There are many odd themed games out there. Collecting sushi, stacking penguins, and growing beans have all become staples on our gaming shelves. So I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised when arranging marriages became part of my gaming life. Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy is a card driven worker placement game where you are attempting to create the most wealthy and powerful family. Though I have never considered match-making a promising career path, I must say that Legacy has taught my husband and I the benefits of a well arranged marriage. The right pairing can lead to happiness, wealth, and numerous bouncing babies… choose poorly and your family is likely to become unhappy, poor, and have complications at birth.
In the world of Legacy you are a French family in the 18th century who can feel the times-a-changing. In order to stay atop the social and economical ladder you must create a diverse and solid bloodline. You will have to make ties with other wealthy and influential families from France, Great Britain, Russia, Spain, and yes, even America, to generate a successful dynasty.
So why do we care about some Tulip Trader marrying a British explorer, or how many kids they have? Because it is so darn fun. Through out Legacy, players will be selecting “friends” for their family to marry. Once a couple is married they are awarded with a child card. These cards are either a daughter, a son, or a complication. If your couple is unfortunate enough to draw a complication, either the child or the mother must be discarded. Make sure to choose carefully- if you discard the child you will have a smaller family, less opportunities for marriages, and less offspring for future generations. The game for two more generations ending on the fourth generation. A big part of Legacy is the various card combos you can create. All the friend cards will offer different perks or hindrances. For example, some will cost a lot of money but will offer a perk for other family members of the same nationality. Others will give you prestige but in return you must discard friends. It is up to you to find the best combos along with you family members. Though the strategy in this game is limited, the mechanics make it a very enjoyable game.
Other actions players may take are having more children, asking for money, and socializing. Each of these three actions along with marrying or arranging marriages can be found on the individual player boards. These boards keep track of personal income and prestige as well. There is also a main board with shared worker spots. This board keeps track of honor (victory points) , the generation track, and several actions players can take, including acquiring a title or contributing to the community, hiring a fertility doctor to improve your chances of children, buying a giant mansion for your family to live in, starting a venture or undertaking a mission. All of these options give players extra points in order to increase their honor. The family with the most honor will be deemed the strongest bloodline and be crowned victor of Legacy.
There is player interaction, card management, money management, and intriguing mechanics. The theme is strong throughout the game as well. If you Contribute to the Community by having a feast, you will gain friends and honor but it will cost you coins, which completely makes sense! You make friends at a party, but it does cost a lot to buy all that pizza. If you acquire the title of Count you will get more income and prestige but lose two friends. Its hard to keep friends at the top. Hendriks, the designer, thought these cards out and I truly appreciate the details. It makes Legacy all the more captivating.
Another win for this game is the art. Now as an artist in my real life outside of the world wide web, I can be kinda snobby about game art. I will be the first to admit that I have completely written off games due to terrible, horrible illustrations. I won’t name those games here because I would rip them apart and honestly they aren’t that bad, but Legacy’s art is pretty stinkin’ cute and it fits perfectly with the fun and whimsical nature of the game. Though sometimes it is hard to tell if a character’s portrait is male or female… poor ladies. I love that it is consistent throughout and not just random pictures from several artists that may or may not fit a card.
A downside? Well, I always think that game publishers can do better than little wooden blocks, so I’m not thrilled with their game component choices. Due to the high quality art matching the strong theme, the wooden cubes seem to fall a bit short. A square hardly represents my family values and deepest longings. Alas it is just a tiny piece of wood. Not that Legacy is the only game that falls short on this category… I’m looking at you Eclipse. Anyone else out there bothered by minute details that don’t affect gameplay at all but still drive you crazy?
Legacy comes with a lot of stuff in its medium sized box. Players will receive 1 main board, 4 family boards, 250 cards, 23 pawns, 13 markers and one very thorough rulebook. Everything is explained well and is very easy to find when you are searching for the one particular bit of info you need. As a fun fact collector I was ecstatic to see a “did you know that…” section on every page of the rulebook. Who doesn’t love fun facts?! Legacy can also be played as a solo game and the variant rules can also be found in the rulebook.
Legacy- The Testament of Duke De Crecy
Designer: Michiel J. E. Hendriks
Publisher: Portal Games
Play time: 60 minutes
Mechanics: Worker Placement, Card Management