Legendary Encounters: Guardians of the Galaxy is another small box expansion for the Legendary game system. But as the name of the expansion establishes, this is all about bringing in the Guardians of the Galaxy into the game, thus introducing more space-faring races into the game mix apart from the Skrulls that were already present in the first game.
The game also introduces some pretty intense Masterminds for your heroes to face including the infamous Thanos of Titan. And you can't have Thanos involved in a game without bringing in the Infinity Gems as well, thus taking things to a completely new level indeed.
Synopsis: Legendary: Guardians of the Galaxy is a small box expansion for Legendary: The Marvel Deckbuilding Game designed by Devin Low. The game adds five heroes, 2 Masterminds and 2 Villain Groups to the play experience.
The 2014 movie helped make sure that more people know who the heck the Guardians are and this game helps bring that home by making the five heroes of the movie the five new heroes introduced into the game. The game also introduces the concept of Artifacts, which are cards that stay in front of you once played. Star-Lord has a particular focus on gathering quite a number of artifacts in order to execute his strategies. And given the enemies the team is up against, having cards constantly in play is pretty critical.
The two Masterminds introduced in this game are Thanos and the Kree Supreme Intelligence. Thanos is a whopper of a villain with a strike value of 24, but he gets weaker as the players gather more of the Infinity Gems, which is similar to the Cosmic Threat mechanic introduced in the Fantastic Four expansion. The Gems themselves start as some pretty brutal Villains, but once defeated they become Artifacts added to the player's deck. And you'll want Infinity Gems in your deck since they offer some pretty interesting powers.
The expansion also introduces the concept of Infinity Shards, something particularly evident when facing the Kree. Infinity Shards are gained through card effects and can be spent by the players to add additional Strike to their attack for that turn. However Shards offer a similar bonus to Villains and Masterminds that manage to get shards as well. It's an interesting commodity added into the mix, but it's one of the key ways to gain the strength to defeat Thanos and his forces.
The Guardians are pretty expensive cards when you look at the recruit costs of their various cards. Sadly, Shards are only valuable for Strike and don't normally give Recruit bonuses except when triggered by card effects, mostly just Groot's. So that's a lot of raw power to tap into, provided you can afford to recruit the team cards first. And many times we've seen games get all locked up due to terribly expensive cards holding things up.
That said though, the Guardians have some pretty epic cards that uniquely place them as the best team to potentially take on the likes of Thanos. Gamorra's Godslayer weapon is a wicked artifact that gives a tremendous strike bonus provided you have sufficient shards while Drax can outright double your total attack value with a single card. So as much as they're costly cards, they pay for themselves in the long run. Rockey seems the least impressive, but I think I just need to try playing his cards more to see how it all comes together.
The Schemes are what truly clinch things and make the game truly epic in scope. Trying to stop Thanos from gathering the six Infinity Gems is pretty difficult, especially since every Scheme Twist can potentially bring a Gem back into the City. The Kree Nega-Bomb is a serious threat that can wipe out a lot of great cards from the HQ while keeping the Supreme Intelligence quite powerful as well. And given how most Kree Villain cards then to give their fellow Kree shards as well makes for a significant level of difficulty as well.
Legendary: Guardians of the Galaxy is by no means perfect, but it does help add more intergalactic threats to your games, which is awesome for fans of this segment of the Marvel Universe. And the brilliance of letting people face off against Thanos himself is nearly priceless. Thus the expansion gets 4 game-changing Infinity Gem abilities out of a possible 5