Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game

Legendary deck building gameHave you ever played a deck building game?  We hadn’t until we picked up Legendary, and we like it so much we want to share it with you.  Deck building games are all about acquiring cards from common pool so that you can strengthen your own personal deck.  They come in many different themes, each with their own unique rules.  Legendary is set in the Marvel Universe, and it’s all about recruiting heroes to join your deck to help you defeat whichever evil mastermind is trying to take over the city.

The flow of the game is quite simple.  First, players select which heroes (sometimes randomly chosen) they want to use during the game and place them into a common hero deck.  Then you choose which evil mastermind and villains you want to face off against, and randomly choose what scheme that evil mastermind is trying to pull off.  During one of our first games, Loki was trying to destroy the city by opening chaos portals.

Legendary board
The Legendary board.

Once your heroes and villains are chosen, the goal is to ‘recruit’ hero cards into your deck.  When you recruit a hero it goes into your discard pile.  Once you’ve worked through your draw pile (full of shield agents and operatives early on) you then shuffle your discard pile into your new draw pile, giving you a stronger deck every time you cycle through a deck — thus you have ‘built’ a deck.  With your deck you take turns recruiting heroes, fighting villains, and ultimately getting strong enough to attack the mastermind.  If you fail to take out the mastermind before he hatches his plan, you lose.

There’s a bit of strategy that can go into building a deck.  Certain cards have better synergy with others.  For example, some cards will cause you to gain wounds (usually some annoying henchman).  Normally wound cards should be avoided because when drawn they take the place of a card that actually does something.  However, if you have Hulk (who you won’t like when he gets angry) he’ll benefit from wounds and … smash.  Looking at the heroes you have and what their special abilities do is extremely important.  We actually lost a game when we didn’t really work together on who would go after building what kind of deck.  That brings up a good point — Legendary is a great cooperative experience, with only a score at the end to determine which player technically did the best.

Setup can take a while, and it certainly doesn’t help that they ship the game with the cards unorganized. We split ours up with individual baggies, and used dividers to help us keep track.  Once you have a system, setting up for a new game might take 10 minutes.  Playing through a whole campaign (1-5 players) can easily take 40 minutes.

We really enjoy the moderate complexity and depth of the campaigns.  We like working together to take out villains, and how each campaign feels different when you randomly choose heroes and villains (lots of replayability).  Legendary is good enough that we’re now looking for other deck building games to enjoy. We welcome any suggestions!

  • I received this on Christmas. Mostly played solo so far and I am really enjoying it as well.

    You might want to check this site out : http://legendary.seven2.net/ . Its a nice tool to quickly randomize your hero/mastermind/scheme setup. Which makes it kinda fun to see how different hero’s will work together that you might not of normally picked.

    For a great IMO deck building game I highly recommend Dominion. Everyone that I get to play it just loves it. It comes with a ton of cards like legendary which depending on the cards chosen, can really change up your strategy per game. There are even cards that allow the game to be played in a more cutthroat manner if you so chose.

  • I like card games like these, but the inconsistency in that is I would be pissed off at an MMO that was B2P and had a cash shop that directly allowed me to pay to win with stronger, unique, or more synergistic items…

  • @Gankatron: I’m not sure that I understand. Legendary is a box set that comes with everything you need (like a board game). It’s not like Magic The Gathering where you buy better cards. The deck building for Legendary comes in the gameplay — essentially building a deck during the game — not by building a deck in the sense that you put cards into a MTG deck.

  • Yeah, it feels complete to me. I think the expansions really are just that: expansions. Shen you’ve played against all the enemies, played every hero, gone through all the schemes, and want more you can go buy expansions.

  • Will have to look into it. I have been playing Steve Jackson’s Munchkins with my wife and daughter which sounds similar. It plays a lot like good old TCGs like MTG but yet comes in complete sets, while there are dozens of expansions to it, you really only need the main set to have fun. While it seems expensive to spend $30 or so, honestly it is dirt cheap compared to the hundreds if not thousands I have spent in the past on MTG and other trading card games getting the cards that I wanted.

    Once again Keen and Graev you guys are my wallet’s worst enemy. lol.

    I do highly recommend Munchkins. I learnt about it from watching Will Wheaton play against Steve Jackson, Felicia Day and Sandeep Parikh. It is a game that while it can be played with kids has plenty of mechanics to be fun for adults as well.

  • Also an unrelated question, are the game ad links on the side panel ones you are recommending from 1st hand experience or just a random feed?

  • @Gankatron: Ads on our site are served by Google’s network. We do not endorse or support all of them (some we do). They are contextual based on Google’s algorithms, and the ads you see are not the same ones someone else will see. We try to keep an eye on the ads shown so that we can ‘ban’ ones that do not meet our standards. Definitely let us know if you have more questions.

    Regarding the list, I haven’t tried any of those.

    Playing with 2 players in Legacy works great. Heck, playing alone is fun. We also tried 3 player which was really fun.

  • @Gankaron The only title on that list you linked that I have firsthand experience with is City of Horror. I love board games and horror so it was a no brainer for me 🙂 If you have played and enjoyed games like Last Night on Earth, Elder Signs or Arkham Horror then you would probably enjoy this as well.

  • Tried several card deck games, but I just do not understand the whole superhero culture and history thing. (As most that are not from America I guess)

    Last card deck game I enjoyed was yu-gi-oh before the fusion monster thing (tuner + monsters = instant big monster nonsense)
    Did play magic the gathering afterwards. Did not enjoy it as much as yu-gi-oh.

  • Magic and Yugioh are TCG games, not deck building games like this. This you don’t have to buy your own cards.

  • Great, might check this one out.

    I purchased one of the Ascension games over the holidays. It’s also all inclusive and allows for single player to play a “Solitaire” game. I was hoping to get my wife to enjoy it as much as we enjoy Munchkin.