Auction: Pretty straight forward concept in gaming, there’s some part of the game that you have to bid on to get. It could be something like turn order, which is my choice, or it could be the majority of the game where you are trying […]
I’ve done these battles a number of times now, but we’re going to talk about Legacy (if you’re a WWE fan, you might have a few legacy jokes going through your head). If not, we’re going to be battling it out between the four legacy games that I’ve played thus far. Yes, I said four, and technically I’ve played five different legacy games, but we’ve already had a battle between Pandemic Legacy Season 1 and Pandemic Legacy Season 2, and I think they are close enough in feel and tie in that they are going to go into a single entry.
As I have talked about it before, it’s the first to enter the ring for the board game throw down. Pandemic Legacy is a strong contender as it works in a great story line with nice cooperative play. Season 1 is very similar to regular Pandemic where each person takes on the role of a CDC member and you are fighting various outbreaks. However, soon after you’ve started, you get a lot of twists and turns. The second season is much the same continuing after the first game by a little ways and able to be played without having played the first, but you’ll appreciate it more if you have played the first season.
Now, I’ve written about this game as well, and I will say that I haven’t played through whole game, and likely never will. SeaFall is an exploring sea faring game where you take on different tribes and try and expand explore the unknown. There is a story running through the game, though, it can be a bit tricky to find all of the story in the correct order or to feel like there is a ton of story to it.
This variation on classic Risk takes you to an alien planet, that somehow looks exactly like Earth, except that all the borders are made up of short straight lines. At that start of every game you pick your group of people and where you want to start, but instead of it being a slog to total world domination, it’s a race to see who can be the first to the victory point total. This move cuts the game time down a long long ways and makes the game much easier to get to the table than regular risk.
The final game in the battle is a worker placement game where you are competing against others to win the favor of the king as you work and build up a town for him. You build buildings, use what comes out of them to build more buildings, and you can explore crates which open up more opportunities to build and develop your section of the town into something unique. The game board evolves as the buildings you place are stickers, so everyone’s game is going to be unique.
Let’s talk about the tale of the tape with these games:
Time: Seafall games are by far the longest of any of these games. I don’t think that any others come close, in fact, Risk Legacy, the next longest game time, is probably about half the length of a single game of Seafall. Charterstone and Pandemic Legacy both generally clock in at under an hour, and Risk Legacy is just over an hour, whereas Seafall is probably three hours per game.
Story: Only in one of these legacy games would I say that there is a ton of story. Pandemic Legacy is full of story and twists and turns. I might get some disagreement, but Seafall has the next most story. While the story isn’t told the best, and you can get story out of order, there is definitely story in Seafall, it just isn’t presented or paced all that well. Risk Legacy and Charterstone basically have no story. Charterstone has a story slapped on the game, but the game wouldn’t play any different without the story, so I consider it completely optional, though it does pace out better than Seafalls, seeing as the story doesn’t really make a difference, it goes lower on the tape.
Ease of Play: Risk Legacy is probably the easiest out of all of them to play because it is just Risk with victory points. There’s plenty of familiarity with Risk out there in the world, and while not everyone might like it, they can probably pick it up easily. Charterstone is the next easiest as the mechanics of the game, while they do grow more complicated, still basically always remain, place a worker, or pick your workers up, so turns go by quickly. Pandemic Legacy is next, while at the start of the game it might be easier to grasp than Charterstone, Pandemic Legacy quickly adds in a lot of rules that you have to remember. Finally, Seafall, to no surprise, is a beast when ti comes to play, you have a lot of hard decisions to make every turn, and there is a decent amount of luck involved. Add in a poorly written rule book, and Seafall is not a game to pull out with beginners.
Now, I think that all of these games can be okay games. I have plenty of issues with Seafall, mainly a horrible rule book, and a poorly paced story, there are some solid mechanics behind it, and a lot of interesting and tough choices to make. However, it’s also the only one that is prone to a ton of analysis paralysis. So it’s the first out of the match, which is a shame, because I had high expectations for the game, which is some of the problem, because the game didn’t align with those expectations at all. Next out of the match is actually a double count out, so we’re getting to the winner which is Pandemic Legacy. No surprise there, but Pandemic Legacy has the story element and thematic ties that I look for in games. I will say this, though, about Charterstone and Risk Legacy, if your group is going to play a couple of games of it every other month, they are going to be better games to play, because you aren’t going to add in rules that vastly change the game between plays. However, the speed of play of Pandemic Legacy, the cooperative nature, and the great story telling makes it the winner.
On the horizon I’m hoping to play Rise of Queensdale and Betrayal Legacy. And I have yet again massive expectations for a Legacy game with Betrayal Legacy.
How many legacy games have you played, are there some that you haven’t that look interesting to you?
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This won’t be a full review, as I’ve only played the first scenario in Gloomhaven, but I’ve done it twice, since we didn’t win the first time. But I did want to get up some initial thoughts quickly. Legacy Game vs. Dungeon Crawler One of […]
It’s time for part two of my review on SeaFall (Original Post). I’m going to try and keep this spoiler free, but if I feel like I can’t keep it spoiler free for some reason, I’ll give you a warning as to where the spoilers are, so you can avoid them.
SeaFall is the third true legacy game out there that doesn’t fancy itself a role playing game as well. For a refresher, in SeaFall, you take on the role of “pirates” or “explorers” who are discovering new islands and chunks of see. You are battling your opponents so you can expand and score points through various means such as raiding sites, exploring sites, buying upgrades for your colony and ships, or buying treasure. The game is a race to a certain number of points per game.
This game is actually fairly strategic. Each time you play you need to determine what is the best strategy you can take and if you can support yourself with the strategy throughout the whole game. At times this is a downfall of a game though as depending on the strategy you take, have a ship sink might just completely wreck your strategy and will set you back a number of turns. Also with the number of things that you can do, remembering everything you can do is kind of tricky. It doesn’t help that this game has very poor rules. See the first post (linked at the top of the article) for a great video on how to play the game. I would say that this is probably 100% needed for every player who wants to play the game to watch that video and then have a single player as a rules expert.
So besides rules, there is another area that this game is extremely lacking. The story is really only pulled out when you are either exploring (and this isn’t too much in terms of story), or when you get milestones. So, I always recommend that you go hard after milestones. This is going to make the game feel like it’s moving, and it moves it from a more stale game into something that is a whole lot more fun. No spoilers as to what comes up, but there are some weird things that happen. Also, note that if you have any confusion about stuff, google it. We were playing with open sea cards (they have question marks on them) and research cards for a little bit of time. But the research cards had a compass on them, so we all thought it made more sense the other way around. But back to story, this game really really needs just a tiny bit of text at the start of each game as it would feel like the game is progressing.
So, would I recommend this game? I would say maybe. This is a game that really needs to have a more serious gaming group and it might not even work then. There are some random swings in the game that might really annoying a more serious player, so be aware of that. Also, this game isn’t great for an analysis paralysis player. AP players are going to want to do a lot of different things on their turn, and likely not in the same guild, so they are going to agonize over their decisions a lot and their turns won’t move quickly. For a game that is already somewhat slow, having someone take even more time is going to really drag out a game that takes longer every time you play.
What are some things that I like about the game? I do actually like the story when it happens, and we’ve played 6 games now (or maybe 7) and it seems like it balances out pretty well for players as everyone gets upgrades. However, since the story doesn’t happen often and it doesn’t set-up some of the huge swings that happen in the game, it makes it frustrating for people who picked a certain strategy. I will say that I always did say that they were going to run into issues because getting something powerful wasn’t going to come without a cost. Be aware of that trap though, and it should be pretty obvious when the mechanic comes up what is the trap mechanic.
Overall, I’d say that this game, while I enjoy it, leaves a lot to be desired. Some of why I like it is probably because I am a gamer, and I love playing board games. I do think that the game is pretty well balanced, but then there are certain moments that will throw it out of balance, but there are always ways to put it back into balance. There are some things that I really do dislike, mainly the rule book and lack of a consistent story, which you’ve heard me harp on already. These do make it a lot harder to really enjoy the game.
Overall Grade: C-
Gamer Grade: B+
Casual Grade: D
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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.
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.
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.
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
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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