Review – Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
A Superhero, Deck Building game.
Title: Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
Year Published: 2012
Designer: Devin Low
Publisher: Upper Deck Entertainment
Game Time: ~45 Mins
Set-up Time: >10 Mins
Theme: Marvel Universe
Mechanic: Deck Building
How to win: Defeat the Villain (and score the most points).
Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game is set in the Marvel Comics universe. To set up the game, players choose a mastermind villain (Magneto, Loki, Dr. Doom, etc.), stack that particular villain’s attack cards underneath it, then modify the villain deck as needed based on that villain’s particular scheme. Players then choose a number of hero decks – Spider-Man, Hulk, Cyclops, Wolverine, etc. – and shuffle them together; since players use only a handful of hero decks out of the fifteen included, the hero deck can vary widely in terms of what’s available.
The game set-up depends on which Mastermind, Scheme and Villains you are using but the number of things you use stay the same game to game.
Each player will get 8 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents and 4 S.H.I.E.L.D. Troopers.
You put S.H.I.E.L.D. Officers, Wounds and Bystanders on their place on the board.
Pick a Mastermind from those available, then shuffle the related Tactics for that Mastermind and put them under the Mastermind card on its space on the board.
Pick a Scheme and put that in it’s place on the board too and follow the set-up instructions on it. This tells you how many Scheme twists to put in the Villain deck.
The Villain deck is also made up of 5 Master Strike cards and a number of Henchmen Groups, Villain Groups and Bystanders depending on the number of players. There’s a handy table on the board to remind you.
Pick 5 Hero groups, shuffle them together and add them to their space on the board and flip over the top 5 into the HQ.
Each player shuffles their deck and draws 6 cards and the players choose a start player.
Each players turn consists of 3 steps…
Step 1 – Play the Top Card of the Villain Deck
Flip over the top card of the Villain deck. There are 4 types of card in this deck and what you do with it depends on which one you get.
If it’s a Villain, add it to the Sewers in the City. If the Sewer space is full move the other Villains up to make room.
Some Villains have an Ambush effect which will trigger when revealed.
If pushing the Villains will push one off the 5th City space, they have escaped! The current player chooses a hero that costs 6 or less from the HQ to KO. (Remove it from the game) If the escaped Villain has a Bystander, each player discards a card for failing to save them.
If the Villain has an escape effect, activate it now.
If the Villain card is a Bystander it is captured by the Villain closest to the Villain deck.
If there are no Villains in the city, the Bystander is captured by the Mastermind. if you defeat a Villain or Mastermind holding a Bystander it goes in your score pile.
If a Scheme Twist comes up, activate the Scheme card.
If a Master Strike comes up, resolve the Master Strike effect on the Mastermind card.
Step 2 – Play Cards
You play the cards in your hand in any order, resolving each as they are played. Some provide ‘Attack’, some ‘Recruit Points’, others both… Some cards will have abilities.
Some cards have a Superpower ability that activates if you previously played a card with a matching icon.
You can use Recruit points to buy cards from the HQ, or a S.H.I.E.L.D. Officer. Purchased cards are put in your discard pile and the card is replaced in the HQ from the Hero deck.
To fight a Villain, or Mastermind, you need a number of attack equal to or exceeding their attack value. Put defeated Villains, and any bystanders they have in your score pile. Some Villains have a ‘Fight’ effect, resolve this first before fighting.
If you attack the Mastermind, take one of the Mastermind Tactics cards at random, add it to your score pile then resolve it’s effects.
When you defeat the last Mastermind Tactics card, you win!
The game has various ways to lose based on the Mastermind/Scheme.
This is a very good game and obviously has very good art.
It’s a co-op, but semi-co-op as you have a ‘winner’ once the Mastermind is defeated. But who plays like this? We always play that everyone wins but one player is the ‘MVP’. This keeps the focus on defeating the Villain but lets the players compete too.
I teach it this way as I have actually seen the game lost due to a player wanting to win… They went for points instead of what was best for the team. It does happen.
The downside for me is with these games that require a lot of different cards pulled from the box set-up time can take a while. Putting it away is slow too.
The game has an app that helps you pick the Mastermind and Hero groups you’ll use for a game but the app is out of date so most of the new expansions aren’t in it yet.
The game itself is very good, more advanced than a basic deck builder but no so complex that it plays too slowly.
There are A LOT of Heroes and Villains to choose from too so game to game will require different ways to play using the resources available. Add on to of that the amount of Mastermind/Scheme combinations and you’re looking at a lot of re-playability.
A fun game, one of my favourite deck builders.
I give it 8/10