Sunday, October 5, 2014

More Legendary Fun Plus Aliens!

I've continued to play one game after another of Legendary: Marvel Deck Building Game. My seven year old son likes it, the people at the club like it, my wife tolerates it (which is not too bad) and each time I play it still feels fresh and interesting. Thus, it was a struggle not to buy Legendary Encounters: an Alien Deck Building Game. Not too much of a struggle though, since I caved right away and got it.

The basic Legendary system allows you to use cards in your hand to either "fight" some enemy or "buy" new cards. The new cards get added to your overall deck and over time you can draw better and more effective hands. The other Legendary mechanism is that through the course of the game new threats appear literally as a row of cards. If you do not deal with them soon they stack up and eventually cause you some negative effect.

That being said, in Encounters you play a character trying to survive one of the four Alien movies. Through the game you can improve your abilities to fight and survive and at the same time waves of enemies and threats appear which may set you back. The specific rules are quite simple and the game includes lots of play aids included in the card's text- one rarely goes back to the rules after a bit of playing.

So how does it play? It plays like you're in the movie and frantically trying to stay alive! What's more, the design sets you very specifically in a given setting and moment. At one point you're exploring a derelict ship, later in the game you're racing against time to reset the Nostromo's self destruct mechanism. I like Legendary Marvel Heroes but you do have to do a bit of work to add a narrative on to the play. In Legendary Encounters the narrative is crystal clear. It's flat out tense and exciting.

The only caveat to Legendary Encounters is that it is absolutely designed for adults only. The art is fair but what is there includes lots of grisly deaths and chest bursting and head exploding. So keep it away from the kids, not just to play but even to look at.

As a game for adults, however, Legendary Encounters is just terrific. I don't know if it would be quite as much fun for someone who has not seen the movies, but if there was such a person they should go see the films anyway! And then see Prometheus, which is awesome.

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