Gateway Games: Introduction to Legacy GamesJanuary 25, 2019
Gateway Games is a series of articles aimed at helping you find the games that are right for you. Today, I’m going to introduce you to the concept of Legacy games.
Legacy games have become a very popular genre over the last few years. This style of game is designed for a continued gameplay experience in which the same group of players play through a campaign over the course of multiple sessions. The rules constantly change as each session adds new mechanics, generally tied to the themes of the game. The gameplay permanently evolves as players unlock or reveal variants, making each session feel unique and part of a complete story.
There are quite a few Legacy games that exist, but I am going to introduce you to some beginner friendly versions. These games are a great way to try out the concept without feeling overwhelmed.
Risk Legacy is the original Legacy game that invented this now-popular genre. If you want to check it out, what better place to start than the original version? Plus, Risk has a fairly low barrier to entry for beginner board gamers and is a game most families are familiar with. The gameplay plays mostly the same as regular Risk, where players compete to control territories. There are some major differences in the Legacy version.
- There are five factions in play, each with unique rules and powers
- Some key components are in sealed packages that can only be opened if specific conditions are met
- As the campaign continues, some powers get destroyed (like, literally ripped up)
- The rule book is designed to be changed, depending on what happens in your campaign
If cooperative games are more your style, Pandemic Legacy is the best Legacy game for you to test the waters with. The game starts out similarly to the original Pandemic board game, in which players take on different roles in an attempt to fight off diseases from infecting and killing the world. The Legacy version introduces an ongoing storyline and ways to alter the game as you play. Each session represents a month in time and the game is meant to be played over 12 sessions (covering the arc of a year). Mechanic changes include writing new effects on cards, ripping up cards, and placing stickers on components of the game. Characters can also be affected as the campaign continues, including gaining new skills or being lost (and unable to be played any more).
My personal favorite Legacy game is Betrayal Legacy. The Betrayal series is deeply story driven, which really adds to the feel of a campaign based game. In the Legacy version, each player represents a family exploring a haunted mansion over the course of decades (through a prologue and 13 sessions). Items become heirlooms and character deaths matter as you play through the game. What happens in one session will haunt you in the next.
Join me next week for a deeper dive into more intense Legacy games!