Monday 9 July 2018

Tabletop Review - Marvel Legendary: Champions Expansion

Marvel Legendary: Champions
Designed by Devin Low, expanding upon his original design.
Published by Upper Deck Entertainment
Review by Brad Harmer-Barnes

The Legendary system is easily one of my favourite games, and definitely one of my favourite card games of all time. It captures all the fun and excitement of an action packed superhero slugfest, combined with the strategy and forward planning of an LCG or CCG. Furthermore, it manages to emulate the licence it’s based on pretty damn well. The Marvel series is explosive and action-packed, the Alien series is tense and a little bit scary, and the Big Trouble in Little China set is an unsung classic of B-Movie awesomeness.

So, what does the latest expansion throw into the mix?

Well, firstly, it’s a Champions-focused set, so if you’re not a fan of that particular team-up, then there’s not going to be much here for you. I really like Ms. Marvel, Nova and Viv Vision. I’m indifferent to the Amadeus Cho Hulk, and I can’t bloody stand Gwenpool. As is the standard for Legendary superheroes, they all accurately reflect their abilities from the comic book in ingenious ways. Ms. Marvel (perhaps unsurprisingly) utilises the ‘Shape Changing’ ability, and is also super-adept at rescuing bystanders. Viv Vision is quite a strange one to get your head around at first, but is capable of unleashing some truly massive damage if handled correctly. I’d call that thematic!

The masterminds are a very strange mix. Pagliacci (which I’m pretty sure none of us expected, and none of us are at all bothered about), and Fin Fang Foom, who I was surprised to discover hasn’t turned up already. Fin Fang Foom has an almighty twenty attack points, so it’ll take some seriously heavy hitters to take him down. You could easily have a fun afternoon’s play just running at him again and again, trying to come up with a winning combination of heroes.

What is really nice about this box set is how it feels less self-contained than previous releases. Captain America, Deadpool, Noir and Spider-Man Homecoming were all fun, but there was something about their card interactions that made them feel as though they were only supposed to be played as a set, rather than mixed and matched with the rest of your collection, like the larger box sets do. This has hopefully broken that trend, and we can start to see our card pools growing and growing like the rest of the hundred other systems I collect that are threatening to take over the entire house.

If you’re indifferent to the characters, and you’re not a Marvel completist, you can probably hang fire on this one. However, it’s highly recommended for people who like to chuck all their cards into one pool, and fans of the Champions comics.

One of the founding members of E14, Brad Harmer-Barnes boasts an impressive track record in the entertainment industry. A comedian since the age of 12, Harmer created the comedy club Rock N' Rant which entertained the people of Chatham for over five years.

A recurring guest on the Crazy Train podcast, Brad published his first novel, North Sea Hunters, in 2017, and you can now find all of his books from Severed Press via Amazon using the links below!

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