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Legacy Games

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Twitsan
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Legacy Games

Has anybody given thought to rules for a Legacy style game. I know there is the scenario "Second Wave", but an island that is shaped by repeated invasions sounds like a blast.

Ameena
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What do you mean by "Legacy-style game"? I presume you're not talking about the Sentinels hero? I would say Lightning already fills that role pretty well with the speed enhancement card :D.


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@Ameena: It's a type of board game where you make permanent changes to the board and playing components with each game, thus leaving a "legacy" of all your past games which affects future games. I think Risk: Legacy was the first one, IIRC.


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Change the text if you met the elemental thresholds on Cast into the Briny Deep to read "rip up one island board?"

Arcanist Lupus
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The "Second Wave" Scenario from the expansion provides mini-legacy mode.  No permanent changes, but it does set out rules to modify the next game based on earlier games.


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Hm...so would you use the same spirits in the Legacy games? Or would you remove the Presence of the first-game spirits and start again with new ones? Would th Invaders stay the same way they were at the end of the previous game? What if they'd won through Blight coverage? What if there were no Invaders left thanks to the spirits destroying them all? Or do you reset some of the board whilst leaving other bits the same?


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Twitsan
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Typically in a legacy game you set up the board fresh each time, with the exception of any lasting markings from previous games.

There are also hidden rules or rule changes, and pieces, that only get reveled if a specific set of circumstances happen.

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So...what counts as a "lasting marking" in Spirit Island?


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Trajector
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The way Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy do this is with stickers.

So, for example, after completing a Spirit Island game, players might put a sticker on one land with a spirit's presence before they clean everything up. During set-up for the next game, everything would proceed as usual and then players would choose one spirit to add presence to the land with the sticker. Over many games, you would accrue stickers on the board (both helpful and detrimental), stickers on cards that add/change functions of the cards (say by adding elements, or adding a new effect of the power), and stickers in the rulebook that add/change rules (usually during set-up, clarifying how to handle any pieces introduced as the game goes on).

New pieces come in opaque sealed containers, which you open at specified times (say, after you've completed a certain number of games). Maybe one contains pieces marked with each element from the power cards, and at the time you open their container and reveal them, you would also put a sticker in the rule book telling you to add some of these to various lands during set-up and another sticker to the rulebook telling you that when a spirit has presence in that land they have that element available.

Hand in hand with all this, of course, the Invaders would be getting harder and harder!

tedv
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There are three different things that people often call "legacy", each with their own strengths and weaknesses. At the lowest level, you have "gated content". This is content you don't have access to on the first game, but can earn access to on later plays. A good example of a game that *just* uses gated content is Mechs vs Minions. Each mission you complete gives you access to the next mission, along with new powers for your characters. But each person who plays mission 4 should start from the same game state.

The next level is "campaign". In a campaign game, choices you make in one game can affect your own play choices in future games. The most common example here is a tabletop RPG like Dungeons and Dragons, where your character gains loot and levels from session to session. But really anything with a character sheet that you keep beetween games will be a campaign game, even something simple like One Deck Dungeon.

The most drastic enduring design is "legacy". In a legacy game, choices you make in one game can affect *anyones* play choices in future games. The main difference between campgain and legacy is what's modified. Campaign tends to modify the character while legacy modifies the board and other shared components. Games like Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy fit this.

Note that it's possible for games to have more than one kind of thing. Gloomhaven has all three, sometimes even embodied in the same design element. A new character might need to be unlocked (gated content), have its own character sheet that one person advances (campaign), and also have character abilies that were enhanced with stickers for everyone playing that character (legacy).

Back to the topic of Spirit Island. It doesn't formally have gated content, but the expansion is kind of like this. You reach a point in playing the game where you feel like you've leveled up your ability to play and want access to new powers and spirits. For campaign, only the second wave scenario fits the bill. It might be possible to design some kind of "character sheet" style advancement for spirits between games, but thematically spirits "level up" in a way that's very different from a typical RPG character. Your Sorcerer gets stronger over time, but thematically spirits just change their essence from one thing to another. This could be represented by unlocking different starting powers, innates, and/or special rules. Probably not presence tracks or growth options. Note that this would be a ton of work to do for all spirits in interesting ways (because you also need to provide interesting advancements choices, probably 3 options per spirit). But it's technically possible.

I'm not a GTG representative, but my perspective is that actual legacy design space for Spirit Island has structural problems that are practically impossible to solve. The main issue is that Spirit Island has *such* a broad range of ways to modify both how the game is played and the game's difficulty. It's also really well balanced given the difficulty you've selected. Permanently changing invaders, powers, and spirits adds huge risk that the balance gets thrown out of whack, making some strategy become either dominant or worthless. Legacy elements are also often used to ramp up difficulty, something Spirit Island doesn't need any help with. So I think the risk / reward ratio of a true legacy experience is probably not a good idea.

TakeWalker
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tedv wrote:

The most drastic enduring design is "legacy". In a legacy game, choices you make in one game can affect *anyones* play choices in future games. The main difference between campgain and legacy is what's modified. Campaign tends to modify the character while legacy modifies the board and other shared components. Games like Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy fit this.

I hear about this a lot... How exactly does this work? Are we talking about board games?

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Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy are both board games, derived from Risk and Pandemic (respectively). They each contain a series of sealed envelopes, boxes, and stickers that are opened and applied to the board as certain events happen, or may require players to write on the board with a permanent marker. For example, in Risk Legacy once a player has won two games (of the 15 that makes up the series), they're allowed to rename one of the cities on the board, which can provide certain benefits to players who own it. Pandemic Legacy may require players to tear up the card for a city if it has too many outbreaks in a game, or put stickers onto the board at various points. 

Does that help?

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To give a more drastic example, Pandemic Legacy has points when the rules tell you to *rip up* a card. In a future game, you could play with different players, or even a different number of players, than the game in which you destroyed a game component, but it is just as gone for them. I wasn't really kidding about my Briny Deep joke!

Yaaaaaaaaaaaay

tedv wrote:

I'm not a GTG representative, but my perspective is that actual legacy design space for Spirit Island has structural problems that are practically impossible to solve. The main issue is that Spirit Island has *such* a broad range of ways to modify both how the game is played and the game's difficulty. It's also really well balanced given the difficulty you've selected.

In my opinion, the best way to do it with Spirit Island is actually to make the game we know the *end state* of a gated content game. You could start with no major power deck and play a perfectly functional game. Then you could add an adversary, and escalate them. Then you'd need to add the major powers. Then a scenario mixes up the rules. Then you add expansion elements...

But eventually, the best thing is probably to come back to the game as it is.

TakeWalker
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That is so weird.

So you get this game and immediately have to place stickers or tear up cards just because other people did? <.< What a strange way to play something. Okay!

More on topic, I haven't tried the two-game scenario yet, but I think a campaign for Spirit Island wold be pretty great.

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Unsurprisingly, I've given some thought to what a Spirit Island Legacy game might look like. In addition to the difficulties Ted raised, there's also a fundamental problem of arc - in a single game of Spirit Island the Spirits all grow immensely in power-level, possibly fundamentally changing their nature in the process. That doesn't translate well to multiple plays (unless you take the "pretend the previous game didn't happen (except then why is there Legacy stuff?)" approach), particularly given the metaphysics of Spirit Island, in which larger and more powerful Spirits think/act on longer timescales. 

(This is why the Second Wave scenario has you playing different Spirits in the second game: your Spirits from the first game have grown vastly powerful, but so large/slow in scope that they've effectively removed themself from the conflict, only able to contribute that one Power at the start of Stage III.)

I have ideas which could in theory address this... but turning Spirit Island into a Legacy game would almost certainly involve much more fundamental transformation than was true for either Pandemic or Risk. It's not something I'm likely to poke at anytime soon - especially since there's actual/non-legacy Spirit Island expansion stuff to work on!

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TakeWalker wrote:

That is so weird.So you get this game and immediately have to place stickers or tear up cards just because other people did? <.< What a strange way to play something.

Okay!More on topic, I haven't tried the two-game scenario yet, but I think a campaign for Spirit Island wold be pretty great.

Not quite.  Over the course of the game, certain game actions will alter the game pieces, and the outcomes of a game you play may alter the game pieces, but you don't do anything out of the box.

 

I've never played a legacy game myself, but there was a group playing Seaboard (which is legacy) at a regular meetup I attended.  I didn't follow too closely, but there were certain areas they could capture or purchase which would become theirs permanently (as indicated by stickers and sharpie) and carry over from game to game.  Also, several games in they reached a point which unlocked an entirely new set of rules that they then had to spend like half an hour learning.


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Arcanist Lupus wrote:
... was a group playing Seaboard (which is legacy) ...
In case you go looking up the game, it's called Seafall. Otherwise your description sounds correct from my understanding of the game and from my experience with Pandemic Legacy.
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Arcanist Lupus wrote:

 

TakeWalker wrote:
That is so weird.So you get this game and immediately have to place stickers or tear up cards just because other people did? <.< What a strange way to play something.Okay!More on topic, I haven't tried the two-game scenario yet, but I think a campaign for Spirit Island wold be pretty great.

 

Not quite.  Over the course of the game, certain game actions will alter the game pieces, and the outcomes of a game you play may alter the game pieces, but you don't do anything out of the box. I've never played a legacy game myself, but there was a group playing Seaboard (which is legacy) at a regular meetup I attended.  I didn't follow too closely, but there were certain areas they could capture or purchase which would become theirs permanently (as indicated by stickers and sharpie) and carry over from game to game.  Also, several games in they reached a point which unlocked an entirely new set of rules that they then had to spend like half an hour learning.

 

Its worth noting that Pandemic Legacy is designed with the idea that your playgroup for it gets together once a month, and there are 12 'stages', from the base game that changes nothing about the board (ie, January's meet up) and every time you play (win or loose) you modify  the board in some way for the next play meeting, next month.

 

There are now 2 versions of this, each slightly different (Pandemic Legacy Season 1 and Season 2)


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dpt wrote:

 

Arcanist Lupus wrote:
... was a group playing Seaboard (which is legacy) ...

 

In case you go looking up the game, it's called Seafall. Otherwise your description sounds correct from my understanding of the game and from my experience with Pandemic Legacy.

Whoops.  Thanks for the catch!

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At the risk of adding spoilers, I can give a more concrete example of how a Legacy component would come into play.

 

When a faction is created in Risk Legacy, you're allowed to modify its basic abilities with stickers, adding an offensive/defense trait in addition to the basic power. This customization produces special interactions between other factions. Additionally, you have the ability to use some of your resources to "scar" the land in some fashion. These can be temporary buffs (increasing the value of defensive dice, potentially) or causing the land's holder to slowly lose resources the longer they occupy it. What this does is give an immediate advantage to the players who strategically lay down scars, but the scars don't go away at the end of the game. In all future games, that land will be scarred, meaning how you interact and behave when trying to gain tactical advantages is entirely modified.

 

Not only that, but there are some cases I would say behave similarly to Betrayal on the House on the Hill. When the Haunt begins, the location where the haunt triggered, any items picked up, and who was in what location at any time can cause the scenario to affect different attributes of the game. Similarly, in Pandemic Legacy, location matters and can cause a drastic alteration to the board to affect something... or maybe it affects some other thing? The lack of knowledge about what's coming means you're going to have an effectively random distribution of new mechanics. Additionally, at the end of any Legacy game, players have some level of authority to make "upgrades" to factions, characters, the map, whatever. These counterbalance the way that the board might become more difficult to play on, which tends to be the case in Pandemic Legacy, where the more "damage" caused, the more difficult it is to win future games without some manner of fighting back.

 

Spirit Island Legacy would be interesting. Since Blight is a core component from the very outset of the game, the mere presence of Blight can't be enough to "scar" a land. The Spirits themselves would need to have "worse" growth options that can be upgraded, and special Spirit Phase options to, say, discard cards to gain energy would make sense to a degree. Even an upgrade that gives a Spirit 1 Fire element, for example, could be amusing.

 

The Invaders themselves may gain strongholds that let them explore more rampantly (this is a drastic change in difficulty, but is still in line with some Adversaries, and remember that upgrades to the Spirits can counter this change in difficulty). Changes to the land might make them deal more damage, or defend against them.

 

The most important detail would be a 'plot', given that this is a cooperative campaign-style game. So an objective in addition to winning would be paramount to any success for this new scenario.