm, Thor and Wolverine (X-Men).  That is 15 different heroes to choose form in the base set alone.  The replay ability of this game is very high as you will use at max 6 heroes at one time. (In a 5 Player game).

Marvel: Legendary already has 3 expansions out for it, Dark City (DCE) and the Fantastic Four (FFE) and Spiderman (SME).  The base set boasts a total of 500 cards to use with the expansion adding in an additional 350 cards for Dark City and 100 for each of the smaller expansions which include the Fantastic Four and Spiderman.  When you are able to add in the expansions you will get 17 new heroes from the DCE and they will include Angel, Bishop, Blade, Cable, Colossus, Daredevil, Domino, Elektra, Forge, Ghost Rider, Iceman, Iron Fist, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Professor X, the Punisher and Wolverine (X-Force).

The FFE adds an additional 5 heroes which include Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Thing, Human Torch and Silver Surfer.  Overall that is 37 different heroes that you can choose from once you add in the 2 expansions. The SME adds an additional 5 heroes to the mix.  Those heroes include Black Cat, Symbiote Spiderman, Spider Woman, Scarlet Spider and Moon Knight.  Everyone from this set has the Spider friends logo with the exclusion of Moon Knight who is a Marvel Knight.

Each set also includes Masterminds, Villains and Henchmen. A Mastermind is the head villain of the game and is the one that is directing them to take over the city.  Each Mastermind controls  one group of Villains or a Henchman group.  For example there are 4 Masterminds in the Base set, Dr. Doom, Loki, Magneto and Red Skull. Dr. Doom always controls his henchman group the Doom bots. So when setting up the board each Mastermind will tell you what is needed and what is the constant group that will be paired with him.



There are 7 different Villain groups for the base set are Brotherhood, Enemies of Asgard, Hydra, Masters of Evil, Radiation, Skrulls and Spider Foes. There are also 4 henchmen groups that include Doombot Legion, Hand Ninjas, Sentinels and Savage Land Mutants.  Each Villain group will have 8 cards total and the Henchmen are 10 cards total.  With the release of DCE they included 5 new Masterminds including Apocalypse, Kingpin, Mephisto, Mr. Sinister and Stryfe.

They also included 6 new villain groups and 2 new henchmen groups.  Villain groups include Emissaries of Evil, Four Horsemen, Marauders, MLF Streets of New York and Underworld.  The 2 new Henchmen groups are Maggia Goons and Phalanx.  The FFE includes 2 new masterminds in Galactus and Moleman and 2 new Villain groups with Subterranean and Herald of Galactus. The SME includes 2 additional masterminds Carnage and Mysterio and 2 new Villain groups that include the Sinister Six and Maximum Carnage.

Just like reading your favorite comic, each game will have a Scheme.  This is the theme as to which your board will be set up. The Base Set includes 8 different schemes, which include The Legacy Virus, Midtown Bank Robbery, Negative Zone Prison Breakout, Portals to the Dark Dimension, Replace Earth’s Leaders with Killbots, Super Hero Civil War, Unleash the Power of the Cosmic Cube and my personal favorite Secret Invasion of the Skrulls Shapeshifters.

The DCE adds 8 more Schemes which includes Capture Baby Hope, Detonate the Helicarrier, Massive Earthquake Generator, Organized Crimewave, Save Humanity, Steal the Weaponized Plutonium, Transform Citizens into Demons, X-Cutioner’s Song.  The FFE adds 4 new Schemes on top of the already 16 bringing the total to 20 different schemes. The FFE includes Bathe Earth in Cosmic Rays, Flood the Planet with Melted Glaciers, Invincible Force Field and Pull Reality into the Negative Zone.

The new SSE includes an additional 4 Schemes that include Weave a Web of Lies, Invade the Daily Bugle News HQ, Splice Humans with Spider DNA and of course The Clone Saga.  You will always start out by picking the Scheme first off and that way you know what additional cards are needed for game play.

When setting up the board you will have your starting deck which will consist of 8 S.H.E.I.L.D. Agents and 4 S.H.E.I.L.D. Troopers.   Everyone starts out with the same starting deck.  You will shuffle them and play them face down in front of you. Then you will start to set up the board. The game board is included in the Base Set and has been reprinted into a roll up playmat which can be purchased online and at your Friendly Local Game Store for $19.99 MSRP.

You will see spots on the board for cards that are labeled “Wounds”, S.H.E.I.L.D. Officer “Maria Hill”, a spot for your Hero Deck, Villain Deck and also a spot for Bystanders.  The Bystanders are something that adds an element of surprise in the game. Depending on the number of players you will add a set number of bystanders into the villain deck. When constructing the Villain deck the game board and randomizer app will tell you the exact number of cards to add to the Villain deck. Below is an example of setting up a 5 player game...

Your Mastermind : Dr. Doom
Your Scheme : Super Hero Civil War

The Villain deck will consist of the following cards: Heralds of Galactus, Hydra, Marauders, MLF, Doombot Legion and Maggia Goons.

Included in the cards you are adding to the villain deck you will also add 12 “Bystanders”, 5 “Master Strikes” and 5 “Scheme Twist” cards.  The Master Strikes are cards that when flipped over trigger an effect that is listed on the Main Mastermind card.  The Scheme Twist cards are just as they sound and just like reading a comic. When you flip one of these cards you will do what is listed on the Scheme.  In this case you will destroy every hero in the HQ and then refill the spots.

The heroes that you will be able to recruit for this mission are: Cable, Captain America, Deadpool, Spiderman, Storm, and The Punisher.

These cards will be shuffled up together and flipped face down on the board on the “Hero Deck” spot.  Then, you will flip over the first 5 cards from the Hero deck and fill up each slot in the HQ.  You will then shuffle up the Villain deck and then flip the top card and place it into the “CITY” spot closest to the villain deck.  Then each player shuffles up there starting decks and draws 6 cards total. Before the start of each players turn you will flip a new villain card and place it into the city. 

You will then shift all cards down one spot if there is an open spot then the shifting stops.  If the city is full with 5 villains and a new villain appears then you the last villain on the board will escape.  Now when Villains escape you have to do one of 2 different triggers.  If the Villain escapes alone then you will pick one of the heroes in the HQ to sacrifice himself for the greater good.  You can only choose a heroes that has a cost of 6 or less.  We will get into costs in the next section.  When the villain escapes with a bystander then the player whose turn it is will sacrifice a character like before and every player will then discard a card from their hand.  The player whose turn it is will choose the hero to sacrifice.

Now, you may ask, "How do the villains end up with a bystander?" When a bystander is flipped from the deck then it will go to the closest villain to the deck.  If the villain or scheme twist requires that he capture a bystander then you will take the top of the bystander deck and then they will capture that bystander.  There are 30 regular bystanders in the base set and 3 new special bystanders.  These 3 new bystanders each do something special there is a News Reporter, Paramedic and Radiation Scientist for 11 cards total. This brings the total 41 bystanders. You will shuffle them all in and then turn them face down on the board so that you do not know what the next one is.  

Ok so how do my little S.H.I.E.L.D. agents take down some of the baddest men on the planet? The answer, with help.  You will use the agents and troopers to recruit some of the best heroes in the game.  Each agent will have a number in a Star (See Below) and each trooper will have a number inside of three slash marks (See Below).  The numbers inside the star represent the “Recruitment” that you can spend this turn.  The cost of each character is in the bottom right hand corner inside the circle.   You only need to pay this cost once when you initially recruit the character.

Your opening hand is 5 Agents and 1 Trooper.  You would be able to recruit any of the heroes in the HQ that equal up to 5.  Once you recruit something then the spot is immediately filled by another super hero. Once you use points then you lose them so if you have 5 points and you buy something for 3 stars then you will only have 2 stars left to recruit.  Some of the heroes have both stars that will give you more recruit and slashes which will give you attack.  You get both when you play these.

Some Heroes will have a symbol then some text afterwards.  This means that you get to do the effect if you have played a card of that type before this one.  The symbols are listed below. 

Now let us talk about the different hero classes:

Green Bordered Cards have a Green Fist Logo = Strength Heroes

Yellow Bordered Cards have what look like a Shell it is actually a Head Logo = Instinct Heroes

Red Border Cards have a broken circle with 2 Arrows pointing inward = Covert Heroes

Black or Dark Grey Border Cards have a Computer Board symbol  = Tech Heroes

Blue Border Cards have a Lock On Symbol = Ranged Heroes

Grey Border Heroes such as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents have no symbol but do count as a separate color card for different card effect.

You will see some cards in the DCE, FFE and SME that have different words on them, let’s look at each one:

Teleport: Instead of playing, you may choose to Teleport this card to your next hand. You will take this card and place it to the side and not get any of the effects at this time. When you draw a new hand of cards you would then add these cards into your hand.  This can help you set up a huge turn.

Bribe: You can fight Villains with the word Bribe on them.  You can use either recruit points or attack points to defeat these characters.  You can choose either one and what is left over can be used to continue the fight or recruit additional heroes.

Versatile:  You must choose at the time of playing the card to use it as Recruit or Attack.  You will then get the number of Stars or Slashes that is next to the Keyword.

The FFE brought us 3 new additional keywords…

Focus: You will see this on Heroes and the after Focus a number and effect.  This means that you can do the Focus effect any number of times as long as you have enough Recruit points to pull it off.

Burrow:  This is a keyword that you will see on the Subterranea Villains.  Burrow means: “Fight: if the streets were empty, put this Villain back into the streets.”  You do not defeat this villain as it would bounce back to the streets.  You would then have to fight him again if you have enough attack saved up.  If the Streets are occupied then the Villain is defeated.

Cosmic Threat: This one is a little different to use and will be located on the Villains.  Cosmic Threat will be followed with a Symbol; this means for every card you played with this symbol type, the Villain will reduce his attack by 3.  Once you attack the Villain he is defeated.  Now Galactus’ has Cosmic Threat with all the symbols.  He is the only one that is different.  You have to choose a symbol when you decide to attack him. He is minus 3 attack for each card of that symbol played this turn.  After you defeat him he resets all stats back to their original setting. You can attack him again this turn but you can not activate his Cosmic Threat again this turn.

With the addition of the SME you get 2 additional keywords:

Wall Crawl: This keyword allows heroes set up more powerful combinations by placing cards at the top of your deck.  When you use the Wall Crawl ability to put the card on top of your deck, you do not get any other effects on that card that turn.  The Wall Crawl effect triggers when the character is recruited and he is then placed on top of your deck instead of being placed into your discard pile.

Feast:  This is the new Villain keyword.  This keyword is used by Carnage the Mastermind and his group of Villains Maximum Carnage.  What does it mean? “Feast = Fight: KO the top card of your deck.”  This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how your deck is set up.

Ok so now you have the set up down, recruiting, fighting and the keywords. Now it is time to make your own scenarios and see how they play out.  You might ask how I win the game.  Well there is only one way to win the game, you have to defeat the Mastermind and all of his tactics.  Now with that being said there is only one way to win but multiple ways for evil to win.  Evil wins when the Villain deck runs out, the Hero Deck runs out, if the Mastermind has a win condition, if the scheme has a win condition.

At this point you would count up the victory points which are on each Bystander and Villain in the middle of the card on the right hand side.  The person who has the most points is the winner.  For a twist you can do a final showdown after the Mastermind has all of his tactics defeated, then you draw a new hand and you would play it out just like you would during your turn.  During this phase no one can defeat any Villains and you would just add up the total number of Attack and Recruit points you have.  The person with the highest total would be the winner and get the Final Mastermind card and the Victory points it produces.

Check out Upper Deck's website for more updates of future sets as they become available.  
Rumors are right now that the next on for this game could be a Twist that involves you playing as Villains.

Read a review of Marvel Legendary at Crits Happen

Board Game Quest reviews Marvel Legendary

Watch Tom and Melody Vassal review Marvel Legendary