Aug 26, 2016

[Games] Legendary: Captain America 75th Anniversary

Obviously we're pretty invested in the Marvel side of the Legendary franchise. Heck, we're invested in the Encounters side of the Legendary game franchise as well. What can we say? We really enjoy this flavor of deckbuilding! And this little expansion turned out to be quite the delight indeed.

Legendary: Captain America 75th Anniversary is proof that you can made a decent card game expansion based on a single character. Sure, you can argue that the Spider-Man focused Paint the Town Red had a similar flavor, but then again it's not something we typically expect from Captain America, especially given how much of his career intermixes with that of The Avengers.

But yeah, this anniversary expansion has turned out to be one of the more interesting ones and certainly a great addition to any Legendary card game collection. I dare say the little box set is practically a requirement in order to make the most out of your Legendary games, especially given how this really makes your SHIELD card a lot more useful, among other things.

Legendary: Captain America 75th Anniversary is a small box expansion for the Legendary Marvel deckbuilding game as designed by Devin Low. The set contains 100 cards consisting of 5 new Heroes, 2 new Villain Groups, 2 Masterminds and 4 new Schemes.

The defining feature of this expansion is the fact that Captain America has played through two major time periods - World War II and the modern day. Thus the new keyword Man out of Time is an interesting one that has a card effect happen twice - once this turn and at the start of the next turn as part of a special phase for all cards with the keyword. At the same time we have characters from the two time periods. Thus we have Captain America 1941 and Agent X-13 from the past and Steve Rogers: Director of SHIELD together with Captain America (Falcon). Linking the two time periods and with neither Avengers nor SHIELD affiliation is the Winter Soldier.

The other new keyword is Savior, which triggers special abilities once you have at least 3 Bystanders in your Victory Pile. It's a somewhat more passive ability since it's not often you lose Bystanders once in your pile. But of course it's a little tricky to ensure that there are Bystanders to rescue in order to unlock those abilities. But it does make for some interesting combinations.

What I Liked: The set is a heck of a lot of fun, even if you play solely with the heroes from this set. As usual, it does make the original Captain America hero cards from the base set a little lackluster, but they play well enough with one another. and the addition of SHIELD characters in the form of Agent X-13 and Steve Rogers really helps things along perhaps even better than Skadi did for Hydra in Villains: Fear Itself. And we've had some pretty fun games with them.

Of course the Villains side is pretty awesome as we get to push the weird pseudo science of the older Captain America comics with the likes of Baron Zemo and Armin Zola. Combine all that with some crazy fun schemes and the game really takes on a whole different feel. Go Back in Time to Slay Heroes' Ancestors is a brutal scenario that has you trying to defeat the villains before they totally eliminate your Hero deck by killing your characters back in the past. Change the Outcome of WWII is a rather unique scenario that has you fighting in different countries, which is represented by presenting cities of different lengths  to fight in. And the fun just keeps on going.

What Could Have Been Better: Savior is a very tricky keyword that can either make your characters feels super awesome or super annoying. Consider cases like two-player games that only add 2 Bystanders into the Villain Deck, thus severely limiting your ability to gather the necessary  Bystanders to card-drive abilities to rescue Bystanders. This most significantly affects Falcon and Steve Rogers, who both have a lot of Savior abilities.

And while the new schemes are pretty fun, they're also pretty brutal and may not be enjoyable for a guy who just bought the base set together with this expansion. The time-travel scenario is really, really tricky and the WWII scenario can end pretty quickly in two-space cities generated by the scenario. And don't get me started on that blasted Enigma Machine.

TL;DR: Captain America: 75th Anniversary is a great new expansion and a must for any growing Legendary card game collection that will offer a lot of fun for experienced players. Relatively newer players may need to consider holding off from jumping into this set or at the very least don't feel frustrated about losing the fist few games. Thus the set gets a great 4.5 abominations from Armin Zola's lab out of  possible 5.

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