It’s time for game day here at spalanz.com, and today I’m showcasing another game that I had for Christmas, one that was released back last Spring: it’s the Captain America 75th Anniversary expansion for Marvel Legendary!
Time for a little history, I think. Captain America first hit the comic book scene in March 1941, designed from the outset as a patriotic supersoldier to help wartime morale, as readers saw him fighting the Axis powers in the trenches. Post-war, he was discontinued from 1950 until his return in 1964 under the authorship of comics legend Stan Lee, and has remained in publication ever since. In 2007, Captain America was killed, and Bucky (Winter Soldier) takes on the mantle of Cap. Some time-shift shenanigans allowed him to come back from the dead in 2009, but the supersoldier serum that made him so powerful was neutralised in 2014, causing him to age rapidly, and Falcon took up the mantle of the first avenger.
It’s been a long and distinguished career for Captain America, and to mark the 75th anniversary of his arrival on the comics scene, Upper Deck released the small expansion to commemorate that, bringing some of that history to the game with Winter Soldier, Betsy Ross and the Falcon’s incarnation as Captain America.
There are, of course, new keywords to go along with all this stuff. Man (and Woman) Out Of Time is very similar to Teleport from Dark City, allowing you to set up combos with your cards. However, unlike Teleport, where you just set the card aside until your next turn, Man/Woman Out Of Time lets you play the card, then put it aside to play it again on your next turn, getting more value out of the play. It’s a really nice concept, but it can lead to some pretty good combinations going off – in my first game I used Winter Soldier with Black Panther, and the two allowed me to draw so many cards, it was insane!
Saviour is the second hero-centric keyword, which reflects Captain America’s protection of the ordinary folks. If you have 3 or more saved Bystanders in your victory pile, the Saviour keyword triggers, which might be drawing cards or whatnot. It’s a really thematic ability to have in a Captain America set, anyway!
Saviour also brings us on to the villains of the set. We get two, Arnim Zola and Baron Zemo, the latter’s strength being Saviour-dependent. I could be wrong, but I feel that Zemo is possibly the first mastermind that could be nigh impossible to beat unless you have specific heroes in your deck, as his health is 18 unless you have 3 Bystanders in your victory pile. He always leads the Masters of Evil (WWII), all of whom have the ambush effect of capturing a bystander, which builds-in a possible way to get Bystanders, but with the wrong cards, you’re left with a very luck-dependent game. (That said, in my game I was playing with the Captain America (Falcon) hero, who has a lot of ways to rescue Bystanders, so when Saviour hit, Zemo suddenly went from virtually impossible to kinda squishy, and the game was over quickly enough).
Zola brings us to our final keyword, Abomination, which gives the villain a boost to their fight rating equal to the hero’s printed fight rating below its space in the HQ. Zola himself gains a bonus equal to the total fight rating of all heroes in the HQ. It’s petty nasty, though can be highly situational, as if you get the Abomination villains above heroes who don’t have a fight rating, they’re kinda average.
This is a pretty great expansion, if for no other reason than it gives us the Winter Soldier, one of the most compelling characters in the Marvel universe! The Captain America 1941 hero-set has some of the classic comics art from the golden age, I’m not a fan myself but I’m sure plenty of fans will appreciate. The smaller expansions for Marvel Legendary have all been really great, and at the price, it’s hard to find anything bad to say about them – £20 for 100 cards, five new heroes, two masterminds each with a new villain group, and four new schemes. I mean, what’s not to like?! Even with the base game, you get a great variety to the game. Definitely recommended!