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Hang on to the 4th wall – it’s Legendary Deadpool!

legendary-deadpool-card-game-alpha-flight It’s the Legendary Expansion everyone’s been waiting for – Alpha Flight!

Well no, it isn’t. Nobody actually cares about Alpha Flight (Canada used up all its superhero coolness on Wolverine), but as you’d expect with all things Deadpool, this expansion misses no opportunity to poke fun at you, itself, and any Canadian mutants who wander into view.

Legendary has been around for a few years now and, if you’re not already familiar with how the game works, it’s worth checking out our earlier introduction here. For Legendary veterans, let’s just focus on Legendary Deadpool

Off the back of the blockbuster success of the first 18 Certificate/R-rated Marvel superhero film, Deadpool gets his own expansion for Legendary. Expectations were sky-high for Legendary Deadpool, with any number of brilliant suggestions to be found online from fans. The question is, can the game live up to the hype?

What’s in the Box?

legendary-deadpool-card-game-contents As you’d expect from a Legendary Expansion, the Legendary Deadpool box comes with new Heroes, Villain Groups, Masterminds and schemes. It’s only a small-box expansion (putting Deadpool on a par with Captain America, Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, but a level below the Civil War or Secret Wars crossover events), so no new card-types or completely paradigm-shifting alterations, but plenty of fun new material nonetheless.

As has been the case for everything after the Core Set, all the Heroes have 4 different pieces of artwork for their 4 different cards. There are 5 Heroes in the box, 2 new Masterminds, each with their “Always Leads” Villain group, and 4 new schemes to try out.

The cards in my copy of Legendary Deadpool came slightly warped, and there’s always a feeling with these small-box expansions that the packaging isn’t quite up-to-scratch, but the cards flatten out quickly enough, and the overall card quality is just as good as you’d expect from any Legendary expansion.

Who are we? Umm…

legendary-deadpool-card-game-bob It was fairly obvious that the Legendary Deadpool box would come with a new Deadpool, and those who enjoy playing as the Villains will be pleased to see Bob, Agent of HYDRA come along to strengthen their ranks.

The other choices are a bit more… unusual. I’d hoped for new versions of Cable and Domino, wondered whether they might take direction from the film to give us Copycat, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, or a new Colossus, and figured they’d round things out with someone like Agent X, Outlaw, or Shiklah. They could even have given in and finally given us a Psylocke.

legendary-deadpool-card-game-mercs Marvel, it seems had other ideas. As Disney tighten their grip on what we get in Marvel merchandising, we’re dragged right the way into the present with 3 characters from the very recent Mercs for Money title: Slapstick, Solo and Stingray. Unless you’re a fairly close follower of up-to-the-minute comics, chances are you haven’t even heard of all three of these, so it was a bit of a disappointment to see them hogging the limited Hero slots.

The Villains and Masterminds in Legendary Deadpool make a bit more sense – Evil Deadpool leading the Deadpool Corpse is a fairly obvious choice, and Deadpool’s “Friends” provides a window to bring in characters like Weasel and Blind Al, although I have to admit that Macho Gomez was a bit of a new one on me.

Overall, given how well the Film was done, and the brilliant ideas knocking around on the Board Game Geek forums speculating over the content of Legendary Deadpool , the character selection for this set felt like a bit of a let-down. (I’m particularly disappointed that they didn’t pick up on the suggestion of a Ryan Reynolds Mastermind, ideally with a Green Lantern tactic…) This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve run into an obscure character (Dr Punisher, Soldier Supreme, anyone?) and Upper Deck have shown in the past that you can still have plenty of fun with a Hero you’re not familiar with, so disappointing, but not fatally so.

So then, how do they play?

legendary-deadpool-card-game-dinosaur One of the great things about Legendary is that you don’t have to be familiar with the characters to enjoy playing them, and I don’t think that any of the Heroes in Legendary Deadpool are as obscure as an alternative version of Steve Rogers riding a dinosaur…

Deadpool and his 3 Mercs all have the new Deadpool Corps affiliation, but there are only about 2 cards in the whole set which trigger off of having already played a Deadpool Corps card first, so it looks like you can mix these in with existing sets and still get playable games.

legendary-deadpool-card-game-deadpoolDeadpool is the star of Legendary Deadpool, as you’d expect, and he breaks the 4th wall regularly, giving you bonuses for playing cards with flavour text, a card which has different powers depending on what time of day it is, and a rare that mocks Trilogies. Deadpool definitely feels like the best Hero in Legendary Deadpool, and the most playable elsewhere.

What’s that Mechanic? Something new going on!

To fully assess the remainder of the cards in Legendary Deadpool, it’s worth taking a few moments to get our heads around the 3 major new mechanics introduced in the set: Half points, Excessive Violence, and Revenge.

legendary-deadpool-card-game-halves Half points are a pretty simple idea – some cards produce ½ points of Attack or Recruit, and you need 2 half-points to make a whole. Obviously this messes slightly with the power/cost ratios of cards, and being half a point short of being able to fight/buy a card is probably even more annoying than being 1 point short. Still, these appear on plenty of cards, including several common ones, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get them up to critical mass in your deck if you’re playing with multiple team Deadpool characters. The problem comes when you mix Legendary Deadpool in with the rest of your Legendary cards, and are only playing with a single Deadpool Hero – at that point, there’s a serious danger of running into a Hero who is just over-costed, because you can’t reach the critical mass of ½ point cards to make them work. At that point “1 ½” might as well just say “1”

legendary-deadpool-card-game-excessive-violenceExcessive Violence was definitely a theme of last year’s Deadpool Movie, and it’s only fitting that Legendary Deadpool has it too. Like Saviour or Spectrum before it, this is a card key-word which can be triggered during your turn when you meet the conditions, to draw cards, gain cards, or receive other benefits. In this case, Excessive Violence can be triggered once per turn, by choosing to use 1 more point of Attack to Fight a Villain than would be required – simple, thematic, and fun.

Although “Revenge” is a new keyword for Legendary Deadpool, it’s a concept we’ve seen before – Villains who get tougher to fight based on the number of affiliated Villains in your victory pile. The format will always be “Revenge for X” meaning “this villain gets +1 Fight for each X card in your victory pile.” As we mostly play Legendary 2-player, this can be really punishing: by late on in the game, you can easily be looking at Villains with +3 or +4 to their fight difficulty, and if you play with a scheme that gives other Villain Groups “Revenge,” then some cards, like Multiple Man become virtually impossible to take down. That said, given the way that difficulty often scales against 4 or 5 player groups, it’s nice to see Legendary Deadpool offering something that goes some way towards correcting the balance.

Hatching a Scheme

legendary-deadpool-card-game-deadpool-scheme Aside from all the new Heroes and Villains, Legendary Deadpool also comes with a selection of new schemes to drive the storyline of the game. “Deadpool writes a scheme” is another 4th wall-breaker, with a series of random, apparently unconnected effects, whilst Everyone Hates Deadpool, Deadpool wants a Chimchanga, and Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe all tie back into the comics more closely. There are definitely some high-difficulty Schemes in here, with potential to clog your deck so thoroughly with wounds that you can’t really do anything, but overall, they offer an interesting mix.

Legendary Deadpool: the stuff of Legends? Or just Dead weight?

legendary-deadpool-card-game-box I’m a big Legendary fan, really enjoyed the Deadpool Film last year, and was looking forward to this set a lot: the tongue-in-cheek 4th wall-breaking is always good fun, and it’s nice to be able to bring that to the card game, with an expansion that seems to have captured the Deadpool vibe perfectly.

That said, Legendary Deadpool felt like a bit of a let-down for me: the character choices were disappointing (even having read most of the Mercs for Money comics, I can’t really remember anything about Stingray), and a lot of the time, it just felt like it fell a little flat: as if they’d got so tied up with all the clever references and being meta, that they hadn’t put quite as much time as normal into ensuring a really fun play experience.

If you’re a Legendary fan, and not someone who’s fed up with all the self-referential stuff, then Legendary Deadpool is definitely still a set worth getting: Deadpool himself is a good solid Hero (more playable than the unaffiliated Deadpool we got in Dark City), and the others all have their places. The Villain groups have the potential to get pretty nasty, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend this as your first Legendary expansion, but it still has plenty to offer if you’re a completionist.

Overall, I’d give this 7/10 – mechanically solid and good fun, even if it misses a few notes.

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James Phillips

I'm an avid board and card-gamer, on a gradual mission to indoctrinate all my friends into the hobby too. I particularly enjoy anything Lord of the Rings related, and play a lot of cooperative games, along with Dice Masters and Game of Thrones LCG Competitively. When not playing games, I can be found doing a mundane office job, or working on my own Blog, Fistful of Meeples.

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