Gateway Games: Serious Legacy GamesJanuary 30, 2019
Gateway Games is a series of articles aimed at helping you find the games that are right for you.
Last week, I wrote an introduction to Legacy games. If this is a style of game that appeals to you, I felt it was important to write a follow-up post about some of the most popular Legacy games that are played. This way, if you want to go deep into this genre, you’ll have a better idea about what that entails before you jump in.
Gloomhaven might be the most talked about Legacy game. People who play Gloomhaven are serious about Gloomhaven. The set-up and clean up for this game can easily take an hour and the play sessions usually run 2-3 hours, so you need an entire afternoon dedicated for each session of this game. This is the deep end of Legacy games. Taking features of RPGs and bringing them into the board game Legacy model, each player chooses a character class and gets components unique to them. They have their own deck of cards, miniatures, mat, tokens, and personal quest (there are 24 possible quests for each character). Players must work together to explore dungeons and ruins, using tactical combat to defeat monsters and enemies. Unlike classic dice rolling, the mechanics of the game are largely based on the individual character decks, making hand management an important skill for this unique game. Characters are able to level up as they gain experience over multiple sessions. The players make decisions that decide what will happen in the following sessions, providing a non-linear story that will constantly change depending on the parties’ actions. In order to play every scenario, it will take a party roughly 75 sessions. Which is a lot of sessions. If you are looking for a longterm commitment to play with a group of friends regularly, this could be the game for you.
The Legacy game that I am most interested in trying is Charterstone. This game takes many of my favorite strategy board game mechanics, including city building, card drafting, and worker placement and brings them into an ongoing campaign with an ever-changing story. Players work cooperatively to build a kingdom, using stickers to create the actions on the gameboard. After twelve sessions, you will have a completed board game, customized uniquely by you and your friends. The art is also more bright and cutesy than other Legacy games, which is more my style. Play sessions are closer to 1-2 hours, making this a more accessible game to get into for people with busy adult lives.
SeaFall takes the classic Legacy game model and puts it in the swashbuckling setting of world discovery. Players work together to discover islands and create new civilizations, figuring out trade agreements and interacting in ship-to-ship combat along the way. There are multiple provinces to sail from, each with a unique back story and mechanics. You can sail wherever your heart desires, meaning that it’s completely up to your party what you will discover first. These decisions will affect the story and gameplay dramatically, meaning that no two games are alike. Sessions are on the longer end, being roughly 3 hours, but the set up doesn’t take nearly as much prep time as Gloomhaven. SeaFall last roughly 15 sessions to complete the campaign.
I hope these two Legacy articles help you find an ongoing game for you to play with friends!