Ruben Monteiro
Netherlands
Delft
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
(Quick note, yes I believe that there are spoilers below. Major ones, maybe, it's all very relative. If you read the rule book, then there's no spoilers for you. I do not isolate or highlight them, so you are at your own risk.)

After reading Ivan Mosca's post about the Legacy system, on AnalogGameStudies (great site, by the way).

http://analoggamestudies.org/2017/01/legacys-legacy-irrevers...

I have to say, I'm glad to see the academy world interested in research on board games.
However, this post did start with me getting pissed off with the term "permadeath" being used, right on the tittle. Uhm, it kind of feels like a click-bait. Since it's more like "permanent consequence" and not really death of a character/player and you are out of the game. Well, yes yes, a character can die, but the game doesn't stop there (for you or for everybody), you just pick another one. If you say "permadeath" my thought goes to games like DayZ, where you literally lose all your progress. Or even more aggressive examples as One Single Life (also mentioned in the post) where you really only have one life, then you cannot play it anymore. This makes things way more serious in the way you approach the game.
Actually, later on, instead of permadeath, the writer started using the term "irreversibility", which is way more accurate.
I specially dislike the attempt to coin the term "player permadeath" to the fact that you cannot really repeat the game, because you already know what is going to happen or that the experience is not the same. We already have a term for that, it's called "spoiler".
Don't get me wrong. Yes, let's have a real permadeath Legacy board game! But if Pandemic Legacy already got a lot of hate on the whole "you can only pay it once" thing, I can imagine that if you could die in the middle of it, and that's it, throw it away: everybody would lose their mind! But, done in a mild way, where you are somehow harder to kill, it sounds great!

Love Daviau's comment on the destruction of the contents: "Some will find this game liberating. Others a horror." And I think I actually had both feelings, but I tend to go for the liberating side. I on the very first time we had to destroy something, the group was hesitant, so I "volunteered" (quickly grabbed the card) to ripped it to pieces! Oh that felt goooood!
However, after a conversation that I had with a friend, something is bugging me: the fact that the whole world restarts every month. It doesn't really make sense in terms of story (since it's not like time travel "groundhog day" style) and that doesn't really make sense with all the rest that Daviau's was saying: "This led us to wondering why games always have to reset." But, Pandemic does reset! Only relatively "small" parts stay permanent (take it as you will).

In the end there's something that is very interesting in the post. It truly raises a good question: Can Legacy survive the ongoing growth of "going digital" in the board gaming​ world (nothing against it. It's a natural evolution). Specially since, by nature, the digital world it reversible, at least that is the default status. You can save, you have various lives, you respawn, etc. So won't a Legacy game that is managed by an app probably clash this two "mindsets"? I can imagine thoughts similar to "It's irreversible but why can't I just respawn as always? I know the app has the data of my character!?" And there's the classic dilemma, board games are tactile, so sure it won't have the same effect to "destroy a component in little pieces" digitally. No one cares if Mario dies a million times! You can always reset. But destroying a full-printed-awesome-looking-card, that's different.

Ignacy Trzewiczek's new game First Martians seems to have some a small (5 scenarios) Legacy campaign in it, and it does have an app (which I couldn't understand yet if it also managed the Legacy part also or not). Nevertheless, they do use the envelopes with hidden physical content. So for now, Legacy is kept physical, where irreversibility matters.

Edit: Corrected some typos (sorry for the bad English) and some small wording.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dylan Thurston
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the pointer to that site! I went down a bit of a rabbit hole this morning...

On permadeath, it's worth acknowledging that Pandemic Legacy has various tricks to make you identify with the individual characters in the game, including making you give them names (and then making you realize early on that yes, this is really part of the game), giving them upgrades, etc. And the betrayal ended up feeling quite shocking to the group. I agree that the article oversells it, though.

You also raise interesting points about reseting the board state. Of course in the case of Pandemic Legacy this is motivated by wanting to keep the experience related to the original Pandemic game, and indeed it feels unnatural. But it also serves some other purpose in terms of the experience, in giving a background level of continuity that the surprsises can be sprung on top of. There would have to be a lot more narrative if there weren't that continuity; this is something that video games already do.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Stewart
United Kingdom
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Also, the article is talking about permadeath largely in the context of the player "dying" and being unable to play again - which is untrue. It's true that you can't recapture the first play experience, but that's true of every single game ever, not just legacy games. And, while there's, by design, a bigger change from first to subsequent playthroughs in Legacy, there's enough variability that some have enjoyed playing through the entire campaign repeatedly.

And, of course, a number of people have enjoyed playing the campaign with a new group by focusing on the per-game gameplay and letting the new players make the long-term choices without knowing what's coming.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
jan w
Belgium
Brussels
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'd say permadeath and irreversibility are two very different things:

Permadeath, as coined in videogames, means you lose all progress so far. The game will save, but once you die, your saves are deleted. In videogames this adds a layer of extra excitement, because so much is at stake.

Permadeath is a sub-category of irreversibility: making your death irreversible is negating a trope in videogames: the fact that we can save and go back to rectify our mistakes. In legacy games we see another form of irreversibility: effects on the world are more permanent. Upgrade choices for characters are permanent. But what do these aspects really add?

Do they add a sense of tension, like permadeath? Not really. Could it be done without permanence of the material: yes, quite easily. The only thing that you can't revisit in Pandemic Legacy is the discovery of what new rules come at what point in time. Other games have done semi-permanence in different ways: Arkham Horror LCG has you store your deck and the chaos bag tokens across a campaign. Your choices are permanent across the campaign, you will only enjoy the discovery of secrets and twists the first time you play through a scenario, but the material is not permanent.

Legacy games like Pandemic try aren't selling "legacy" as such. The Legacy aspect is in reality a campaign structure, which RPG players have known since the 70s. In reality, they are selling permanence. And permanent choices are part of a campaign setting. However, permanent modification to game components are just a marketing stunt. It may be more practical to have stickers to "save" the game-state - but other games, like 7th Continent, have found innovative ways to save without permanence. So failing to justify the destruction of game material, I find I can only conclude that doing so in Pandemic Legacy is a gimmick.

I'm happy to see Legacy elements, or rather campaign elements, show up in board games. I'm a big fan of Arkham Horror LCG (which doesn't sell itself as a Legacy game, perhaps to avoid the confusion with the expectation that Legacy games need stickers and destruction) and hope to see more innovative takes on the genre - but I do not think that destruction is mandatory - I think it's a simple marketing ploy.

I didn't elaborate on Permadeath yet. I do think this too, could be implemented in board games. However, the variables present in most eurogames would make such a reset very harsh, since the experience would be mostly identical to the previous run through. In videogames, a typical form of permadeath game is the rogue-like. Why does permadeath work in rogue-likes? Because rogue-likes often incorporate random dungeons/level design. Every playthrough is unique. A game like Pandemic Legacy would be very discouraging if it had permadeath. Though given the right parameters, permadeath could be a part of legacy-style board games.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Pillow
United Kingdom
Worcester
England
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Most board games are treated by the players as having permadeath if they have a fail state. How often in normal Pandemic do you go back to a "save state" of a previous turn and undo your actions to fix a problem? Most players would take the loss and start a new game. The player's skill at the game increases but the game is the same each time.


Legacy games are more like a rogue-lite. Each run has Permadeath but the overall campaign doesn't. It is a game which resets if you lose but you gain upgrades or rule changes that continue into future games. The player's skill at the game helps, but so does the positive changes.

It should be noted there is only one or two One-Shot Permadeath videogames out there, and all of them are indie games. Could you imagine an X-com Ironman game that if you lost the game no longer worked. A Permadeath Legacy game would also have a higher difficult balancing issue than a normal Permadeath game. If the players loss then the one-shot campaign is over. Therefore either the difficulty will be lowered so players can play the game (which reduces the tension), or the game is too hard (and the players miss part of the content or cheat).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dylan Thurston
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pillinjer wrote:
Legacy games are more like a rogue-lite. Each run has Permadeath but the overall campaign doesn't. It is a game which resets if you lose but you gain upgrades or rule changes that continue into future games. The player's skill at the game helps, but so does the positive changes.
Which game are you thinking of here? I couldn't think of a rogue-like with that structure offhand, although it wouldn't surprise me to hear of one.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Byron S
United States
Ventura
California
flag msg tools
I don't remember what I ate last night
badge
but I can spout off obscure rules to all sorts of game like nobody's business!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The appropriately named Rogue Legacy is one.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Stewart
United Kingdom
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
dthurston wrote:
pillinjer wrote:
Legacy games are more like a rogue-lite. Each run has Permadeath but the overall campaign doesn't. It is a game which resets if you lose but you gain upgrades or rule changes that continue into future games. The player's skill at the game helps, but so does the positive changes.
Which game are you thinking of here? I couldn't think of a rogue-like with that structure offhand, although it wouldn't surprise me to hear of one.


Rogue Legacy
FTL: Faster Than Light
Roguelands
The Binding of Isaac
Hero Generations

Those are just the ones that jump out during a scan through my Steam installed games list. There are plenty of others out there.

Each run is randomly generated, and generally fairly short, but often lethal, and doing sufficiently well in a single run unlocks improvements, upgrades and options for future games. Also, while you can't memorise your way through the game, you can learn which are the somethings that work better than others and develop a better understanding of the game meaning the more experienced player will, on average, do better in any given run.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ruben Monteiro
Netherlands
Delft
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
kronik wrote:
So failing to justify the destruction of game material, I find I can only conclude that doing so in Pandemic Legacy is a gimmick.


Well, not sure if I agree, since it's such a thrill to destroy the components, and I do believe that the designers where looking for that thrill, for that uncomfortable situation.
Without the destruction and changes in the game, then it's just a campaign game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.