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Which Legacy Games Are For You?

Legacy Games - Charterstone

Legacy games are games which are one and done campaigns that you must play with the same group of people to unravel the story together. As the story of the game unfolds, more and more changes to the gameplay will appear, you will destroy components and place stickers over boards and cards. Perhaps you will kill off characters in the game, or maybe level your characters up in certain attributes. In our household, we love legacy games, they are an experience that you share with those that you play with. An experience full of memories shared with friends. I’ve assembled a merry band of bloggers to come up with some of our favourite legacy games for you.

For Those Who Love Building A World - Hannah Blacknell

Charterstone by Stonemaier Games is a village building legacy game that goes from a pretty basic worker placement and resource management game to a relatively advanced game as the games progress. Talking about legacy games is inherently difficult as most of the fun comes from the surprise, so forgive me for being light on details of gameplay here. As the game goes on you will be exploring new areas of the map, putting down stickers that will offer cool new worker placement spots. Opening crates will add more cards to your hand, perhaps new rules and components too so you are rewarded for exploring. Each game is over pretty quickly, as the timer for the game means the more exploring you do, the quicker the game is over, but the more points you receive. At the end of each round, you will be able to level up your characters and choose what resources and cards you want to take into the next round.

We have played this game with our neighbours who prior to living next door to us had definitely not played much in the way of board games beyond Blokus, but now are a fully fledged family of hobby gamers. This was their first introduction to worker placement which probably made the initial game a bit harder for them than it might have been, but it was definitely all still manageable. So I would say that this can be played with most anyone, as the game difficulty develops as you play the games. This is a game that is best played with at least 4 players, and can accommodate up to six players. At lower player counts you will probably want to use the AI bot players a little more which might increase the amount of game management you need to do a little more than is optimum.

For Those Who Love Spatial Puzzles - Favouritefoe

My City was our introduction to legacy games, and what a high bar to set ourselves. This cracker from KOSMOS is the brainchild of Reiner Knizia, and the puzzle king does not disappoint.

The game is a polyomino based tile laying game where you are building, yep you guessed it, your city. Buildings come in three different types, and the board develops over a series of 24 episodes grouped into Chapters. Other features get introduced as the game progresses via Chapters which you open in order. Each chapter has a micro theme and contains 3 individual but linked episodes. Each episode preserves the rules preceding it and adds new placement restrictions and/or scoring opportunities. You won’t know what the next Chapter or series of episodes contains until you have finished the one before it. And whilst those sealed envelopes might be tempting, you mustn’t sneaky peek!

Excitingly, scoring happens after each episode. Depending on where you place, you’ll be gaining VPs and adding features to your board with stickers that create a unique, evolving, ever-altered playing space for you. You are building your permanent legacy – how cool is that?! But, that’s not the only superb feature of My City. After you have finished, you can flip the legacy side of the board and there’s an eternal game to play and replay at your leisure.

My City is essentially an all-you-can-eat buffet of board gaming. Or, perhaps, a have-your-cake-and eat it experience. Why? Well, because it’s not just a legacy game that reveals itself layer after layer like an awesome onion. It has an eternal game at the end that is forever replayable. And so, if you want to play something that is more than just a one-and-done event, then My City tops the list so far as we are concerned!

Replayability is a big consideration for us. Environmentally speaking. Value for money wise. Having something that we can go back to and enjoy as much as we did the journey to get us there is unique and inspiring. If you like the excitement of the big reveal and want a collection game that stands the test of time, My City is a great legacy choice.

For Those Who Love To Betray Their Friends - Dan Street Phillips

2004’s campy B-movie-inspired Betrayal at House on the Hill was definitely a love/hate type of game. The basic premise was you were exploring an old haunted house by revealing tiles one by one. As you explored you might stumble across useful items, or events or if you were especially unlucky, an omen. Once you have collectively discovered a certain number of omens, the game stops and a haunt begins. At this point the group splits up, and now there is a traitor.

The beauty of this game is the book of 50 unique haunts. Some are better than others but this is a game about narrative. It is all about the immersion in the world of the genre and so it was perfect for the Legacy makeover.

This is perhaps my favourite narrative of any Legacy game. The depth of the storytelling and the twists and turns are completely immersive. You now play as different generations of the same family tree, keeping your character from game to game unless they die, either from natural causes in between games or by the traitor in your previous haunt. This requires a really creative input from the players and we had so much fun creating characters and adding to their narrative as the game went on. You name cards after your family and create heirloomed items that are more powerful for you than anyone else. And there are moments of real shock as you unlock and destroy elements of the game. This is up there with one of the greatest gaming experiences of my life and to this day I am haunted by it, in all the best ways.

For Those Who Want To Be In At The Beginning - Panto Pete

Prior to 2011 a legacy was something you might inherit from a deceased relative. There was no such thing in the world of boardgames. Then Rob Daviau, a Hasbro employee had a Damascene moment. Why do all the characters in Cluedo turn up again at Dr. Black’s mansion when they know, for example that Miss Scarlet had done away with him with a Dagger in the Ballroom? So he decided to develop a style of game where the results of one play through would change the game forever for the next time.

He chose one of Hasbro’s most popular games to modify and thus Risk Legacy was born and would go on to spawn a whole genre of Legacy style games. Risk Legacy is played as a series of 15 games where each game results in permament changes being made to the board, rules and/or player factions. These alterations are contained in sealed packages to be opened when pre-set conditions are met. Some of these may remain unused.

The first game is very much vanilla Risk but with the change that you win by gaining a number of Red Stars. This is much quicker than the slow grind of total global Domination. The other difference is the player factions. These give specific advantages based on their play style and can also be changed. Surprisingly you don’t have to be the same faction throughout the whole campaign. So if you want to know how it all started try Risk Legacy.

For Those With A Family Group - Camille

I was always intrigued about legacy games: the evolving story, the changing rules, the heightening stakes. Still, I had concerns. I was worried about destroying components. If the story would get too complex to remember between sessions. If the rules started out fun but changed into something I didn’t enjoy. If you have similar worries, then Zombie Teenz Evolution is for you.

The premise and starting rules are simple: your town is being overrun by zombies, you have to create an antidote. On each turn, you roll a die to move the zombies, then do two actions, such as move, attack zombies, or transfer ingredients. If the zombies breach all four buildings, you lose. If you get all four antidote ingredients to the centre space, you win.

With each played game, you fill a tracker to unlock envelopes that evolve the game, adding rules such as player powers or stronger zombies, and furthering the narrative. The story is shown through comic book panels on stickers, making it easy to recap at the start of a session, and easy to follow regardless of your players’ reading levels. Additionally, you never have to actually use all (or any) of the new rules, you can pick and choose. If you think the game has become too hard, you can always revert it. Components are altered, but only ever on one side - the other maintains the original. In this way, Zombie Teenz Evolution is a legacy game uniquely well-suited for different playgroups and moods.