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Pandemic Legacy: Season 1» Forums » General

Subject: Versus Risk Legacy *No Spoilers (for either game)* rss

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David Tolin
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We've played through the first three months of Pandemic Legacy now (4 games, lost once in February), and I sort of love the game. However, I was also a big fan of Risk Legacy, and while pondering the 'Legacy' elements of Pandemic Legacy between sessions, I noticed that one of the things I really enjoyed about Risk Legacy is absent in Pandemic Legacy (at least, so far).

In Risk Legacy, the Legacy mechanics were triggered in a completely different fashion. Likely because the game was less focused on creating a narrative, the biggest changes in Risk Legacy always occurred as a direct result of player choice/action. For example, a compartment of new rules and components might have a sticker that said something like "Open this box once any player does X for the first time."

By contrast, Legacy mechanics in Pandemic Legacy seem much more passive (and narrative-focused). So far, the big, new stuff has just been added at the end or beginning of each month (or maybe mid-month), automatically, as a way to progress the story. Once the story reaches a certain point, the game instructs you to make a change.

I'm curious what other players of both games think about this difference. I'm not sure which one I prefer, but I do think that (so far) Pandemic Legacy feels a lot more "on rails." I'm not sure how much different my experience can be than anyone else who has played the game, because the same changes are taking place at approximately the same time for everyone.

Caveat: I realize I'm barely into my Pandemic Legacy campaign, so this could all change. Maybe someone who has progressed further would like to weigh in (without spoiling anything)? Speaking out of ignorance, though, it seems like it would be difficult for the game to travel the Risk Legacy route too heavily. All of the mystery boxes (save one) are numbered, rather than given descriptive triggers, so it seems like they will just be opened one by one as the game hits certain milestones.

Caveat 2: I'm not sure the difference I'm identifying is really that much of a difference, ultimately. But, it did give me a very small feeling of disappointment when reflecting on our first few games, so I thought it was worth discussing.
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Enon Sci
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I like the idea of Legacy content being reactive to player action/choice, but in practice that creates the complication of awareness of these triggers -- not everybody will have it, and things could easily get missed.

Then again, it seems to have worked in Risk (I guess, I never played it).

Ina computer game, the Risk approach would be my first desire. However, in a board game (where not everybody at the tables might have internalized the rules), I'd take the Pandemic approach as a designer.
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Adrian Rodriguez
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I think Risk Legacy gave the illusion of choice and not a choice per se. With that I mean that at least in my case, we would strive to open those packages, for example the "Use 4+ (don't remember well) missiles in an area" you have to deliberately pool your resources together to unlock that package, I don't think many people unlocked that package through normal play because the strategic choice is the defender using a missile to convert a 2 loss into a 2 win (example attacker rolling 5,3,2 vs 4,2, you use the missile on the 2).
 
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Benj Davis
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I hadn't heard that the new one was on such a timeline. I liked the triggered version better. Yes, it means people know what the triggers are in advance, but that's okay.
 
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Max Maloney
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While I theoretically prefer the Risk method, because it allows each copy of the game to develop in a more fundamentally different way from others, in practice I think the Pandemic method works better.

The truth is, I don't know anyone of the three groups I saw playing Risk Legacy who didn't steer their play to unlock packages. When that happens, it ruins that illusion that the game is evolving naturally.

Given people can't help but want to unlock things, I'd rather they don't know what will happen and when.

Moderated Risk-style would be amazing, but who would sit out and watch a full campaign to make that happen!
 
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Adam Strong-Morse
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My sense is that a middle ground between the two games would be ideal. For example, in Pandemic Legacy, the game begins with the positive mutations that are available revealed. I think that would have been better hidden behind a "open this the first time you eradicate a disease" sticker.

I like that there is some narrative built in and the deliberate shocks of Pandemic Legacy, but I miss the feeling of striving to unlock something that Risk Legacy had, as well as the "I need to take a chance and hope this unlock helps me" dynamic.

That said, I'm not confident either way. Perhaps Pandemic Legacy's approach really is superior.
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Adrian Rodriguez
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In this game you do strive for something, but the thing you strive for is in the board, that is to keep it as clean as possible from panic, etc, which feels more natural than in Risk Legacy where you don't really care that much about the board. Anyways if that is your sort of thing, there is the #8 package, you could go for it!
 
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Christian B.
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I definitely agree - unfortunately, the things that happen in PL don't change the gameplay as much as they do in RL.
 
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Adrian Rodriguez
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ChrB wrote:
I definitely agree - unfortunately, the things that happen in PL don't change the gameplay as much as they do in RL.
What was the gameplay changer in Risk Legacy? I wouldn't count
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Alien & Mutant factions, since it's just another race to pick from


If anything, the gameplay rules in Pandemic Legacy changes from the first time you play it. While the first game in Risk Legacy is basically capture the enemies HQ.

However I think that Pandemic Legacy feels less of a reveal if you play Risk Legacy in the sense that you kind of expect to be surprised. Playing a Legacy game for a first time is an unique experience that can't be matched. Is like watching for the first time the Sixth Sense movie, after seeing that movie, go watch another Shyamalan movie and you expect the plot twists.
 
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David Tolin
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gamequack wrote:
ChrB wrote:
I definitely agree - unfortunately, the things that happen in PL don't change the gameplay as much as they do in RL.
What was the gameplay changer in Risk Legacy? I wouldn't count
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Alien & Mutant factions, since it's just another race to pick from


If anything, the gameplay rules in Pandemic Legacy changes from the first time you play it. While the first game in Risk Legacy is basically capture the enemies HQ.

However I think that Pandemic Legacy feels less of a reveal if you play Risk Legacy in the sense that you kind of expect to be surprised. Playing a Legacy game for a first time is an unique experience that can't be matched. Is like watching for the first time the Sixth Sense movie, after seeing that movie, go watch another Shyamalan movie and you expect the plot twists.
I think maybe part of the issue is the nature of Risk vs. the nature of Pandemic. Pandemic is a very structured game--it has a very limited set of mechanics that essentially define the game that it is. The same can be said of Risk, to an extent, but Risk is a more open-ended experience--even if we're just talking about the vanilla, non-Legacy versions. It's also competitive, whereas Pandemic is cooperative.

In Risk, players can choose various strategies, form alliances, adopt different tactics for each session, etc. In Pandemic, no matter how much you decorate around the edges, play is still going to boil down to "treat diseases and manage the infection loop." I'm not doing a very good job of explaining what I mean (and I can't believe I'm sort of championing the mechanics of Risk), but I hope it's sort of evident.

You're also correct that a player's first Legacy game is probably going to be the more eye-opening experience. But, I definitely had the feeling that Risk Legacy felt like "Hey, look at this crazy, new way to play Risk--this Legacy concept really shakes things up," and playing Pandemic Legacy (so far) feels like "Hey, looks like Daviau tried really hard to apply Legacy mechanics to Pandemic--too bad it still has to be so much like Pandemic."

I can't wait for Seafall, where he finally has the opportunity to go 100% with this Legacy idea.
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Clyde W
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Agree. Pandemic is the worst part of Pandemic Legacy.
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Adrian Rodriguez
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DavidT wrote:

I think maybe part of the issue is the nature of Risk vs. the nature of Pandemic. Pandemic is a very structured game--it has a very limited set of mechanics that essentially define the game that it is. The same can be said of Risk, to an extent, but Risk is a more open-ended experience--even if we're just talking about the vanilla, non-Legacy versions. It's also competitive, whereas Pandemic is cooperative.

In Risk, players can choose various strategies, form alliances, adopt different tactics for each session, etc. In Pandemic, no matter how much you decorate around the edges, play is still going to boil down to "treat diseases and manage the infection loop." I'm not doing a very good job of explaining what I mean (and I can't believe I'm sort of championing the mechanics of Risk), but I hope it's sort of evident.

You're also correct that a player's first Legacy game is probably going to be the more eye-opening experience. But, I definitely had the feeling that Risk Legacy felt like "Hey, look at this crazy, new way to play Risk--this Legacy concept really shakes things up," and playing Pandemic Legacy (so far) feels like "Hey, looks like Daviau tried really hard to apply Legacy mechanics to Pandemic--too bad it still has to be so much like Pandemic."

I can't wait for Seafall, where he finally has the opportunity to go 100% with this Legacy idea.
I can see how Risk Legacy could change the feeling about Risk, but I think it's safe to say that Pandemic Legacy is doing the same with Pandemic (if the rankings are to tell us something). Both Legacy games are a superior experience compared to the base game.

Risk Legacy borrowed a lot of things from the modern versions of Risk, from objectives to dice modifiers, so that if you had only played vanilla Risk you'll be in for a radically different game. From playing 4 hour games to playing less than 1 hour, so I can definitely see that Risk Legacy made us think that you can play Risk and have an awesome time.

However I think Pandemic Legacy is a refinement of the Legacy system, a more elegant base game design, less brute forced than in Risk Legacy. There are some Legacy elements in Risk that I disliked (runaway leader, eligibility of upgrades), while in Pandemic I've found none so far that I dislike.
 
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Adam Strong-Morse
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gamequack wrote:


However I think Pandemic Legacy is a refinement of the Legacy system, a more elegant base game design, less brute forced than in Risk Legacy. There are some Legacy elements in Risk that I disliked (runaway leader, eligibility of upgrades), while in Pandemic I've found none so far that I dislike.
I think this is an important point, made easier by the cooperative nature. In Risk Legacy, there's a definite progression where winning games makes players stronger, requiring alliances against them to rebalance the game. One of the things I've been really impressed by in Pandemic Legacy is the auto-balancing features--things like funding level and whatever's in box 8 serve to prevent a situation where a couple losses means your sadsack world is doomed, and a couple wins mean your awesome team always steamrolls future months. I haven't finished the campaign yet (just started, really), but I'm really impressed with this dynamic. Rob Daviau commented about how Legacy games are still a young idea, so there's a lot of room for learning and developing new design tricks to make it even better, and I think some of the "you gain advantages but there's counterbalance" is an example of that.
 
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