I’ve never written a review for a game before but I felt compelled to do a write-up about this one because it’s not widely known and does not (yet) have a very wide distribution. It is from a small publisher. If you decide to place an order I thought it would be nice to know what you’re getting and what you’re getting into.
I knew absolutely nothing about this historic race before this game. While it is not necessary to play the game, having some background into the rich past of the race greatly enhances the experience. There is a little bit of history in the rulebook to whet your appetite but I found myself wanting to know more. For English readers, I found this site to be helpful:
http://www.grandprixhistory.org/miglia.htm (more information is on the left in blue under Mille Miglia) it has a breakdown synopsis by year as well that is very interesting.
The box is large, rectangular, and opens somewhat like a pizza box with attached lid. It is very sturdy and holds everything well. The cover artwork is simple but very effective. It sets the tone for the game appropriately. The back of the box has a good overview of the game, some artwork, and basic concepts in both English and Italian.
In the box you get several very large, sturdy, thick cardboard tiles. These tiles form all of the Stages for the race. Each one is double-sided and labeled for easy identification. The identifying arrows are from the original race logo and do not necessarily indicate the direction of travel on the tile. Each tile is around 1/4” larger than the Leader 1 (or Giro d’Italia) tiles if you are familiar with those. In fact, is uses the same color scheme for uphill / downhill as Leader 1 / Giro d’Italia; a series of red dots up uphill ascents and black dots for downhill descents. The artwork on them is highly detailed and really nice. The attention to terrain and environment elements is very pleasantly done. It’s not cartoony like the art on Leader 1. This is a serious game set in the Italian countryside and the tiles convey that well. The tiles fit into a cut, formed well in the cardboard insert. There are 2 tabs to lift the tiles out of the box. The tiles themselves are somewhat matte and not as glossy / glary as the Leader 1 tiles. I much prefer these tiles over Leader 1.
There is a small baggie with 6 dice. Five of these are colored custom-symbol dice and one standard white d6. They are chunky and feel good when tossing them. Two of the dice are for different weather conditions, wet (blue) or dry (black). The other 3 dice are for handling. Green is excellent, yellow is average, and red is poor.
There are six sheets each of the Car Status Charts, Speed Charts and Time Charts. That is enough for one full game of 6 players but you can easily download all the sheets and charts from the publisher’s site and print off as many as you’d like.
There is also a 30 page full-color rulebook in both Italian and English. Overall it is well-written and has good examples of play throughout. The 2-page summary in the back is excellent and accurately sums up the important rules in a clear format.
You also get 19 (+ a promo for a limited time based on region) car cards that are wonderfully illustrated. The car art is extremely impressive for being highly detailed without being over-detailed feeling cluttered or distracting. The varied background on the cards reflects the actual interiors of the cars from the race. The charts on the cards are well laid out, easy to read, and decipher.
Also in the box is a set of 20 (19 cars + 1 roadside assistance marker) pawns. These are hollow, tent-like shapes that are very study and serve their purpose. Actual car models would have been nice here but I understand the extra costs needed to produce something lavish like that. Hopefully sometime in the future the deluxe version of the game will have highly detailed metallic car models.
Also included is a sheet of stickers for the aforementioned pawns. The stickers feature the same great, detailed car art plus the car name. Applying the stickers was easy and they firmly and evenly adhered..
I will preface this part by saying that I have played all 15 stages of the race but only as a solo game. All of my opinions expressed here are based on that experience.
The race is broken down into 15 stages that are each explained in detail in the rulebook with pictures of the hexagons to lay out for the course.
For each game turn sequence you perform the following:
• Decide on speed setting (Acceleration, Braking, or Maintain speed)
• Write down turn speed on “Speed Chart”
• Move car
• Resolve technical issues (if any)
• Modify the final speed on the “Speed Chart” (if required due to terrain or mechanical problem)
There is a remark in the rulebook about ensuring that you do act as quickly as possible to write down your turn speed and to not count ahead. While it is tempting to do otherwise, I found this to be an important rule because it made the decisions more realistic and more tense as you wound your way through the various stages.
Once it is nightfall, using the simulation rule for headlights of revealing the current and next tile can get a bit cumbersome by referring to the rulebook for tile orientation. I found that aligning all of the tiles ahead of time (using the red arrow as reference) according to the picture in the rulebook and then covering the topmost tile with another random leftover tile sped up gameplay quite a bit. Having them face down and the flipping them over often yielded different orientations.
I timed myself with a stopwatch on setup and stage completion times to get a sense of how long it takes. I set up Stage 15 (one of the longest stages) and it took me right at 4 minutes to get all the tiles put in order in the correct orientation for the nighttime stack. Actual playing time for Stage 15 was just under 20 minutes (again as a solo game). That 20 minutes included 4 different table consultations for various things like over-revving, braking, too fast in the corner, etc. so I think it is fairly representative of an actual playing time for one of the longer stages per player.
Overview and Final Thoughts:
If you haven’t guessed by now I really enjoy this game. The amount of research that went into the game is remarkable and it shows. The game is a simulation, yes, but it does not get bogged down in endless minute details or fiddly rules so it still feels like a game too. This is one of the best examples I can think of where the simulation does not get in the way of the game and vice versa. After a couple of reads through the rulebook, I rarely if ever had to refer back to it. It all makes sense and fits together in an intuitive manner. It may help that I have and play lots of different racing games so rules of this type feel organic but I think anyone can read and understand them. The flow of play is good and the tables and charts are easy to read and easy to follow. The box and components are very nice and the artwork all-around is appropriate and nice.
In conclusion, Legend accurately captures the feeling of a race and excels at being both a strategy game and simulation. The experience is fun, fast, and unique. If you’re a fan of racing, old cars, and/or history then I highly recommend you find a copy of this game.
The publisher’s site is: www.wbsgames.com
- Last edited Fri Dec 7, 2012 8:02 pm (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Fri Dec 7, 2012 5:05 pm