A few weeks ago I was sent a copy of this game and told to play it and give my impressions.
Today we will start with a little bit of my background and why those experiences affect the way I view this game.
I love playing Dungeons and Dragons, but I am not a older version player. I came up in the 5e era and found the gameplay to be good and engaging. I enjoyed my time playing with friends but found out that I had a hard time making it to our weekly sessions.
Playing this game really brought back the feelings of playing with my friends again.
About the game:
Legends Untold is a cooperative card game where you are trying to save your race as they flee from an enemy. The game is currently broken into two starter sets. Weeping Caves or the Sewers. Both are standalone but allow you to combine them to allow more players.
We will look at this from the perspective of someone that has bought only one set to start.
Inside the game you have some tokens, cards and a set of dice. The backs of the cards have different symbols which makes identifying them easier. You have 8 scenario cards but they have two sides. One is the campaign and the other is a standalone mission.
You can choose your difficulty of which there are 4. I mainly played on the beginner difficulty.
In this mode you are allowed some extra perks that make learning the game easier.
The cards themselves are nice quality. The insert does not make too much sense for the tokens after you punch them out. I feel like I have to flip the case over to get all the tokens out.
The rule book is a good read and explains everything very well. There is even a guided mission that walks you through every mechanic.
To play the game you build randomized decks from all the cards. Once you have the mission built you also make sure you have your characters with your weapon of choice as well as talents and skills. There is a recommended build for your characters as you get started.
You can figure out how you want to place decks and tokens as you build your play area. There is a little bit of chaos there but once you find a layout you like then it works well.
You definitely want a larger play area so you can spread your map out as you reveal it.
The mechanics in this game are solid. You always know what you need to do as you enter or leave an area. Draws have a sense of randomness but the game is made where you can learn to avoid traps and even gain the advantage over others.
There is a Scout/Guard mechanic that relies on your dice rolls to avoid damage. This can be a little odd and sometimes rolls are required to be really high. Depending on who you choose for each position you can save or hurt your team.
Dice determine everything in this game. Sometimes that can hurt as you feel like you do not really have as much of an impact on the gameplay as you think. Unlike most RPGs your stats do not really seem to change the game too much. Now I can understand this as the game needs to be self contained as the system must balance high level characters in the late gameplay.
The campaign system actually helps the gameplay. As you complete missions you gain new perks. The feeling of earning new gear is nice… but when they do not impact too greatly the overall stats they feel lackluster in the end. The campaign helps when you want to play solo as they are good guides for you. Melee fights are easy to understand as well. The basic rule is you always need 1 melee fighter (each character has a knife to use). Most monsters rely on your bad dice rolls in order to attack you (think of it as self damaged).
Each map, challenge and barrier have some sort of element that may match a trait or character you have. This is called mastery. You get to roll 4 dice and take the top 3 rolls instead of relying on only 3. Of course you may have the opposite and lose out on a great number.
There is also the time mechanic that tracks your campaign time. You use this for all your actions (moving to a new location, challenges you face, healing your team or other bonuses you want)
Once your time is exhausted you enter what feels like a frenzy mode. You can no longer rest or use extra skills. The tension builds due to the fact that the first KO of a hero spells instant failure. This helps keep the pace of the game up as time usually last for the first half of the map unless you play it right.
How does it stand as an RPG:
This game lays a good foundation to what can be a unique RPG system. The mechanics are sound but they seem to limit things a bit when it comes to creativity. The nice thing is you can combine the two starter sets to add some more variety to your sessions.
You are recommended to change the gameplay up as a RPG session. You appoint someone as the DM (dungeon master) and guide the heres on a journey that may or may not be random. You can change things as you want.
This game doesn’t have expansions in the normal sense. These act more as boosters where you get a new character with some extra monster to add. Each set has a nice warning on the back that declares that the expansion do require a starter set if you want to play. This label is nice as it helps others not used to board games avoid accidental purchases.
The game provides enough play time even with one starter set. If you buy both sets then you can definitely have a lot of play throughs. If you are a solo gamer looking to experience something close to Dungeons & Dragons then I recommend picking this one up.