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Pandemic Legacy: Season 1» Forums » General

Subject: What justifies the "Legacy" aspect being handled the way it is? rss

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Kostas K.
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I haven't played Pandemic Legacy yet, but I have some experience with regular Pandemic and after watching a few (spoiler-free) reviews it seems Legacy takes it into the next level.

What I'm curious about, however, is why the "Legacy components" aspect is handled in such a way that does not allow replaying the season after you're done. It's not the first game to have a persistent campaign; there are other ways to keep track of skills, map area changes, additional rules etc without one-use stickers; Boxes with lids have been invented, tearing them apart isn't the only way to open them; I think tearing a card after it is no longer needed could be replaced by a simple "return it to the box".

Yes, I know that once you know what the boxes include the novelty wears off, but shouldn't this ultimately be the players' choice? That could be said (perhaps to a lesser extent, but still) about a lot of games with hidden information like Mansions of Madness, Descent, etc. How would you feel if skills, equipment, alternate routes and quests in those games were one-use as well? I've already seen gamers eager to replay the Pandemic season 1 with a different group, surely buying a second copy won't do much to restore the novelty.

So, are there legitimate component issues that could in no way be handled without ruining the copy at the end of the season, or is this a case of "if you want to replay it, re-buy it?".
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Kyle A
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kostool13 wrote:
I haven't played Pandemic Legacy yet, but I have some experience with regular Pandemic and after watching a few (spoiler-free) reviews it seems Legacy takes it into the next level.

What I'm curious about, however, is why the "Legacy components" aspect is handled in such a way that does not allow replaying the season after you're done. It's not the first game to have a persistent campaign; there are other ways to keep track of skills, map area changes, additional rules etc without one-use stickers; Boxes with lids have been invented, tearing them apart isn't the only way to open them; I think tearing a card after it is no longer needed could be replaced by a simple "return it to the box".

Yes, I know that once you know what the boxes include the novelty wears off, but shouldn't this ultimately be the players' choice? That could be said (perhaps to a lesser extent, but still) about a lot of games with hidden information like Mansions of Madness, Descent, etc. How would you feel if skills, equipment, alternate routes and quests in those games were one-use as well? I've already seen gamers eager to replay the Pandemic season 1 with a different group, surely buying a second copy won't do much to restore the novelty.

So, are there legitimate component issues that could in no way be handled without ruining the copy at the end of the season, or is this a case of "if you want to replay it, re-buy it?".


its all a balancing act. sure they probably could have made this game without permanently altering components but that sacrifices gameplay.

Maybe a spreadsheet or other tracking sheets to keep track of the panic level, monthly objectives, the character upgrades......

you see where this is going. It wouldn't be fun (for me) to be playing accountant while playing this game. I want to play the medic and kick some disease-ass.
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Brenton Harman
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I think stickers might be the biggest issue. You put stickers on characters, on the board, on cards. It would require a lot of bookkeeping to keep it all straight. It is doable.
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Allen Michaels
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I...Agree?

Look, we can all replay Skyrim, Fallout, Mass Effect, etc...and it will be different the 2nd time around. Maybe we up the difficulty. Make we try to be selfish, instead of nice. Here in Pandemic...maybe new characters start the game...and different combos.

Campaign-type video games seem to have no problem replaying. In fact you could say that having a one-use campaign board game is a big step backward in the hobby. If PL came first, then normal Pandemic (Look...you can play it again and again...with cool optional Challenges/variants!) you'd think the game evolved!

Other campaign type games (Descent, Imperial Assault) while having scripted missions, could still be played again, with a tweak of the map set up, different deployment, different characters - never mind fan made scenarios - without purchasing a new game.

So what, the novelty of PERMANENTLY ripping a card, stickering a board/card and writing components couldn't be engineered around? Maybe we as gamers...we are paying for this crazy concept of only playing a game once? Perhaps it's because the others have an Overlord as the antagonist, who can make every campaign attempt different. PL is programmed and can't adapt. Perhaps that's why it can't be done again. There are scripted plot twists, you can plan for them.

I love the game...and haven't played most campaign type games. But I agree with you, that it wasn't impossible to construct this game so it could be replayed. Yes, the 2nd time around will be like knowing the story. And unlike Imperial Assault, it won't change that story much. That seems like all the more reason to have it be replayable, with some fan variants.

I challenge designers to come up with "Campaign Modes" where rules change and stick around...and maybe we don't have to destroy or permanently mark our games. Could, for example, Dead of Winter be made Legacy? Yes. Could it have "Campaign Mode" where you do a bunch of scenarios, and win/lose introduces variants...sure! It almost writes itself! Could it be done with making it re-playable? Absolutely.

That said, the community (myself included) is eating this up...and his a homerun for the publisher. What concerns me is that we will see more Legacy-type games that are "Single-play through" because of their success and profit. At that point, I'd rather do my 4th play-through of Fallout. See? I can still play it!

-AM
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Bart Rachemoss
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It's not about manufacturing it is about psychology. The whole point of Legacy games is that the changes are permanent. I have no doubt they could have designed the game so at the end of the campaign you could put everything back in its bin, remove all the stickers, and erase the writing so you could try to step into the same river a second time. But that would be a totally different game, even the first time you play it.

Some people really like this aspect of the game, that their decisions and wins and losses are permanent. Take a look at rahdo's final thoughts. But it might not be for everyone. OTOH, it is possible that if you feel squeamish about tearing up cards and putting permanent stickers on the gameboard and cards then you will get a greater thrill out of playing this game the way it was meant to be played.
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Allen Michaels
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BitJam wrote:
But that would be a totally different game, even the first time you play it.


Ehhh...I agree it's psychological. But not sure I'd feel differently knowing I could play it again...12-24 games from now.

Do video gamers not get excited about sequences or choices they need to make, because they can just think "Well, I'll see that again on my next play through".

I totally agree the subsequent plays won't have the same WOW factor, but disagree that that diminishes the FIRST playthrough.

Maybe people get extra goosebumps when they write on the board, or tear up a card. And I revert to my other point: we as gamers are paying for the thrill to destroy a game.
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Clyde W
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al_fredo wrote:
And I revert to my other point: we as gamers are paying for the thrill to destroy a game.
Sure! Sign me up. It is awesome.
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Paul DeStefano
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If you played Risk Legacy- you will understand.

It makes the game freaking nail bitingly awesome.

No joke - we've started playing other games 'legacy style'. I've already documented this for the Pathfinder Card Game. We level up characters in permanent marker. Dead characters are cut in half.
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Michael Tyree
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I think the comparison to Descent, Mansions of Madness, etc. is an apt one, in that they're also scripted campaign modes. They lack the visceral punch of permanence that comes with Legacy play, but offer a greater longevity in return. Pandemic Legacy could be modified to work as a non-legacy format, but the paperwork would be irksome and the modifications to characters and cards would be especially so. I've a friend who I'll tinker with to try to come up with such a fix, but I don't see myself really wanting to bog down that much. The short answer is that the game flows so much better via stickering, it's worth the price of admission, for me.

That said, I do think that under normal circumstances, I don't see myself being happy with a board game purchase that only sees approximately 20 plays or so. I fully understand and sympathize with folks who won't make that leap. I don't see myself playing more legacy style games unless, like Pandemic, they're based on a favorite game.
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Paul DeStefano
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mtyree1972 wrote:
I don't see myself being happy with a board game purchase that only sees approximately 20 plays or so


I have a lot of games that don't see that many before they are forgotten or just not good enough to warrant more plays.
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Bart Rachemoss
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al_fredo wrote:
Do video gamers not get excited about sequences or choices they need to make, because they can just think "Well, I'll see that again on my next play through".

Rahdo already answered this exact question in his final thoughts on Pandemic Legacy at 4:05. If video gamers can just go back and replay the scenario it totally changes the feeling of the video game. You might not agree with him and you might not be convinced but you owe it to yourself to at least listen to what rahdo has to say.
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Rauli Kettunen
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Geosphere wrote:
mtyree1972 wrote:
I don't see myself being happy with a board game purchase that only sees approximately 20 plays or so


I have a lot of games that don't see that many before they are forgotten or just not good enough to warrant more plays.


20 seems a very disappointing amount of plays at least from my POV. And/but I'm a picky buyer who prefer to play games I like more than take gambles on new games that might not work for me.
 
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Benj Davis
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The primary appeal is the surprising nature of the unfolding, ongoing game.
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S P
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al_fredo wrote:

Look, we can all replay Skyrim, Fallout, Mass Effect, etc


The vast majority of players do not finish these videogames, let alone do multiple playthroughs of them. Pandemic Legacy plays realistically in the 15-20 game session range (12-24 for the outlier cases), which is more times than the average person plays their boardgames so this one-time legacy style system works just fine for most people. For those it doesn't? Well, maybe this just isn't the game for them or maybe only worth it if you can get it very cheaply (or better yet, play someone else's copy!). People may think it's worth taking steps to be able to 'reset' the game afterward and I suspect guides for doing this will appear after some time.

Personally, I would just rather buy the game again if I loved it that much though and I am glad that there are designers and publishers trying new concepts with gaming, even if it is not for everyone.
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Ecosmith Ecosmith
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I haven't even opened my PL box yet, but I second the 'go readcthe Risk Legacy forums' comments. This debate has already been done.

I have bought Risk Legacy 3 times.

I now have 3 completely different Risk worlds to play, if I want to, but more importantly I have 3 physical, real, personal objects to pull out, look at, handle and remember. Running a hand over the sharpied board with the initials of a best friend who's since moved to another country scrawled next to a city that he named, it brings up the kind of emotions that you get from finding an old Doctor Who 1977 annual in an oxfam shop and giving it a sniff lol. Sure, I can just remember readong those annuals when I was a kid, but the real thing is simply far far better.

Risk Legacy played as the designer intended is like that.

I hope, and expect, Pandemic Legacy to be the same.

Eco
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Dean L
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Putting aside the psychological aspects of the permanence (which I think is very important, but has been done to death in other threads) I think there are two main reasons for it.

First is the design itself: it's meant to be "beat" on a first playthrough. Note, most co-op game aren't. If this was a regular, re-usable campaign, you'd likely expect to fail the first few times through, until you developed a strategy that adapted to how the campaign developed. This ties in with the fact that the game having hidden information is a big deal, and revealing that info to you, often mid-game, and forcing you to react and respond is part of the design. It's not designed to be done a second time when you know exactly what is coming. So if it was made re-usable, you'd either need to design a different sort of campaign, or be in the weird position of saying "well it's only meant to be played through once" and having components that contradict that.

So if you start from that point, you know you're designing a campaign designed for one play-through. Does that mean you should use making permanent changes to components part of the game? Not necessarily. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective doesn't, for example.

But it does mean that that then becomes an option with fairly minor consequences. Which in turn will allow you to get around a bunch of difficulties in the second main reason it's done this way: recording state. It's one of the toughest things to do in any campaign game - indeed tracking the state of every city, then saving that state between games, would be very tricky to do without vastly increasing set-up and tear-down time, without using stickers. To the point that you probably drop that mechanic entirely.

So that's where I see it essentially coming from: once you establish from a design perspective that it's meant for a single play, the legacy format then becomes an option. It's not always going to be the best option: it does stop people who really want to replay doing so, and some people will be put off by the game losing trade / resale value, but it is an option. It opens up design space to use at a cost, but not a high cost.
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Adrian Rodriguez
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I think it would be possible to be manufactured with cardboard bits & all that but then you would have a fiddly experience (keeping track of things/characters) instead of a simpler one. Also, don't underestimate the experience that comes from permanently altering the game, which I think it's the biggest difference against other campaign games.
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Maxx Cho
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Playing this game without destruction or stickers would be like watching a movie with the sound off and only reading the subtitles. You would get the gist of it, but you are robbing yourself of the emotional impact from your gameplay choices permanently affecting your game. (If you watched a movie with just the subtitles, you would even be able to have conversations about the movie with other people who's watched it. But you haven't really experienced the movie.)

The psychological impact of destroying components is a big part of the experience. The sound of the card being teared in half and the feeling of that in your hands is incredible. The designers are using the medium in a creative way to make you have a certain experience. In this vein, if you play this game without destruction or permanent changes, you're not playing the same game. (The game is about more than just the mechanisms, just like a movie is more than just the plot.)
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I just opened my copy and I and my gf grinned massive upon seeing the 8 sealed boxes. And that Secret Dossier!? argh what?

The thought of opening them all up right now and spoiling the surprise by examining their contents to see what has to be linated or copied or magnetized in order to make it replayable is horrible to my mind. Ot would be like reading the description of the plot of a great mystery novel before reAding the novel itself.

Eco
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Zoe M
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If they offered a replay kit with a new set of stickers and character cards, plus blank stickers to cover over all the existing ones, I would be happy to buy it—probably multiple times.

It's possible that I'd buy one more version of the base game anyway, but probably not more than that.
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Bart Rachemoss
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I really like the look and size of the legacy gameboard. Maybe there could be a set of stickers to cover up the legacy stickers and the new city connections so you could use the legacy board for regular pandemic after the legacy campaign is done?
 
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Michael Tyree
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BitJam wrote:
I really like the look and size of the legacy gameboard. Maybe there could be a set of stickers to cover up the legacy stickers and the new city connections so you could use the legacy board for regular pandemic after the legacy campaign is done?


Truthfully, playing regular Pandemic with the PL board is easy enough by simply ignoring the stickers. Same thing would apply to the stickered cards, the only thing I see as much of a difference would be if you still payed attention to the character upgrades or scars.
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Michael Tyree
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Geosphere wrote:
mtyree1972 wrote:
I don't see myself being happy with a board game purchase that only sees approximately 20 plays or so


I have a lot of games that don't see that many before they are forgotten or just not good enough to warrant more plays.


Oh I do too, but that doesn't mean they weren't at least a little disappointing. The exceptions would be the exceptionally long ones, those can be pretty involved and I can see fewer plays simply because of logistics. I'm not saying everyone needs to view it my way, though
 
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Allen Michaels
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mtyree1972 wrote:
BitJam wrote:
I really like the look and size of the legacy gameboard. Maybe there could be a set of stickers to cover up the legacy stickers and the new city connections so you could use the legacy board for regular pandemic after the legacy campaign is done?


Truthfully, playing regular Pandemic with the PL board is easy enough by simply ignoring the stickers. Same thing would apply to the stickered cards, the only thing I see as much of a difference would be if you still payed attention to the character upgrades or scars.


True...though it might be easier, since there are some additional connections that aren't in the original (Santiago for example).
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dylan benton
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Somebody should make a geek list of all the forum posts that question the legitimacy of legacy games.
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