Your Legacy – Board Gaming’s New Trend

So, if you follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Nerdologists/), you’ve seen me posting news about the newest season of Pandemic Legacy. I wanted to talk about the legacy games that Kristen and I’ve played thus far, and what we’ve found that works in these games and makes them good. And then go into some games that I wouldn’t mind seeing turned into a legacy game that I own and how that might work.

Image Source: Plaid Hat Games

What is a Legacy Game

Legacy board games are games where you play for a certain number of times or until certain conditions are met, but each time you play you are updating the board/cards.  This means that the game evolves and changes each time that you play it. So your experience playing the game will be different than anyone else’s experience with the game. It also means that you’ve bought a board game that you can only play a limited number of times.

Why would I want to do that?

Because these games are capable of having a bigger and grander feel than other games. There is a consistent story and decisions feel like they are more important. So even though you can’t play it as many times as a normal board game, legacy games have more of an experience as you play it.

Image Credit: Game Base

What are some of the good/bad things we’ve seen?

So, thus far there are three true legacy games, Risk Legacy which we haven’t played, Pandemic Legacy Season 1 and Seafall both of which we either have played, are playing, or will shortly be playing again. Pandemic Legacy is going to be where most good things come from, though as compared to our game group, I don’t mind Seafall as much as some of them do.

  • Having a good/epic feeling story
  • Feeling the pressure of the story
  • Consistently progressing story

These are all important things that I would say make a good legacy game. When you have an idea of what is happening and the story is always moving forward at a consistent pace no matter if you win or you lose, there isn’t any point where you stagnate. It is also important for each of your decisions to feel important, but for there to be some story direction as to why you might want to head in a certain direction.

  • Poorly Written rules/spelling errors
  • Inconsistent story pacing
  • Too many options without enough direction

So, these are all things that Seafall does, in spades. If you decide to play Seafall, look up a how to play youtube video to learn, don’t look at the rules, unless you are a seasoned gamer and patient you won’t learn from them. Also, if you have an analysis paralysis player in your normal game group consider having them not play, or at least be aware the game will come to a halt for five to ten minutes on their turn. If you have two, just don’t play this game.

Image Source: Polygon

Would we recommend either of the games?

Absolutely for Pandemic Legacy Season 1, and we are stoked for Season 2 coming out this fall. The information thus far on it make it look different but similar.

For Seafall, I would say yes, but some caveats. If you have primarily passive players,  meaning they aren’t going to push action/conflict, if you have primarily casual players,  or if you have primarily analysis paralysis players, don’t play this game. Also, realize that this is a slow burn game, with huge rushes of stories that add in awesome stuff. So, if you get Seafall, read up about it and decide if it’s right for your group.

What Games could get a Legacy Treatment?

This is the real reason that I wanted to write this, to do some games that could be turned into a legacy game, I’ll just do one now, but expect to see part 2 later this week.

Dead of Winter

Image Source; Geek Alert

Why it could work: Surviving a zombie apocalypse already has story elements built into it. In Dead of Winter you are trying to survive, but maybe it could be more than that, maybe you are trying to find enough supplies/clear out a path, and going from town to town in a way that is leading you to finding a cure, or more likely finding a safe haven where you and settle down and not worry. I’d play that story, and it lends itself to seasons as well, and good progression.

What would have to change: First, the tone would have be a lightened a bit. The game is quite dark with the crossroad cards and the things that can happen based on them. Those crossroad cards would have to change to be stuff that’s a bit more general. Also, the whole traitor aspect, you’d probably need to drop that, otherwise someone who started the game playing with you might just end up torpedoing everything early on and getting exiled, then what’s the fun for them?

What would I keep: I’d keep the hidden objectives. I like this idea that each player has their own secret dossier that tells them that they are trying to do by the end of the whole first season. Or maybe it isn’t even that big, maybe it’s a secret objective that you have to complete each game or different ones per player in each city/town that you go to. I’d also keep the idea that you have a base in each town (with my story idea), but then the buildings in the town can be different for each town which would be simple to set-up as an in game mechanic. I would also keep it semi-cooperative, but how does that work without there being a traitor?

What I would add: I’d add rewards for completing your hidden objectives, and since this is a legacy game, the players who complete their’s would end up with more of a reward at the end of the game. So that there is real incentive to completing your objective. Also, besides the zombies, there should be a big bad guy at some point, doesn’t have to stay around for the whole game, but having one appear sometimes, or maybe sometimes you are even competing against another group trying to get to safety, and all of this is done mechanic wise in the game.

Would I play this game? Yes, I think that Dead of Winter is ripe for a bigger story to be added to the game, and they’ve already built on it, I think this game needs a legacy version.


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