Stratego Legends: The Shattered Lands
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Across The Divide the six armies lie in wait. For 100 years a magical force has kept the armies of the Qa'ans, the Manes, and the Gargans from those of the Ancients, the Valorians, and the Celestia. But the Divide is gone and the wars shall start again.
Stratego Legends takes the familiar gameplay of Stratego and expands it into something new. Instead of only having numbers, all pieces now have powers as well. Some fly, some teleport. Some perform better in the marshs or in the mountains. Others have powerful death curses that provide longlasting effects to the battle. There are 206 different pieces in the universe, each with its special function.
Stratego Legends is an "optionally collectible" game. Each box comes with a good army and an evil army whose pieces have been chosen to work well together. However, there are rules for customizing your army (and the lands it fights upon) to specialize your attack force. There are also rules for multiplayer games where 4, 6, or 8 players can square off as two teams: good vs. evil.
Legends was an interesting idea that just didn't translate well. The way it was released just didn't make sense. Too many special abilities for each piece to memorize, so you needed to keep the piece reference charts handy all the time. If you purchased more than one set (which you needed to do to get all of the 6 different armies), you would have extra 'blank" playing pieces, and you could always cut up the extra reference charts to make up some of the pieces you didn't get in the sets you purchased. Buying new sets to get the pieces missing from what you already had didn't make sense because you couldn't know what you were getting and you might end up with lots of multiples of the same piece. It's easy to see why the idea never caught on.
However, the game itself was something else. Being able to customize your army based on the many different playing pieces you could put together is fun, and, with the special abilities for each piece (including the different terrain effects), made for a great update to classic Stratego that was fresh and kept the game interesting even after multiple plays. The artwork, although small, was varied and pretty good (I'm very fond of the one-eyed tentacle thing, who looks like he's straight out of a Lovecraft story), and there were a good number of unique abilities in the mix (and still room for a lot more).
I still break Legends out every now and then, and if they had continued to come out with new pieces, I probably would have bought them. Had the concept been better thought out (perhaps one standard set, and the ability to purchase the rest of the armies where you knew exactly what you were buying), this game might have taken off the way it should have.