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Subject: Legacy game sustainability? rss

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Henry Richards
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I am yet to pay a legacy game, I've been really interested to try Pandemic Legacy and haven't researched too much about it becuase I don't want any spoilers if we try it, but I have struggled with one thing. It sounds like with legacy games they are physically altered so once they are played once they cannot be used again. With most games, if I was to get bored or wanted someone to experience a game it could be shared or past on, but it sounds like with legacy games that's not a possibility if you truly experience the game. Does it seem strange to anyone to pay for the game only to enjoy it and then throw it away to end up in a landfill?

I'm not pretending to be the prime example of eco-friendly living, I'm not by any means, but it seems odd to me to have this experience and then trash it. What are your thoughts? This is in no way meant to be controversial topic, I am just sincerely curious what people's thoughts have been in regards to sustainability in their legacy gaming experiences.
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Juperdat wrote:
I am yet to pay a legacy game, I've been really interested to try Pandemic Legacy and haven't researched too much about it becuase I don't want any spoilers if we try it, but I have struggled with one thing. It sounds like with legacy games they are physically altered so once they are played once they cannot be used again. With most games, if I was to get bored or wanted someone to experience a game it could be shared or past on, but it sounds like with legacy games that's not a possibility if you truly experience the game. Does it seem strange to anyone to pay for the game only to enjoy it and then throw it away to end up in a landfill?

I'm not pretending to be the prime example of eco-friendly living, I'm not by any means, but it seems odd to me to have this experience and then trash it. What are your thoughts? This is in no way meant to be controversial topic, I am just sincerely curious what people's thoughts have been in regards to sustainability in their legacy gaming experiences.

there are already dozens of threads about this exact topic.
Short answer is that games like Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy are still playable after the Legacy part is done. You have a custom board for playing the game. many people don't do this, but Legacy games account for about 0.001% of all board games so it really isn't the issue people make it out to be
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Scott Radtke
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Here's a thread to get you started

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1727410/legacy-games


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Scott Radtke
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Interestingly, in 2015 Legacy had a surge that seems to have died down, or leveled off. There are the same # in the market now as in December of 2015
 
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DragonsDream wrote:


...Short answer is that games like Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy are still playable after the Legacy part is done. You have a custom board for playing the game...


Quite a few people like Legacy games, I get that and I'm happy for you. For me, I figure there are too many infinitely replayable games out there to bother with spending my money on a game that I can only fully play once and then can only halfway play after that.
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Yeah from my understanding of it, you play the game a few times, and each time you do, you make a permanent change to the board or card deck by adding stickers to the board and destroying some cards. These shape the gameplay until you're "done" with it, but then after that, you can still play a normal game, but your board will be different than anyone else's.

In games like TIME Stories though, you go through the game multiple times, making changes to it, but once you've already gone through the whole thing, there's not much point in playing it again since youll already know the story and what consequences your actions will have. Not sure if it has any value to other people if it's already been "played through".

But the way it breaks down for a lot of people is that whether you can play it only ten or fifteen times or whatever until it's done and then keep playing it, or whether your first playthroughs finish the game, it's all about the entertainment you had "getting there". And though I haven't played any legacy games, I figure 25 bucks for several hours of entertainment for multiple people is really not that bad. Compare to going to the movies for a couple hours. I think it's fine.
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Shrug. it's good value for the plays you'll get out of it, and the experience. If they designed legacy games to be resettable, they would likely cost a lot more (need to use materials that can be erased or that would not have stickers permanently mark them etc).

It's not any different to buying a colouring book or a book of crossword or sudoku puzzles. You permanently change them and then either throw it away or keep as a souvenir. Pretty much the same here.
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Juperdat wrote:
Does it seem strange to anyone to pay for the game only to enjoy it and then throw it away to end up in a landfill?


No?

I pay for a movie/play/concert/sports ticket, I watch for 2-3 hours and its over.

People buy food/drinks and only eat them once.

People collect toys, dolls, coins, plates, etc. They possess them but don't actually "use" them. Even a personal library probably consists of books that were mostly read once.

Any electronics you buy will become obsolete and landfill in a few years. Most Legacy games aren't "play once" they are "play a campaign of games once" Pandemic Legacy took us 21 plays I think. I've already played Gloomhaven 18 times although that's barely a legacy game.

Even if strict one-play-only games like escape room stuff or time stories expansions were not reusable, they again fall right in line with "one night of entertainment"





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Juperdat wrote:
I am yet to pay a legacy game, I've been really interested to try Pandemic Legacy and haven't researched too much about it becuase I don't want any spoilers if we try it, but I have struggled with one thing. It sounds like with legacy games they are physically altered so once they are played once they cannot be used again. With most games, if I was to get bored or wanted someone to experience a game it could be shared or past on, but it sounds like with legacy games that's not a possibility if you truly experience the game. Does it seem strange to anyone to pay for the game only to enjoy it and then throw it away to end up in a landfill?

I don't do Legacy games. I'd like to, but I really don't have the group to make such a commitment. Well, I haven't asked any of my local groups yet, but I've been gaming with them for close to a year, so I have a pretty good idea of the types of games that will and won't work at this point. Even though its secondary, the cost of a Legacy game is both not important, but also important. To elaborate on the former, I don't mind paying an "affordable price" for entertainment. Whenever anybody on BGG.com scoffs at prices (minis or not, kickstarter, $100+ price ranges...) I like to point out that many of us at some point in time were "non-gamers", and to pay even $50 for a board game was unheard of. Yet, we're here on this site, and many of us had made the leap to make such purchases that even though we don't automatically buy, buy, and buy... we have overcome such barriers, and spend hundreds of dollars on board games (if not thousands).

For me, I like to think of Legacy games as BGaaS model... "Board Games as a Service". I'm paying money for something that's not really permanent nor replayable, but given society's adaptation of subscription services, like music streaming and Netflix, I don't see why this couldn't work here. Well, it doesn't work as well since Legacy games appear to be a niche of a niche market (modern bg-ing at that). I myself do "subscribe" to paying for entertainment... board game conventions. I pay hundreds of dollars every time I go to one of these (not to mention 5 to 9 hours of round trip of driving). I don't get anything tangible out of it, but that's fine... I have enough games. The bottleneck is getting the games played!


Another thing I've noticed on BGG.com is users tend to look down on paying for things were you don't get anything tangible out of it. And yet, for those who donate money to BGG.com (and you can tell since they proudly display their patron banners), they'll justify their $15+ a year donations, even though some of them have derided anything digital should be cheap or free since it's just "bits and bytes". In addition to conventions, I do pay money to play games in a restaurant. The food's (truly) overpriced at times, but I'm there for the people, and board gaming. I much prefer to play at people's houses where it's free, more intimate, and we have more control over the gaming situation, but it varies from region to region, and that's not always possible.


Juperdat wrote:
I'm not pretending to be the prime example of eco-friendly living, I'm not by any means, but it seems odd to me to have this experience and then trash it. What are your thoughts? This is in no way meant to be controversial topic, I am just sincerely curious what people's thoughts have been in regards to sustainability in their legacy gaming experiences.

Yeah, if you're worried about the environment, a board game that has... what, up to 10K print copies?.. is hardly a concern in the whole scheme of things. The K-cups that are used in those Keurig machines are far more prominent than these Legacy games ever will be.
Well, I don't have any hard numbers, but last I checked, there are FAR MORE coffee drinkers than board gamers. If you don't want to give up coffee nor tea, then a consolation is to skip LCGs, which according to one BGG user, 90% of the contents of a set goes waste

I personally don't mind revisiting these such topics. If we were only allowed one to 2 threads on these subjects, period, then 90% of the message boards on BGG wouldn't really exist.
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Abraham Drucker
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Think of legacy games like they are RPGs. Each RPG adventure is one-shot, but no one balks at buying new adventures after one is finished.

Similarly, a lot of other games like Descent, which are scenario based, have a similar problem. Once you play through the scenarios, they game is spent. The scenarios aren't that fun to re-play since you already know all the secrets. No one is on here bitching about the disposable nature of Descent. Instead, the creators just pump out more content, and people happily buy it, to the tune of hundreds of dollars (or even thousands.)

Even more expensive are CCGs, where you buy these booster packs, but don't know what is inside, and get stuck with 43 copies of the same damn card which you never wanted to use in the first place.

Sure, you can re-sell these other games, while you can't re-sell a legacy game, but quite frankly, they aren't that expensive, and you don't have to buy them.
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I typically enjoy playing devil's advocate. No exception here


Juperdat wrote:
Does it seem strange to anyone to pay for the game only to enjoy it and then throw it away to end up in a landfill?
To be fair, many of us end up paying (even a good price) for a 'traditional bg', and only play it 3 to 15 times. Don't get me wrong, for some situations, those 3 to 15 times can be totally worth it. And some folks do end up playing a game until it figuratively-but-sometime-almost-literally grinds into dust. However, for the rest of us, the idea that we'll be able to achieve that mystical <$1 per play ratio is a bit of a pipe dream.

stevelabny wrote:
No?

I pay for a movie/play/concert/sports ticket, I watch for 2-3 hours and its over.

To be fair there are select folks I know who are MUCH better about this... they'll find ways to see the movie for free or on the cheap. For example, some folks just wait until it comes out on Netflix, or Red Box, or just mooch of someone else's streaming service/copy.

This is akin to folks in BG-ing who never buy games, but still plays plenty of them by using other people's copies at game night.

Otherwise, if I pay $10 for a movie, it's also because it opens up the option to do more stuff with them, like visit a store, or have dinner with them.

stevelabny wrote:
People buy food/drinks and only eat them once.

With consumables, I don't think folks ever had the notion that you could just pay a set price and get food and drinks for life. Even then, there are 2 other pints to be made, and that's
1) you need food and water to live
2) some of us cook our own food, and save lots of money that way. Closet thing you can do with bg is to use other people's copies, or PnP your own games (legal grounds not withstanding)

stevelabny wrote:
People collect toys, dolls, coins, plates, etc. They possess them but don't actually "use" them. Even a personal library probably consists of books that were mostly read once.
If I could read some books only once, then it's quite a "mission accomplished" scenario for me. For some books, it's reading it, and getting the value that the author put into as opposed to reading it a dozen times. Ditto for board games... I can get the value out of it by playing it even once at times since I'm still getting the design efforts out of it.

Your point isn't lost however... these days, I no longer "buy crap" just because I can... even the small purchases add up, and they fill your living space with stuff that ends up being liability than an asset. This applies to both bg and non-bg items. I've pretty much stopped purchasing bg, in favor of just playing my current collection

stevelabny wrote:
Any electronics you buy will become obsolete and landfill in a few years. Most Legacy games aren't "play once" they are "play a campaign of games once" Pandemic Legacy took us 21 plays I think. I've already played Gloomhaven 18 times although that's barely a legacy game.

My Chromebook was only $200. I still need a "real laptop" if I want to get work done away from my desktop, but as an internet browsing device that can do moderate amounts of office docs, it does those functions so well that at that price, it was such a steal! cool

stevelabny wrote:
Even if strict one-play-only games like escape room stuff or time stories expansions were not reusable, they again fall right in line with "one night of entertainment"

And to be fair, I wouldn't want to do these things more than once! Also, some of these do have spoilers, so repeat sessions won't have the same magic/effect.
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When my group played Pandemic Legacy, we played it 20 times. Looking at my game collection only about 1/3 of them have that many logged plays (and many of those are probably not with my copy of the game). That's why I can't really get behind this idea. I own games I've never played, they are clearly more of a waste of money to me than legacy would have been.

Bottom line, there's no reason to rail against them, as you can simply not buy them. They are not going to take over. There's only been three and only one really did well.
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The previous threads I've seen were about the value for money aspect rather than the waste aspect, and many of the comments on this thread seem to be taking that aspect.

I agree it seems wasteful to play a legacy game and then throw it away. However would it end up in landfill? It probably depends on where you live - some components may be recyclable, and others might be used in waste-to-energy.

Yes, I know board games are probably relatively low environmental impact because there aren't that many board games produced, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to make them more eco-friendly. Everything needs to be eco friendly or we're in trouble. Actually I think we're in trouble already, it may well be be a case of "how bad a post-apocalyptic wasteland do we end up with". Still, hopefully I'm wrong.
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Juperdat wrote:

Does it seem strange to anyone to pay for the game only to enjoy it and then throw it away to end up in a landfill?


You're new here, aren't you?
(That's ok. Nothing wrong with that. Welcome aboard!)


I won't be adding anything new to this discussion, but I'm going to blow my horn anyway, 'cause that's how the internet works.

Here goes:
I currently have over two hundred games in my collection. I can count on one hand the number of those games that I've played more than 15 times.

The legacy games typically require at least that many plays to complete the experience. If I were interested in playing a legacy game and I was able to sit down and play it that many times with a group of friends, there is no way I could logically argue that at that point, especially when compared to how many times I've played my other games, that I hadn't gotten my money's worth.

Then after reaching that point, if I were to decide that the game needed to be sent to the landfill, rather than occupying a space of honor on my gaming shelf, I wouldn't feel any more guilty about that decision than I would about trashing the packaging of a small appliance.
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John Prewitt
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I'd make sure you like playing vanilla Pandemic before you play Legacy, because basically you're just playing Pandemic 12-24 times. I thought the Legacy thing would keep it exciting, but I tossed it after a few sessions (I don't like Pandemic as it is).
 
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79strat wrote:
I'd make sure you like playing vanilla Pandemic before you play Legacy, because basically you're just playing Pandemic 12-24 times. I thought the Legacy thing would keep it exciting, but I tossed it after a few sessions (I don't like Pandemic as it is).
Yeah, you shouldn't start a campaign of a game you don't care for in the first place.
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It took us 18 plays to complete Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. After that, we kept the map for a future school project and the cubes and plastic figures, and chucked the rest.

Compare this to most board games owned by most BGGers, which would rarely see 18 plays and sit on a shelf until they die, at which point they would go into the landfill.

I think the Legacy games are the more responsible choice.
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Quote:
Legacy game sustainability?


Well... any given game company will usually sell one copy of a game to your average patron. Thus, the chance to sell 2+ copies to the same patron (given they actually like it so much as to go thru the whole thing again) is actually marketing genius.

Upon learning about the concept of legacy games a while back I was appalled. Destroy my precious game components?! Arrgghh!!

But, after having recently played a couple of sessions of SeaFall, I sort of get it and am more receptive to the concept and can see how producing them might be a "sustainable" business model.

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I was initially very hesitant about getting in the Legacy games thing. I mean I had never experienced before and had similar misgivings as to most of the people here.

However I got a group together for Pandemic Legacy and took the plunge. Bought the game and played it. Took us like 18 games or something. While people tell you you can play games after that on your custom board, the truth is I can't imagine many people do this. It really isn't the same experience anymore after that and I at least personally wouldn't want to. I believe there are some good polls out there that show most people don't play again or do so only very sparingly.

But that's not really my point. I loved the experience and am excited to try future legacy games. At the very least I'd say Pandemic Legacy is a very well designed game that is a ton of fun. Yes at the end you will wind up with a bunch of cardboard and cards that you'll trash. (Or if you truly are a bit more environmentally minded almost all the stuff in most board game boxes is truly recyclable) Alternatively you can find many crafty people whom have found some nice shadow boxes and turned their copies of their legacy games into unique artwork for their game room. My boyfriend and I took this route and have an awesome piece of artwork now instead of trashing the game.

I liked the game so much we actually organized a second group and played through another copy. Yes it kind of stunk to pay for another copy when most other games I could simply play more of....yet at the same time I often buy expansions for games that I've only played a dozen times or so. Yes, those games I still can often resell or hypothetically play more, but in reality very few games really get all that many plays. Even if they don't though, I was quite willing to pay for another copy for another 16ish plays.

I tried out SeaFall. Was really excited for it, got about six games into the 15ish game campaign. Realized it wasn't really for me and none of us wanted to continue. Some issues just made it not that good for me. At that point I did wind up with a game I had no use for. But I put most of it in the recycling bin, kept some spare components I thought might be useful or other games or prototyping. Really it's no different than many of the other products I buy and eventually throw out or recycle because they get used up or I just no longer need them, or they break, etc.


Huh, I've really rambled a lot here. I guess the point is I felt like you and many others at the start. But I realized I quite liked Pandemic and wanted to see what the hullabaloo about Pandemic Legacy was. I'm incredibly glad I decided to try it and I don't have any misgivings anymore about it. Is it less sustainable than other board games? Sure. But like many others have said much of my other entertainment has environmental costs associated with it and it doesn't bother me that those experiences are not endlessly repeatable. Is Pandemic Legacy a good deal compared to other board games? Of course not because there is a limited cap on the number of times you are going to play so it can never hit those very low price per play points of games that get 100's of plays. However almost every other form of entertainment I spend my money on is much more costly on a price per hour than Pandemic Legacy. So I say take the dive and try it out if you're at all interested. I doubt you'll be disappointed.

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Glenn Althor
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Many responses here, almost none of them addressing the OP's question. I agree that from an environmental sustainability perspective, the idea of legacy games is troubling. For me it's not so much the 'life cycle assessment' aspect of the game, say compared (as someone has here)to a coffee cup, it's more a philosophical argument against a product which encourages the 'use it once, then throw it away' consumer mentality. Non-reusable coffee cups do the same thing (and like legacy games, I don't use them).

The biggest challenge I have specific to legacy board games is that after I buy a game and get my fun out of it (3-15 plays has been bandied about here), I either give it away, or sell it. This is a reusable product, and I love it. Sure, there are some really good arguments for why this isn't so bad (particularly the life cycle assessment against other products), but for me, it violates the wonderful reusable aspect of board games.

In short, I follow the advice of 'don't like it, don't buy it', but I think it's helpful to actually pull these ideas apart and understand why they (or don't) make us uncomfortable. Am I going to 'save the environment' by missing out on Legacy games? No. But I am going to have some piece of mind knowing that I'm not contributing to the troublesome use once throw away, product model. Other folks don't care about this, and that's fine, I'm not here to judge. What I'm saying is work out why this makes you uncomfortable and decide if that's a good enough reason (or not!) to miss out.
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Bill Cook
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DragonsDream wrote:
Short answer is that games like Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy are still playable after the Legacy part is done.


I think the bigger answer is that getting 10-12 plays out of game is more than almost every board game people buy. We think we are going to play games a million times... but surveys show we simply don't.

Even if a legacy game is rendered completely unplayable at the end... if it makes it to the end it's been a great buy.
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moapy wrote:
Many responses here, almost none of them addressing the OP's question. I agree that from an environmental sustainability perspective, the idea of legacy games is troubling.


Virtually game is going to end up in a landfill eventually. I'm not sure a legacy game is any worse than a non-legacy game.

Now if we want to compare the environmental impact of games with lots of plastic minis vs those with wooden cubes....
 
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moapy wrote:
Many responses here, almost none of them addressing the OP's question. I agree that from an environmental sustainability perspective, the idea of legacy games is troubling. For me it's not so much the 'life cycle assessment' aspect of the game, say compared (as someone has here)to a coffee cup, it's more a philosophical argument against a product which encourages the 'use it once, then throw it away' consumer mentality. Non-reusable coffee cups do the same thing (and like legacy games, I don't use them).

The biggest challenge I have specific to legacy board games is that after I buy a game and get my fun out of it (3-15 plays has been bandied about here), I either give it away, or sell it. This is a reusable product, and I love it. Sure, there are some really good arguments for why this isn't so bad (particularly the life cycle assessment against other products), but for me, it violates the wonderful reusable aspect of board games.

In short, I follow the advice of 'don't like it, don't buy it', but I think it's helpful to actually pull these ideas apart and understand why they (or don't) make us uncomfortable. Am I going to 'save the environment' by missing out on Legacy games? No. But I am going to have some piece of mind knowing that I'm not contributing to the troublesome use once throw away, product model. Other folks don't care about this, and that's fine, I'm not here to judge. What I'm saying is work out why this makes you uncomfortable and decide if that's a good enough reason (or not!) to miss out.


My response to environmental factors remains the same (if that was the OP's main/sole focus)... things like paper coffee cups, and them Keurig machines with the k-cups (which are 90% waste), should make legacy games look like a drop in the bucket. Too many other real world examples, but I used coffee as an example since it's a response I can easily recycle ()
 
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I have at least 10 games in my collection, probably 20, that have only been played once. Some of them have been on the shelf for more than three years. I will be picking up Charterstone and my group will jump into plays right away. We already have the first few sessions planned. And we’ll log the full roster of plays within a few months. So, for us, the excitement of trying out a legacy game is getting us to play the same game more times than we normally do. Even our favorites have only seen table time around 10 times each. So it’s a good investment for us.

Oh, and I’ll pop on the recharge pack to a) play the whole legacy again, or b) trade the game so someone else can enjoy it.
 
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Fretting over a legacy style game is the same as fretting over something like Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases. After all, once you've played all 10 cases, you can't really go back and play it again. The same with the escape room games.

A legacy game is an experience (like going to a concert, a movie, eating out, etc.) that you enjoy for a specific period and then complete. If that concept doesn't appeal to you, then perhaps legacy games won't be a preferred genre. Nothing wrong with that. We all have likes and dislikes.
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