Game Buzz – Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy

Here’s a game that’s getting a release after several years rolling around:

image by BGG user trzewik
image by BGG user trzewik

Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy is a game from Michiel J.E. Hendriks that is being published by Polish company Portal Games.  It’s a 1-4 player game that takes an hour to play.  The game is set in France during the early 18th century, and players are aristocrats trying tobuild their families in preparation for the coming revolution.  The subject matter seems to be different from Portal’s other offerings like Neuroshima Hex, 51st State, Stronghold, and Robinson Crusoe.  However, with the quality of those games, I think this is worth a look.

image by BGG user cnidius
image by BGG user cnidius

Legacy comes with a board, 4 head of family cards, 75 friend cards, 88 child cards, 24 gold cards, 9 title cards, 9 contribution cards, 6 patron cards, 15 mission cards, 7 mansion cards, 7 venture cards, 15 hint cards, a starting player card, 4 player boards, 23 pawns, 12 player markers, and a round marker.  At the start of the game, cards are separated and distributed around the board.  Each player is dealt one patron and one head of the family.  According to your HOF, you get a player board, two pawns, and three markers of that color.  Each player can choose to start as a man or woman.  Your gender determines how much income, gold, and friends, you have to start the game.  You also get an action pawn as indicated on your HOF card.

The game is divided into nine rounds spread over three generations.  Generation I starts with your head of family and lasts 2 rounds.  Generation II is your children (3 rounds), and Generation III is your grandchildren (4 rounds).  In eachround, players (beginning with the player that has the starting player card) places one pawn on an action space of his player board or the main board.  Only player pawns can be played on the main board.  When you place your pawn, you pay the action cost and carry out the action immediately.  This continues until all players can’t or won’t place any more pawns.

Player board actions:

  • Marry or arrange marriage – Marry off a family member from the current generation to one of your friends.  A regular marriage can be done with an adult in your current generation, while an arranged marriage can be set up between children.  When the wedding occurs (after paying for the wedding or receiving a dowry), you’ll be able to adjust income and prestige, resolve a special effect, and draw a child to place under the couple.
    • In the child deck, there are complication cards which either cause you to lose the child, or lose the mother but still have a child (draw until you get one).  You can only be affected by one complication per generation.
  • Have children – Select a couple with fewer than three children, and draw the top card from the child deck.  Alternately, you can decrease your honor by one and draw from the child deck until you get a child of the gender you want.  If you draw a complication, you have to resolve it.
  • Ask friends for money – You can pay nothing to receive 2 gold, lose an honor point for 3 gold, or lose an honor and discard a friend for 4 gold.
  • Socialize – There are face-up friend cards.  With this action, you can take one for nothing, pay one gold for 2, or pay two gold for 3.

Main board actions:

  • Acquire a title – There are three title cards per generation, kept face up.  Depending on the generation, you can pay the cost, claim the title for one of your adult family members or a couple, and receive all of the benefits.
  • Hire fertility doctor – Pay two gold and discard a friend, select a couple with fewer than two children, and draw the top two cards of the child deck.  Complications are resolved as normal.
  • Buy a mansion – Pay three gold and discard a friend to take a mansion card.  This increases your prestige by two.
  • Initiate venture – Lose one prestige and discard a friend to take a card from the venture deck.  This increases your income by one.
  • Undertake a mission – During Generations I and II, discard a friend and draw the top two cards of the mission deck, choosing one to keep.  This gives you a challenge to fulfill before the final round.  During Generation III, you draw the top card of the mission deck and put it face down under your patron card.  Don’t read it, it will only allow you to activate a minor goal on your patron card at the end of the game.
  • Contribute to community – Buy a contribution card and receive the benefits.

After all players have completed all actions, players receive gold equal to their current income and retrieve their pawns.  At the end of a generation, each player gains honor points equal to their current prestige and equal to the number of children born during the current generation.

At the start of Generation II or III, each player gets an additional random action pawn, your children grow up (rotated to their adult side), arranged marriages are carried out, title and contribution cards from the previous generation are replaced with ones from the current one, and all previous complication cards are discarded.

After Generation III, a final scoring occurs.  You get points for your main goal and any minor goals you can activate.  The player with the most honor wins.

This is a Euro through and through, and seems like it’s more interesting than its theme would suggest.  I really like the idea of building a family tree, and it seems that they’ve found a clever way to work it.  I think that one of the best thematic things in the game is the introduction of birth complications, but it also might make this into a tough game to play for people who have experienced miscarriages or other birth problems.  Still, 18th century France, birth complications were a fact of life.

Legacy looks like a game with many paths to victory, and some interesting choices about how to build your family and try to gain honor.  This is one I think I’d really enjoy.  I don’t know when it’s going to make it to the US (Portal is taking care of it themselves rather than partner with a domestic company), but I think it’s one that people will enjoy playing.  Thanks for reading!

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