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Subject: Legacy: a new hope, the end of the world or a dead end alley rss

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Bishop of East Anglia
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Yes this is a bit of a mix of ideas. It's a Sunday morning rave, but there are questions that I have. I had to explain Seafall to someone, that is, 'what is it?'. I was at sea.

Like everyone who is interested in Boardgames I couldn't miss the arrival of Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy and games like Seafall. But the more I've learnt about these so called 'Legacies' the more uneasy I've become. Are they just games with flexible rules, a new chapter, nothing at all?

It's in early days (only a couple of years) but Pandemic Legacy at number 1 has also prompted this rave. I just think this could affect board gaming.

For example are they a campaigning RPG / Boardgame fusion, or simply creating proprietal systems?

I have issues I'd be interested in views on:
* Legacy (actually this one is more a rave)
* Rules
* Systems

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
'Legacy' - WTF?

Because I'm a native English speaker I assumed Legacy meant Legacy, that is the game as it was created originally or one made to look like the original , perhaps with historic maps.

So if you have a legacy is it something new you're changing or something left to you?
For computer geeks, 'Is legacy software or hardware a new thing you change and pass on, or something old that people are using and you've inherited?'

If you have something you want to change and pass on what is it? I'd say Foundation or Starting Point. Or Bequest.
While names don't matter so much, it fooled me for a while, and that's bad communication.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
RULES - really?

Will we find players unwilling to play by prescribed game rules as they are used to changing components and rules? Is it democratising rules? eg 'no it's my right (or my groups right) to change Brass so the blue counters always get an extra move.'

Or are these 'Legacy' games legitimising house rules?

One reason I like Boardgaming is if I go and visit my friend Beatrix in Valencia and she brings out a game I know, we can play it, despite my lack of Spanish. And this is because the rules are the same.

So if someone changes the rules of a game, teaches everyone or passes on the new rules and that's how you play it, what is that?

The terms I'd use are homebrew or house rules. If it's an RPG it makes sense as history, within a campaign (which I've noticed in descriptions).

One of the thread topics I find interesting is where we discuss rules being played incorrectly. So the way I was taught Junta, and played for years, had fundamental errors. So when I played with others it was hard sorting it all out. Particularly as they had some different variations.

So all those battles to play games with the actual rules... The ones that have launched 1000 threads here, are those battles all lost?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SYSTEMS - collapse of the Tower of Babel

But really we're not changing rules, just selecting them.

I love the idea of creating new things. But to me the changes in 'Legacy' are predetermined selections within a strict structure. If you want to create, become a game designer artist or RPG creator, or web developer. If you really have some house rules, add them in but remember the originals when you're teaching it.

Playing cards suffer from versions of known games. Try playing Trick taking games across Europe and see how you go with one set of rules. Is this not new at all?

I'm wondering if Legacy means like MAGIC ; you can play this, you will play nothing else, we will constantly add expansions and you will give us all your money.

More importantly in 10 years time will there be households and groups solely playing games called Pandemic Legacy but with rules no one else knows or can understand?

Or will games adapt and solidify around new rules? The Diplomacy of the 2030s will be universal and look a little like the one invented in 1959, but will it be very different? Will it just happen and die away?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Finally. Does any of this matter? IDK. I'd rather the industry grew so we can have new or better table top games (as opposed to these online things called 'gaming'). At the moment 'Legacy, (Bequest) is limited to a handful of games, is it a good thing?


I'm interested in other views on this.










 
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chinagirl geek
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I was reluctant initially to spend a considerable amount of money on a game I perceived as having a finite number of (interesting) plays, but after one game of Risk Legacy, I was hooked, and in fact now that we have finished our campaign, all of us are still very eager to play.

1) I love that actions in one game have implications for the future. (I probably always played games like Risk that way in fact: i.e. "I know from your behaviour in past games that you aren't to be trusted, so I will make an alliance with her, not you this time".)

2) This may not apply to those who always play everything with the same people, but for us, getting together regularly with the same little subgroup of players from our larger game group created a bond (enhanced by the shared experience of the campaign). Though Risk is far from my favourite game, I love my RL game nights now for all the metagame stuff. It is usually the highlight of my week, and the other players feel the same way.

3) I don't think any of us have felt we were being creative by selecting from modification options or sticking something on a board, and non of us have any interest in designing games. We just loved the surprises, the evolving nature of the game and the added competitiveness of knowing that what we did would matter in the future. Nor has it led us to want to house rule anything else, any more than showing other people my cards in Hanabi tempts me to do the same in all my other games.

4) I am a linguist and have no problem with use of the word 'legacy'. The original legacy game, Risk Legacy, was quite explicit about the idea that players were creating a world with consequences that future generations would have to live with. While each game may take only a couple of hours, we assume that the campaign represents the evolution of the factions (cities are built, races develop new characteristics, etc.)

Obviously 'legacy' now is a convenient and widely recognised term, so other manufacturers use it as shorthand, just as 'social deduction' is sometimes used for games that don't strictly fit that phrasing, because they have the same appeal.

Finally, I don't think you have to worry about the future of boardgaming being ruined by this trend, even if you dislike it. Certain game mechanics become very popular and then wane. There was a time when every other game seemed to be a CCG (a far more worrying development in gaming IMO), but now other trends have taken its place and CCG is just a niche. I'm sure Legacy games will peak in popularity and then decline too (and so far, we are talking about a TINY proportion of the games released).
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Bishop of East Anglia
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Nice. Useful thoughts. Thanks for sharing.
 
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Bishop of East Anglia
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I'm, I'm afraid there's been a mistake. The man who has been speaking to you is an impostor. He is not in fact the Bishop of East Anglia, but a man wanted by the police. I am the Bishop of East Anglia and anyone who doesn't believe me can look me up
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chinagirlgeek wrote:
I was reluctant initially to spend a considerable amount of money on a game I perceived as having a finite number of (interesting) plays, but after one game of Risk Legacy, I was hooked, and in fact now that we have finished our campaign, all of us are still very eager to play.

1) I love that actions in one game have implications for the future. (I probably always played games like Risk that way in fact: i.e. "I know from your behaviour in past games that you aren't to be trusted, so I will make an alliance with her, not you this time".)

2) This may not apply to those who always play everything with the same people, but for us, getting together regularly with the same little subgroup of players from our larger game group created a bond (enhanced by the shared experience of the campaign). Though Risk is far from my favourite game, I love my RL game nights now for all the metagame stuff. It is usually the highlight of my week, and the other players feel the same way.

3) I don't think any of us have felt we were being creative by selecting from modification options or sticking something on a board, and non of us have any interest in designing games. We just loved the surprises, the evolving nature of the game and the added competitiveness of knowing that what we did would matter in the future. Nor has it led us to want to house rule anything else, any more than showing other people my cards in Hanabi tempts me to do the same in all my other games.

4) I am a linguist and have no problem with use of the word 'legacy'. The original legacy game, Risk Legacy, was quite explicit about the idea that players were creating a world with consequences that future generations would have to live with. While each game may take only a couple of hours, we assume that the campaign represents the evolution of the factions (cities are built, races develop new characteristics, etc.)

Obviously 'legacy' now is a convenient and widely recognised term, so other manufacturers use it as shorthand, just as 'social deduction' is sometimes used for games that don't strictly fit that phrasing, because they have the same appeal.

Finally, I don't think you have to worry about the future of boardgaming being ruined by this trend, even if you dislike it. Certain game mechanics become very popular and then wane. There was a time when every other game seemed to be a CCG (a far more worrying development in gaming IMO), but now other trends have taken its place and CCG is just a niche. I'm sure Legacy games will peak in popularity and then decline too (and so far, we are talking about a TINY proportion of the games released).



Just to explore a couple of your observations, years ago I played RPGs. We'd go on a campaign and I think from what you're saying this is the same experience. So I'm asking is group campaigning the advantage?

If you do keep playing do you think any new players would be able to join easily?

would it work with ever changing groups of players?

I liked your description in 3)

chinagirlgeek wrote:

3) I don't think any of us have felt we were being creative by selecting from modification options or sticking something on a board, and non of us have any interest in designing games. We just loved the surprises, the evolving nature of the game and the added competitiveness of knowing that what we did would matter in the future. Nor has it led us to want to house rule anything else, any more than showing other people my cards in Hanabi tempts me to do the same in all my other games.



Back to language, the primary vs secondary meanings of legacy are interesting. I still think the primary or usual meaning is not 'what I am giving', but 'receiving', but I am in New Zealand, someone in Wisconsin might disagree. To rephrase in US English legacy might be what I am leaving to my descendants, not what my ancestors have left me, but that's not my experience as in common discussion in my travels or here; if legacy comes up it's 'The legacy, she left me this farm'.


 
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I think the typical usage of the word legacy in the US is something that you have done, or are well known for, that provides a (hopefully) lasting effect after you're gone. This might be an inheritance, but (in my experience) it's usually more of an idea, group, company, etc that lives on after you.

As a personal example, my grandmother passed away earlier this year at the grand age of 96, and her last decade or so of her life was dedicated to the formation of an arboretum of native Californian trees and plants. Independent of whatever wealth and property she has passed on to her heirs, the arboretum embodies her Legacy.
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SamNzed wrote:
For example are they a campaigning RPG / Boardgame fusion, or simply creating proprietal systems?

They're both. They're also (moreso) a melding of the narrative-arc logic of video games with the play style of tabletop games -- which is perhaps why they're so conceptually popular. Most younger gamers are inherently sympathetic to the notion of 'games that change' as they've been playing them since they were kids.
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'Legacy' - WTF?

I agree that it's not immediately obvious what it means. I don't agree that it automatically implies something else. That's interpretive projection on your part rather than being inherent in the name. 'Bequest' sounds to me more like what you interpreted 'Legacy' to mean. It's not really an improvement as it has the same problem. The notion that 'Legacy' reflects the fact that changes are 'passed down' makes a certain kind of sense I think.

I'm inclined to let them get away with this one, partly because I can't immediately think of a better / more-obviously-descriptive name that still remains pithy.
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Will we find players unwilling to play by prescribed game rules as they are used to changing components and rules? Is it democratising rules? eg 'no it's my right (or my groups right) to change Brass so the blue counters always get an extra move.'

This has always been possible and is only related to Legacy games in the weakest possible sense. While I'm aware of the difference you're expressing, the following two statements are slightly contradictory:
Quote:
One reason I like Boardgaming is if I go and visit my friend Beatrix in Valencia and she brings out a game I know, we can play it, despite my lack of Spanish. And this is because the rules are the same.

Quote:
Playing cards suffer from versions of known games. Try playing Trick taking games across Europe and see how you go with one set of rules. Is this not new at all?

The distinction is illusory. All games are subject to modification and always have been.

"Want to play Love Letter?"; "Sure"; "Are we playing Kanai or Tempest?".

"My version of Fury of Dracula plays differently ..."
Quote:
I'm wondering if Legacy means like MAGIC ; you can play this, you will play nothing else, we will constantly add expansions and you will give us all your money.

At the moment the games don't work this way. As you've noted, they tend to work as campaigns: play through once, enjoy the arc, put it away. I think the market will tend towards biasing toward games that are always 'open' in some sense. Have a look at video games. Publishers bend over backwards to make sure that 'sequels' and story continuations are always open to people who haven't played the original -- often to the chagrin of the biggest fans of 'the original'. The reason is simple: if you've spent a lot of money and time developing a high-investment / high-RRP product, you want as many people as possible to buy it, not get caught in the ever-decreasing cycle of only capturing X%-of-the-people-who-played-the-last-one. This selects for games which have rules harmonisations at certain points, otherwise they don't remain open and purchasable by the general consumer.

In short: Even though I'm not an out-and-out libertarian, in this case the market will take care of it.
Quote:
More importantly in 10 years time will there be households and groups solely playing games called Pandemic Legacy but with rules no one else knows or can understand?

Why would you do that if the 'arc' factor wasn't in place? Why not just play Pandemic? The games have been designed to mutate, not stay fixed (this is actually my main problem with them). If they're no longer mutating, will they actually be able to compete with games that have been designed to be static from the get-go? I'd suggest not.

Even if the variance that you fear takes place, what's more likely to happen with everyone playing different rules is that people might find static rulesets that work better than others and then propagate -- as happens with playing cards. Evolutionary selection pressures tend to mean that the good stuff hangs around. See 504; there seems to be an in-house trade in passing around combinations that "aren't crap".
Quote:
Or will games adapt and solidify around new rules?

Yes.
Quote:
The Diplomacy of the 2030s will be universal and look a little like the one invented in 1959, but will it be very different? Will it just happen and die away?

Does it matter, if the game has been improved? From what I can tell, every version of Fury of Dracula has been an improvement on the previous one (maybe not in the art department, but mechanically / gameplaywise).
Quote:
At the moment 'Legacy, (Bequest) is limited to a handful of games, is it a good thing?

I think Legacy is about where the market will support it (there's basically been one game every 2 years; we're hardly drowning in them). I don't know if you've checked the reception, but a lot of people object to constantly-evolving, self-obsoleting games and have been very vocal about it.

There are certain selection pressures that can't help but keep Legacy in its box. One is video games; why go table-top when the console can do it just as well, if not better in some cases? Another is player disposition: not all groups are inclined to play the same game week after week (see the reception problems SeaFall is having now -- at least one prominent review outlet threw in the towel after 6 games; consumers will be much more judgemental ...). A third is the babel issue.

Perhaps the most important one is the cost of development / production. I'm not sure there's a way to develop these things cheaply, which means there's a lot-of-eggs-in-one-basket problem. If the game even half-way sucks, it probably won't make its investment back. This itself will keep the leash on, as most publishers can't afford to shoulder the risk. The nature of the beast means that you need a certain amount of hype to make a game like this pay off, as you need buy-in from a large market segment, but that necessary hype will become a millstone around the game's neck if the game is bad (Daikatana anyone?).

The last one is the opportunity cost. Rob Daviau can make the pizza / cinema analogy all he likes, but the fact remains that it's comparing apples with oranges. You're not only comparing a mutating, play-once game with a night out at the cinema; you're also comparing with games that aren't play-once/constantly-changing and will last 'forever'.

The good thing about all this is that the only games that will survive these filters are good ones. So, ultimately, it's not really a problem worth worrying about. There's absolutely no danger of fixed-rule games going away; the selection pressures of the the economics and the social dynamics are against it. I played Pandemic: Legacy (supposedly the best one yet) with a group of friends (and they were struggling to get a game group together), but it didn't get anywhere near my personal gaming collection as I knew the opportunities for play were dwarfed by other things (i.e. money was better spent elsewhere). If they couldn't get me to hand over the readies for supposedly the best game on BGG, it's unlikely that they're going to sway enough of the market for 'Legacy' to become a pernicious menace.
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The biggest weakness of Legacy games is their susceptibility to bad publicity, there will always be early adopters after a game has been hyped but if reports from the early adopters aren't good what then? There is no opportunity to watch a playthrough and decide its right for you everything is secondhand opinion. The smallest doubt can stop sales because of a lack of information, why gamble when you can spend your cash on game x a known quantity. There will always be a place for legacy games but their reliance on rave reviews will keep them a niche market.
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Jorath wrote:
There is no opportunity to watch a playthrough and decide its right for you everything is secondhand opinion. The smallest doubt can stop sales because of a lack of information, why gamble when you can spend your cash on game x a known quantity.


Why can't you watch a playthrough? Dice Tower have done a Pandemic Legacy playthrough - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWxBME9a7OA

Obviously you get spoilers with legacy games like Pandemic, that rely on hidden cards and information, but then this is the same if you watch a walkthrough of a video game or detailed review of a film.

You can also watch perfectly good spoiler-free reviews of Legacy games - https://www.shutupandsitdown.com/videos/review-legacy/

Now because of their design style, I agree that Legacy games are unlikely to break out into the "mainstream", but then how many games really do? Outside of the gaming world, how many people have heard of games like Pandemic to start with. The whole community is niché.
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Tim RTC wrote:
Jorath wrote:
There is no opportunity to watch a playthrough and decide its right for you everything is secondhand opinion. The smallest doubt can stop sales because of a lack of information, why gamble when you can spend your cash on game x a known quantity.


Why can't you watch a playthrough? Dice Tower have done a Pandemic Legacy playthrough - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWxBME9a7OA

Obviously you get spoilers with legacy games like Pandemic, that rely on hidden cards and information, but then this is the same if you watch a walkthrough of a video game or detailed review of a film.

You can also watch perfectly good spoiler-free reviews of Legacy games - https://www.shutupandsitdown.com/videos/review-legacy/

Now because of their design style, I agree that Legacy games are unlikely to break out into the "mainstream", but then how many games really do? Outside of the gaming world, how many people have heard of games like Pandemic to start with. The whole community is niché.


The reason I said you can't watch a playthrough is because it takes away one of the reasons for playing a legacy game, the unknown , not because none are available. Spoiler free reviews again rely entirely on somebodys opininion of something you can't see in action (or could if spoilers aren't an issue).
I do agree legacy is a niche corner in a niche market is probably a more accurate statement.
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Jorath wrote:
Spoiler free reviews again rely entirely on somebodys opininion of something you can't see in action (or could if spoilers aren't an issue).


But then 99% of reviews are just opinion, in every field of the market.

I bet very few people actually sit and watch an entire playthrough video of a game before deciding whether or not to buy - they will read opinion reviews or watch shorter opinion review videos. Or just look at the box!

Even a walkthrough video is going to be in some way opinionated - a reviewer who doesn't enjoy something will make very different comments and play a game differently to someone who loves it.
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Tim RTC wrote:
Jorath wrote:
Spoiler free reviews again rely entirely on somebodys opininion of something you can't see in action (or could if spoilers aren't an issue).


But then 99% of reviews are just opinion, in every field of the market.

I bet very few people actually sit and watch an entire playthrough video of a game before deciding whether or not to buy - they will read opinion reviews or watch shorter opinion review videos. Or just look at the box!

Even a walkthrough video is going to be in some way opinionated - a reviewer who doesn't enjoy something will make very different comments and play a game differently to someone who loves it.


I will try to explain myself better, For a legacy game the reviews are everything for non-legacy you can watch a playthrough, borrow a friends copy , go to a gaming library/café, play at a convention or maybe even play online. Non-legacy games aren't as dependant on the reviews as legacy games there are more options available. The amount of research someone does before buying a game is an individual thing and varies. Take Seafall the reviews so far are a bit so-so but it may be perfect for your group but how do you find that out?
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Legacy games are NOT taking over gaming. Legacy games will only create a niche market. Lots of people don't own any and have no plans to own any (me, for example). Others have bought one or more but this doesn't meant that they ONLY want to own legacy games, ONLY want to play legacy games.

Legacy games are not about to sweep the market, just as Caylus didn't make all future games worker placement games, or Twilight Struggle didn't make all future games card driven games.

They aren't going to make people view rules as more flexible. House rules have always existed and this won't increase or decrease them. People understand that a Legacy game is a specific thing with its own specific rules that don't apply to other game rules. I mean, Imperial uses a rondel, does that mean I have the urge to stick a rondel into Agricola? Hmmm, wait a minute...

I think people are reading WAY too much into this Legacy trend. (Similar to the reaction to the trend of app driven games.) It's not going to transform the gaming world. The sky is not falling.

(And yeah, the "legacy" label is s bit odd, as you point out. And it's not going to change. Once a label gets attached to something it rarely unattaches.)
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SamNzed wrote:
Just to explore a couple of your observations, years ago I played RPGs. We'd go on a campaign and I think from what you're saying this is the same experience. So I'm asking is group campaigning the advantage?

If you do keep playing do you think any new players would be able to join easily?

would it work with ever changing groups of players?


The extended campaign is a big part of it: that feeling of returning battle-scarred to face an old foe, or atoning for past mistakes. I also loved that in RPGs and some D&D.)

More than the growing achievement, I think for a lot of legacy players, it's about tbe feeling of OWNERSHIP, or personal investment in the game, that you get (though you may not be consciously aware of it in these terms: I wasn't, til I just sat down and thought about it.)

When I play with my favouritefaction in RL, I know that they are stronger because I made them stronger, with my actions in previous games. (In D&D, I always felt proud of my long-lived heroes who had grown from puny specimens to forces to be reckoned with through my guidance, and was much more attached to the ones that, for example, gained a familiar along the way that made them different from a generic fighter.

I had not expected that naming cities, etc. would be so powerful, but I can see that for some people (especially some women?) it is. One of our weaker players won a single game of RL and named a continent with a funny name related to a game event. She reacts with glee EVERY TIME she sees that sticker.

As for replability after the campaign and, all of us want to continue and some of our group are even MORE eager to play now the pressure of trying to get our names on the board/earn certain benefits is gone and they can just enjoy the world we made, reminisce and enjoy hanging out with a group that shares a strong bond. (Again, most of us are female: I'm not sure how much this has affected the group dynamics.)

We have had some changes of players too. I think it will depend on the new players' personalities. Ours found it a bit weird in the first game being affected by, for example, the actions of someone they had never even met, and someone did ask once if we could just remove a particularly annoying sticker placed by a departed player, but now they really get it: this is exactly what a legacy (in non-game common usage) is. They have inherited something from a previous generation and need to deal with it. The real life world is not pristine when we enter it, and neither are the later stages of a legacy game.

Hope thjs is not too long an answer: I think figuring out the appeal of games weove is really interesting. (Some developer should probably give you a ton of geekgold for starting this thread!☺)
 
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