Legacy games confuse me. They’re unusual and don’t follow the same rules as other boardgames; they’re different. And as someone who likes knowing what’s what that puts me off. Not to say I won’t try one or purchase one! Don’t go jumping to conclusions just yet… Should one catch my eye and look fun to play I’ll be all about it! But my issue is the replayability and permanence of them. Hear me out… I personally believe a game is something you should be able to play time and time again, building memories and enjoying the game. Legacy games are very much like that… but they aren’t designed to last. They’re meant to be a one off experience played over a few sessions; a one off story. The idea behind a legacy game is that previous play throughs change the next and influence the way the game is played by adding or removing mechanics and altering play. The game evolves as you play it, which sounds incredible until you realise there may be a point at which you can no longer play the game.
For me, I buy a game so I can play it multiple times. I like the idea that I can play it loads, leave it a while, pick it up again and still have a positive experience and notice differences in play. Legacy games remove that by only allowing one direct run through of a game with the next being potentially nothing like the previous as cards/elements have been removed or altered. Not only that, there comes a point where it is no longer the original game and is no longer playable to its initial potential. The game is not infinite and has a defined end where it can no longer be played. Don’t get me wrong, I can see the appeal in some respects, I adore games that are heavy in atmosphere and are able to draw you in. The permanent changes to the game mean its dynamically altering and the play style gives a very thematic, engrossing and unique experience. Your play is affecting the game and that gives you more weighting in what you do. How you play will change the game forever, which would be a huge selling point were it not for the fact you are also preventing a return to its original state! Call me precious, but even though the game is designed to change I like to look after my stuff and keep it at a good quality.
Despite my grumbling, I’ve actually seen some companies see this problem as a business opportunity for people like me by selling elements for Legacy games that remove the whole ‘destroy parts of the game’ mechanic through stickers and whatnot. I’ve also seen other reviews by people who were a little more reluctant to purchase extra stuff to let them play and have gone as far as to photocopy whole decks of cards! A bit extreme for my liking but forward thinking nonetheless. I will eventually end up buying a Legacy game (being a massive fan of Betrayal I’ve been eyeing up its Legacy version since it came out) but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll enjoy the tearing of cards.. Especially when paying £50+ for something I’ll get only so many plays out of! It makes you wonder whether Legacy games are a current fad? Or are they a permanent addition to styles of play?