There are two real problems with Marvel’s “Legendary” card game. The first is not fixable, the second, however, is.
The first problem is that the game takes *FOREVER* to set up. I mean, seriously. We’re talking two people will take 10 minutes to do it right and if you play it and then say “that was fun, let’s do it again!”, it’s going to take you 15 even if you have everybody because you need to sort all of the decks back to the starting states and unshuffle everything and it, seriously, is a pain.
The Alien version of the game does not fix this either. I don’t think it’s fixable even in theory… which makes it somewhat less of a problem, I guess. It’s part and parcel with the playing of games.
The second problem, however, *IS* fixable. Marvel’s card game has it set up so that if you shuffle the bad guys’ piles just right, you will be facing a whole bunch of bad guys that you can’t beat even in theory. Sometimes you don’t shuffle them this way and you can have a beatable challenge (or even, sometimes, a cakewalk) but, far too often, you and your friends will experience a loss and just look at each other despondently and say “man… that… was not beatable.”
How does that happen? Well, the various bad guy fights you get into might have bad guys that take 3 or 4 points of damage to defeat, some might take 7 or 8 or 9. (Maybe even 10.) Even if you had the best possible hand in the world on your starting hand, you cannot do 7 or 8 or 9 points of damage. Not on your second turn either. Only until something like your 4th or 5th turn could you start to think about doing 7 or 8, maybe (and that’s not guaranteed, that’s if you’re very lucky).
So if your villains are overpowered, you’re pretty much out of luck.
BUT THE ALIENS VERSION OF THE GAME FIXED THIS.
Here’s how they did it: the bad guy deck has 3 parts to it. A small creatures portion, a medium creatures portion, and a large creatures portion. The large one goes on the bottom, medium in the middle, and small on top.
You can still lose the game, of course… but the feeling of “we didn’t have a chance” has been addressed and, now, you can start the game playing and even feel a little bit hopeful by the end of the 3rd turn around the table.
Which makes losing that much more frustrating and winning feel much less like it was due to luck on your part.
So while I probably wouldn’t have ever recommended the Marvel version of the Legendary game unless you were absolutely in love with Marvel Superheroes, I can wholeheartedly recommend Legendary: Alien Encounters to everybody except those who find Aliens squicky. Because that hasn’t changed.
So… what are you playing?
(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913[/efn_note]