Florian Liouville
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Legacy: the Testament of the Duke de Crecy



Designer: Michiel Justin Elliott Hendriks

Publisher: Portal Games

Published: 2013

Players: 1-4

Time: 60 minutes


Legacy is a worker placement /tableau building game in which you play as the patriarch (or matriarch) of a famous family in 16th century France.

Goal

The winner of the game is the player who collects the most honor points (VP) throughout the game.

Overview

Legacy is played over 3 generations which have progressively more rounds. In each round you select actions in order to build your family tree in front of you and accumulate the 6 main resources of the game:
Money and Income; the latter giving you money/turn

Honor (VP) and Prestige; The latter giving you honor/ generation
Children and Friends; The meat of the game, you need children to marry the off to your friends bringing their special abilities into your family and allowing for even more children.

The actions you can take are divided into your personal actions that are shown on your player board and public actions that are shown on the central board.

Your personal actions may be used as often as you have action tokens to place there (usually 2). They are:

Marry / Arrange marriage: each friend either pays you a dowry (mostly female) or requires you to pay one (mostly males) and brings you certain benefits like income, prestige, more friends etc. Whenever you marry one of your family member they immediately have one child. If the child isn’t an adult yet you have to wait for a generation change until the abilities kick in.



Have a child: Each couple can have up to three children

Beg for money: gives you some instant money but costs friend cards.

Socialize: Lets you draw more friends but costs some money.

The public actions can only be used by one player each round. (It is possible to acquire specialized action tokens that only work for one kind of action) They are:

Acquire a Title/ contribution to the community; These are six unique cards per generation that you can acquire for special benefits (e.g. becoming the duke costs 4$ and 3 friends, you will gain 4 prestige and one new friend)

Hire a fertility doctor: lets you gain additional children at the expense of money and friends

Buy a mansion: increases your prestige

Start a Venture: lets you increase your income

Start a Mission lets you draw a (kind of) quest that will give you extra benefits upon completion.

Additionally each player gets one secret “patron” card at the beginning of the game that may score you more end game points.


Review

Component Quality



In general the components of Legacy are average but functional. The player boards are thick enough. The cards are hobbit size which I usually don’t like but I get it for this game. If you tried to play this with regular size cards you’d need an immense table.
I do have two small complaints, about the components though. One thing is that there isn’t enough money for a four player game. The other is that some of the colored action tokens came stuck together and separating them caused some of the paint to chip off.

Artwork & Graphic Design

I like the artwork style in this game a lot. The caricature style portraits of all the different friend cards are especially funny. However it is sometimes hard to tell males and females apart which can be crucial for your planning.

The graphic design works really well, all the boards are laid out clearly, the fonts are easily readable and most of the symbols make sense quickly and can be told apart fairly well. The one caveat is the symbol for friend cards which can be light or dark depending on whether they are face up or face down. Some people who I taught this game to had a hard time with this at first.

The other weird choice/ misstep is the player colors. They are black, dark blue, beige and white. While the blue and black only cause problems in bad lighting the white and beige are really very similar and we pick up the wrong scoring cube quite regularly.

Theme

The theme of this game is amazing for a euro game. There is a lot of humor in little things like all the friends’ titles and the way that different things affect game play. For example acquiring a title will always cause you to discard some friends and acquire some new ones which makes a lot of thematic sense and made us giggle like little girls every time. However my group usually roleplays a little while playing and I suspect that made up a huge chunk of our enjoyment.

The game just lends itself to announcing in a theatrical voice that you will marry you sweet daughter to Charles, the kings emissary while you put down a huge chunk of change for the wedding feast and then use your next action to grudgingly marry your son to the bakers daughter because you’re broke and really need the sizeable dowry. Fun times.

There is one thematic pitfall to this game, complications at birth. Sometimes you’ll draw for a new child but get a complication card which means you have either not get a child or lose the mother. It makes thematic sense since the lack of medical expertise at the time made such events much more commonplace than they are today. However it is a pretty awful and sad thing to include in an otherwise light game and it might not be for everybody.

Finally the end of the game should coincide with the advent of the French revolution and I was a little disappointed that it didn’t show up in the game at all.
I’m calling the expansion right now – you heard it here first.

Rules

The rulebook isn’t bad, which I’m told is a big leap forward for Portal games but there are some card abilities and timing issues that you will have to look up during your first couple of plays. On a positive note Portal made a tutorial video which replaces you having to read the rules, now that is a great idea and I wish more companies would do it like this.

Gameplay

Legacy is a well rounded worker placement game with no major missteps (at least that I can see) The 60 minute tag is utopian for a four player game. I’d plan for 2h+ including teaching for your first game and 90+min for subsequent plays but otherwise it works well, the game play flows quite naturally and there isn’t too much risk for AP.

I’ve heard players complain about the 2 worker limit which seems odd compared to other WP games but I really didn’t mind that. The fact that you can reuse the actions on your board means you always have something worthwhile to occupy yourself with.

There are various good strategies capable of winning the game which is a big plus for me. I’ve seen one game in particular where the winner had 14 children in generation 4 while the very close runner up had 3.

The patron cards give you some good varied goals which helps with replayability, I just wish there were a lot more of them. (maybe in the expansion)

Finishing the game gives you a nice satisfaction and the family tree looks like you’ve really achieved something.

The problem I see with Legacy is that it plays it just a little too safe. There really isn’t anything here that will knock your socks off especially if you know many other WP games you might feel like this is old news. I wish that there were just one or two truly great new ideas because that would elevate this game so much. I especially wish that your tableau and the abilities of the friend cards had more extreme and varied effects and offered more opportunities for real combos to allow you to go into specialized strategies like in Glory to Rome or Innovation because combining that kind of card-combination tableau building with a WP game is what Legacy seems made for.

Final Thoughts

I think that you should get this game if you haven’t played many WP games and are looking for a really good one. I feel that this is on par with many of the staples like Stone Age, Pillars of the Earth etc. It’s just a couple years late to the party and if you already know and enjoy those staples you probably don’t really need Legacy in your collection. For my part I’ve enjoyed playing it and I’ll be glad to play it again if someone asks me to but I probably won’t push very hard to get it to the table often.
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Robert Manore
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Warlord beats Troll, Troll beats Elf, Elf beats Water Sprite, and basically everything else beats Enchanted Bunny.
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Nice write-ups! Keep them coming.

Also, for what it's worth, my discs continue to stick together. I wish I could keep them from doing do. Any ideas?

I replaced my money cards with these:


They are 18mm in diameter and plastic. I added 24 in silver and 24 in bronze. They represent 1s and 5s. We played a 4p session on Sunday and had plenty of excess. I think I spent about 3 EUR, which is okay for me.
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Wolfram Troeder
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Robman wrote:
Nice write-ups! Keep them coming.

Also, for what it's worth, my discs continue to stick together. I wish I could keep them from doing do. Any ideas?

I replaced my money cards with these:


They are 18mm in diameter and plastic. I added 24 in silver and 24 in bronze. They represent 1s and 5s. We played a 4p session on Sunday and had plenty of excess. I think I spent about 3 EUR, which is okay for me.


You do not have per chance the supplier address handy?
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Robert Manore
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Warlord beats Troll, Troll beats Elf, Elf beats Water Sprite, and basically everything else beats Enchanted Bunny.
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Wolfram, you will be pleasantly happy to learn that I got them from Spielmateriel.de



http://www.spielematerial.de/en/kreuzritter-dublonen.html
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Morten K
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Thank you for the review. Yes it doesn't have that much new (the game is from 2009 originally) but to me what is really good about Legacy is how well the theme and mechanics are integrated. As you write, it has a lot of theme for a Euro! The other good thing for me is the large amount of friends cards which means plenty of replayability. And I totally agree with you that the game needs more patrons.
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M.J.E. Hendriks
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Tigrillo wrote:
Thank you for the review. Yes it doesn't have that much new (the game is from 2009 originally) but to me what is really good about Legacy is how well the theme and mechanics are integrated. As you write, it has a lot of theme for a Euro! The other good thing for me is the large amount of friends cards which means plenty of replayability. And I totally agree with you that the game needs more patrons.


Indeed, the expansion, if all works out, will contain more patrons.

I don't really see the real issue with the mechanics either. They aren't new, but the integration with the theme (in contrast to games like Agricola, where you can, for example, block other players from having children, which makes no thematic sense whatsoever) makes up for that. I never set out to create something new, and I feel it often makes for lesser designs when designers feel the necessity to develop some new mechanics rather than just making a good game. Still, this game has some novel elements, such as the family tree and tiny things like the replenishment of the Friend cards.

The enjoyment the author of the review describes is indeed a natural result many experience due to the integration of the theme.
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Daryl Unwin
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Tigrillo wrote:
to me what is really good about Legacy is how well the theme and mechanics are integrated.

Not to mention: It's just such good fun.
Few games manage to marry strategy, rich theme and a design which really encourages (non agressive) social interaction: Talk up your family successes, mourn the tragedies, laugh at others mismatched marriages and heartlessly discard friends who are no longer of use to you.

If you like to sit in contemplative silence, placing a worker every 5 minutes this is probably not the game for you.
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Joe Cohen
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Thanks for the review! This was my most anticipated game from Essen (I love the theme!), and I've been enjoying it immensely. I've also replaced my money with coins, the King's Ransom coins from Campaign Coins. The 10, 20 and 50 coins (I prefer how they look versus the 1, 2, and 5, and you just have to add a 0) look perfect for the era.
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Max Lampinen
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Folilo82 wrote:
There is one thematic pitfall to this game, complications at birth. Sometimes you’ll draw for a new child but get a complication card which means you have either not get a child or lose the mother. It makes thematic sense since the lack of medical expertise at the time made such events much more commonplace than they are today. However it is a pretty awful and sad thing to include in an otherwise light game and it might not be for everybody.

Thanks for mentioning.. I've been wondering to buy or not to buy, I was afraid it's too heavy and the box is quite big for a cardgame, but this is definitely a dealbreaker for me and my wife...
 
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max_s wrote:
Folilo82 wrote:
There is one thematic pitfall to this game, complications at birth. Sometimes you’ll draw for a new child but get a complication card which means you have either not get a child or lose the mother. It makes thematic sense since the lack of medical expertise at the time made such events much more commonplace than they are today. However it is a pretty awful and sad thing to include in an otherwise light game and it might not be for everybody.

Thanks for mentioning.. I've been wondering to buy or not to buy, I was afraid it's too heavy and the box is quite big for a cardgame, but this is definitely a dealbreaker for me and my wife...


You might want to check Tom Vasel's review regarding that.

http://boardgamegeek.com/video/35031/legacy-the-testament-of...

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max_s wrote:

Thanks for mentioning.. I've been wondering to buy or not to buy, I was afraid it's too heavy and the box is quite big for a cardgame, but this is definitely a dealbreaker for me and my wife...

You can remove those cards if it's a dealbraker. I won't affect gameplay too much.
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Michael Hyland

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Folilo82 wrote:
Legacy: the Testament of the Duke de Crecy





I think that you should get this game if you haven’t played many WP games and are looking for a really good one. I feel that this is on par with many of the staples like Stone Age, Pillars of the Earth etc. It’s just a couple years late to the party and if you already know and enjoy those staples you probably don’t really need Legacy in your collection. For my part I’ve enjoyed playing it and I’ll be glad to play it again if someone asks me to but I probably won’t push very hard to get it to the table often.


I guess I enjoy it a lot more. I find it far superior to Stone Age, and Pillars.

This is the type of game that is worth picking up even if you have quite a few worker placement games. The card play is what makes this game really interesting as well as the family tree concept and the stories that just seem to happen as the game unfolds. It's really quite unique which is hard to find now-a-days when 4 out of 5 games coming out are worker placement.
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