Marvel Legendary is a team based (co-operative) deck-building game, developed by Upper Deck, where players team-up (instead of play against each other) with the objective to beat the game.
This brings a whole new dynamic to the table as players need to work together – like a real marvel team-up.
Let’s go through the basics of the game. First, players choose the heroes they want to use throughout the game from a great selection of heroes available – pick out Spider-Man, Hulk or even Moon Knight to form a hero deck. Now it’s time to pick the antagonist for the day – Magneto, Mephisto or even the mighty Galactus, the world eater, for those who are brave enough to dare challenge him.
Once you’ve got your heroes and villains set, it’s time to pick a Scheme. Schemes are the storyboards for the game. Available schemes include the Legacy Virus, Civil war or even a Skrull Secret Invasion. Finally, you then create a villain deck with various villain and henchman groups from the marvel universe.
The end product? The possibilities are endless – imagine Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants making a deal with the Skrull Empire to launch a secret invasion and the only heroes standing in their way are Wolverine, Spider-Man, Blade, Professor X and The Hulk! Sounds pretty darn epic doesn’t it? Well it is!
So now with the basics of the game set-up let’s talk about this board, sounds pretty simple right? I mean come on, how difficult can it be to beat a brainless board! Surprisingly, pretty difficult.
Your objective is simple – recruit heroes every turn from your hero HQ and hit the Mastermind villain four times and you win. However, while you are busy recruiting heroes and forming an impressive hero deck of your own, these sneaky villains are running through the city trying to escape the hands of justice.
So while you are busy discussing with your team how to beat the mastermind, you also have to make sure none of the villains escape as that usually leads to more bad things happening during the game. And if that isn’t enough you also got to think about the current scheme that is going on as well as it changes the ebb and flow of the game significant;y as well.
Sounds complicated? Well, it really isn’t. Marvel legendary is really easy to pick up; I got the hang of the game on my first try. This to me is really important because without understanding a game players usually can’t have fun. It also makes the lives of seasoned players easier when they want to introduce and teach the game to new players.
[divider]Getting the Game [/divider]
Another good thing about legendary is that it’s a one-time payment to play. Once you have the core set you don’t have to worry about buying any other add-ons – unless you want to have more heroes and villains to play with – but all of that is optional. The core set is more than enough. However if you want to keep the cards in good condition you might want to sleeve them which will cost a bit more cash as the core set alone contains 500 cards. I do recommend sleeving them though, as you’d want to keep them in pristine condition.
The core set does not vary the designs of the cards – all Iron-Man cards had one design but with different abilities. The expansions however, different hero card designs are used for different abilities. The art is comparable to collectible cards and are exclusive to the game – which make them a really nice addition to any personal collection.
[divider]Difficulty Scales Up With More Players[/divider]
You’re recommended to run a session with 2-5 players. However, it does get more difficult to beat the game with more players – it takes a longer time to get to your turn to recruit heroes, which means the villain can run through the city and you might not have enough firepower to stop them. Also the game forces you to communicate to find the most efficient and fastest way to take out the mastermind and his henchmen.
On a side note this game is actually 1 player friendly as you can just go against the board. No cheating…. the Watchers are… well… watching!
[divider]Setting Up and Tearing Down Takes Time[/divider]
You have to get a lot of cards out of the box just to play one game and shuffling and mixing them all up can take about 10 minutes. Tearing down takes even longer as with all the cards mixed up you sort each card back to where it belongs which can take about 15 minutes. So if you want a quick game think twice.
On two occasions where my friends purchased the game, some of the cards were missing. This probably means that when the game is packaged it’s not really checked – a real big draw back for me as I think if anyone who was willing to pay $99 for the core set, you’d expect everything that is supposed to be included should be included. I hate the hassle of contacting the distributor to get the missing cards. I would be furious as I would expect a company like upper deck to actually do thorough quality checks before selling their products.
[divider]A little Imagination Goes a Long Way[/divider]
I think if you want to really enjoy the game you really have to imagine the scenarios unfolding in your mind. I know some are not really the imaginative type and they just might not fully enjoy the experience as they would not picture Galactus in possession of the cosmic cube. I mean if you could just imagine what kind of power the planet eater would have with the cosmic cube in hand, it just adds onto the epicness.
[divider]Legendary… Well Not Yet[/divider]
Don’t get me wrong – when I first played this game I was hooked and could not stop playing. I would play for hours and hours. But after you play every scenario and use every hero available it can get repetitive – until a new expansion comes out that is.
Overall, Marvel Legendary is definitely a pretty decent game and definitely brings a whole new way to look at board games. I would put it as a must try for all Marvel fans out there who want to feel what is like to form your own marvel team-up with their buddies. It has its drawbacks but no game is perfect. And soon you can play the role of the villains instead – I’m sure that will shake up the dynamics.