Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Risk Legacy and a New Legacy Game in the Offing...

Risk Legacy broke on the gaming world with some turbulence.  A new take on the traditional game: one in which the game would evolve and change with each game, and one where those changes were permanent.  The prospect of writing on the board, adding stickers that couldn't be removed and tearing up cards was enough to send a shiver down the spine of some.  Seen as a gimmick to drive sales by a few at the time, to me it seemed a gimmick which held the promise of actually being a fascinating game experience.  Sure the game may be permanently altered and never reset to be replayed, but I have to be honest, if I manage to play a game 15 or so times then I have well and truly got my money in terms of play time - there are a great many games in my collection for which I paid more and have played far less, but I digress.

What is it about Risk Legacy that fascinates me?  The prospect of the game growing as it is played is certainly one part of that.  But there is more: the ability to name things, make choices about what gets a sticker and what doesn't, what may get a bonus and what doesn't - lasting impacts that a player can leave on a game.  The game grows certainly, but not simply in the sense that more and more rules and pieces are added as secret packets are opened.  The game grows as a result of the player choices, players indelibly stamp their experiences on the game board, it becomes a shared history... and this I think is an exciting and fun concept.

I'm really enjoying Risk Legacy, and I'm lucky enough to be playing in a group where the players, like the Led Zeppelin song, stay the same.  It is better this way, as the names of cities, continents and the placement of stickers are historical markers that spark some recollection of a game, event or experience in the shared history of this game we are moulding together. In-jokes and references abound, and are added in messy layers to the game board - a developing pastiche of our experience with the game from its opening to today.

Thinking about the system a little, the idea of growing a game and altering forever its make-up, I was struck by how well suited the idea might fit with an epic fantasy game - where secret packets opened to reveal the machinations and plot development of the arch enemy.

Well Rob Daviau, of course, is well ahead; just recently announcing SeaFall - a game that will be published by his own company (IronWall Games) and Plaid Hat games.  A 4X sea borne empires game with a similar evolutionary bent - a game where players explore, claim and name islands, where grudges between empires have the chance to blossom over many games, where empires can evolve and develop over the shared history of the game as it changes through the ages of play.

Image from the Plaid Hat website.

Colour me excited!

The Plaid Hat podcast has an episode where Rob discusses his game - well worth checking out!



  1. I would say because we shared the cost that we only took 2 or 3 plays to get out money's worth.
    It's all gravy from here right?!? :)

  2. Hehehehe - too true Matt - too true!