It’s fair to say I am fashionably late to the party in relation to reviewing this particular product as it has been out for some time now, BUT, I must admit before this particular version I had never been exposed to the legendary deck building experience before. So unlike other reviews out there I can actually come into this with a completely level head (total newb) with no comparisons at all, meaning there is literally no form of favouritism here.
Since playing this game I have done some further research into the history etc and to find out just why I read so many gripes online, and to be honest don’t really think most of them are justified. The biggest consensus is that they felt cheated because truth be told this set is basically a reprint of the original and very beloved Legendary Marvel deck building game. The newer set merely changes the artwork to that of movie stills and adds a total of about 30 new cards. My issue with the complaints comes when you read the press releases that upper deck (the game manufacturers have done. Not once did they say it was a new game or that it was an expansion). Anyway let’s move on to the actual review now and I can give you my final thoughts at the end.
Legendary marvel phase one deck building game is a 1-5 player cooperative game in which you take on the roles of your favourite marvel characters from the first phase of marvel studios films, including Iron Man 1&2, captain America, Thor and so on. The object of the game is to build your deck by purchasing more powerful character cards throughout the game, as your team strength grows you will eventually have enough to attack the master villain and once this has been done four times you all win the game, with the overall winner being determined by victory points gained throughout your game.
Ok, by far the most daunting part of this game is the set up. With over 400 cards in the base set alone nearly put me off playing, However I endured and found that it actually wasn’t as hard as one might expect especially once you know that not all 400 cards would be used during the game. The card quality is pretty good I don’t find the cards to be flimsy and likely to get damaged easily, print quality is also pretty good, upper deck clearly take their rights to the franchise seriously with keeping the images crisp. The game also includes a neoprene gaming mat which is a nice touch but does indeed have some drawbacks. The main one to note really is that the image quality on the cards is not shared with the gaming mat. Also included but not required for game play are standard legendary deck dividers. These are a nice touch because I am a bit OCD when it comes the storing games and there is so many that you can split cards by character etc and still have loads left over should you ever buy expansions. Finally there are a few foam inserts which also help to protect the cards when the box is in transit.
So, depending on the master villain you choose for the game will depend on what henchman you will face and how difficult your game will be, coupled with player character selection will also change the synergy of the players teams. For example hulk is a pure powerhouse and most cards kick out good damage but offer very little in purchasing power. Whereas, another may do the complete opposite, which is not always bad but you will likely never score big victory points as you will be less likely to take out the high pointed villains. But working as a team you may want to discuss having a money maker constantly buying up cards whilst another smashes in that damage. There are so many ways to play this game and so many combinations of cards and characters that the replayability of this game has lots of potential.
Honestly what do I think? I like it. It is not perfect by any means with certain aspects of its creation. I do NOT like the obnoxious movie titles placed over the movie stills; this really was an un-required addition to the design. The mat? Well I do not want to slate this because it is so nice to receive a neoprene mat as standard however I think in all honesty i would rather purchase my own to ensure that high image quality was there. The main box confused me, because it depicts characters that are not included in the game NOR where they even part of phase 1 of the movies. Why did they do that? I’m afraid I cannot answer that, the rules are again daunting at first but after your first turn it is plan sailing. Coming into this as a complete deck building novice I was happy to be playing after turn one as I got to grips with the mechanics and the overall objective. Cooperative play is key in this game. If you try and go all out on your own you most probably will not succeed. Single player option is a nice touch as I am definitely one of those that gets bored easily when I am sat at home and this game is now high on the list of things I can do.
My research in January of 2019 shows me that this base game is available from around £35 and considering the quality, theme, game play and replayability of this game id say that is a pretty good price. The game also has a wealth of available expansions to change game play up and even bring new villain challenges too. Maybe finally do that x-men & MCU cross over we are all dreaming of. Now to go back to the complaints made online, if you own the older cartoon base game DO NOT BUY this game. It will be a waste of your money. If you don’t own the previous version but want to give the game a go. It is totally worth the money, I am so happy I took the plunge and got my own copy and now I’m facing the realisation my hobby brain has taken over and there are so many expansions to get. I best get buying lol, see you next time guys.
Crawley Gaming Club