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Board Game Review: Legendary Marvel- Guardians of the Galaxy
As an Expansion, you gotta know this...
As mentioned before, this is an expansion, not a stand alone game. However, since I enjoyed the core game so much I bought an expansion and I will be reviewing it for what it brings to the core game. At this time of writing, I only have the base game and this expansion. To find out more about the base game, check out my review. I promise, this game is loads of fun.
Guys, this expansion is good. It causes the game to be thematically more epic (you are now fighting on a cosmic scale), you get to actually utilize the Infinity Gems (and they are rightfully powerful), and you get the chance to face off against the Mastermind who is potentially the most difficult in the game (with competition from Galactus in Fantastic Four which has Master Strike literally has pieces of the City being destroyed but is slightly weaker). It does add some new elements to the game that can be mixed easily with the base game (although if picking Villains at random, you may find yourself severely outclassed). All things considered though, it's great expansion.
New Elements in the Game
Two new elements are added into this game, Artifacts and Shards. Shards are represented by tokens and can be gained in a myriad of ways (all dictated by card descriptions). Each Shard counts for +1 Attack point under most circumstances (although Gamora's rare Godslayer Blade uses 5 Shards to do +10 Attack once per turn) but you can hoard them and use them all at once in order to hit a powerful Mastermind or Villain.
Artifacts are a bit more exciting. Most appear in the form of Hero cards, meaning you can recruit them when they appear in the HQ. Until they're in your hand, they're just like any other Hero card. But, when you play them, they remain in play for the rest of the game (unless dictated otherwise by another card). Some may give you a residual +1 Attack and since you can have multiple of the same card, you could potentially start every turn with a +3 Attack before even playing any other cards. Other Artifacts allow you to draw an extra card once a turn starts or gain Shards. Almost all of Starlord's cards are Artifacts.
Then there are the Infinity Gem cards (as seen above). While presented as Villains you must defeat first (more on that below), Infinity Gems are some of the most powerful cards you can obtain. Some give you +2 Attack or Recruit, while others allow you to manipulate Villain cards in the deck or in the City, while another steadily gains power for every Villain you defeat with it, and another allows you an immediate sequel turn. You literally get to harness the power of the Infinity Gems, and this is one of the main selling points of this expansion (which surprises me that they don't advertise this better). As you might guess, they are the focus of one of the best Schemes in this expansion.
These features mesh easily with other games as you can obtain Infinity Gems with the likes of Captain America or Cyclops. Shards may be harder to come by without the Guardians themselves present, but when facing this expansion's Villains you're bound to collect one or two Shards as well. I might argue that these elements are necessary to utilize in order to defeat the opposition from this expansion as they are unbelievably more difficult than the base game.
Look at that picture above. Look at Thanos's Attack. 24. Holy cow. Even though the other Mastermind (The Kree Intelligence) quickly gains in power (both from Villains and Master Strikes), it has nothing on Thanos. Sure, you can lower his attack by gaining some of those previously mentioned Infinity Gems but let's talk about those for a second. As Villains, they as low as 5 and high as 7, but they have extreme capabilities to gain Shards. One receives a Shard for every empty City Spot (at most 4), while another gets a Shard for every Scheme Twist played (anywhere from 0 to 8!). To boot, these Infinity Shards may also refer to themselves, which further strengthens their Ambush effects. These cards quickly rise above an Attack power of 10 which is absolutely terrifying, more so if these Gems appear at the beginning of your game.
Then there are the Schemes. One incorporates the Skrulls in the Skrull-Kree War which isn't too bad, and the Kree-Nega Bomb is more of a gambling scheme (it could be the worst or fairly Okay scheme), but the other two Schemes focus on the Mastermind gaining Shards or Infinity Gems. Warm up to the new material before using these. But one of the most interesting new playstyles of the game comes from the Scheme Forge the Infinity Guantlet. If 6 Gems make it to the City or Escape Pile simultaneously then you lose. However, the game also ends if one player has 4 Gems in play, stating Evil corrupts them. Basically that player wins the game preemptively and all the other players lose. While the environment is noticeably more difficult in this game, experienced players may find playing competitively a nice change of pace.
A playthrough from random people on the internet
This expansions undoubtedly adds in a host of cards that are two steps above the starting base set. Each Mastermind is a powerhouse above Loki (since the Kree Intelligence gains strength regularly) and they both lead some of the most powerful Villain groups as well. Be careful not to combine both Villain groups unless you're ready for it, as you may quickly find yourself swamped with foes that are no lower than 6 Attack points, ensuring at least a few will escape, more depending on how many players you have.
While we're talking about the Infinity Gems, each is just as dangerous as any Mastermind in the base game and potentially worse so, while also giving you massive bonuses as artifacts. Not only that, but the thematic feel of playing about with the Infinity Gems while facing off against Thanos is extremely evocative of the fantastic storyline in the comics.
While speaking of Artifacts, these add another dimension into the game with another focus for building your deck. Having a huge host of Artifacts gives you control like you wouldn't believe that fundamentally changes how you play. In addition, Shards are extremely powerful too, not just for your foes but yourself as well. With a specific Groot card, you can use them to reinforce your recruiting potential as well which may give you unparalleled recruiting power, which allows you to pick up the rare cards as they appear in the game. The schemes themselves are fun, but once again be careful what you mix because your game may be over just as soon as you shuffle the deck.
Still, the new elements to the base game (Shards and Artifacts), the grand themes (Thanos and the Infinity Gems, as well as the adaptable Kree Intelligence), and some powerful Heroes that utilize Shards may make your base game feel more epic in scope. Maybe it shouldn't be your first expansion to buy (as I did), but I whole-heartedly recommend it in time.
Will you be picking this up?
Assuming you have either the base Legendary game or Legendary Marvel Villains, are you interested in this expansion?
- Expansion to the base game or the Villains base game (recommended original base game to utilize one Scheme that requires the Skrulls)
- Costs around $20
- Adds 5 Heroes, 2 Masterminds, 2 Villain Groups, and 4 Schemes, about 90% quality
- Powerful in a thematic sense, using bigger numbers and more epic elements from the cosmic side of Marvel including the Infinity Gems
- Mixes well with the base game but may overbalance things if left unchecked
- Artwork remains excellent and artwork varies more often than the base game
- Highly recommended, although it might be better to get some other expansions before this one
I've written a review for the most recent expansion for this game in Secret Wars Vol. 1.
I'm working on reviewing a few more non-traditional (ie. not Battleship, Monopoly, and the like) board games but I've only got another micro game called One Night Ultimate Werewolf which is like your card games Mafia or Werewolf where everyone gets a special ability. By the way, it's a fantastic game for parties and groups larger than 5 that goes quickly each round.
I've already written a considerable bit of material for the card game Munchkin, a massive selection of games that parodies various genres in a card based D&D style play full of backstabbing and manipulating your friends just to get ahead. It also has the options of tons of Custom Cards, so if you're interested in that, I've got more than a handful of cards that can spice up your games.