Legendary SHowdown (Dr. mcninja)

Game Overview: Legendary Showdown is a card game based on Christopher Hastings' webcomic, The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. In the game, you are given five character cards which are characters from the comic.  Each character has a point value.  To increase their value you can add weapons and bonuses to the characters.  Other players are doing the same thing and when the round ends, whoever has the highest point total for their front character wins. The losers are removed from the game. The game play swings wildly throughout each round.  You have the ability to move your characters forward and/or backwards in a line, which changes your front characters point value.  You can go after other players by sabotaging them by removing their weapons or moving their lines which may push the round in your favor.  The last player standing wins!

Box Contents: There isn't much to the box but it serves its purpose.  There is a compartment on each side of the box that holds the cards.  We keep the character cards in one side and the playing cards in the other side.  The rules manual fits nicely on top of the cards.

Clarity of Rules: The rules manual is only 8 pages long, which just five pages have actual game instructions on them.  They are very clear and explain the rules.  As a bonus, Killer Robot Games has an excellent video at their website that demonstrates the game play.  The video can be found here.

Game Play:  To begin game play, players play their characters cards face up in the order that they were dealt to them.  This determines the order of the character cards and establishes their line of characters.  The front character card that has the lowest point value, including weapons and bonuses, will go first each round. Each player is then dealt five playing cards.  The playing cards fall into five different categories and will have various actions that you can perform.  You will find action cards, weapon cards, bonus cards, face down cards, and instant cards.  When it is your turn, you can choose to play any number of cards from your hand or pass.  Sometimes you will want to see what everyone else is doing so you may wish to pass on your turn or perhaps play only one card.  If you choose to pass, you must be aware that if two people pass then the round is over.  When you choose to play a card, you can play it on your line of character cards or on another players line, if allowed.  The bonus cards will allow you to increase a character card by one, two, or three points.  This will increase the characters value by the corresponding amount. 

A character card can only have one bonus, so you could play it on another player to reduce their bonus value.  Weapon cards fall into one of two categories.  The first allows you to change the character value. You can boost it up to ten points or play it on an opponent and reduce their character value to one point.  The reduction to one point is quite nasty when a player thinks they have the round in the bag only to have their character value reduced way down.  The other weapon cards that you can add to any character, allow you to add two, three, five, or ninety-nine points.  +99 points?  If you play this card on your front character and the round ends, you sacrifice your front character and also defeat all other front characters.  A great card to play when all hope is lost.  Playing any weapon card onto another weapon card, forces the player to remove the original weapon card, which likely reduces their characters value. Face down cards allow you to add one, two, or three points to the front character.  Because these are face down, your opponent has no idea what the point total is that they must beat.  Multiple face down cards can be played but will be removed from the game once the round is over.  One very powerful facedown cards is the Just a Clone card.  When this comes into play, even if you lose, your front character does not get removed from the game.  Instead they are moved to the back of your line.  Multiple action cards will be found in the deck.  These will allow you to move your characters or other player characters around in their lines, force a character card to drop all weapons and bonuses, unmask a character which allows you to draw a new character card.  This can work out for you or can really bite you if played on an opponent and their character value goes way up.  You can also use an action that allows you to combine the point total of the first two character cards in the line.  If you play this action and the characters lose, both cards are discarded in the loss. The final card type is instant which allows you to play a card to cancel any action card or another instant card. 

Once two players in a row pass, the round is over and the score for the front characters is determined.  The winner moves to the back of their line.  The losers are discarded, unless they had some type of protection.  You can choose to keep or discard any cards in your hand, and then everyone draws back up to five cards.  Each round continues until only one player has any character cards left.

Replay Ability: With 44 character cards, you will always have a different set of characters to play with.  Sometimes your character line will be super strong and other times, they can be very weak time.  Because of this, you will find plenty of replay ability here.

Appropriate Audience: 12+ is the suggested again.  You should be able to go lower as our 11 year old enjoys the game.  Just be aware of the cut throat action that can occur and take this into consideration for younger kids.

What We Liked/Didn't Like: First, I want to point out that you do not have to be a fan of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, to appreciate the game. We have never read these comics and we really like this game a lot.  What stands out is the unique game mechanic of being able to move either the character cards in your line or someone else's line.  We also love the swings that occur in this game.  Just as you think you are going to win or lose, another player takes an action that completely changes the round.  There is a lot of strategy involved with this game when determining what cards to play and towards whom those actions should occur.  The only thing we do not like about this game is when there is a tie at the end of the round,  To resolve the tie, you play rock, paper, scissors to determine the winner.  This can even determine the overall game winner.  We wish there was different way to determine the winner instead of a game of chance that is not specific to the game itself.

Add-ons/Other Releases:  Also available is Legendary Showdown: Machines and Magic. This version combines two additional webcomics, Girl Genius and Gunnerkrigg Court.  The game mechanics do not change.  You will get new/more character cards and additional actions that are not found in this version.  Again, you do not need to be a fan of these comics to enjoy the game.

  **A review copy was provided to us.