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Subject: Playtester Review of Aeon's End Legacy rss

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Kevin John
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BACKGROUND:

My Aeon's End experience begins with the original game during the Kickstarter. A board game reviewer I watch regularly (Rahdo!) played it and two things stuck out to me that interested me greatly: one, it was co-op, which my wife and I enjoy; and two, the decisions were more interesting than a standard deckbuilder. I showed the video to my wife and I heard the greatest two words that every board gamer wants to hear from their spouse: "Back it".

After recieving the game and playing it a few times I found a thread asking for playtesters for the next Aeon's End project. I immediately signed up, and later found out I was accepted. We had a blast playtesting it despite Thrice-Dead-Prophet constantly kicking our butts

Fast forward to a few months ago when we were invited to playtest Aeon's End Legacy. Accepting was a no-brainer. Now having played through it, here's my thoughts:

GOOD:

Gameplay: The core gameplay is the same as basic Aeon's End, so if you already love that then you know you'll love this. The difference however is how the campaign changes the game by adding in new mechanics, upgrading your character, and offering you a wide variety of ever-increasing difficulty of nemeses. There is an excellent balance of your character getting stronger while the opposition does as well, making each game a new strategy to incorporate your upgrades while reacting to the new mechanics the nemesis may have.

Art: Although playing on a proto-type that did not have all the art finished, the cards and nemesis that did have art were just as beautifully illustrated as the previous games.

Post-Legacy replayability: During the campaign you will be making decisions on upgrading player cards. The beauty of it is that unlike other Legacy games where the un-chosen would be destroyed or forgotten about, in AEL you can use them post campaign incorporating them with the prior games. This applies to the nemeses and their cards as well. You could be using supply cards from AEL fighting a nemesis from AEWE using basic nemesis cards from AE, or (and this is even cooler IMO) you can use your custom mage that you just finished a campaign with and use them in any of the prior content!

NOT AS GOOD:

Campaign replayability: As in any legacy game, replaying the campaign is not really a focus and would be a logistical headache. It could theoretically be done but expect a lot of book-keeping. In most situations this isn't a problem as you generally don't have a specific reason to go through again, but in this case I think there might be, which brings me to: (This has been nullified with the reset pack, see below!)

2 and 3 player games: To begin with, there are 4 blank mages. If 4 people play through the campaign, you have 4 distinct custom mages. But if you only play with 2 or 3 players through the campaign, you are going to have 1 or 2 still blank mages. Now the easy answer is to just retro-actively apply all upgrades to the blank mage(s) after the campaign is over, but that seems not as fun. The ideal solution would be to play through the campaign again with the blank mage(s) and enjoy the experience again, but as mentioned above, I'm not sure how easy that would be. The other easier solution would be to just play as 4 mages during the campaign no matter the number of players. My wife and I have decided to do this both to solve this problem but to also offer a different experience than when we playtested with 2 mages.

Mage art: I have been spoiled by War Eternal art. Just prefacing with that, because the mages themselves are some of the blandest character art I have seen. Honestly I think it's just the difference between the cool zoomed in profiles of War Eternal and the far off shots of original Aeon's End. I know there's a reason for it though so I'm not sure how easily this could be changed, if at all.

SUMMARY:

If you love Aeon's End, you want this whether you care about Legacy or not. The new cards, mechanics, and nemeses are amazing.
If you love legacy games, this is a unique take on the genre that you're going to want to experience.
If this is your first step into Aeon's End, you couldn't go wrong with starting your first steps by creating a custom mage to use in all the other content.

MY RATING:
9/10


P.S. After seeing the campaign launch, there is a Reset Pack to allow you to play the campaign again. That is awesome news! It does include additional blank mages, so it seems if you don't want blank mages at the end of the campaign, play as 4 mages or retroactively apply upgrades to the non-played mages.

P.S.S There's a lot that we playtesters can't and won't spoil, but I will try to answer questions that I can.
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Kevin John
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To add onto this since a lot has happened in the 24 hours since I posted this while it was being reviewed.

For the 2 and 3 player game point, it seems the official word is 'Fill out any blank mages after the campaign using leftover stickers'. Like I said, not as fun, but it's not nearly as big a point now that we have the reset pack.

For the mage art, this has been brought up the in the forums as well, and for the sake of avoiding THE SPOILER ZONE let's not discuss it here please
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chearns
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kevinjohn3d wrote:
2 and 3 player games: To begin with, there are 4 blank mages. If 4 people play through the campaign, you have 4 distinct custom mages. But if you only play with 2 or 3 players through the campaign, you are going to have 1 or 2 still blank mages. Now the easy answer is to just retro-actively apply all upgrades to the blank mage(s) after the campaign is over, but that seems not as fun. The ideal solution would be to play through the campaign again with the blank mage(s) and enjoy the experience again, but as mentioned above, I'm not sure how easy that would be. The other easier solution would be to just play as 4 mages during the campaign no matter the number of players.

Thanks. This is brilliantly useful information.
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Aaron Lee
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How many hours of game play do you get out of the box without a reset pack?

lets say you do end up having to play each chapter twice just 14 or so hours?
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Kevin John
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calmik wrote:
How many hours of game play do you get out of the box without a reset pack?

lets say you do end up having to play each chapter twice just 14 or so hours?


Each of our games took about an hour and a half. So.. maybe 15-18 hours or so (of just the campaign)
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Jared
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Thanks for the review! I’m really looking forward to playing Aeon’s End with a story arc and building a character.

I agree on the four mages presented. With all the really unique characters in the base games, like Xaxos, Dezmodia, Brama, etc it’s surprising these are so generic.
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Daniel Himes
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R3DSH1FT wrote:
Thanks for the review! I’m really looking forward to playing Aeon’s End with a story arc and building a character.

I agree on the four mages presented. With all the really unique characters in the base games, like Xaxos, Dezmodia, Brama, etc it’s surprising these are so generic.


But isn't that the entire point? These are the characters you are creating. They have to be generic, because you could literally make them into anything. They by their natures can't be overly specific or unique.
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Anon Y. Mous
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calmik wrote:
How many hours of game play do you get out of the box without a reset pack?

lets say you do end up having to play each chapter twice just 14 or so hours?


Remember that even without a reset pack, all nemeses other than the first have upgraded post-campaign modes.
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Ethereality wrote:
calmik wrote:
How many hours of game play do you get out of the box without a reset pack?

lets say you do end up having to play each chapter twice just 14 or so hours?


Remember that even without a reset pack, all nemeses other than the first have upgraded post-campaign modes.


Source?
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Kevin John
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Razoupaf wrote:
Ethereality wrote:
calmik wrote:
How many hours of game play do you get out of the box without a reset pack?

lets say you do end up having to play each chapter twice just 14 or so hours?


Remember that even without a reset pack, all nemeses other than the first have upgraded post-campaign modes.


Source?


I think what he means is that they have the increased difficulty option that is standard for nemeses.
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Comboteur "Crazed 'Beastface' Survivor" Fou
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kevinjohn3d wrote:
Razoupaf wrote:
Ethereality wrote:
calmik wrote:
How many hours of game play do you get out of the box without a reset pack?

lets say you do end up having to play each chapter twice just 14 or so hours?


Remember that even without a reset pack, all nemeses other than the first have upgraded post-campaign modes.


Source?


I think what he means is that they have the increased difficulty option that is standard for nemeses.


Mkay
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Jared
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catwhowalksbyhimself wrote:
R3DSH1FT wrote:
Thanks for the review! I’m really looking forward to playing Aeon’s End with a story arc and building a character.

I agree on the four mages presented. With all the really unique characters in the base games, like Xaxos, Dezmodia, Brama, etc it’s surprising these are so generic.


But isn't that the entire point? These are the characters you are creating. They have to be generic, because you could literally make them into anything. They by their natures can't be overly specific or unique.


I definitely think that was the intention but I think it was a minor error on two levels:

1. Ever good character, even at the beginning, has a back story. Making the character a child for instance says something about both the characters power and Graveholds desperation. This is just an example, but making a character really unique fleshes the character out, draws a player in, and still leaves room for branching.

2. Visually, unlike video games, these characters are not progressing so they need personality and visual appeal up front.
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R3DSH1FT wrote:
2. Visually, unlike video games, these characters are not progressing so they need personality and visual appeal up front.


Aren't you visually appealed by that luscious beard and that gorgeous afro cut?

Aaah pal you have questionable tastes I tell you ^^
And what about that redheat lady's sweet smile? Mh? Mh?
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Actually, I think its the clothing that makes many seem like an rpg stereotype. Obviously, the ranger has not progressed as a mage previously because everyone bullied it for looking like Peter Pan or Robin Hood Men in Tights.

Definitely leaning towards the mage. She looks like a Xaxos in the making.
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Kevin John
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R3DSH1FT wrote:
Actually, I think its the clothing that makes many seem like an rpg stereotype. Obviously, the ranger has not progressed as a mage previously because everyone bullied it for looking like Peter Pan or Robin Hood Men in Tights.

Definitely leaning towards the mage. She looks like a Xaxos in the making.


The archer is an archer mage, or officially: The Arch-mage.
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R3DSH1FT wrote:
Actually, I think its the clothing that makes many seem like an rpg stereotype. Obviously, the ranger has not progressed as a mage previously because everyone bullied it for looking like Peter Pan or Robin Hood Men in Tights.


You mean Legolas?
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I'm thinking of having AE: Legacy though it would be my first AE game...and the first legacy game, too !
I like the idea of familiarizing players with the story and mechanics, making first chapters like tutorials; also enhancing and unrevealing some things during play. It could be a good place to start with AE universe
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