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Board Game Review: Legendary Marvel: Captain America 75th Anniversary

Updated on April 12, 2016

As an Expansion...

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.

Captain America Box Art
Captain America Box Art

Initial Impression

While I've been meaning to get the Villian's Core deck, I was able to get this with a couple deal by saving 7 bucks off of its $20 price tag (I had planned on getting it eventually due to having the Winter Soldier and Falcon-Cap, but it wasn't a priority). That being said, I've enjoyed it. The new effects themselves for the Heroes isn't anything really ground-breaking but the Villains focus a bit more on Bystanders and massively increasing their own Attack level. One of the two Masterminds seems incredibly dangerous.

Even better though, this expansion does not suffer 'inclusive' Masterminds. By that, I mean you aren't required to use the Heroes within the expansion to stand a chance. The GotG expansion did (mostly because you need the Shards and Artifacts to compete) and Dark City does the same to some extent (some of the Masterminds require you to use either a Marvel Knight or X-Force character). Any Hero arrangement stands almost as good of a chance as any other without a dependence upon their listed team.

As for the Heroes themselves (see below), they're fine. If you have this expansion with Secret Wars Volume 2, you can play with all Captain America specific Heroes (by that, you can use Falcon Captain America with four Steve Rogers, or Steve Rogers, Director of Shield with four Captain Americas). They introduce Savior and Man/Woman Out of Time. Savior automatically unlocks various perks once you have saved 3 Bystanders (meaning when you mix these cards with other Heroes like Black Widow, Spider-Man, and the like this ability is unlocked incredibly quickly). Some enemies will also have effects triggered by Savior as well. Man/Woman Out of Time lets your card be used again on your next turn before being discarded.

While that's fine and dandy, I don't feel as though any of the cards really stick out from one another. The Shield Heroes (Steve Rogers and Agent-13) are really good considering their effects are easily achieved through your starting cards. Captain America (1941) and Captain America (Falcon) don't have a lot of synergy with other Avengers cards, and the Winter Soldier has no affiliation. Despite these things, Man/Woman Out of Time can be very powerful through raw ability and effectiveness. While you may feel differently, I didn't feel a lot of charisma for a any of these characters, though Steve Rogers does a pretty effective job at removing unwanted cards from your deck while also rescuing Bystanders

Not pictured is Captain America (1941)
Not pictured is Captain America (1941)

The Art

The art on these cards does some...interesting things this time around. I'm not as much of a fan, so if you like what you're seeing, take my words with a grain of salt or just skip ahead to the Opposition. Captain America (Falcon) is fine, and I kinda like the weirdness that is Baron Henrich Zemo. While Steve Rogers himself is fine, the women on his cards seem...off (a bit more realistic than the heavy chested female Heroes in other sets though, definitely). While incredibly threatening, Arnim Zola looks silly and not as scary as he actually is. That extends to all of his Creations. While not my cup of tea, Captain America (1941) is actually quite fine as an homage to his roots.

What I don't get is Agent-13. I'm not sure what the focus was for her character as it seems to match 1941. Her eye in the telescope of her 3-cost card doesn't seem right, I've never been a fan of the cards where a character is taking off a mask of someone else's face (looking at you, Chameleon), and her rare card is so incredibly busy I"m not sure what's happening. I really don't like her cards.

The Masterminds of this expansion
The Masterminds of this expansion

The Opposition

Now, onto the part that sells this expansion (and most every other expansion in my opinion)! I'll start with the easier of the two Masterminds, Baron Heinrich Zemo. Despite having a 9 on his card (where Arnim has 6), the senior Baron is much more manageable. He actually starts off at 18, but he drops 9 as soon as you rescue 3 Bystanders (earning Savior in the process). Sure, he can kill off yours and other players' Bystanders but his followers all kidnap more so you can easily refill your Victory Pile. However, his focus is a lot of fun (I really enjoy heavier use of Bystanders no matter the game) and I'm dying to see what it's like using Thanos from Secret Wars Vol. 1 against him with a very different strategy.

I believe Arnim Zola to be a monster. I've only fought him once so far because his mechanic is terrifying. His followers possess Abomination, adding their attack to the Hero in the HQ below them. This is really bad when you use someone like the first Wolverine hero (who only has Attack cards) but it could also be a lot more manageable (when using a lot of the variant Spider-Man cards since they don't have a lot of heavy hitting cards). While this is manageable, their Mastermind adds in the Attack of everyone in the HQ. Starting at 6, he can easily hike up his Attack to be comparable to the likes of Thanos and Galactus, that is above 20. I played him with a combination of cards such as Domino (whose Attack is always 0 due to Versatile) and Lady Thor (who gains more Attack depending on your Recruit). I believe a lot of fights with Arnim Zola will be dependent on the set-up you use, which is kind of unfortunate but playing with your favorites may very well make him a true terror.

Oh, and some of the Schemes are brilliant! You get to beat up Maria Hill, you get a constantly shifting City space board, and you get a Hero Deck of 8 Heroes that constantly and permanently dwindles!

Not my review, but there you go

Closing Thoughts

Despite my mixed reviews of it, I like this expansion. The original Captain America never had a lot of draw to me, and I feel this expansion does him some proper justice. Having the Winter Soldier finally is pretty nice too, and while we don't have Falcon has nothing more than a Captain America clone currently, he's pretty solid. The new Hydra-affiliated characters are nice to and it all fits so very thematically.

I can't recommend that you get this expansion before others (Paint the Town Red is still probably my favorite small expansion although Guardians of the Galaxy trails not far behind), but if you like Legendary and you've been collecting the additional sets, you should like this. If you like Captain America, you'll definitely like this, and if you feel that some of the smaller team groups such as the Avengers (when compared to the X-Men at least) and SHIELD don't get enough love, this expansion addresses that. Have fun!

Will you be picking this up?

Assuming you have either the base Legendary game or Legendary Marvel Villains, are you interested in this expansion?

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Tl;dr

  • Runs about $15-25
  • Includes X New Cards
  • A fun and a terrifying Mastermind each
  • Heroes are pretty solid but don't really stand out
  • Lots of variations on the same Hero (Captain America, duh)
  • Mixed feelings regarding the art on the cards
  • Some great Schemes that definitely change the way you play
  • A good expansion, but not the best value for its price

More Reviews

I've got more board game reviews regarding these expansions and other games you might like.

Fan of the card game Munchkin? I've written plenty of reviews on its genres and expansions, and more custom cards than you can guess I'd bet.

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