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SPIDER-MAN: Homecoming

 
Available from about £15.00 and upwards on the internet and at your Local Game Store

LEGENDARY; the excellent multi-background action card game is expanding all the time by pitching some of MARVEL's infamous Villains against some of their most famous Heroes.

Whoever your favourite MARVEL super-hero is you can't help but like Spidey, particularly the pun-style jokes as he swings around town are as legendary as his famous webs, his red & blue high-tech suit and his exceptional Spider-Sense, but although this set of cards is based on the new film and the characters, heroes, villains and allies in it, the jokey side hasn't been integrated into it, which is a shame because they did such a great job with the DEADPOOL expansion.

 

In the MARVEL COMIC UNIVERSE the latest Spidey film "The HOMECOMING" is set just after the events of Captain America Civil War, and has Paul Parker on the trail of a new menace in New York city. This new MASTERMIND villain, VULTURE (aka Adrian Toomes), takes to the skies in a self-made (almost magical) harness that allows him to fly as well as giving him mighty strength, though there is no card to represent the actual harness.   Players using the cards in this set can play through the story of the "Homecomin" film, with Peter Parker and Tony Stark battling the VULTURE and his scavenger crew.  There are 5 Hero stacks of 14 cards each (for the collector: each has 1 rare, 3 uncommons, and 10 Common cards, 5 of one type and 5 of another. To augment Adrian Toomes and Vulture there are 2 Villain Groups of 8 cards each.

This 14th expansion offers 100 cards to the LEGENDARY card game with photo-images from the movie! itself (although some of them look to have been photo-shopped for clarity). Amongst the 100 cards are: 5 new Heroes (14 cards per deck), 2 Double Sided Masterminds, 2 Villain Groups (8 cards each) and 4 new Schemes that depict major sections of the cinematic spectacle that is "Homecoming". Of course this being an expansion you need the main rules and cards from the base game, either The Villains core set or the Heroes core set. Being a true expansion it not only introduces Peter Parker, from his training to the understanding of his powers and his evolving into Spidey. It also adds new rules and Keywords to the game, one of which, Coordinate, is a favourite of players of the Legendary Encounters games. In this expansion it is a representation from the film where May Parker and Tony Stark are Spidey's mentors (although 53 and possibly "Aunt-aged" Marisa Tomei is a rather more glamorous "May Parker" than the comic books have shown us), Robert Downey Jr is once again Tony (Iron Man) Stark.

I can understand why the COORDINATE ability is so well liked by Legendary Encounters players as it allows them to coordinate their special abilities against the more powerful Villains, such as VULTURE, it also allows for multiple players to coordinate at the same time and even works in solo games. COORDINATE is written on the cards in red so that it is immediately and easily noticeable during play. The two Masterminds are double-sided with the regular Mastermind (that sounds so weird calling a Mastermind "regular") on one side and an upgraded "Epic" Mastermind on the other. For players already used to the COORDINATE ability there are a couple of things different to Marvel Legendary® that don’t apply to Legendary® Encounters: When you offer to Coordinate a card to another player, that player can decline. If so, you don’t discard that card and that player doesn’t play a copy of it.   If you are playing with the Final Showdown, you can’t Coordinate during that Showdown.

 

KEYWORDS are key to playing the Legendary game and each expansion and Core set offers new ones that may be specific to the Heroes/Villains of that deck but that can, through thoughtful play, affect other cards.
The Striker keyword represents Villains and Masterminds that get more confident and powerful as the Mastermind smashes Heroes. It means “This gets +1 Attack for each Master Strike in the KO pile and/or stacked next to the Mastermind.”

The Danger Sense keyword allows Spider-Man to use his famous “Spider-Sense” to detect danger and evade it. It also covers Tony Stark and other allies watching for and reacting to threats. There are cards that say “Danger Sense plus a number, 1, 2, 3 or 4” which means “Reveal the top #N cards of the Villain Deck gaining you +1 for each Villain that you find. Cards may say Danger Sense 1, 2, 3, or 4, revealing that many cards.  Several Danger Sense cards may have additional effects on specific cards if drawn.

Another fan favourite KEYWORD, Wall-Crawl makes a welcome and somewhat obvious return having been found earlier in "Paint the Town Red" and "Secret Wars 2" allowing you to put a recruited Hero onto the top of your deck if required. The rules sheet also clarifies any confusion you may have with the Adrian Toomes, Liz and Watchful Eye cards.

 

There are 70 cards (including Rare cards) that make up the Hero Deck. To play you also require the 8 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent and the 4 S.H.I.E.L.D. Trooper cards per player, and the 90 cards in equal numbers of 30:- S.H.I.E.L.D. Officers, Wounds and Bystanders from the Core box set. There are 5 sets of 14 cards for the Hero deck; each of these is of a different class: 
Strength: "Something is Happening" - Peter Parker Homecoming 
Instinct: "Asset Management" - Happy Hogan
Covert: "May Parker" - Peter's Allies
Tech: "Friendly Neighbourhood..." - High Tech Spider-Man
Ranged:  "As Usual I Did All The Work" - Tony Stark

You have the choice of Adrian Toomes or Vulture as Masterminds, select one and the 4 Tactic cards that go with it.
Adrian Toomes: 
More Harm Than Good,Take Everything, The World's Changed, Don't Interfere. Deck Cards:- Hybrid Alien Tech, Shocker #1, Shocker #2, Tinkerer.
Vulture: 
Birds of Prey, Lurking Shadow, Mid Air Heist, Winged Assault. Deck Cards:- Chitauri Weapon Assault, High Tech Helmet, Razor Talons, Turbine Powered.

There is one Bystander and four Schemes: Distract the Hero, Explosion at the Washington Monument, Ferry Disaster,  Scavenge Alien Weaponry (no Scheme Twists).

  

I have played using all the schemes and the best (more fun) of the bunch in my opinion is definitely the "Explosion at the Washington Monument", possibly because the Setup Stacks represent the floors of the Monument and you have to prevent the Evil dudes winning by either sending 10 Bystanders to the KO pile or KO'ing all the Floors of the Monument. I also liked the opposition offered by the Vulture a little more than I did Adrian Toomes - the Vulture is just that little bit more of an evil adversary. Overall the game play is not really that different from othe MARVEL  LEGENDARY games as there aren't any actual rules changes, just a few abilities etc that mean you have to learn your cards again (like you do with all expansions) so you know when to use them to the best of their effect). I have already said it but I will state it once again, in case you missed it and that is the players will have to generate their own quirky humour as the designers have removed it from Spidey and it's an omission I don't believe was necessary - unless the remarks were all copyrighted !

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015