I’ve put this off long enough. I gave it some good thought and I’ve come to a conclusion:
“You bitch too much”.
I’m talking to you, people who think Legacy games are scams. Yes, it’s true you’re probably only able to play this thing like a dozen times. I’d like to direct you to another article I wrote, talking about the lifespan of a typical board game. In reality, most games you buy you’ll play at most ten times. You’ll have your handful you play dozens of times. And I’ll tell you something really cool about your favorite games.
“YOU’RE STILL GOING TO HAVE THEM AFTER YOU FINISH THE LEGACY GAME!”
Let’s talk money for a moment. Gateway to Games sells Pandemic Legacy Season 1 for $104.95 good ol’ Australian buckaroos. Now. Lets presume you’re the most amazing Pandemic team to ever live and blitz the game first try to a minimum number of games, which is twelve. This means per session, you’re looking at just under $8.75 for all of your friends sitting at the table. I’ve paid for movie tickets more expensive than this and I guarantee I don’t talk about those movies as much as people talk about Pandemic Legacy.
We can break this down further. Lets assume your team are good mates and pitch in together to get a copy. You’ve each paid $2.20 per person per session. You can barely buy a pack of gum for less.
I know people get fearful of the whole “lets rip cards up” thing. And look, if you’ve read my articles were I’ve had a panic attack over putting stickers onto games (thanks Robinson Crusoe and Burgle Bros) you probably think this is a strange idea coming from me.
The only Legacy type game I’ve played is Android Netrunner: Terminal Directive (need to play the other side before I do my review) but I really enjoyed it. The thrill of knowing decisions you make will have a lasting impact. The looming threat of losing cards. The heartbreak of tearing cards up. It honestly cannot be matched by regular tabletop gaming.
Growing up, I was a fan of those “How to Host a Murder” party games (I still have a couple of new ones in my cupboard). They were $20-$40 and could only be played once because then you’d know who the murderer was. And it’s funny, even people who usually complain about Legacy games in conversations I’ve been in will openly admit they like HTHAM. So what’s the difference?
Personally I’m willing to put money on it being a perception thing. When you buy “dinner dinner murder time” you’re dressing up and you’re having an “experience”. When you buy Pandemic Legacy, you’re comparing it to other tabletop games. Especially in this case where it is quite literally based on another tabletop game (Pandemic, in case it was a little too subtle).
You know, I was watching a speech by Shut Up & Sit Down’s Quinton Smith the other night (a fantastic speech you absolutely need to see HERE) and his answer to the final question really got me thinking (I’d already written this article, just happened to nicely coincide), Legacy games are an evolution of gaming. They’re a tool designers can use to shake things up. And (stealing Quin’s point. I’m sure I can call him Quin… we’re friends in my dreams) by forcing designers to only make games which have infinite replayability, we are limiting and stifling the designers. We should be encouraging designers to break the mould, try new and interesting things. I want to have new experiences when I game. I want to gasp at twists. I want to think “Woah. This is cool”. And I want to think of the game later and reminisce about how great the time was I spent with my friends.
Are legacy games for everyone? No. Nothing except oxygen and water is for everyone. But should you fear playing a legacy game based on the fact you’ll only get a dozen plays out of it? No. It’s silly. What you’re buying is an experience.
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