We can’t tell you too much about Legacy here (or show any pictures!), because the game is essentially a story: you begin playing it pretty much as a standard Pandemic game (players work co-operatively to cure/contain outbreaks of diseases across the world), but as the Legacy game (or games plural, to be exact) continues, you open up sealed compartments in the box and reveal new cards that develop the game’s narrative. If we went into the details of what that narrative is, it would effectively be a massive spoiler. If you buy this game, don’t tear open anything – read through the rules first!
Legacy is played over the course of a ‘year’ – you play at least one game for each month of the year, and if you fail the first time, you play that month again. Win or lose the second time, you move on to the next month in the calendar year, finding out how the challenges you face are going to change and the character you play in the game may (or may not…) evolve.
Each game of Pandemic Legacy takes around an hour at most, but the Legacy aspect continues until December is played out, giving you a minimum of 12 games value (in the very unlikely event you succeed every time!) and a maximum of 24. For more details on how the basics of the game functions, check out our entry on the original Pandemic.
As we’ve said above, we can’t go into details on Pandemic Legacy without ruining it for you, so we’ve stayed deliberately vague. What I can say is the Legacy version has taken a very good original game (assuming you like playing co-operatively) and added a really interesting story element to it (assuming you are happy to play the same game – albeit with increasingly dramatic tweaks -12-24 times) where you are deciding your own destiny in more ways than one. For people who really like to get into something deeply, and want to revisit it over and over, this could possibly be the best game they’ve ever played, as it has the rewards of repetition whilst negating, to a degree, the potential drawback of repeating the same experience. It’s a feat of game design in that regard.
The downsides of Pandemic Legacy for those who don’t fall into that bracket is that in order to get the most of of the game, it demands a lot of your time. No matter how good a boardgame is, I like to vary what I play quite a bit and despite my positive impression of Legacy, we only got as far as four games on the trot (over a couple of days) before needing a breather from it for a while. The other thing is that once Pandemic Legacy is played out, the narrative ceases to function as part of the design, so you can’t go back to the beginning and ‘start again’: you’ll be customizing the board as you go and literally throwing pieces of the game away during play!
However you could feasibly ignore all the legacy elements you’ve added and play as regular Pandemic instead, so that criticism is moot to a degree. Overall then, a triumph of design, but one that you need a big commitment for in terms of time and wallet.
None from the other players; plenty from the game itself.
Low! Despite the grand - and gruesome - theme, Pandemic Legacy is, like its predecessor, a very fast-moving game.
Low, until you realize you're on the verge of defeat and need to find a way to avoid it. But the game encourages collaboration and conversation.
You'll *need* to want to play again in order to explore the depths of the game - it's designed to be a new experience every time, albeit for the duration of the 'game year'.