Marvel Legendary: Captain America 75th Anniversary Review - I Can Do This All Day!

Conveniently in the same year as Captain America: Civil War is released we've got the newest mini-expansion for Marvel Legendary, which is showing no signs of stopping any time soon with new cards and ways to spice up a quality deck builder. By the way side note if you've not seen Civil War yet, go buy a ticket when you've finished reading this review and go see it, it's frig'in fantastic! But do it in that order, read this, then cinema. OK? Cool! If it's no longer in cinemas, then. . . well sorry you were late to the party, where were you huh?

Captain America has been solid to watch on the big screen, but he's not typically one of my favourites from the Marvel universe. However his recent persona has made me appreciate him a lot more as one of the iconic greats (I guess we have Marvel writers and Chris Evans to thank for that) and so I was excited for this expansion. The mini-expansions so far to date have been solid (not including the obscure Villains "Fear Itself" one, which I doubt anyone loved) and I love them to bits because they focus on iconic heroes. Fantastic Four, Spiderman, Guardians of the Galaxy, they are a must if you like those heroes. So what does this new Legendary set do for the blue, red and white one himself? Let's celebrate his 75th birthday!


Designer: Devin Low
Publisher: Upper Deck Entertainment
Age: 14+
Players: 1-5
Time: 45-60 min (not including setup and takedown)
RRP: £14.99


I Had Some Ideas About The Uniform. . . 


We've got 5 new heroes to play with, two of which are different versions of Captain America from the comics. Firstly there are two versions of Captain America himself, the original 1940's cheesy version with the big smile and Steve Rogers, Director of Shield, obviously a future version I've not seen before. You'll notice a giant contrast in the artwork here. Steve Rogers looks very realistic, almost CG animated and very nice, but then it goes up next to the 1940's version which like Arnim Zola (see later on) uses very thematic, yet very ugly comic book panel artwork. I don't mind it that much, but it will stick out like a sore thumb.

Both use two new cool mechanics from this set, Savior and Man Out Of Time. The first is a new ability that triggers as long as you have rescued 3 Bystanders. I love this one, as previously I felt that Bystanders rarely feature or do much, but now there is an active incentive to rescue them and it's also very thematically tied to the character, after all in the movies he's all about protecting the civilians. Man Out Of Time is essentially a carbon copy of the orange Duration cards out of Dominion where after playing the card, it stays in front of you till your next turn and then triggers itself again. This allows you to set up a big chain reaction of effects for a big recruit or ultimate strike. It's one of the best mechanics in Dominion and it's represented here nicely as well. The added bonus is that both of these mechanics are simple to grasp and use, nothing silly and complicated like Secret Wars threw in (more on that when I do that review in the very near future).

One of my favourite side characters in the franchise, The Falcon makes an appearance as well. Technically Falcon is portrayed in his Captain America persona making it 3 versions in the set, but essentially he's Falcon with a different colour scheme. His artwork is excellent showing off some cool combat scenes and again he bases a lot of his abilities on the Savior mechanic.

The Winter Soldier finally gets his own set of cards with decent artwork as well. Obviously bystanders aren't his thing, but he abuses the hell out of the Man Out Of Time mechanic with constant chaining of cards and bonuses for getting a lot of them out at once. I feel he would make a fantastic pairing with Doc Ock from the Villains set. Alongside him we have Agent X-13 aka Sharon Carter. She pairs nicely with Captain America and I like how she tweaks the mechanic slightly to be "Woman Out Of Time" instead, glad to see they got that part right!

When working together, generally these heroes are pretty powerful. Falcon especially when his Savior ability gets going can really throw a punch and the two Captain America's work especially well together. There's a lot of emphasis on having multiple classes in your deck which encourages a bit of diversity in what cards you buy. Overall it's a solid set with no duds and it's great fun to bring back the original Captain America from the base set and have all 3 working together.


If They're Shooting At You, They're Bad! 


Our two Masterminds here are an odd bunch, playing up to the cheesy (in a good way) nature of the old Captain America comics. Firstly we have Baron Zemo, which some will recognise from the recent movie (by the way did I mention, go see it?). Except this is not the movie version, this is most definitely the comic book version, with the ridiculous purple face mask and everything. He's a fairly easy Mastermind, but that's not a bad thing as lately the Masterminds have gotten ridiculously hard so it's refreshing to just have one that makes you work for your victory, but doesn't smack you down every time you get a bad draw. He is however, very fun to play because he focuses on the new Savior mechanic. Baron takes them away, his villains capture them constantly, and your heroes get better by saving them, but also Zemo is almost impossible to hurt. It's very thematic and finally the Bystanders get more of a use in this game. I wiped the floor with him using Falcon, Steve Rogers and Black Widow in a combo.

Arnim Zola. . . . . what on earth is he? This is clearly an example of a gap in my Marvel knowledge that needs filling. Fitting that his keyword is Ultimate Abomination, which adds all the fight values of heroes in the HQ to his own attack value as he looks like some bizarre alternate reality version of Krang from Ninja Turtles. Let me just check IMDB. . . . . hang on he's Toby Jone's character? OK that's good, he's a great villain actor, but how does this abomination on the card become this dude in the first Captain America movie? Anything I'm getting off topic, me and my Marvel geekdom! His ability is copied to a lesser extent on his villain group (which my god, what was the creator smoking at the time of making these up?) and this allows for some crafty play of buying and KO'ing HQ cards and to bring their attack values down and timing of strikes to catch a villain at his weakest. The artwork however for his group is like the Captain America 1940's version, obviously playing to the same cheesy throwback. I appreciate the theme of it, but it's horrible to look at when next to some of the more awesome artwork in the same set alone let alone other ones.

The Schemes are some of the best I've seen to date in Marvel Legendary. Wonderfully thematic. Brainwashing S.H.I.E.L.D officers feels like something out of the Marvel TV series, breaking the Enigma code is a complex puzzle and changing the outcome of World War II has the city constantly changing in size to represent the different countries being invaded with each twist. They're not too complex to setup and can provide some very hard challenges. It's great to see that for a deck building game which by definition is tricky to incorporate theme, some really cool ideas are still being brought out.

Verdict

This is another solid mini-expansion to add to the Marvel Legendary collection. If you have any liking for Captain America either from the movies or the comics, you'll no doubt get a kick out of adding this. Some cool thematic matches can be set up and it's cool potentially having 4 different iterations of Captain America (Falcon included) in the same match for that added bit of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey goodness! The new mechanics are simple to integrate and the Mastermind/Schemes offer enough of a challenge without beating you down senselessly.

The artwork is a bit his and miss though depending on your preferences. It ties in with the theme of the hero or mastermind in question, but it can be quite off-putting during a game when it all gets mixed in together. I'm not a big fan of the 1940's cheesy artwork personally, but I get why it's there and it doesn't impact my enjoyment. It's a nice little snack before we get Legendary: Civil War in the summer, which I cannot wait for! Please let's have Scarlet Witch, Vision and Ant Man join the fray!


If you are interested in this game you can find a copy at your friendly local gaming store - http://www.findyourgamestore.co.uk/



YOU WILL LIKE THIS GAME IF:


You have any likeness for Captain America, particularly from a comic standpoint.


You want unique Masterminds who are more accessible for new players to contend with.


You don't want too many new complex mechanics - they're straightforward and thematic.



YOU WILL NOT LIKE THIS GAME IF:


The artwork is a bother for you. It's mostly great, but that 1940's throwback takes getting used to.


You've got no interest in Captain America - it's all tied around him after all.




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