Full disclosure: Inspiring Games provided me with a review copy of Legends Untold.
What is this game about?
Legends Untold is a card-based adventure game in which players build characters by giving them unique combinations of skills, then explore locations in an attempt to complete specific scenarios. These scenarios each come with their own setup instructions, and can be played as one-offs or as part of a larger "cinematic campaign," and different Legends Untold sets can be mixed and matched to provide variety when it comes to the enemies, traps, and obstacles that players might encounter. The primary mechanic of Legends Untold is skill checks using three d6 dice—in-game situations turn out differently depending on how you roll, and you can use a range of character skills to help increase your chances of success on a given check. The other thing you'll need to watch in Legends Untold is time. Time in the game is limited by an event deck, and you'll need to choose how to spend time—using extra to sneak or to search for loot more carefully can yield benefits, but running through the event deck causes bad things to happen to you and can eventually cause you to run out of time entirely.
Probably the coolest thing about Legends Untold is that as you explore new locations by drawing cards, you'll create your own unique dungeon each time you play by choosing different exits and drawing different combinations of location cards. Each card contains symbols that let you know whether you'll be encountering an obstacle, a foe, a barrier, or some other challenge as you explore.
How does it play solo?
Legends Untold is a cooperative game that can either be played purely solo (although you should take an extra skill to help your lone character) or multi-handed.
Legends Untold has a very promising premise—it is a card-based game that is designed to create an RPG experience with neither GM nor countless miniatures. It claims to offer both randomly generated dungeons and an exciting storyline. The flavor text on the cards is good, the art is good, and the cinematic campaign text is a fun read. It's clear that a lot of thought was put into the world of Legends Untold.
But for me, the gameplay itself didn't click. After several plays, I felt bogged down in the numerous skill checks, several of which are required every turn. You need to make a scouting check whenever you move to another location, there are various traps and barriers that require checks of their own, and even combat follows the same essential structure. Although there are tokens to help you remember what modifiers need to be applied to specific skill checks, these can change from check to check, from turn to turn. In combat, the first round has different rules from following rounds, and things like attack order can change round-to-round depending on who is making ranged attacks and who is using melee weapons. In other words, there are a lot of little rules to deal with. The rulebook for this game—a game which is relatively simple and essentially involves drawing cards and rolling dice—is huge. And although the rules make sense when you think about them, I think that Legends Untold collapses a bit under their weight. There are enough rules to interrupt smooth gameplay, enough to obscure the storyline of the game. There is excitement to be found in the world of Legends Untold, but for legends to grow, they need more breathing room.
Do I recommend it?
I really wanted to like this game, but I can't quite recommend it—there are too many little rules to keep track of, without enough payoff.
Overall Rating: 2 stars
5 stars — I love it!
4 stars — I really like it.
3 stars — I like it.
2 stars — It's okay.
1 star — Meh.