|Recommended Age:||14+ (might be 17+)|
|Play Time:||45 Minutes (Rough estimate, play time will vary)|
|Our Recommended Age:||10+ (Parents should always preview content before allowing kids to play)|
Legendary Encounters: Predator by Upper Deck is probably my favorite deck-building game. You can play as Humans to escape Predators (like the movies!), or as Predators hunting Humans! Two ways to play in one game…but really there’s more ways than this to play. You can combine Predator with Alien as well!
Upper Deck makes the amazing Legendary deck-building game series and has a number of options as far as themes. The thing that sets them apart from other deck-building games is that the big bad gets to have a turn…for every turn a player takes! That and the Objectives or goals you can have depending on the version you play
You can combine any of the Legendary games together to make an insanely fun and one of a kind deck-building game! Yes other deck-building games can be combined but not quite like this…
Now if you did do that some games go together better than others and some require a bit more work to do so, however, one of my favorite things about Predator is you can combine it the Alien version for an Aliens vs Predator themed game!!
You can also choose to have Predators hunt both Aliens and Humans or play either game by itself! I love horror movies and these two are in my top 10 favorite series for horror movies so we HAD to have both games! I think my favorite is playing as Predators hunting Aliens! The chance for a facehugger increases and that aspect of the Alien version is just fantastic!
The box has more than enough room for all the cards, which aside from the play mat is all there is to the game. I think they purposefully left extra room so you could combine multiple games into one box…which I love! The first time you open the game you will have to sort all the cards…it is just the one time you’ll sort to this extent…worth it.
The cards are standard card material but the smooth thinner kind. You can buy sleeves for all the cards…which we are eventually going to do or you can just play as is…which we do now. The artwork is worth checking out. Especially if you like the movies! The Predators look amazing!
The Play Mat is beautiful…it has spots on it for every aspect of the game and has the same amazing artwork…reminds me of a comic…which might be the point. It fits the game very well and is very well made! Other than the instructions which are a small booklet there is only the box and dividers…which are not part of the game itself but are important.
The box is a lift top type and inside are 2 rows for cards and the middle area for the Play Mat (or mats if you combine boxes). The Mats roll up and fit inside the middle row and the cards are on the top and bottom (if you look at the box horizontally of course).
The game also comes with cards that are taller (when a card is on its side) than the normal cards to use as dividers. They are not labeled but you can always label them yourself if you want. We just use them as is and organize the cards with them for both Predator and Alien in the same box…I love this!
They even give you some separators that are that gray soft foam in case you have extra room…which even with two games in there we do. I’m sure I could go on and on about the organization and quality of the box and such but I will spare you that and get to the explanation of the game.
To survive…or be the best hunter…or kill the Humans…it really depends on the game you are playing BUT we will assume you are playing the very first recommended game…Survive the Predator! This is a cooperative game so you all win or lose together.
I am going to explain the first game set up. It is recommended that if you never played before this is the version you should play anyway. You will all be Humans and you will simulate Predator the movie. After you play through this one you can try the other options…there are quite a few including a Solo version!
There is a LOT of set up…after you play a couple times it isn’t bad at all and the hardest thing is deciding which version you want to play…we still have trouble deciding. I can’t go into complete details on how to setup or play this game though…some games have a lot of explaining…although again this one isn’t so bad but I feel like I could make it bad…and I don’t want to do that to you…Let’s move on!
Find the page in the instructions that say “Your First Game – Use these Cards” and then follow them! Find those specific cards…hopefully you organized them already. There is a guide on how to organize the cards as well in the instructions…it’s great.
Your location is the Val Verdean Jungle, because you are playing through Predator 1…hopefully your whole team makes it out instead of…wait…spoilers! If you are playing through this version or Predator 2 you will have 3 Objectives to complete throughout the game. If playing a different version, such as Predator vs Aliens then your Objective of the game changes and it is not based on card Objectives. Still with me?
The objectives in this case are “Expendable Assests”, “Flares, Frags and Claymores” and “Get to the Choppa!” (I love that title…) and yes we say it in a Schwarzenegger voice…isn’t that mandatory? The Characters you will see are familiar-ish faces from the movie. Blain, Dillon, Dutch, and Mac. Each has their own set of cards and each card does different things.
FIRST you have to get a Role, either randomly or chosen. It is up to everyone playing. This will happen in every game of Legendary Encounters. They vary depending on the game and version of it so in this case it will be either a Lieutenant, Tracker, Guerrilla, CIA Agent or a Radioman…unless you are playing a 4 player game then leave out the Radioman and in a 3 player game leave out him and the CIA Agent…go down the line basically.
Each role has health in the bottom right, defense just above that and a card name that you start out with. Your health determines how many Strike points you can take before you die…yes you can die and be out of the game but if even ONE player wins so does everyone who died. Woo!
Find those cards and give them to the players now. Aside from those each player will get 7 Experience cards and 5 Brute Strength. By the way the Defense value is not used in this version. It is for attacking other players when you play other versions of the game.
The ones called Specialist with a Star on it and a 1 on the star are the Experience. Brute Strength has the slash marks with a 1 on it. BOTH cost 0 because they are starter cards. The cost of each card is in the bottom right on what looks like a gold coin and the number on that is its worth. Still with me? Ok…let’s continue…Put your location in the space on the Mat, the Objectives on their space with Objective 1 on top and based on the Objectives (in this case they were pre-chosen) find the Mini-decks with the same name (at the bottoms of the cards) and build the Enemy deck according to the instructions.
Basically take some Young Blood cards, shuffle some into each of the mini-decks and then put them on top of each other with 1 being on top and NO peeking at the cards…especially on the first few games when you have NO idea what to expect…it is SO much more fun that way!
There is a chart on how many Young Blood cards to put in the decks based on how many players so check that before you shuffle. You would use this chart when combining Alien and Predator decks for a game or just playing one or the other.
The Barracks will have all those familiar faces and are your source of Money (Experience) and Fight (Brute Strength) to help you and your team along in the game. There are a total of eight different characters that each have 14 cards per but you only use four per game.
Choose the four either randomly or by choice and then shuffle all of the chosen cards together and put them face down in their space on the Mat.
Flip over the first 5 in the Headquarters space on the Mat (have I mentioned I love this Mat?)
Each player now shuffles their personal decks of the Role card (NOT the actual Role card but the extra card it says you start with) and the other 12 cards that everyone starts with. Draw six, choose a first player somehow and you are ready to play…finally…
On each turn you will complete Phases. Enemy, Action, Strike and Cleanup. I will briefly go over the phases but like the setup I do not want to try to cover every detail. The instructions do a great job explaining everything and even have pictures, charts and guides…seriously very good instructions…ok moving on.
Enemy Phase: Take an Enemy card from the top of the Enemy deck and without flipping it or peeking put it in the Wilds (the top part of the Mat). You might have to push cards that are already there over to the left to put this new card in the first spot just left of the deck.
There are only 5 spaces so if you have 5 cards there then the card on the far left gets put in the Combat Zone. This is how people get Strikes…we will cover that in a sec.
If there is a space between cards (someone could fight and kill a card in the Wilds if they first pay Fight to Scan the spot to see what card it is) then you simply push the cards to the Right of that spot into that spot but the cards to the Left do not move yet.
Action Phase: You play cards from your hand to either Fight, Scan cards in the Wild, buy or Recruit from the HQ. Some cards that you eventually purchase (or not since it depends on what gets flipped and what you choose or can buy) will allow you to draw more cards from your deck, Coordinate with other players, even gain a free card. Choose your order carefully…it matters.
Some cards can be used for Experience or Brute Strength but might have another part ot their card that you can activate IF you meet the requirements. Each card may have a Team Icon and/or a Character Class Icon. If the text on the card or their Special Ability shows an Icon then you have to play a card that has that Icon in the top left FIRST before you can activate this other card…this is why it matters.
Strike Phase: Once you are done with the Action Phase you get a Strike…which is damage but only if there are Enemies in the Combat Zone. If there are then you draw 1 card for each enemy from the Strike Deck and take that much damage. Sometimes it’s 3, or 2 or a lot of them are just 1 but sometimes you get lucky and don’t have to take any.
Cleanup Phase: Discard any cards you have in your hand and all the cards you played into your discard pile and then draw 6 new cards. You have to have cards in your hand in case someone plays something that requires you to lose cards..or show them…or something.
I could go into a LOT more detail…but I think this post is long enough already…and that would make it a lot longer. Again the instructions are great, follow them and read through them first. We had the Comedian read them while our friend and I sorted the cards for the first time and this worked out great!
There are two ways to win in this particular scenario or version of the game. Those Objectives I mentioned earlier? You have to complete ALL 3 of those…in order. You cannot move onto Objective 2 until you complete Objective 1. Once you are on Objective 3 you can win by killing the Predator himself (Called the Final Enemy) but ONLY if you have completed Objective 2.
You can also win by completing the Minor Goal…which is part of Objective 3 but not the MAIN Objective 3. This is not as good as killing the Predator…but it IS better then dying. If all of the players die, you all lose. Yes this is possible…we’ve had it happen. If you take enough Strike cards that the total Strikes are greater than your Role Avatars health…you die.
Sometimes it will be one or two players, sometimes all of you…rarely have we had no one die. My favorite is when we combine Aliens vs Predator and there are Facehuggers! If you play just Aliens you can end up becoming an Alien and work against the other players! We haven’t had it happen yet but I really want to! Does that make me evil?
Some key words to remember. When a card tells you to Kill a card this means it is out of the game while Discard means to put it in your discard pile which will be reshuffled and used again during the game. Characters are cards in your hand or that you have played. Coordinate lets another player “borrow” one of your cards during their turn but of course there are restrictions for this as well.
You can play through both movies, play as Predators hunting Humans (which is a LOT of fun!) or even combine Predator with Aliens and either hunt Aliens as Predators OR be Human and try to fight BOTH…I am honestly not sure which is our favorite way to play…but I LOVE that there are so many options.
Legendary Predator is recommended for ages 14 ish but I would say kids as young as 10 could play provided parents approved the content.
The Predator movies had a bit of content not appropriate for all ages but I think aside from the violence of course the game should be fine…but my kids are too young yet for it really although I think the Gentleman could understand and would like the game.
I could probably go on and on about this game, explaining more things, telling you how awesome it is….but I feel like that would make it even longer and I don’t want to do that to you…more than I have…It really is a great game that has phenomenal replay value since even playing through one of the movies over and over again will never be the same.
Not to mention all the variations of play involved and then if you add combining another Legendary Encounters game to it you have even MORE replay value. It isn’t portable and I wouldn’t recommend mixing up the cards as the Setup process will be harder and take longer but it is a great game for Game Nights or if you love Horror movies!
Show us your Victory! As either Human or Predator! #LegendaryPredator @UpperDeckSports