Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Cardboard - Marvel Legendary: Captain America 75th Anniversary card game review

Continuing my little series on Upper Deck's Legendary deck builder, this week it's the turn of Legendary: Captain America 75th Anniversary. Again, I won't go into details on the basic gameplay, as that's covered in my original review of the base game which you can catch up on here.

If you didn't get enough Captain America in Marvel Legendary: Civil War, here he is again dusting off the shiny vibranium shield for his very own small box expansion to celebrate reaching the grand old age of 75. That's a lot of candles...

Marvel Legendary Captain America 75th Anniversary - box art

There's a lot packed into this little box (including a bit of time travel, which can never be bad), so let's have a look through what you get in your 100 cards:

Good guys

Not one, not two, but *three* Captain Americas? Original Cap, modern day S.H.I.E.L.D Director Cap (okay, not technically Captain America any more, but he's still wearing the stars and stripes!) and Falcon-becomes-Captain-America Cap are all available to pick as Heroes.

Rounding out the team we have sidekick Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier and Betsy Ross, Agent X-13.


Marvel Legendary Captain America 75th Anniversary - heroes

I love the colourful artwork on the original style cards and how this contrasts with the more gritty modern cards to highlight the expansion's time-bending theme.


Bad guys

Cap gets two new Mastermind decks to take on, with a choice from this very Z-themed selection:

Marvel Legendary Captain America 75th Anniversary - masterminds

Zola and Zemo have also brought along their respective sets of pet Villains: Zola's Creations and Zemo's (optimistically titled) 'Masters of Evil'.

Marvel Legendary Captain America 75th Anniversary - villains

The Masters all capture a Bystander on their way into the city; this makes them important to deal with for Zemo's Master Strike which is effected by the number of Bystanders in a player's Victory Pile. Zola's Creations all have the Abomination keyword ability which I've described a bit further down, but basically can make them horrible to kill!

Schemes

The expansion comes with four new Scheme cards. Wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey action has you trying to foil plots to change the outcome of WW2, brainwash the military or kill off your ancestors. You could even have a go at cracking the Enigma code in one of the most interesting schemes I've seen so far.

Marvel Legendary Captain America 75th Anniversary - schemes

Keywords

Even in a small box expansion, we still have some new keyword abilities to learn:

  • Man (and Woman) Out of Time lets you re-use a card. Once you've used a card's abilities, you can set it aside until your next turn and then play it a second time before finally discarding it.
  • Savior rewards you for saving Bystanders. Having three rescued Bystanders in your victory pile allows you to use various Savior actions described on cards, for instance drawing an extra card.
  • Abomination varies the attack level of a Villain depending on the Attack value of the Hero in the HQ space under the Villain's city space. This means an Abomination Villain's Attack can go up or down as they move through the city, so you need to plan your purchases and attacks carefully.

Overall this is a great little expansion, with some clever new schemes and interesting new keyword abilities. If it weren't for these I might be tempted to say that this was an expansion only for die-hard Cap fans, but as it is this adds a good amount of extra variety and will make a great addition to our base game.

Marvel Legendary: Captain America 75th Anniversary

Designer: Devin Low
Publisher: Upper Deck Entertainment
Players: 1-5
Age: 8+
Cost: RRP £17.99 [Take a look at Esdevium's store locator to find a local brick-and-mortar retailer in Europe]

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Thursday, 20 April 2017

Cardboard - Marvel Legendary: Civil War card game review

So Marvel Legendary was great fun, but that box was looking a little empty with just the base set inside. Not that there wasn't plenty of choice in the starter box, but with shelf space at a premium it would be a crime to have that much spare air in the box for too long, wouldn't it?

Luckily enough, Upper Deck offer plenty of expansion options to switch up your game (or make best use of your storage space!) and I'm going to take a look at a couple: Civil War and Captain America 75th Anniversary. I won't go over the basic gameplay again, as they're all in my review of the base game which you can catch up on here.

Join me as I hang my head in nerd-shame at how little of the Marvel universe I really know. First up, Civil War:

Marvel Legendary Civil War box art

Marvel Legendary: Civil War is a big box expansion that gives you a nice chunky pile of 370 new cards to try out, all themed around the classic Marvel Comics story 'Civil War'. I've never read the comic (gasp!!) and am told the film is a pale reflection, but generally the plot is fairly straightforward: a disaster pushes the government to create a new Superhuman Registration Act which divides the Avengers into two factions, led by Iron Man (team pro-enforcement) and Captain America (team resistance). Fighting ensues!


Good guys

We've been allocated to the resistance side (whether we wanted to choose or not!) and get to pick from the 16 new heroes in Cap's Anti-Registration group, including a Secret Avenger version of the man himself and lots of other familiar faces like Daredevil, Falcon, Luke Cage, Storm, Black Panther, Peter Parker and Vision. My shocking lack of comic book knowledge means that the likes of Cloak & Dagger, Tigra, Stature, Speedball, Hulkling and Wiccan are new to me, so I it looks like I've got a lot of reading to do!

Not-so-subtly hammering home the theme of division in Civil War, some of the Hero cards are now Divided Cards, split into two miniature halves that allow you to choose which half to play. Usually these offer a choice between recruiting or attacking, and can offer lots of flexibility to combo with other cards.

Marvel Legendary Civil War divided cards


Sidekicks

You can't have a good superhero without a devoted sidekick, and Civil War provides for this in the form of a mini-deck of fairly-ridiculous-but-adorable Pet Avenger sidekicks which you can buy once per turn or gain via other card abilities. These are one-use cards (with adorable artwork) that can often be helpful for drawing cards and triggering other abiliites.

Marvel Legendary Sidekick Pet Avengers

I'm slightly in love with Throg...

Bad guys

Civil War gives us 8 new Schemes to foil, along with 5 challenging new Masterminds and assorted Villain and Henchman groups to help them out. As we're taking the side of the Anti-Registration group, the 'bad guys' include lots of usually-good-guy faces like Iron Man and Maria Hill which helps to bring home the theme.

Marvel Legendary Civil War - Masterminds

Keywords

Civil War has some new keyword abilities to get to grips with:

  • Size-Changing allows you to get a discount for playing cards with a particular symbol in the same turn, allowing you to buy Heroes or fight Villains for less if you come up with right card combination.
  • Phasing lets you swap a card with Phasing from your hand with the top card of your deck. Not only does this give you a chance to improve your current hand but also gives you a bit more information about what's coming next turn. Some card combinations also involve the top card of your deck, so Phasing can help here too.
  • Fortify represents Villains setting up traps for us, often triggering when a Villain enters the City or escapes. When activated, the Villain involved 'fortifies' a specified part of the board, normally blocking off that section until the Villain is defeated. This could stop you from fighting the Mastermind, drawing sidekicks or even drawing your own cards until the situation is sorted out.
  • Bribe allows you to fight Villains with a combination of Attack and/or Recruit points, rather than just Attack points.
  • S.H.I.E.L.D Clearance means that you have to discard a S.H.I.E.L.D Hero as an additional cost to fight that Villain. This can be tough to get around, especially as you KO more and more of your starting hand cards. The Maria Hill Mastermind even has Double S.H.I.E.L.D Clearance, requiring you to discard two unsuspecting S.H.I.E.L.D Heroes, which is just mean!

Oh, and just in case you feel like making the game harder for yourself, this expansion offers new Grievous Wound cards, which get shuffled in with the normal Wound cards but are much more difficult to heal.

Marvel Legendary Civil War grievous wound card

This was a great set to add in to our base game of Legendary, adding loads more choice and a boat-load of extra replayability. I don't think we'll ever be able to play all the potential combinations of Mastermind/Scheme/Heroes/Villains now available in the box! I loved the split cards in this expansion and the extra choices that they give. Fortify and S.H.I.E.L.D Clearance add some nice extra challenge, as do the new Masterminds, and I'm sure we'll be taking them on for many years to come!

Marvel Legendary: Civil War

Designer: Devin Low
Publisher: Upper Deck Entertainment
Players: 1-5
Age: 14+
Cost: RRP £36.99 [Take a look at Esdevium's store locator to find a local brick-and-mortar retailer in Europe]

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