A Review of The Legends of Storm City: A Cooperative, Superhero, Print & Play, Roll-and-Write Game

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So, we are going to do something a little different this week: this week’s game is a Print & Play game that was #2 on our Top 10 Anticipated Cooperative Games of 2022! I think the reason we were so interested in it was because they haven’t been too many cooperative roll-and-write games! We’ve seen Escape: The Cooperative Roll and Write (see our review here), and there are a few more coming out this year … and that’s about it! We are also super interested (no pun intended) because we really like cooperative Superhero games here at Co-op Gestalt! See our Top 10 Cooperative Superhero games here!

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However, this is a new experience for us! This is a Print & Play from Kickstarter (see the Legends of Storm City Kickstarter here). It was released this January 2023! And when we say released … we mean that we got a bunch of PDFs in a google drive that we have to print ourselves.

Print: Headed to the Print Shop

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My printer at home isn’t great for Print & Play (and the ink costs are ridiculous), so I though I’d head to my local FedEx store and print it there, using their super high-quality color printers.

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It all fit in a paper bag (which will end up being the final home for it once we pack it away). What was the cost? And what did we get?

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You can see out costs above and below:

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So, 36 pages cost $20.33 + tax = $21.98. The printer was even smart enough to realize that some of the pages were black and white, so I only got charged 17 cents per page instead of 64 cents for the color pages.

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Overall, they printed very well and look nice.

Cut: They forget a step!

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I think they forgot a step when they named these games: They call these games Print & Play, but I think a better name is Print & Cut & Play! You still have to go through a lot of work to cut everything up before you can play!!!

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Since this is a roll-and-write, you write on the sheets(s) and then throw away the sheets when you are done: think of a Yahtzee pad that you fill in and then throw away when done. That’s what a roll-and-write typically does.

What are our options?

  • Print multiple copies of the game sheets like Yahtzee!  Mark up the sheets as I play, and then throw the sheets away when the game done.  Expensive, as you saw the prices from the Print step
  • Do some erasing to reuse the sheets, but eventually throw them away.  Okay for the short term, but as saw from the printing prices, I don’t want to print more than I have to!  And erasing always makes the sheets look yucky
  • Laminate the Cards and use dry-erase markers.  Great idea, but the margins are quite thin on sheets, and laminating only works when you have lots of plastic on all the edges.

None of these are great choices for this game. However, in this case, all the cards are basically “standard” card size: If I use card sleeves, then I can cut the cards out and place them in sleeves! Then, I can write on the card sleeves!

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The card sleeves fit perfectly! See above. The only problem is that paper I printed on was pretty weak, so I chose to reinforce the card sleeves with real cards.

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I have a bunch of empty cards from GamesCrafter, so I chose to use those, but I could easily see using cards from a plain deck of cards as well for reinforcement.

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Cutting this out was … not fun. I even have a very nice little cutting helper, and it still took me 1.5 hours to cut everything out and sleeve it.

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You can see above that I got decent results. If you are OCD, you probably don’t like that the papers don’t fit flush against the card stock: basically the white outline of the cards needs to be centered. Depending on how OCD you are, you can spend the time to center the pieces of paper … I didn’t spend that much time on that.

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I spent 1.5 hours cutting and fitting.

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A little tip: keep the PDFs nearby, or take a picture of your full sheets (like I did above). As you cut up the cards, you forget which backs go with which cards because the backs aren’t labelled. (They probably should be).

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There are 6 cards types and 6 backs. See above.

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By the time I was all done, I was pretty tired: this was a lot of work. I kind of wished I could have spent $30 to have the game printed and shipped to me. I paid $5 for the kickstarter PDF files, $21.98 for printing for $26.98. Them I spent 1.5 hours of my life cutting and fitting sleeves (not to mention the .5 hour at the FedEx store) .

I would have preferred a $25 kickstarter with $5 shipping. I don’t think I realized how much work a Print&Cut&Play was until now.

One final note: I want to say that the Legends of Storm City people did a phenomenal job making all the PDFs aligned! It was easy to just cut many sheets at once because everything was precisely aligned on the page. That probably cut (no pun intended) an extra hour of the cutting process. Thank you! It could have been a lot worse!

Read: Oops, Another Step

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Before we play, we have to read the rules.  I think that turns this into a Print&Cut&Read&Play!

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The rules are on standard pieces of paper … because that’s how I printed them. Strictly speaking, I did NOT have to print the rules or the scenario book (which would have dropped the printing price quite a bit): I could have looked at the rules on my phone or padd. In the end, I prefer to get away from my technology when I play games, so I went ahead and printed all the pages.

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The joke here is that I only get a B on the Chair Test: the pages tend to flop over the edges of the chair a little! This is funny because I printed the rulebook, so it’s my fault the form factor isn’t a little better! It was nice, however, to have the rules easily flippable on the chair next to me as I played.

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I will say, these rules aren’t great. I’ve had to read through them several times to get what’s going on. Some of the word choice and tense choice suggests this is a translation, so that explains parts of it. There were a bunch of places where I just had to “move on” as I read in hopes the rules would be clearer later.

I’ve played through now a few times, and the game does start to make sense. The rules are mostly there. I think the rulebook needs some better elaborations and organizational rethinks. Look, I only paid $5, so I can’t complain too much, right? Still, it was a frustrating read. But I did finally understand most of the game.

Go And Get Your Own Components!  This is a Print&Play After All

This seems like another step: Go And Get Your Own Components or GAGYOC.  Since this is a Print&Cut&Read&GAGYOC&Play game, we need to bring our own components (besides the sheets) to the table. The only components we’ve had up until now are the sheets we printed.  But, we need more!

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The most important thing for us is the Ultra Fine dry erase marker!!  Because we want to be able to reuse all the cards, we have sleeved them: we will be using a dry erase marker to mark up the cards.  It is VERY IMPORTANT to get the ultra-fine for this system: the little boxes on the cards are pretty tiny, and any bigger marker will be completely illegible.  Even the Ultra Fine isn’t perfect (see below), but it works.  (We saw how important Ultra Fine Markers were when we reviewed another game with dry-erase boards: The Forests of Adrimon.  See our review here and how much we complained for NOT having ultra-fine markers).

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We also need a bunch of 6-sided dice:

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6 black dice (brown) for the bad guys,  6 white Dice for the good guys, 2 red dice for bad guy threats, 2 yellow Dice for good guy abilities, and one green dice for bad guy abilities (not shown).  Since I didn’t have any yellow 6-sided dice, I chose to use a 10 and 20-sided and re-roll when I don’t get a 1-6.   Hey, I am scraping by to get all the dice I need, all right?

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The final step to GAGYOC is to gather some tokens. Now, the tokens come on a sheet you can cut-up (left above), but I think the Scythe metal coins work as perfect replacements! I don’t have to cut anything else!

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The Scythe metal coins worked surprising well: it was pretty obvious what coins should be what tokens. See above.

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So, that’s kinda all your components!

Set-Up: Are We Ready to Play yet?

Nope! One more step!  Gotta set everything up!  Let’s got through the cards and choose the appropriate cards to use:

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Above are the 4 Hero Cards: each player takes a card to take the role of one of these heroes.  The game can play 1-4 Heroes.

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The goal of of the game is to take out the Elite Villain before his/her Main Plan come to fruition.  Choose one Villain to fight (above, right) and take his/her Main Plan (above left).

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Each Elite Villain also has some Henchmen: See above.  These are the Henchmen cards: you’ll choose three sets of these when you play, maybe all different, maybe some if the game.  These Henchmen work for the main villain!  (The Scenario book will help you choose these).

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There are also Side Plans which cause problems for the Heroes: players must choose 1 Side Plan as well.

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Finally, there are Intervention Plans (see above). Players will choose two of these.

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The Set-Up from the book will show you how to set-up: see above.

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In the end, your board should look something like this!

Play: We Made It!

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So, we made it to the Play step of the increasingly misnamed Print&Play! I think, in the future, we will call these Print&Cut&Read&GAGYOC&Set&Play games. I mean, it was a lot of work to get here! The name should reflect that!

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The main mechanic of the game is to roll dice and assign them to something. The Elite Villain, 3 Henchmen, and 2 Plans are all marked with a “random” but unique number from 1 to 6 (and marked on the card at the start of the game). On the Villain turn, when we roll the Brown dice and roll that number, we activate the appropriate card! The red dice activate threats in a similar way. Above, you see the Main Plan activated once (with a 5), the Side Plan activated twice (two 6s), and the little tiny die (supposed to be green) activates the special ability on the Henchmen (henchman 4).

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It’s a little easier to see up close: See above as the Ninja is activated on 1s (1 in the white diamond tells us which card).

The bad guys do damage to use trying to take us out. Villains win if they activate the main plan, or if they defeat one of the heroes.

In fact, the Heroes lost their first game as Strike One lost all health (white, orange, blue, and yellow blobs).

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The Heroes win if they defeat al Elite Villains or deactivate the main plan. Nefertary was only one point away from being defeated!

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Actually … maybe we did win, since we took out the Main Plan before Nefertary killed us!! Heroes deactivate spaces (marked with Xs), Villains activate spaces with Os. Villains roll a 6 on the black dice to activate, Heroes roll 6s on white dice to deactivate.

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The Hero turn is similar, except they roll and assign White Dice! (And you get one reroll). White dice on Henchmen or Villains means you need to roll again to attack, White dice on Plains deactivates them one space.

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There are much more specific rules to the Villains and Heroes, but that’s the crux of the game: alternate between Villain and Hero turns until someone wins!

Solo Play

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This game supports Saunders’ Law and allows solo play. And thank goodness! Since the rules aren’t very good, the solo player really needs time to go over the rulebook a few times and get a few games under his belt before he teaches the game!

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Once the solo play gets going, it has a nice flow of rolling black dice, figuring out bad guy effects, then rolling white dice for good guys effects (with a possible reroll). I generally had fun once the game started moving, but it was pretty hard to get to that point. The rules made this hard to learn.

Cooperative Play

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This was one of the more “interesting” plays we’ve had in a while.  Unfortunately, not in a good way.

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Since I hadn’t played solo in a while, there was quite a bit of downtime upfront rereading the rules. And I was reminded how many rules there were!

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We were using the crappy dice I had, when Andrew remembered I had Roll Player Adventure! With real properly colored dice!

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From then on, he dice were SO MUCH better! That helped a lot!

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This 4-Player game took about 1.5 hours.

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And my friends did not like this.

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In the end, we won, but we completely smashed it. It wasn’t really that hard.

Conclusion

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This was my first real experience with Print&Play, and I think it really needs to be renamed to Print&Cut&Read&GAGYOC&Set&Play to represent all the work it takes to get to the final play!  I guess I don’t honestly think they’ll change the name, but I didn’t expect there to be so much work.

If you have a printer with cheap ink, then I think printing at home is probably good for you. Unfortunately,  the printing costs for me seemed to suggest I print someplace more professional, but I did pay for it!  With a $5 cost for the Kickstarter and $21.98 cost for the printing, and then several hours of work to assemble everything, I think I would have paid a little extra, like $30 for the game to be professionally printed and boxed and shipped.

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In the end, I liked the game, but friends really didn’t.  Their scores were quite low: 3/10 from both Sara and Andrew, and 5/10 from Teresa. Essentially, they never felt involved, there were too many rules for a small roll-and-write, there weren’t a lot of choices, and they never connected with their hero.

What I would really love to happen is to see a bigger company pick this up: there’s a good game in here, but it’s a diamond in the rough.  The rules need to be really tightened and cleaned up.  And the assembly is so much work.  The best thing, I think, is if the game got a professional printing and you could write on the cards!  Silver and Gold is a great game where you can write on the cards with dry-erase markers: that’s just what this game needs! I suspect this game could even fit in the same sized box as Silver and Gold!  (Just make sure you get an ultra-fine dry erase marker)

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I like The Legends of Storm City, especially once you get into the swing of things. But it needs some work: I’d give it a 5/10. I like it and I’d play it again, but I just worry about forgetting the rules because the rulebook isn’t great. As a counterpoint, remember that my friends didn’t really like this at all.

That said, I’ll bet I would bump this to 6 or even more if they tightened the rules and professionally printed Legends of Storm City like Silver and Gold.

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