Legendary: Dark City Review

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Legendary: Dark City is the first major expansion to Marvel’s deck-building game. With 17 heroes, 5 masterminds, 8 new schemes and more, owning this would basically double the size of the experience. There’s definitely a surface-level appeal to having more of a good thing, but do the cards in the expansion improve on the core experience?

For me, the big draw of playing Legendary is the ability to partake in an epic and action-packed battle of good versus evil with Marvel characters that I recognize. The core game has a solid selection of Marvel’s most popular characters, though with 15 heroes and 5 masterminds, the number of character combinations felt a bit limited. By purchasing Dark City to go with the main game, you double the number of heroes and masterminds at your disposal. For me, this gives the game much more variety and lasting power. Because the box doesn’t explicitly state who you get, I’ll run them down here.

Heroes: Angel, Bishop, Colossus, Domino, Jean Grey, X-Force Wolverine, Punisher, Forge, Cable, Iron Fist, Ghost Rider, Night Crawler, Blade, Daredevil, Elektra, Iceman and Professor X

Masterminds: Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister, Stryfe, Mephisto, Kingpin

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Personal tastes will vary, but I really like the mix of characters here. They also address my gripe about character art, as each hero in the main game only has one image associated with them. This time, each hero gets four images doled out across their series of cards, which goes a long way to making each card feel unique. The odd inclusion here is X-Force Wolverine, as X-Men Wolverine already exists in the game. However, the X-Force version works completely differently in the game than his X-Men counterpart. With this acting as a precedent, Upper Deck opens the door for existing characters to come back in very different ways. Personally, I’m looking forward to adding Phoenix to my collection to go with Jean Grey.

While we’re on the subject of characters with respect to gameplay, the new cards add many unique options that weren’t available in the previous game. In particular, the Keyword mechanic – which is new as part of Dark City – opens things up quite a bit for cards that specifically have them. Keywords appear in bold on specific cards that correspond to specific abilities. The three Keywords that appear in this set are Versatile, Teleport and Bribe.

Domino makes heavy use of Versatile, as her cards can either act as attack points or recruit points each time you play them. Many of Nightcrawler’s cards have the ability to Teleport, which lets you move it from your hand to the top of your deck if you want to bank it for your next turn. Certain enemies, such as the Maggia Thugs and Kingpin make use of the Bribe Keyword, as they can be defeated with any combination of attack points and recruit points. These mechanics seamlessly weave into the main game without over-complicating an already complex game. I also like how they make sense within the context of the characters they’re mapped to. While there are only a handful of cards that can take advantage of it, I expect Keywords to become an ongoing factor in future releases.

There are other wrinkles added in Dark City to spice things up. Each new mastermind has persistent attributes that impact the game throughout. For instance, when Stryfe is the mastermind, Master Strikes make him stronger by adding to his attack points. Some of the new cards have the ability to land critical hits by playing specific cards before them. I find triggering this to be quite difficult, though it can be done if you strategically build your deck with this in mind. You even get new bystanders that have specific bonuses for rescuing them.

I love Legendary: A Marvel Deck-Building Game, though I felt like the contents in the box made it feel a bit thin. With Dark City, it expands on the game in a big way with way more characters and new gameplay nuances to spice things up. Paired together, you’ve got an amazing Marvel experience that will last you and your friends for a long time to come. This is a must-have for fans of Legendary.

Buy Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game: Dark City Expansion Now From Amazon.com

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