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.
As I have been picking away (slowly) at the number of games I have yet to play in my collection, I have noticed that there are a few of them that, frankly, I have a lesser desire to play. Some of the games I have played, and some I have not. Many of these games are not really have I hate. They are just games that I just really don’t want to play. At least, they are not games that I want to play a lot.
And, for the record, there are 102 games in my collection that I have not played in some way or another.
I don’t really celebrate Christmas. For me, the holiday lost all of its magic. I’m not sure if it is the over commercialization of the holiday, the countless stories of people trampling other people in stores just so they can get the latest television that is not anywhere near on sale, or if its relatives asking me if I would mine if they exchanged the gift I gave them immediately after opening it. Whatever the reason, the whole thing just does not have the hold on me that it did when I was younger.
But, if I were to make a Christmas wish list, there would be five things on it that I would really love (though I know there is no chance of me even getting them).
Let me clarify, these are things that would be quite possible to get me for Christmas. Yes, I would love a date from Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Daniella Sarahyba. What red blooded American heterosexual guy wouldn’t. But, since the possibilities of that actually happening are slimmer than my chances of finding out I was rocketed to this Earth from a dying Krypton or being deemed worthy to join the Green Lantern Corps (between those two, I want the power ring), I am not going to put that on the list.
Thus, this list will be limited to things that someone could actually get me if they really wanted to get me something other than boring clothes that I need. After all, a Christmas present should not be about getting something you need, it’s should be about getting something you want.
So, I present the five things I would put on my Christmas List.
1) Castles of Mad King Ludwig
This game is inspired by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the fantastic castles that he had constructed, including Neuschwanstein, which looks like something right out of a fairy tale (and has become so thanks to Disney). Players place tiles building a wondrous palace for the mad King.
Granted, I have not played this game yet, and I might find out that I really do not like it as a game. But, the castles that Ludwig had built in his madness are some of the most beautiful in the world. If the game manages to capture only a fraction of this, it should be am awesome looking game.
2 & 3) A Blu-Ray Player and High Definition Television
Prices have dropped significantly for both, making a combination gift of a high Definition television and Blu-Ray player. I don’t need a big screen, and a number of the smaller ones will double as televisions and computer screens. And with more and more releases on Blu-Ray rather than regular DVD, it is starting to look like its time for me to take that plunge.
4) Liberty Meadows Trade Paperbacks
Liberty Meadows is a comic strip that was created by Frank Cho set in an animal sanctuary populated by a number of highly dysfunctional animals and the humans trying to help them. The series is funny, and (thankfully) has been collected in a number of trades over the years.
Oh, and Brandy is quite hot as well.
5) Dice Town and Dice Town Expansion
This game set in the wild west has players rolling dice and trying to make the best poker hands possible. Players then try to acquire gold nuggets, property, or victory points based on what they managed to roll. I first played this game at an International TableTop Day with the expansion (thus its inclusion) and learned that I really liked being the sheriff in the name (the sheriff gets to decide ties, which can be quite beneficial if he is corrupt… like I was).
Since I have gotten back into board and card games, my collection has bloomed quite a bit. According to my stats on Board Game Geek, my collection stands at around 283 games. I say around 283 because this list also includes a number of expansions which usually cannot be played independently of the main game (I say usually because many of the Ascension expansions can be played independently or combined into one super deck building game). Lately, I have been working on picking away at this list, trying to play the games I have on this list before I move onto buying new games. Or, at least, trying to, since I still plan on buying new stuff.
Still, there are a few games on this list which I do not see playing in the forseeable future for one reason or another.
One game mechanic I seem to be drawn towards is the deck builder. Deck builder games are card games (generally) where the players all start with the same basic deck of cards. Through various means, the players buy cards to add to their decks, building them up to try to defeat their opponents. I tend to like deck builders because even though you start with the same basic starting deck (usually 10 to 12 cards), each game will be different based on which cards are picked up throughout the game.
Naturally, there are a few of these games which I really like.
I actually learned quite a bit with my entry into the Star Wars X-Wing tournament, Assault at Imdaar Alpha. I mean, more than I should not be competing in tournaments.
As followers of my blog know, I have been into board and card games a lot lately. This resurgence of interest falls squarely on Wil Wheaton’s YouTube show, TableTop. The show showed me a number of games that looked interesting. And seeing them played made me want to play them. And since I’ve been watching the show, I have played many of the games they have featured, and plan to play many more of them.
Recently, Wheaton approached the masses, choosing to crowdfund the third season of TableTop. The response has been phenomenal. The campaign not only met its goals, amassing enough money to fund not only a 20 episode season but a spin off RPG show, they have broken records doing it.
Now, with season three a given, there comes the moment where the games for the next season need to be picked. Naturally, I have a few suggestions as to what should make it onto the show.
Now, this is a dream list. I know that some of these games probably would not make it on the show, either because they play too short or too long, or other logistical reasons. But, these are the games that I would love to see on the show. And, just for fun, I’m including my dream players for the list as well.
Nightfall is a deck building game featuring vampires and werewolves. Players build their decks from a central pool, though each player also has a reserve of two types of cards that only they can draw from. Each round pits the players against each other, attacking their opponents while trying to buy better cards. When all the wounds are exhausted, the winner is the one that has the least wounds.
Having watched TableTop from the first episode, I do not remember an official deck builder (they did a deck builder on the International TableTop Day feed, though that was not an official episode).
For this show, Wil would have to gather gamers who should have a connection to either werewolves or vampires. Returning guests Sam Witmer and Seth Green would be joined by Nina Dobrev.
2) Sentinels of the Multiverse
It surprises me that this one has not been on the show yet? Sentinels of the Multiverse is a card game where the players assume the roles of super heroes teaming up against a super villain. To make things more difficult for the heroes, there is an environment deck that can either help or hurt (usually hurt). Each hero has their own deck with powers and abilities to battle the villain, just as each villain has their own deck to wage battle against the heroes.
Sentinels of the Multiverse has spawned numerous expansions, the latest, Vengeance, having been released just this past year. Because of the number of characters that the players can use, and the villains and environments, the game has tons of replayability.
Returning for this game would be Ed Brubaker, writer for such comics as Fatale and Captain America. He would be joined by Brandon Routh (from Superman Returns) and Laura Vandervoort (Smallville)
3) Stone Age
Stone Age is a worker placement game where the players try to build up their tribes through acquisition of resources. With these resources, they can buy huts that bestow victory points, or buy ships that provide resources and other scoring elements. Remember that you need to feed your people, and you can always grow your tribe and research agriculture and tools.
I have to admit that Stone Age is one of the first worker placement games that I have played, so it is the one that I would like Wil to play on the show the most.
I did not really go all thematic with my picks for gamers. But, it would be fun to see Jim Parsons, Felicia Day, and Ryon Day play this one, mostly to see Felicia and her brother fight one one blocks the other out of resources they needed.
4) Eldritch Horror
In the first season, TableTop tackled Elder Sign, the dice rolling game based on the H.P. Lovecraft Cthulhu mythos. I think that TableTop should take on one of Elder Sign‘s big brothers during season 3. In Eldritch Horror, players travel the globe to gather clues to try and defeat the Elder God before it awakes and destroys the world.
Now, I had my choice between this and Arkham Horror, which plays similarly to Eldritch Horror. However, Eldritch Horror is a bit more streamlines in play while taking the adventure to a global scale, while Arkham Horror is can be a bit sprawly in set up and a bit more isolated with it’s Arkham locale.
I do know that this is a long game, probably a bit longer than TableTop would want to tackle. However, the show has run two part episodes in the past, along with an hour long episode that could accommodate a large scale game like this.
For a game steeped in the pulp horror of H.P Lovecraft, it would he cool to see players who have some connection to the genre. Author Jim Butcher, famous for the Dresden Files series, along with Claire Coffee (Adalind Schade on the TV series, Grimm) and Jensen Ackles (Supernatural)
5) Mice and Mystics
Mice and Mystics is an adventure/role playing board game. Players assume the roles of fantasy characters who have been transformed into mice. The players must complete missions which will lead them to a resolution to their mousy dilemma. But beware, they will come up against centipedes, rats, and the dreaded cat of the castle.
Like Eldritch Horror above, Mice and Mystics is a long game, especially if players try to complete all the scenarios the base game provides. But, Wil and his guests can easily complete the first scenario (with side missions) for one show, which should give viewers a good idea how the game is played, and how fun it is.
I would love to see Tara Strong return to play this game, if only to see what voices she gives the characters. Along for the ride would be Billy West (who provided voices for Ren & Stimpy and Futurama) and Kevin Conroy (the voice of Batman on Batman: The Animated Series)
International TableTop Day is April 5th. It is a day dedicated to playing board and card games. And I actually asked for the day off from work so that I can attend one of the events locally.
Naturally, as a wannabe gamer, there are a whole slew of games that I want to try on this day to honor gaming.
I have been building my game collection for the past year or so. I have picked up card games and board games. Some have been games that allow for solo play, others I’ve played with friends and in groups. And some of them still wait for their turn to be played… whenever that may be.
In spite of everything I have picked up already, there are still some games that I want to buy for my collection with the intention of playing them at some point.
Here are five of them.
I have played Fluxx a lot. Not just the main game, but many of the variants as well. I like the game because it is unpredictable (which many people who don’t like Fluxx cite as a reason). Games played end up being pretty fun (mostly). It doesn’t hurt that the game is easily tossed into a book bag, travels well, and is pretty easy to pick up.
There are, however, a few cards that make me cringe when I see them come into play.