Review – Oceans: Legends of the Deep

"There the ships move about, and Leviathan, which you formed to play there." - Psalm 104:26

LotD-Box_1000x

 

Designer Dominic Crapuchettes

Artist Guillaume Ducos, Tomasz Jedruszek

Publisher NorthStar Game Studio

Category Expansion

Length 30-90min

Release Date 2023

Player Count 2-4

Powerful, mythological ocean creatures from cultures all around the world join the ecosystem in Oceans: Legends of the Deep. Is it a fin-tastic addition to the base game, or should it be forgotten as the tides roll on? 

New to Oceans? Check out our original review and app review

Content Guide

Some illustrations feature human-like creatures with few clothes on. 

Review

Oceans: Legends of the Deep is a simple addition to Oceans. Players will each receive 4 legends cards and use the pick-and-pass method until everyone receives 1 final card. The legends can be played using victory points, similar to Deep cards, but each player can only have 1 legend in play at a time. 

The legends are awesome. Many have game-changing abilities that can feel overpowered, but it makes thematic sense. The legends’ high-power abilities also help give players some guide rails on what sort of species to evolve. Say you have a legend who helps you leech, then evolve your species around that. Perhaps your legend allows your species’ to forage extra fish from the reef, then evolve your species so they can handle all that food. Legends also generally help the game move faster because they provide more opportunities for players to gain fish.

The art is incredible. I was confused about the box size of Oceans: Legends of the Deep until I opened it up to find beautifully illustrated oversized cards. As a fan of ocean creatures (living, extinct, mythological), I find the art fun and engaging and of a more vibrant sort than what’s found in my treasured copy of The Book of Sea Monsters by Eggleton and Suckling. Moreover, using different cultures’ sea creatures as inspiration for these is a great move. Who doesn’t want to learn extra bits of mythology and history while they play board games? 

Oceans: Legends of the Deep is a double-edged sword for gameplay. On one hand, the special abilities make you feel powerful and give you some ideas on how to evolve your species amidst the many choices. On the other hand, the special abilities can feel incredibly overpowered, especially if you don’t have a way to counter. I wish there was a way for players to remove other players’ legends from play when things get out of hand. This hasn’t been thoroughly tested, but I’ve played around with the houserule of: pay the victory points of another player’s legend and discard a legend from your hand in order to force that player to discard their legend from play.

Make no mistake: if you enjoy the chaotic, uniqueness of the Deep cards in Oceans, you’ll get a kick out of Oceans: Legends of the Deep

NorthStar Game Studio kindly provided a review copy.  

The Bottom Line

Those who enjoy the Deep cards from Oceans will find more to enjoy here, even if it brings more chaos.

 

7.5

spencer
Author: Spencer Patterson

I'm a teacher, writer, and board game reviewer. I especially love board games that pull me in like a good book. My wife is my favorite gaming partner.