This past Sunday at my local game group, I brought out my copy of Legendary because another member of the group expressed interest in the game. We had fun playing it twice (more on that later), but it was also a major frustration for me, which, naturally, made me think of all the other reasons why this game is quite frustrating.
For the record, most of the issues I have are specifically with the Marvel version of this game. However, some of these frustations do carry over to the other games that use the Legendary system (Legendary Encounters, the Alien and Predator versions).
This is one I have brought up before, usually when I purchase a new large expansion for the game (I have yet to see this problem in the smaller expansions). As it stands, sorting the game new out of the box is almost a game in and of itself. Instead of cards groups together by their type (all the Wolverine cards together, all the Hulk cards together, etc.), the cards are scattered across multiple packs in the box. Thus, when assessing whether or not you are missing any cards, it becomes that much more difficult because they are spread across multiple groups, putting a couple of cards here, a couple there, still more elsewhere, and so on. This gets harder to sort when some cards of one type look like the cards from another type (this is especially so with the Alien version of Legendary Encounters).
Currently, in addition to the base game of Legendary: Marvel (which has over 500 cards), there three big box expansions (each roughly 350 cards each), and four small box expansions (100 cards each). This does not include the announced but not released Civil War expansion, the Villains “expansions” (which play differently enough for be to opt to keep them separate), or the 3D cards (more on those later). That is almost 1,600 cards. Granted, at any given time, you will not play with all of these cards, but it is still a lot.
You would think that with that number of cards, there would be a lot of different options to play in the game. Why not, since Marvel has almost 50 years of characters to pull from, 75 if you include properties that have appeared in Comics prior to the “Marvel Age.”
Yeah, well, kind of. Yes, there are a lot of characters to play. But, there are some duplicates. There are two different Wolverine sets in the game (three if you count Old Man Logan as well). A lot of different Spider-options (Spider-Man, Symbiote Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man), and with the Captain America set that just came out, there are now five different Captain America options (since the game only plays with five heroes, it is possible to play a total Captain America set).
Upper Deck’s decision to also base not one, but two 350 expansions on the recent Secret Wars limited series also throws in a number of alternate timeline/reality characters into the mix that add in confusion, especially from those who are familiar with Marvel, but not necessarily with their recent world-rebooting series.
I have to do what now?
I mentioned the 3D cards earlier. This is the one thing that has driven me crazy. This is less about the game, and more about Upper Deck.
The nice thing about Legendary: Marvel is that it is a self contained deck building game. You just need the base game to play, though the expansions add it some more flavor. Unlike other games, particularly the collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon, or Yu-Gi-Oh, You don’t need to buy pack after pack trying to get all the cards of a set to play the game.
Oh, wait, Upper Deck changed that with the 3D cards. Upper Deck Marvel 3D was a trading card set that was released in 2015. As part of the card set, packs had two cards that can be played in Legendary. The standard “hero set” in Marvel Legendary is 14 cards consisting of 2 sets of 5 “commons,” 3 “uncommons,” and 1 rare. With five heroes added to the game this way, you had to buy 35 packs to get a playable set of each hero. And that’s assuming that you completely luck out and get a perfect pull, just for the heroes. Throw in another 10 packs for complete sets of the henchmen (two sets of 10), and another two for the bystanders (assuming that you just want one of each of the four bystanders), you are up to 47 packs. A standard box break down (according to Upper Deck’s website) has a box (priced at 64 dollars) giving only 40 game cards.
Again, this is if you are extremely lucky and do not get any duplicates beyond what is needed to create a playable set.
Very not cool.
I want to play again… let’s just use this set up
As painful as the initial sorting can be, prepping for a game can be just as painful. You need to build the “villain deck” based on the scenario you decide to play, as well as the hero deck. If you are very organized, it can go smoothly. If you decided to organize based on game groups, this probably will go as smoothly as it did for me (READ: not at all).
Playing the game itself is not a problem. But, what happens if your group decides to play a second game. You can go through the entire set up with no characters, new scheme, and new villains. But, if you do, you run into the same issues you had with the first set up (not to mention you still have to put away the cards that you just had out).
Or, you can luck out, get defeated in the first game and have the group decide to reset that one and try and beat it again. Thankfully, that’s what I had. Very thankfully.
But, I still had to break down the game after playing.
And those cards are in this box…
The base game box for Legendary: Marvel is very nice. The insert is not the best in the world, but if you replace it with a nice one from various websites that offer them, you have a nice means of storing your game. At least until you get a few expansions. My version of Legendary has now officially outgrown its box, though it has been experiencing growing pains for quite some time now. The game does provide dividers for organizing your cards. But, Upper Deck does not provide enough to organize all of your cards (At least once you start expanding). The dividers, though decent quality, are also very basic. Scratch that, extremely basic. They are just a mass print card that’s bigger than the regular playing cards, with nothing by way of titles for sorting, or even a place to title them yourself.
Once your version grows beyond its box, you will probably have to go the route I did and buy a cardboard box. It holds everything, though the lid does not cover the entire box (making me a bit concerned that one bad spill and I an playing another game of Sort the Cards again.)
It would be nice for Upper Deck to release a storage box for Legendary, something like those released for Smash Up or Red Dragon Inn. The storage box would be very sturdy, with a full side lid. And there would be inserts for all of the released cards. There have been rumors of something like this coming down the line. But, that’s all they are: rumors.