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TOPIC: Let's Talk: LEGACY EDITION

Let's Talk: LEGACY EDITION 18 Nov 2017 09:52 #257846

With Betrayal at House on the Hill Legacy being announced, I instantly thought, "yes, this is a fantastic idea and will sell 100k+ copies for sure." Will it beat Pandemic? Maybe not. But for the Wil Wheaton and Tom Vasel watching crowd, which is a sizable chunk of game buyers, this sounds like a perfect storm to me. I know that a lot of long time game players and collectors sneer at the Legacy games as a cash grab and dislike them on principle. That's fine. I disagree and think that they _can be_ great.

I've played a total of ~2 Risk Legacy campaigns. Once all the way through with grade schoolers at work over a several month period, and two that failed miserably 4-9 games through with supposedly well adjusted adults. Played through all of Pandemic Legacy Season 1 with the SO and in-laws and loved it to pieces, playing the entire thing in less than 3 weeks. I signed up to playtest Seafall, but couldn't get a group of 3-4 other folks to commit to even playing the first game. At its core, "Legacy" is just a fancy way of saying a campaign system, preferably with no way of hitting the UNDO button. Rob wanted to be a writer for Hasbro. His formative gaming experiences were being a DM with his buddies. Try to find some of his interviews about Risk or Pandemic- they're fascinating, and a bunch of gaming podcasts have done them with him.

Although not made by Rob, Gloomhaven and Kingdom Death Monster are essentially legacy games too. In KDM you aren't instructed to destroy your mini's when they die, but that'd make it totally hardcore and pricey, especially if you paint those bastards. The perma death and price point of KDM make it comparable to just buying a bunch of Legacy copies of something, tbh. They're also both cooperative, which I think is the best way for these Legacy games to function. Even something like Descent Road to Legend can be thought of as a precursor to this trend. Dungeon crawls lend themselves to this naturally, but the destruction of materials and adding campaigns to normally more boring games is the wrinkle here, and Rob deserves a lot of credit. (A meeting about Clue originally inspired the 'legacy' idea).

I've identified 3 traits to make campaign systems succeed in tabletop.

1. Taking a known property that we know is already a fun[ctional] game
2 Cooperative gameplay
3. Narrative opportunity

Pandemic Legacy hits all three points right on the head. Risk Legacy has issues with point 2, and Seafall basically fails all three tests. Betrayal will be good; I think 2 is mostly there, but the narrative opportunity is enormous, and a huge draw of this kind of system.

But taking a known game is perhaps the most important criterion. When you take a classic like Risk, give it a shorter playtime with a simple scoring system, you've got an instant audience. "Hey, you wanna play Risk?" "I don't have all night!" "Yeah, but this version is over in 90 minutes, and you already know how to play." "Okay, sure!" It's an expansion to a game we already know. Starting with a simple, known game with minor adaptations makes it much easier to slowly add more rules to it. Although Pandemic Legacy was already a short game (a big reason I wasn't interested in it to begin with), creating long term choices at the end of the game was a great idea. Seafall is an opaque euro optimization conflict thingy. You can create "enmity," but you don't know why any of it matters. Players are literally adrift at sea holding their dicks, hoping that a well-written storey paragraffe will save their evening. Game 1 has to be low entry and fun, or else no one will commit to playing this kind of game.

Risk ends in people flipping tables or refusing to play more games to complete the mutual investment in time and resources. Seafall, as I understand it, resulted in people being bored when it's not their turn. Pandemic, 'alpha-player' problem and all, results in people working together on stuff, discussing the long and short term ramifications of every choice, and eagerly anticipating the next game. Cooperation keeps people engaged on every turn and looking forward together. The potential downside of having an imbalanced game in a legacy setting is much less of an issue without competition. I'm sure that imbalanced situations is what has killed more Road to Legend/Descent 2.0/Imperial Assault campaigns than anything else, but I can totally see a team of ass-kicking heroes wanting to keep playing in those situations, because at least they're feeling the cooperative aspect.

Without some kind of a story, it doesn't make sense to link things together at all. If your goal is to make the most pointastic salad for Caesar and flex your cardboard laurel, just keeping one of those nerd-ass point journals and telling BGG "I scored 42 points as a mutton glutton" is sufficient. But writing your name on stuff (including characters), tearing up cards, and adding mechanics is fun in a shared experience. At some point I'd like to do a spoiler-full Pandemic Legacy Season 1 discussion, because I think that the narrative power of the mechanical changes was quite well done and clever, even if the story beats themselves were pretty ho-hum and predictable. Tearing apart rooms and lighting fire to character cards in Betrayal? Hell-fucking-yes. Rob wrote the paragraphs for the original Betrayal, I have no doubt that this will be a modern classic, and one of the biggest games that comes out in whatever year it comes out.
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Let's Talk: LEGACY EDITION 18 Nov 2017 10:01 #257847

I liked Risk:L better than Pandemic:L, and Pandemic is one of my favorite games of all time. P:L was fun (just finished my second runthrough of that last night, after two years) but just felt a bit too scripted to me, and also gets quite fiddly for what I like about Pandemic. So far, as a Legacy game, I like Season 2 a little better, and because it’s a little different than normal Pandemic, that helps in terms of my interest.

So I disagree entirely that a Legacy game needs to be cooperative. I never liked Risk, but we all had a blast with R:L and enjoyed the competitive nature of it.

I also love Gloomhaven, but its Legacy aspects are minimal and just add a bit to the overall experience.

Charterstone is coming soon, and is a completely competitive and original Legacy game, which would go against your 1 and 2. We’ll see how that does. Early buzz is very good, if not necessarily exuberant.
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Let's Talk: LEGACY EDITION 18 Nov 2017 10:44 #257850

Risk Legacy is great, no doubt, and when you can have a group that adequately works together and against the leading player(s), or people are less upset when they lose, it works. One of the issues with designing a Legacy game is that after a certain number of plays, the designer has less and less control over your experience. It can get off the rails, and in a competitive game that can be more of an issue when it comes to player retention. I'd wager thousands of dollars that the percentage of Risk Legacy campaigns that finish after starting is much, much lower than that of Pandemic Legacy. And you even did it twice! I'm guessing to prepare for Season 2?

Uncertainty is what makes it hard for a group to get formed and commit to something like this, which is why point 1 is so big to me. (Risk Legacy also seemed to make less of an emphasis on playing with the same crew every single game). Uncertainty about the later plays is what can make them harder to design. Uncertainty is already baked into Betrayal's gameplay, and it's welcomed! This is why I think it's such a natural fit. If shit gets really weird, it's working as intended.
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Let's Talk: LEGACY EDITION 18 Nov 2017 11:05 #257851

So when you guys played these through two or more times, did you just buy another copy or did you set if up in a way to not make permanent changes and rip up the board?
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Let's Talk: LEGACY EDITION 18 Nov 2017 11:22 #257852

I did multiple copies with R:L - it was separate groups in separate locations. Setting up to not make permanent changes sounds like one of the silliest ways to spend one's time and money, up there with sleeving 2000 dominion cards. It would only make sense if both A) You felt the chances of you playing through the campaign was very low and B) You'd like to resell it.

I wouldn't buy it in that case.

Gloomhaven is releasing some kind of sticker thing though. At that point we should just go back to pen and paper RPGs...
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Let's Talk: LEGACY EDITION 18 Nov 2017 11:44 #257853

I have never played a legacy game, but I have wanted to. I had pre-ordered Seafall but canceled after the initial word was very negative on it. I'm glad I didn't buy it.

But Betrayal, I'm doing it.
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Let's Talk: LEGACY EDITION 18 Nov 2017 11:52 #257854

Jexik wrote:
I did multiple copies with R:L - it was separate groups in separate locations. Setting up to not make permanent changes sounds like one of the silliest ways to spend one's time and money, up there with sleeving 2000 dominion cards. It would only make sense if both A) You felt the chances of you playing through the campaign was very low and B) You'd like to resell it.

That's kind of what I figured but I also kind of figured people didn't play these through multiple times, so I figured I'd ask.

I've got a copy of Pandemic Legacy S1 that I need to start. I eventually bored of regular Pandemic and gave my copy away, but I figure the Legacy elements will spice it up enough for another dozen plays or so.
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Let's Talk: LEGACY EDITION 18 Nov 2017 16:01 #257858

I've had a copy of R:L for about 5 years now, got it just before my main group dropped in numbers so I hardly ever had more than three players and I wasn't wasting it on just three players (and my mainly euro group were never interested).
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Let's Talk: LEGACY EDITION 18 Nov 2017 16:32 #257863

Risk Legacy is one of my favorite gaming experiences.
Period.

Pandemic Legacy with the SO? Less so. Much less so. Here's what I wrote to some of my gaming buddies:

"Pandemic Legacy isn't lame. But it is 100% overrated. YMMV. If you enjoy Pandemic, Pandemic Legacy is arguably better. I found Risk Legacy a superior game, because of it's game "chassis." Risk has a very simple rule set. It's Legacy features complement the set without burden, but more importantly - the board evolves purely from player interaction. The Legacy features in Pandemic evolve from a timed script. Variables exist, but they're superficial.

In summary; Gamers play Risk Legacy. Pandemic Legacy plays Gamers.

Co-ops aren't my thing"
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Let's Talk: LEGACY EDITION 18 Nov 2017 23:35 #257873

I’d like to see Battleship Galaxies Legacy, with more units and a Rebellion-style campaign board where you’re taking planets which unlock more ships. I’ve long thought FFG is asleep at the wheel for not making an X-Wing/Armada/Rebellion/Imperial Assault crossover kit which allows you to play a campaign involving each game set for different missions - planetary bombardment, raids, fighter skirmishes, et al.

It’d be fuck all expensive but it would be the best game ever made, ever.
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Let's Talk: LEGACY EDITION 19 Nov 2017 07:11 #257876

Haha,yeah.

I'm also not kidding when I say that Pandemic: Cthulhu: Legacy: The Crossroads Game would actually be pretty great. You'd have to destroy the crossroads cards once you use them though so you don't have to sit through the writing twice.

Going insane could be something that gradually happens over the course of many games. The text below the triggers on the crossroads cards could be scratch off so you don't accidentally spoil them. (Or it could be app-supported, but the scratch off is probably more fun, maybe even include like an elder sign scratch off thingy). You could put a sticker on the back of the board halfway through. It could be amazing. i got no insider information here; just grandstanding.
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Let's Talk: LEGACY EDITION 19 Nov 2017 10:49 #257885

Yeah, Colby should already be working on this.
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Let's Talk: LEGACY EDITION 19 Nov 2017 11:21 #257888

ASL did Legacy mechanics nearly 30 years ago with Red Barricades.
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Let's Talk: LEGACY EDITION 20 Nov 2017 12:30 #257930

So this is going to get a little ranty, I apologize in advance...

In the process of paring down my collection to be able to move (some of) it overseas, I've come to really resent my copy of Pandemic Legacy. I did complete the game, and I enjoyed it well enough, but then what do I do with it? The obvious answer is that it is either a museum piece or it just needs to be thrown away. And I've come to the conclusion that this is really crappy.

Here's the thing, while I enjoyed the story beats, none of them were so transcendent that they justified a completely new game. I've had a lot of really dramatic moments in a lot of games, and those did not require me to buy a completely new game that is essentially "used up" upon completion of the story. Sure you COULD play it more upon completion, but changing the game IS the game. When that possibility is gone it's hard to get too excited about anything else.

I think Legacy games feel too much like DRM on a video game. You can only play on the designers' terms. Either that manifests itself as a limited amount of play or in a very structured narrative. But both of these kick against the real personal nature of table games, which for me is something essential to the hobby. I don't think any narrative that could be imposed on the game is worth that trade-off.

I do think that Pandemic Legacy was too scripted, and I can see Betrayal being better this way, since it doesn't require the designers to craft a story that everyone should follow. But I'm going to skip it most likely, because Legacy games have taken this hobby too far from what I want it to be.
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Let's Talk: LEGACY EDITION 20 Nov 2017 14:23 #257931

This is why I will not buy a legacy game. But, I'd probably enjoy the experience playing one. I'd feel bad about wasting the game after it was played. I still don't see why you can't just reproduce a legacy game with pen and paper and a sealed game master guide.
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