Sep 9, 2015

[Games] Legendary: Fantastic Four

This should be the last of my Legendary-related game reviews for a while, unless Tobie manages to get another expansion for our collection. Not content with getting the Paint the Town Red and Guardians of the Galaxy expansions for my birthday last month, Tobie managed the rather challenging achievement of securing a copy of the Fantastic Four expansion for the game.

We were rather nervous that we wouldn't be able to secure a copy of this particular expansion, since Marvel had previously announced that no further print runs were expected for the set. We suspect this has something to do with the movie rights still being with Fox and the general effort to kill the brand without necessarily killing the characters just yet. The comic book doesn't have a future at the moment and it seems this expansion is stuck in the same hard place.

But man, the set is so worth looking for even as supplies are quickly running out. The game offers some pretty crazy schemes, new villain groups and of course one of the best Masterminds in the game - the Devourer of Worlds himself, Galactus!

Synopsis: Legendary: Fantastic Four is another expansion for the Legendary deckbuilding game as designed by Devin Low. The game continues to support 1-5 players and adds another 100 cards to the game. This game requires the original Legendary in order to play.

On the side of the Heroes, the game naturally adds Hero cards for the four members of this legendary team - Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, and the Thing. To round out the set, the expansion also includes the Silver Silver as an unaligned hero. Each set of Hero cards nicely reflects the nature of the character such as how Mr. Fantastic relies a lot on drawing more cards to represent Reed's greater intelligence while the Human Torch can deal a lot of damage but also tends to damage himself in the process.

One of the new keywords in the expansion is Focus, which allows the player to spend Recruit points in order to trigger the card effect. This can be anything from allowing you to draw an extra card or add additional strike to your attack. And Focus abilities can be used more than once in a turn, so this allows you to be a lot more flexible in your play strategies as your Recruit points can count as much-needed Strike later on..

And players are going to need all the power that they can get with Masterminds like Galactus, whose base health is 20. Galactus is the first Mastermind to include his own win condition apart from the scheme. And this totally makes sense since his Master Strike attack causes him to consume a City space, thus further limiting how long a Villain will be in the City before he or she escapes. Once Galactus has consumed the entire city with his Master Strikes, the game is over.

But to balance things a bit, Galactus and his Heralds all have the keyword Cosmic Threat, which declares a vulnerability each Villain has based on the five card types. For every card of that type you play in the turn, the Villain gets a -3 Strike penalty. Galactus is theoretically vulnerable to all card types, however the player must choose a single type to use in his attempt to defeat the cosmic being. And given how all of his Heralds have power levels that feel more like Masterminds in the game, again you'll need to plan out your strategies to be able to defeat them. And this sort of nicely matches how each member of the Fantastic Four is rather specified in terms of their power set but of course they all work together quite well.

The Subterranea Villain Group introduces the keyword Burrow, which triggers whenever you Fight them. As long as the Streets are empty, Fighting a Villain card with Burrow allows it to reappear in the Streets part of the City, thus forcing you to fight it again. If the Streets space is occupied or the Villain in question is in the City himself, then Fighting him will defeat him. It's a rather quirky card mechanic, but one that nicely fits the theme of the Villain group. And believe me, it's rather difficult to wait for a Subterrania Villain to go all the way to the Street before attacking him since that's just one space shy of an Escape.

The game brings in some clever schemes with really crazy ones like "Pull Reality Into the Negative Zone". This scheme simple enough, but switching around the value of Strike and Recruit points every other Scheme Twist can get pretty crazy and even brutal. Plus consider how Galactus may be eating away at your city as you suddenly find that all the Strike cards you had valued are not only valuable as Recruit points, thus further disrupting play strategies.

It's a rather difficult expansion and our win rate for the Masterminds in this group and the Schemes added to the game isn't too impressive so far.  But we keep trying though, in the hopes of managing a pretty killer victory in the long run.

Legendary: Fantastic Four is a great expansion for the Legendary series and one that adds a nice amount of flavor to the whole game experience. Besides, the coolness factor of facing off against Galactus is too geeky to ignore! So the expansion gets a good 4 crazy Herald Ambush effects out of a possible 5.

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