Legendary: Buffy The Vampire Slayer Review

Legendary: Buffy is such a wonderfully streamlined, fluid and easy to learn game that the rulebook can be left aside after just a few rounds of action, which is always a great sign!

As someone who frequently enjoys the escape route offered by the more fantastic TV offerings out there, it is a little surprising that I’ve never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Equally, as someone who frequently relishes the escape route offered by the more interesting deck building games out there, it seems mad that I’ve never played a Legendary game.

This could be an interesting review.

Legendary: Buffy the Vampire Slayer brings the classic series of deck building games to the vampire strewn streets of Sunnydale. The classic good against evil backdrop is a surprisingly beautiful fit behind a TV show that I’m sure many will now only ever discuss in the pub, through the mists of time cast by one too many pours of the rum bottle. I mean, I say surprisingly because at first I was quite perplexed at the decision to use Buffy as the next stop on the Legendary tour. This is a show, albeit a popular one, that last aired in 2003! To say this choice of theme was a brave one would be something of an understatement.

And then I played the game, and everything simply fell into place.

I instantly understood that the theme was almost irrelevant to my enjoyment of the actual playing of Legendary: Buffy. It didn’t matter that I knew roughly three of the 15 possible choices of hero, it mattered less that I had no idea who the Big Bad was, and less still that the denizens of hell that cropped up in little old Sunnydale intent on ending my days were nothing I had ever encountered before. The beauty of this game is that regardless of familiarity with the franchise on the box, the play is so solid and engaging that immersion is almost instant.

The actual mechanics of Legendary: Buffy will be second nature to those already schooled in the art of deck building games, and for those new to the genre, there is a very mellow learning curve to navigate before the first taste of action.

The basic premise is that each player picks a hero from the wide range of options and takes that character’s deck of 12 cards. The opening deck is a weak selection comprising of Watchers, used to recruit more powerful cards, and Soldiers, capable of dishing out one point of damage. From this deck of 12 each player shuffles and then deals themselves an opening hand of five cards to use on their first turn.

From here players will spend cards from their hand to either purchase more powerful cards for later use, or to inflict damage upon the enemy. A simple strategic element comes into play with decisions regarding card usage and how best to fend of the ever-increasing demonic threat in the tree lined streets of Sunnydale.

The heroes themselves are broken down into different categories based upon their strengths, so some will be all about the muscles, others will be more into the sneaky approach, whilst others again might be all about using the grey matter to overcome the threat. This means there is a definite difference in play that shifts based upon the choice of hero, and allows players to challenge themselves to use alternative strategies for each game.

Alongside the usual decks in play, we also have a Bystander deck of cards. These are cards that the bad folk can capture and attempt to whisk away to their doom, heroes of course can, and really should, attempt to prevent this happening by taking down the evil thing that carries the bystander. Success means the bystander is kept by its saviour, and will earn additional victory points later on.

Let’s talk Demons

The overall goal of the heroes in each game is to defeat the Big Bad. In Legendary: Buffy there are five Big Bads, namely; The Master, The Mayor, Glorificus, Angelus, and The First. None of them meant anything to me, but, once play was underway I quickly became embroiled in a battle for light against dark that felt immersive and enjoyable, and all thoughts of ‘who are these baddies?’ drifted away on the back of some well-played cards.

Each Big Bad has their own unique set of villainous ne’er do wells to back them up, and having glanced though a few of these prior to playing I have to say there is great variety in the evil things on show here. Alongside the more senior sidekicks to the Big Bad, there are also some standard henchmen cards such as Hellhounds and Vampire Initiates with which to flesh out the villain deck.

Now, the basics of play.

Legendary: Buffy is such a wonderfully streamlined, fluid and easy to learn game that the rulebook can be left aside after just a few rounds of action, which is always a great sign!

The idea is that players draw the evil cards first to advance the action, and then play their own cards and use actions to try and scupper the baddies and come out victorious. To taste victory means going up against the Big Bad on multiple occasions over the course of a game until you finally defeat your foe. As a challenge it is genuinely tough. The Big Bad is a hard-hitting villain of impressive demonic nastiness and to take them down requires players to have a solid hand of equally powerful cards to play. There is no easy victory to be had here. I recently played the Hogwart’s Battle deck builder and found, like many others, that the opening few games are supremely easy to win. With Legendary: Buffy there are no such issues.

The action is a semi co-operative affair with players both, playing together to defeat evil, and, vying for the most points individually at the same time.

A nice addition for this series is a Light and Dark track that sits upon the board and shifts when certain events and cards are triggered. Every time the limits of the dark are reached the reward is reaped by the baddies, whenever the uppermost reaches of light are hit the rewards are for the heroes. It proves a very simple but very effective little tool that heightens the play to surprising levels and can shift the balance of power in the blink of an eye.

One other minor add on this time out comes in the shape of courage tokens. These can be acquired through cards and then spent to increase purchasing power or attacks. It’s a simple little addition, but one that is easily implemented.

Legendary: Buffy is the sort of game you finish and then instantly begin again. The variety of cards, heroes and options keep things consistently and brilliantly fresh.

The Bits and Bobs

The contents of the box are of absolute top notch quality. The cards are all very sturdy, vital of course with a deck builder, and there are over 500 of them! The play mat which is that sort of rubberised roll out style thing, is decorated in fittingly dark shades of vampire and after a few plays is holding up really well, and the art on the cards consists of images taken straight from the TV show which for myself actually meant little, but for a fan will be something special I’m sure.

One for the Kids?

This is one for the kids who watched Buffy back in the day and are now well into adulthood, that’s for sure! However, as a game that can be enjoyed by all members of the family, I think Legendary: Buffy stands up pretty well. The various options are all easily understood after a round or two, and aspects such as purchasing cards and understanding a card’s strengths and weaknesses are clearly laid out. It is littered with some pretty scary images from the TV show that would make it something for younger children to avoid, but for the ten plus age bracket I’d say everything is looking good!


The biggest single thing that makes it incredibly easy for me to recommend Legendary: Buffy the Vampire Slayer to others is that I came into this game as a non-fan of the TV show, and I still found myself gripped with the action as though I had been born to slay dark vampirey things. This is in the largest part down to play that just flows so beautifully, alongside a nice depth of strategic options based upon hero choice, and a ruleset that despite allowing such strategy, remains inherently simple.

I was sceptical going in, but leave slain by the magic that is Legendary: Buffy.

Find Buffy at your local game store here

Legendary: Buffy the Vampire Slayer





  • Slick, engaging gameplay
  • No need to be a Buffy fan to enjoy this one
  • Nice depth of strategy and options
  • Light and dark track is a cool addition
  • Brilliantly replayable


  • The theme may put some off
  • The rubberised play mat isn't to everyone's taste
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Neil Bason

Neil is a long in the tooth joystick twiddler, re-invigorated by the magic of board games. He spends his time in deepest Cornwall, writing, rolling dice, drafting cards, drinking coffee, and being endured by his family. It is a simple existence.

Latest posts by Neil Bason (see all)

Neil Bason

Neil is a long in the tooth joystick twiddler, re-invigorated by the magic of board games. He spends his time in deepest Cornwall, writing, rolling dice, drafting cards, drinking coffee, and being endured by his family. It is a simple existence.

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