Legendary is a semi-cooperative deck-building game by a company called Upper Deck. It is technically playable with just the original box, but there are many expansions out there.
In a game of Legendary, players need to build their decks in order to hold at bay an ongoing menace, and ultimately take down an opposing mastermind, before the Mastermind can complete their scheme.
The game exists in 2 Marvel variations (players as heroes, taking down the villain, and players as villains taking down a “coordinator”) – initially both of these received their own seperate expansion lines, but now they seem to have merged, with the heroic terminology winning out (even when the Villains terminology made more sense).
Aside: There is also the Legendary Encounters line, which has sets for the Alien franchise and Predator. A Firefly version, as well as a Big Trouble in Little China both debuted at GenCon, although there’s no sign this side of the pond yet. Expect plenty of noise about the Firefly version in due course, but the rest of this article will be about the Marvel game.
You begin the game with a deck of 8 basic recruitment and 4 basic combat cards, each worth one point. Each turn, you draw a hand of 6 cards from your deck, reveal a card from the villain deck (mostly this will be an enemy for you to fight, but it could be an innocent bystander who gets captured by the villains, or a one-off event that will change things around). On your turn, you use fight points from the cards in your hand to battle enemies, and buy points to buy heroes from the HQ.
In any given game, the hero deck, which stocks the HQ will contain 14 cards each for 5 different heroes. These cards will vary from a single copy of a rare card (typically high-cost and powerful), along with more numerous copies of more common versions.
Once you buy (recruit) a hero, it goes into your discard pile. When your deck runs out, you reshuffle your discard pile to create a new deck, so that the cards previously purchased are now available to you to use.
Players win when they defeat the Mastermind for a 4th time, and lose when the hero deck runs out, or the mastermind completes his “scheme” (a set of random plots which shape the scenario). Emptying the villain deck is technically a draw.
For more on Legendary see the following articles: