Small-box games have become increasingly popular among hardcore board gaming circles. They are usually at the core of any gaming night and serve as an excellent appetizer to get you in the mood for something meatier. This genre is now full of publishers looking to get their piece of the pie. AEG is one of the biggest publishers who have some of the most played and highly rated titles in this genre.
Lost Legacy is a spin-off of the popular play style of the Love Letter microgame, and is a game of deception, risk, and luck. Your sleuthing skills will need to be top notch as will your poker face when you face off against up to 5 other players. Each game only takes several minutes to complete with the ultimate goal to either eliminate all other players or to find the Lost Legacy during the game’s investigation phase.
The best part of the Lost Legacy system is that you can mix and match the sets to create unique draw decks and your own one-of-a-kind play experiences.
Should Lost Legacy remain lost, or should you unearth them all? Read on to find out…
There is very little complexity with regards to the core gameplay of Lost Legacy. The game is a turn-based card game where each player takes a turn in drawing a card from a central draw deck and playing a card from their hand (usually a choice of two cards, at this point). The player resolves that card’s effects before play passes to the next player, and so on until one player emerges as the victor.
At the start of the game each player is dealt one card from a central deck with one more card being placed face-down to create the hidden “Ruins” area. The first player then draws a card from the central deck and plays just one of those from their hand. As the turns pass, players will be eliminated, or the investigation phase will trigger when there are no more cards left in the Central Deck.
The investigation phase is where you can search for the Lost Legacy card of the particular set you’re playing. The first player to correctly deduce (or randomly guess!) its location wins the game. However, there is an order to the investigation phase that can play a huge part in your overall strategy throughout the match.
Each card has a number in its top left corner, except the deck’s three ‘X’ cards. Some cards only have a single copy in the deck, such as the lowered numbered cards, while the higher cards have multiple.
The lower the number, the sooner you can investigate, though the lower numbered cards often come paired with some risk, such as immediate elimination if forced to reveal or discard that card. This makes holding a low numbered card a risky strategy, but one that will pay off if the game does go into the investigation phase.
There are many different effects on the cards with the majority manipulating the state of the game by interacting with the Ruins, Central Deck, or another player directly. Depending on the set being played the intricacies of the card effects become more complex and allow for some excellent combos and deceptive plays.
Lost Legacy is a fantastic game that takes very little time to play. This is why it is an excellent candidate for a starter game to a games night or even as a holiday game when you’re not relaxing on the beach! The flexibility with the number of players makes it much more versatile than most of the competing games in the genre. It works great at 2 players, but scales perfectly with larger groups too.
We also have to take into account the fantastic artwork and production values seen throughout the series. I adore the art and template design on these cards. Along the bottom runs a scenic view of that set’s theme, so you can tell at a glance which cards come from which set.
ADDITIONAL LEGACIES TO FIND
Lost Legacy spans several expansions and Chronicles with each set introducing a new mechanic or victory condition. This keeps the gameplay feeling consistently fresh and innovative without compromising on the core gameplay that makes Lost Legacy such an enjoyable experience.
Most of the expansions for Lost Legacy are inexpensive and easy to find. However, Lost Legacy: Orb of Prophecy is one set that we will not be covering in this review. This is because it is a promo pack that cannot be bought at retail. (I’m still desperately trying to get my hands on it, as it was a GenCon 2015 Games Night exclusive!)
- The Starship – The original set release and series forerunner. This sets the tone for what to expect in Lost Legacy and is your gateway to understanding how to play. If you want to keep things simple and relatively uncomplicated, this is the set to start with.
- Flying Garden – The second set release is much like the first, being fairly uncomplicated and easy to play. The new cards vary the effects slightly and offer more ways to eliminate a player from the game. Unlike the first set, if you are eliminated whilst holding the Lost Legacy, it is shuffled into the Ruins. This enables the game to continue, and the location of the Lost Legacy remains a mystery!
- Second Chronicle: Vorpal Sword & Whitegold Spire – The first of the two set boxes contains a massive shake-up to the series. The Vorpal Blade set is the first to introduce secondary effects to a card. Also, for the first time, the Lost Legacy card can be used offensively instead of being held onto to know the exact location of the card during the investigation phase.
Whitegold Spire continues with more secondary effects on cards and also introduces new face-down flipping mechanics and a victory point-scoring mechanic. This brings a new way to win the game outside of finding the Lost Legacy, and you can still win even if you aren’t the player who finds it. This is also the first set with no cards that eliminate other players.
- Third Chronicle: Sacred Grail & Staff of Dragons – The second double box set introduces new ways to bluff against your opponents. The Sacred Grail saga allows you to interrogate your opponent as to whether they hold particular cards, and some cards allow you to lie about whether you possess them or not. It also expands on the new face-down mechanic by forcing you to play particular cards face-down or allowing you to choose to play others in the same way. Here the Lost Legacy is, in fact, the Grail of Arthurian Legend! This one has a very “Game of Thrones“ court intrigue feel about it.
The Staff of Dragons is a very aggressive set with multiple ways of eliminating opponents from the game. You’ll need to be careful about what you play and hold onto because the card values hold far more importance than ever before. A new mechanic is also brought in that lets your row of played cards alter your investigation speed during the investigation phase. This changes the dynamic of playing aggressive cards, as there will be a penalty for doing so.
There is also the Fourth Chronicle: The Werewolf & Undying Heart which is coming soon and obviously focuses on Werewolves, Vampires, and other beastly factions. I cannot wait to get my hands on it and have already pre-ordered my copy! The new mechanics look set to bring about ways to protect yourself from elimination and manipulate the investigation phase even further. (I’ll update this review once that set is released, as well as any future sets.)
Another great way to play Lost Legacy is to create an entirely unique deck of cards using any of the cards in your collection. The only rules are that you must use only one Lost Legacy, as well as the correct order of card numbers and their respective quantities from their respective sets. For example, you must include the same 8 from one set rather than using three different 8s from three different sets.
There should be no reason as to why you shouldn’t be adding Lost Legacy to your tabletop gaming collection. It brings TCG/CCG-style gameplay and packs it into a fast-paced, exciting, highly addictive experience.
The speedy gameplay makes it an ideal candidate for a quick burst of fun if you don’t want to start something more involved or time-consuming. It works great with two players, but the more players you compete against, the harder it becomes to identify the cards each person is holding on to!
The diversity that each set brings keeps the gameplay fresh and exciting. Most of the Chronicles add in an entirely new mechanic or build upon a previous introduction. All of them are easy to play with a very short learning curve. Mixing the Chronicles to make up your own Lost Legacy game extends the longevity of the game ever further.
Lost Legacy is most certainly the quick match feature of tabletop gaming! It’s my go-to game for introducing new people to card games as well because it’s simple enough for them to learn, but complex and strategic enough to satisfy my desire to play a meaty card game with interesting effects and player decisions.
It helps that the fantasy/sci-fi universe and the art they’ve created for it is drop-dead gorgeous, as well. Pick this one up. You won’t regret it.
For more screenshots, click here.
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