The Geek Husband What Rules and I saw the Legendary Marvel Deck Building Game around Christmas when he was spending his gaming store gift certificates, but we hadn’t seen any reviews of it yet, so we held off. Since then, he checked out several reviews, and talked to one of our favorite gaming store guys at Greenlake Games, getting several positive reviews of it. So he spent the last of his Christmas money on it, and we started playing Friday night.
It’s $60, but well worth it.
So, there are a couple of downsides, and I’ll get those out of the way first. One is the cards come in production skews, so that there’s a ton of separating and sorting to do before you can play. Set up takes a while, and sorting everything out and packing it up at the end also take awhile. Also, there are limited heroes, and my biggest disappointment: no Nightcrawler.
Onto the positive. It’s relatively easy to learn. The illustrations on the cards are gorgeous. Play goes quickly. It’s similar in style to Dominion, but has a cooperative element as well. When you set up, you pick a Mastermind, choosing from the Red Skull, Magneto, Loki, and Dr. Doom. Then you choose a scheme. Each person starts with 8 SHIELD Agents, to recruit heroes much as with money in Dominion, and 4 SHIELD Troopers to cause damage. You set up the Hero deck with a certain number of Heroes, dependent on how many people are playing, and a number of Villains in the Villain deck dependent on which Mastermind and Scheme you choose. You also have Bystander and Henchmen cards.
The cards have two numbers on them. One is the cost of recruitment, the other is either a number of points you can use to recruit, located in a star, or the amount of damage the card can do, over a symbol that looks like clawmarks.
On the board you have at the bottom, the Helicarrier HQ, where recruitable Heroes are. Every time a Hero is recruited you refresh from the Hero deck. To the left of that is a space for a deck of SHIELD Officers, who can be recruited for 3 and who recruit at 2. Above the Helicarrier are five locations where Villains can be placed.
Each Scheme has a different victory condition for the Villain. The players win when they defeat the Mastermind four times. Once you defeat the Mastermind you count the number of Villains each player has defeated, and Bystanders rescued to determine which player won. So it has both cooperative and competitive elements that make you have to decide between screwing over your fellow players, and helping them.
The Heroes come in sets of 14 and different cards do different things in combination, like letting you draw cards, adding damage or adding recruiting points. The Villains also have different things on them. Some of them have things that happen when the appear “Ambush” actions, or that happen when you Fight them, or when they Escape.
We taught it to a friend of ours who is notorious for not “getting” games. He picked up on it immediately, and managed to kick both our asses, the first time he played it. Once you get the order of play down, and are familiar with the phrasing on the cards, the play goes really quickly. And it’s a lot of fun. The GHWR and I played two games Friday night. Sadly, Saturday we only had dime for the one game. We’re taking this with us the the Women What Game Meet Up we’re doing at the Highline bar on Capital Hill this Wednesday night at nine, so hopefully we can talk some folks into playing.
And yeah, Women What Game Meet up, this Wednesday, February 6th at 9pm at the Highline on Capital Hill. I’ll be there with some games, ready to run a one off RPG or something. We’ll have this and a few other card games, probably Dominion, maybe Gloom. And they have wonderful Vegan food. Or if you’re not down with Vegan, Dick’s is just a block away.* Look forward to seeing you there. Just a note, the Highline IS a bar, so 21+ please. I’ll try to have the next one at an all ages establishment.
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*Because Seattle loves Dick’s.