Updated: Jan 7
It’s Christmas, how can we not play #Marvel #Legendary. As is tradition we had a new expansion for our most played game ever and as is tradition, the mastermind handily dispatched us several times on the trot.
Upon opening the new set my little brother plumped straight for the Mandarin, potentially the hardest Mastermind in the set. The Mandarin always leads his 10 Rings, a henchmen set that comes with ten different fight effects. However each ring the players defeat lowers the Mandarins health by 1 making him easier to take down.
All good except that the Mandarin adds +1 Fight to all his rings making them tougher and his masterstrike ability calls them back into the city over and over so you need to hit him while he's down.
Mandarin himself though was not the problem, it was the scheme. We were playing the Secret Corruption of Hydra. This scheme seems broken. It works by adding cards to a deck as scheme twists come out with an escalation effect. You can buy or fight them depending on which side of the scheme is face up. If there are ever 15 cards in this deck the players lose. All well and good until you consider that the set up adds more twists for more players.
This initially seems sensible, there are more of you to deal with the threat, but actually it makes no difference to how quickly you can defeat the stack, it just means you are likely to lose faster with more players. No matter how much we attacked the scheme we just couldn’t deal with it in time when playing with 4. With three we faired much better and beat the scheme on the second run, but it was close.
As for new stuff in this set, we have a couple of new keywords. Hyperspeed X, this means discard X cards and get +1 fight for each fight icon discarded. Setting up your deck for this takes a bit of time but it can be super powerful late game. Last Stand gives +1 Fight for each empty space in the city when the card is played. Again this gets pretty powerful late game.
Dark Memories is my least favourite new ability, it gives you +1 for each class in your discard pile. Most cards that have the ability require you to have already played a matching class card, meaning you can’t just concentrate on getting a spread of colours you need some matching cards to trigger. Secondly it’s an ability that just requires a lot of admin. As it appears on both heroes and villains you are constantly rifling through your discard pile looking for colours. If you discard cards or reshuffle your deck during your turn the number of colours might have changed, affecting the fight value of potentially every villain in the City. It’s a nice idea, I just feel it disrupts the flow of the game a lot.
Finally we have Locations. A new card type that sits in the non-existent space above the city. I do wish Upper Deck would stop doing this, the number of schemes and other cards that add cards to spaces that do not exist is getting out of hand. A city space could have a location, a villain, a bystander, a hidden witness, a human shield, a scheme twist, a masterstrike and be being fortified by a card and all of that needs to fit a space originally designed for 1 card!
All that said, I like the idea of the locations, they add a unique power to the space and can be fought to get rid of them just like a normal villain. The problem is that they are also easily overlooked and their abilities forgotten about in the course of a game. Perhaps card stock overlays that changed up the city spaces would have been a better way to add locations to the game, rather than more cards?
Overall then this is a more fiddly expansion that some previous ones. Hyperspeed is a fun mechanic but you better enjoy shuffling, you’ll be doing it a lot. Last Stand is a situational power that makes your heroes weaker when they need to be at their strongest and Dark Memories is admin heavy for what it adds. All that said though I’m still glad to have more heroes and villains to play with and we look forward to trying out The Hood and The Grim Reaper next week.
And if you missed it, last week we finally got around to reviewing the base set for Marvel Legendary!