This year marks the 30th anniversary of the cult classic Big Trouble in Little China. This movie directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russel, has easily become one of my favorite B-horror movie/comedies. With some alltime great one-liners (“Son of a bitch must pay “), I have some very fond memories of this fantastic movie. When Upper Deck announced last year that they would be releasing a game in the Legendary series based upon the movie, I at first thought it was a joke. To my delight though it wasn’t, and yesterday I managed to procure my copy and play my first few games. Was it worth the wait?
As with every Legendary stand alone set, the box provides a new gameboard. The boards feel like a mousepad, and are very sturdy. The box is smaller than a regular Legendary stand alone set, and because of this the board is folded up in the box. This caused it to have a few noticeable folds. This is a minor issue, but still I wish they could have found a better way to include the board. As this is ofcourse a deckbuilding game, there are a lot of cards in this box, though also not as much as previous stand alone sets. Included are 400 cards all with original artwork of varying quality. As I currently own every Legendary set to date, I have gotten quite used to the differences in artwork between the cards themselves. All in all though the cards look great, and manage to recreate the spirit of the movie. The last thing included is ofcourse the rulebook which does a pretty good job in learning the rules for both veteran players, and players new to deckbuilders.
The Legendary series by Upper deck has now two different game variants. You have the Legendary Encounters sets, which include games based on Aliens, Predator and more recently Firefly. And then there are the normal Legendary sets, which so far have only included games and expansions based on Marvel superhero’s. Big Trouble can now be added to the last list. The big difference between the two gameplay variants is that in Encounters you basically replay the movies on which the games are based on. Completing a number of objectives, you play through some well known scenes of the movie. The normal Legendary series puts you against a villain, who is trying to complete some nefarious plot. Recruiting hero’s you try to stop the villain before he completes his objective.
As Big Trouble in Little China is only one movie, I understand why they decided to go with the normal Legendary treatment. Legendary is a deckbuilder, which means that starting off with a basic set of cards, you try and purchase new and more powerful cards with the basic ones, to enhance your deck. During the game your deck will grow stronger, making it more able to deal with all the enemies that are thrown against you. The hero’s you recruit in this game are ofcourse all familiar characters of the movie including Jack Burton himself. There are a total of 12 schemes, or evil plots if you will, to provide more than enough variety.
If you already played any other set in the Legendary series, you will have absolutely no trouble in playing this game. It closely resembles the Marvel Legendary series, and as such contains mostly rules that you will already be familiar with. For new players it will at probably be a little bit more difficult in getting into the game at first, but eventually you will get the hang of it. The best way to learn it is by letting a player who already knows the game teach it to you, or just look at the enormous amount of YouTube video’s already out there. Legendary isn’t a difficult game to learn though, and after you have played a couple of rounds, you will have no big trouble (pun intended) with it whatsoever.
I have been looking forward to this game since it was announced last year, and obviously my expectations for it ran high. Being a huge fan of the movie, I at least hoped the game would do it justice. And I am very glad to say that it does. It is a delight to play with the characters from the movie, and see some great lines of the film return on the cards. The schemes are pretty tough, the villains are great, and the enemies you have to fight are also not a walk in the park. This provides for some very challenging gameplay. A thing worthy of note is that there are no official solorules included with this game, which is a first for Legendary. The rulebook does mention that you can play the game solo using any of the rules from previous sets. I played the game solo by just playing with two hands, and treating it as a two player game.
If you are a fan of the movie, than I think you should check this game out. But even if you are not, or might never have even heard of it, you will probably still enjoy playing it. It provides enough challenge and replay value to keep you playing for a long time. Whether or not you will be able to beat all the schemes, well to use another Jack Burton quote : “It’s all in the reflexes…..”.
I give Legendary Big Trouble in Little China a 9 out of 10 score.