I’ve had a change of heart on Legacy games since playing Betrayal Legacy; I have found I’m really enjoying my time playing it. (Just so you’re aware, this post should be spoiler free!) It’s less about the concept of the game and more about the fact it is an experience to go through, the game evolves and changes as you play it and this means your experience of the game is unique to someone else’s. And as an adaptation of an already existing game it may even be fair to say this is the Story Mode of the original Betrayal At House On The Hill. Don’t get me wrong, I love the original, but this is different enough to be held within a different standard. But, and this is a grand amount of controversy on my part, I quite like the fact that you need to destroy/remove/alter elements of the game as you go, and that goes against everything I have known or said previously. I’m known for being very precious about my games in the first place so I never thought I’d get a thrill of sorts from tearing a tile or card!
Now this is where I split the room a little bit; I’m going on a whim from what I’ve read, seen in forums, and from chatting to people, but from what I’ve seen there are two types of Legacy players. Those who Legacy their games, and those who Save them. When I say Legacy their game, I mean wholly commit to the destruction and alteration of their boardgame. Those who Save are those who find ways around altering or marking cards, and do no destroy elements. Whether that’s because they’re money conscious (that was my main concern!) or whether it’s because they’re protective of their possessions, in my opinion, they aren’t allowing the Legacy game to have a legacy (which is a complete turnaround from my last post on Legacy games!) There’s no issue with that as it’s their game so their choice, but having had the experience myself I question whether they’re likely to enjoy the game as much as I did by not having the experience of altering something permanently so it has an unavoidable impact on future events.
It’s not a normal thing to do; destroy cards and elements of a game, nor is it something I was comfortable with before playing a Legacy game however seeing the impact it had on the events within the game made the storytelling experience all the more absorbing and made us recognise as players that what we did would always matter. Especially in a game as semi-cooperative as Betrayal, what we did might have hindered our allies or hurt our enemies, or even comeback to bite us! There were moments whilst playing where drawing a card or being told to read from a book was more tense than any enemy player’s action; was it going to be that awful thing we killed shuffled back into the deck? Was it going to be a new mechanic added into the play? Was it going to remove a major element? All were possible and happened regularly, but not so much that it upset the flow and general feel of the game.
My honest thoughts are that a Legacy game is a game and a storytelling experience, something you go through and enjoy. I don’t personally see any quality in reliving the experience with different decisions and events as I can’t see it holding the same impact as the initial play though. Sure in the future I may get it again to have another experience of it, but it will be another full altered and legacied game. Choosing to Legacy a game is very similar to playing a video game and getting to a decision with consequences. Those who Legacy games are likely to go with their heart and make a decision, those who Save will do just that; save their game, make one decision, load and make the other. It ruins the illusion of being a part of a fantasy world where anything could happen and places you in the spectators seat, no longer controlling the direction of the game but now choosing the outcome you know with expected results. This may suit some people beautifully and they may be sat now peeling stickers off of “destroyed” elements ready to run the campaign again, but that’s not for me. I’m now a Legacy player, a cold hearted card destroyer and I enjoy it!
In hindsight, I could be bias on this post as Betrayal Legacy is playable as a game once finished. (And I’m in love with the original Betrayal!) The board, cards and elements are unique to your play through of the campaign and they continue in their end state with the impact you made on the them standing proudly. Were this something that was Legacied and then done with, I may not be so eager, but I also don’t think I’d have the patience to sticker 200+ elements to pretend they’re destroyed, I think that would also ruin the illusion!