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Subject: Legacy games. . . why not just role play? rss

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Alan Martin
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I wanted to get everyone's take on a question I have:

If you are going to spend the time, effort and investment in one of the new "Legacy" style games, which will eventually come to a terminus point and essentially no longer playable, why not just invest that time and energy into a Role Playing game with theming that matches the interest?
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Paul DeStefano
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Because many people don't enjoy Role Playing even on a conceptual level.

This is like asking "You drive to the mall - why not just run there?"

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Greg
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Because they provide two different experiences?
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Pauly Paul
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No GM is required.

From my experience, there is no additional effort or expense playing Pandemic Legacy than there is playing my other board games.

Pandemic Legacy is not a RPG, nor is it trying to be.

This seems a strange comparison to me.

Edit: This is like saying "You like watching movies, why not spend that time and money playing a game of pool instead? They are both forms of entertainment".

Because they aren't the same forms of entertainment.
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Ben Waxman

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Impulse response: Because legacy games are usually more balanced and play tested than most rpg adventures, certainly if they are home brewed.

As a huge fan of rpg's I've seen some campaigns lose focus. I enjoy the structure of a legacy game that includes rpg elements but doesn't get out of control.
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Alan Martin
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Is it fair to say that these games provide the wealth of theme and a narrative arc while providing a solid structure for the rules and game space?

Edit:And can someone explain the differences between the two experiences?

To be clear on my reasons for asking, I am considering starting my game group down the path of Pandemic legacy. Our group already plays a monthly role playing session and I'm just trying to understand the essential differences. Thanks!
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Andy Szymas
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AMartin7777 wrote:
which will eventually come to a terminus point and essentially no longer playable,


This is also not really true. My understanding of Risk and Pandemic legacy is that the game is still playable at the end, but now fixed - so you're basically playing a customized game of Risk and/or Pandemic.
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Greg
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AMartin7777 wrote:
And can someone explain the differences between the two experiences?

To be clear on my reasons for asking, I am considering starting my game group down the path of Pandemic legacy. Our group already plays a monthly role playing session and I'm just trying to understand the essential differences. Thanks!


I never understand the comparisons of board games with RPGs, but it might just be me and the reasons I board game.

I play board games to solve the puzzles and challenges that the game presents. Every decision I make is to win the game. I never make a sub-optimal decision simply because it fits the theme or my character. That being said, in many thematic games, even if you only make decisions that help you win, you get a great story as a byproduct of playing the game. You can look back on the game and talk about the great story that emerged.

RPGs I play simply for the story. There is no winning or losing. I am directly manipulating the shared story. The decisions I make are based solely on what kind of story I want. A GM could kill an entire party of characters by just saying, "a comet kills you all." Fortunately, no one is trying to win anything. We are just trying to create a good story directly.

Since both games have completely different goals, they are two different experiences to me. I enjoy both for different reasons.
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Alan Martin
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AndySzy wrote:
AMartin7777 wrote:
which will eventually come to a terminus point and essentially no longer playable,


This is also not really true. My understanding of Risk and Pandemic legacy is that the game is still playable at the end, but now fixed - so you're basically playing a customized game of Risk and/or Pandemic.


How many that have played Pandemic Legacy and finished it intend to continue playing it after?
 
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D S
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In role playing games, the players gather and play the roles of characters in a fictional universe, normally with one of them taking the role of game master. It is, in a sense, managed theater.

In a "legacy" game, the players gather and play a game. You know, like Monopoly. Like any other game. Except that the game state changes from one play to the next. If South Africa is turned into a pile of rice pudding in one game of Risk Legacy, it may continue to be rice pudding in the next game on that board. It's still a board game. You know, like Monopoly.

It's not complicated, and the two are no more alike than playing *any* board game is like a role playing game. I play Heroscape; people routinely ask me if it's like Dungeons & Dragons. Must be the minis, I don't know. But I answer them patiently that one is a board game, and the other is a role-playing game, and these are the differences between them.

Now you may want to ask why someone would *want* to play a legacy game, to which I would respond that it may have no appeal to you, and that's fine with me.

I hope that helps.
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Michael Debije
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Takes much less imagination to play a legacy game and less personal investment.
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Alan Martin
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ds3272 wrote:
In role playing games, the players gather and play the roles of characters in a fictional universe, normally with one of them taking the role of game master. It is, in a sense, managed theater.

In a "legacy" game, the players gather and play a game. You know, like Monopoly. Like any other game. Except that the game state changes from one play to the next. If South Africa is turned into a pile of rice pudding in one game of Risk Legacy, it may continue to be rice pudding in the next game on that board. It's still a board game. You know, like Monopoly.

It's not complicated, and the two are no more alike than playing *any* board game is like a role playing game. I play Heroscape; people routinely ask me if it's like Dungeons & Dragons. Must be the minis, I don't know. But I answer them patiently that one is a board game, and the other is a role-playing game, and these are the differences between them.

Now you may want to ask why someone would *want* to play a legacy game, to which I would respond that it may have no appeal to you, and that's fine with me.

I hope that helps.


Setting aside the unwarranted condescension, the biggest differences seem to be a board and the lack of game master. Also, one is more story driven for the stories sake vs. a goal of "winning" the game. After all, a board game can have an imaginary setting and a role-playing game can be set in a realistic setting and both involve game states that change from one play to the next.

Has your group played Pandemic Legacy and if completed, do you see the group playing the game again in the future?
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maf man
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I have had 2 groups of my friends play pandemic legacy both never intend to play it over classic pandemic. I have heard people willing to play risk legacy, i think risk just lends itself to that messed up-ness better.

I simplify legacy games as a board game that your previous game session determines the next set-up. Its like the next step of evolution from modular/custom board set-up. Far more connection there than legacy and RPGs.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Geosphere wrote:
Because many people don't enjoy Role Playing even on a conceptual level.

This is like asking "You drive to the mall - why not just run there?"
It's worse than that... because playing a board game isn't really the same thing as playing a RPG. So it's be like saying "You drive to the mall - why not just run to the library?"
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Pauly Paul
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AMartin7777 wrote:
Is it fair to say that these games provide the wealth of theme and a narrative arc while providing a solid structure for the rules and game space?

Edit:And can someone explain the differences between the two experiences?

To be clear on my reasons for asking, I am considering starting my game group down the path of Pandemic legacy. Our group already plays a monthly role playing session and I'm just trying to understand the essential differences. Thanks!


I think your understanding of "Legacy" might be off. I think there must be a misunderstanding of what you think a legacy game provides compared to what it does provide. It's not at all like a pen and paper RPG.

I mean there is a reason that there is a separate "RPGGeek" site and those games are not part of the BGG specific database. I think you know that though as I can see you have a lot of board games under your own list and surely you can see that Agricola is a different experience than a RPG.

A legacy game is just a different type of board game, but is still, at the end of the day, just that; a board game. The experience you get playing a board game is going to be the same fundamental experience whether it's a legacy style game or not.

Within the realm of board games, legacy games change up the design by having elements carry over from one game to the next. Rather than resetting the experience from the beginning like they usually do.

This permanence allows for a more story driven gameplay experience, but don't confuse that with a story driven game, like a RPG is. One is certainly not meant to be a replacement or substitution for the other. At the end of the day you still have two completely separate things; a board game and a RPG.
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Alan Martin
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mafman6 wrote:
I have had 2 groups of my friends play pandemic legacy both never intend to play it over classic pandemic. I have heard people willing to play risk legacy, i think risk just lends itself to that messed up-ness better.

I simplify legacy games as a board game that your previous game session determines the next set-up. Its like the next step of evolution from modular/custom board set-up. Far more connection there than legacy and RPGs.


Thanks Mafman6. I see your point about the evolution of one game determining a fixed setup for the next.
 
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Alan Martin
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venrondua wrote:
AMartin7777 wrote:
Is it fair to say that these games provide the wealth of theme and a narrative arc while providing a solid structure for the rules and game space?

Edit:And can someone explain the differences between the two experiences?

To be clear on my reasons for asking, I am considering starting my game group down the path of Pandemic legacy. Our group already plays a monthly role playing session and I'm just trying to understand the essential differences. Thanks!


I think your understanding of "Legacy" might be off. I think there must be a misunderstanding of what you think a legacy game provides compared to what it does provide. It's not at all like a pen and paper RPG.

I mean there is a reason that there is a separate "RPGGeek" site and those games are not part of the BGG specific database. I think you know that though as I can see you have a lot of board games under your own list and surely you can see that Agricola is a different experience than a RPG.

A legacy game is just a different type of board game, but is still, at the end of the day, just that; a board game. The experience you get playing a board game is going to be the same fundamental experience whether it's a legacy style game or not.

Within the realm of board games, legacy games change up the design by having elements carry over from one game to the next. Rather than resetting the experience from the beginning like they usually do.

This permanence allows for a more story driven gameplay experience, but don't confuse that with a story driven game, like a RPG is. One is certainly not meant to be a replacement or substitution for the other. At the end of the day you still have two completely separate things; a board game and a RPG.


Thanks Pauly Paul. Now, whether or not I can convince them to set aside every other month for PL will be my challenge.
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Pauly Paul
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AMartin7777 wrote:
Has your group played Pandemic Legacy and if completed, do you see the group playing the game again in the future?


While it's true you can continue to play Pandemic Legacy after the "story" part is finished, you will no longer be playing Pandemic Legacy at that point. You'll be playing Pandemic with a game board that is unique to your group.
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Greg
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AMartin7777 wrote:
Setting aside the unwarranted condescension, the biggest differences seem to be a board and the lack of game master. Also, one is more story driven for the stories sake vs. a goal of "winning" the game. After all, a board game can have an imaginary setting and a role-playing game can be set in a realistic setting and both involve game states that change from one play to the next.

Has your group played Pandemic Legacy and if completed, do you see the group playing the game again in the future?


For what it's worth, I have not played Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 yet, though I intend to. My group is currently in the middle of a Risk Legacy campaign. Even though it is still playable beyond the 15 games, I intended from the beginning to either just give it to one of the gamers involved in the campaign, and if nobody wanted it, then we could do some sort of ritual burning of the game or something. Honestly, space is limited for me, so I would like to make room for another game at that point, once the campaign is through.

Though, I'm not really sure how this ties back to your original question about RPGs.
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Pauly Paul
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AMartin7777 wrote:
venrondua wrote:
AMartin7777 wrote:
Is it fair to say that these games provide the wealth of theme and a narrative arc while providing a solid structure for the rules and game space?

Edit:And can someone explain the differences between the two experiences?

To be clear on my reasons for asking, I am considering starting my game group down the path of Pandemic legacy. Our group already plays a monthly role playing session and I'm just trying to understand the essential differences. Thanks!


I think your understanding of "Legacy" might be off. I think there must be a misunderstanding of what you think a legacy game provides compared to what it does provide. It's not at all like a pen and paper RPG.

I mean there is a reason that there is a separate "RPGGeek" site and those games are not part of the BGG specific database. I think you know that though as I can see you have a lot of board games under your own list and surely you can see that Agricola is a different experience than a RPG.

A legacy game is just a different type of board game, but is still, at the end of the day, just that; a board game. The experience you get playing a board game is going to be the same fundamental experience whether it's a legacy style game or not.

Within the realm of board games, legacy games change up the design by having elements carry over from one game to the next. Rather than resetting the experience from the beginning like they usually do.

This permanence allows for a more story driven gameplay experience, but don't confuse that with a story driven game, like a RPG is. One is certainly not meant to be a replacement or substitution for the other. At the end of the day you still have two completely separate things; a board game and a RPG.


Thanks Pauly Paul. Now, whether or not I can convince them to set aside every other month for PL will be my challenge.


Do they enjoy board games? If they don't like playing them it could be a hard sell.

I personally like co-op games and I think they are a good introduction to (board game) newbies as it's everyone against the game itself. So that might work in your favour.

Normally I would recommend playing a game or two of traditional Pandemic before moving on to the Legacy part (which you can do with Pandemic Legacy before starting with the "legacy deck"). I find it helps one appreciate how Pandemic Legacy is different from the core game. However buying Pandemic Legacy and finding they aren't into it would be a more expensive cost so it's hard to say.

Also if you're anything like me you will find your time is rare and if your group loves their RPG time they might not want to give any of that up for a different experience.

I think their general interest in board games in general will help you gauge your decision.
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Pauly Paul
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s3kt0r wrote:
AMartin7777 wrote:
Setting aside the unwarranted condescension, the biggest differences seem to be a board and the lack of game master. Also, one is more story driven for the stories sake vs. a goal of "winning" the game. After all, a board game can have an imaginary setting and a role-playing game can be set in a realistic setting and both involve game states that change from one play to the next.

Has your group played Pandemic Legacy and if completed, do you see the group playing the game again in the future?


For what it's worth, I have not played Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 yet, though I intend to. My group is currently in the middle of a Risk Legacy campaign. Even though it is still playable beyond the 15 games, I intended from the beginning to either just give it to one of the gamers involved in the campaign, and if nobody wanted it, then we could do some sort of ritual burning of the game or something. Honestly, space is limited for me, so I would like to make room for another game at that point, once the campaign is through.


I'm thinking about creating shadow box frames of the pieces to give to each of us when we're done Pandemic Legacy.
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Jon G
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Is there any reason why you can't continue to modify the boards of legacy games after the initial story arc? Each player secretly makes a card or two, you shuffle them face down, and feed them into the game at whatever rate is appropriate.

I'm a compulsive tinker, but this seems pretty straightforward to extend the life of a legacy game. Sure, they're not playtested, but by the end of a legacy game, the players should have a good idea of what's fun and what's not.
 
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Dean Love
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AMartin7777 wrote:
Is it fair to say that these games provide the wealth of theme and a narrative arc while providing a solid structure for the rules and game space?

Edit:And can someone explain the differences between the two experiences?


The theme/story aspect of Legacy games is overstated, to be honest. Yeah, they're a bit more open to this approach if you role play a bit, but that's not what appeals to me.

What appeals is the ever evolving rule-set. That, just as you think you have the hang of the game and know how to play well, something happens. And yeah, there's an initial coolness to "oh my god, we just opened this door and now the game has unicorns" but the really cool bit is when you read "unicorns ignore the rules around reproduction and roll two dice in combat" and suddenly your entire understanding of the game blows up and you start trying to strategise around these new problems. Or maybe the full impact of what's happened doesn't hit you until it's too late.

Risk Legacy had a few amazing moments where I got ahead by spoting certain strategies that weren't immediately apparent, and hadn't existed a few games ago. One faction in our game was mostly ignored and tended to be picked last, until someone worked out how adding a newly revealed power to it actually made it hugely powerful.

In that way, they're more akin to an LCG/CCG release, where the new card set shakes up the meta every few months.

But yeah, all that relies on an interest in board games and mechanics to start with. Something like Time Stories or Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is far more story driven, and RPG-lite in form.
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Jeff G
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AMartin7777 wrote:

Edit:And can someone explain the differences between the two experiences?



Board games and tabletop RPG have one very striking fundamental difference - board games are primarily a competition - player(s) v player(s) or player(s) v Game "AI". Tabletop RPGs are an exercise in story-telling since the goal isn't to "win" as much as it is "to tell an interesting tale."

As a result, board game have clearly defined rules and boundaries where tabletop RPGs do not. While the collaborative element and the permanence of your decisions in Pandemic Legacy are similar elements to those in an RPG, you still have a very finite set of things you can and cannot do. In my experience with good GMs, there is never a "you can't" as much as a "you can try..." - the ruleset isn't an exhaustive list of what you're permitted to do as much as it is a framework for the GM to adjudicate the results of player actions.

Don't get me wrong - I love both, but even Legacy games have more differences than similarities to tabletop RPGs. Not that either is better - they just scratch different itches.
 
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Board games? Why not just play video games?
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