Joseph works as an editor in one of the magazines dedicated to video games. Here, at RecRoomPick, he’s given the opportunity to enjoy the reverse of the medal – the no less engaging world of offline games.
Ryan knows everything when it comes to gaming, both online and offline. Since his early years he’s been in love with arcades, air hockey, and foosball. Finally, he’s given the opportunity to share his knowledge and opinion on the hobby of his life (and even get paid for it!).
Last updated: March 11, 2021
Rec Room Pick is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
The board games family or enthusiasts know that legacy board games have a unique experience. As the name suggests, you need a legacy at the end of a game. These games build up as you progress. Every choice or decision that you make has a long-lasting effect on the rest of the games to come. The best legacy board games have not only the rich storyline but also interactive and engaging. You have to go through campaigns and missions to accomplish.
Our review has six legacy board games. Risk Legacy is our top pick and the editor’s choice. We love it because it’s the best risk and the only war game you’ll ever find. Also, it has a perfect playing time and is unique to every player. Besides, it has easy rules and is excellent for families. The rest of the games in our collection are also fantastic. Each has unique features that any legacy board game player must like. Check them out and be the judge.
As we put together products on this review, we were keen on five factors that make an excellent legacy game. They include game theme, number of players, ages, types of play, and playing time. All these features are crucial every time you want a perfect game that won’t bore you. Ensure you balance them before making the final choice. You can have a better picture by looking at our buying guide towards the end of the article. Also, we’ve got an in-depth review of each product. How about starting by taking a quick of our comparison table below?
Risk Legacy Game is the pioneer of Legacy Board Games. Board Game addicts will tell you this is not a typical game. Besides, it has fifteen atypical games that can quickly hook you for several days – depending on how you play it. For those who know classic board games, you might, at first, sight, think risk legacy is the same thing. However, it’s not. Proceed with moderation, and don’t feel at any point you can apply your classic tactics. Well, let’s walk you through it. The first thing that meets your eyes before you unpack the box is a warning note: what’s done can never be undone. We’ll explain the meaning of that note in a while. The envelopes in the box are gorgeous and tempting – do not open them without following instructions from the game.
In this game, players have a task to create their world. There are six continents and 42 territories. The main objective is to win battles by obtaining four red stars. However, the rolls of the dice are the primary determinant of the outcome. Each player has to choose a starting power for each faction. Note that the choice you make is permanent for the rest of the time. Next is die rolling. The player with the highest is the first to choose a faction they like. The rest do the same in turns – including choosing eight starting units and an HQ. The game flows by each player taking turns in recruiting troops, expand and attack, and maneuver troops. Risk Legacy is highly customizable. Understand this is war – be mindful of the decisions you make. How you set things, in-game one could affect game eight. All the fifteen games are unique, expect surprises as you play more games.
If you’re a lover of horror and unpredictability, then Betrayal Legacy might be what you need. For those who know Betrayal at House on the Hill – you’ll realize that Betrayal Legacy is an upgrade with a new flavor. In the game, players have the role to enter and explore a haunted house. Each player represents a family. These families are drawn to the house for several generations. The game has a unique experience – with each generation taking from where the previous generation left. As a player, you maneuver throughout the house to explore rooms and make discoveries. Whatever you uncover is more terrible than you’d expect. Players must cooperate to explore the house until there’s a sudden haunt. What happens next is scary – one player becomes a traitor. Their new objective is to kill every other player in the house.
When the game starts, each player comes up with the name of the family. As it progresses, each chapter has cards drawn from the legacy deck. These cards change the entire game as they’re responsible for the haunt. However, the game has clear instructions from the start of warning players about the mysteries in the house. On the contrary, no one has a clue of what is to come – creating tension and horrific feeling. The game is rich in storytelling, with each player creating a unique story through several generations of families. What’s more, players have different traits during each playthrough with the outcome of the previous round determining them. Although there are a lot of adverse events, players still go back to the house to seek the truth. Betrayal Legacy is a customizable game and fully re-playable. Also, it’s one of the best cooperative legacy board games available.
Although Machi Koro is a Japanese game, it’s simple, fast, and straightforward. The game brings a whole new experience into the legacy realm. Before we get into details, Machi Koro means ‘City Town’ in Japanese. The main objective is players to build their cities using dice only. Players’ first task is to create four significant landmarks each. The whole thing is a challenge since you’re not the only one trying to build them. Unlike other legacy board games, Machi Koro has a simple set up with straightforward components. Its artwork is eye-catching with high-quality graphics. Players start with a bakery and a wheat field. Next, each gets four landmark cards – an amusement park, a train station, a radio station, and a shopping mall. Each player creates individual decks of each building (marketplace) and finally receives three coins.
Once all the things above are set, it’s time to have fun. Taking turns – roll a die (only one) to build a train station. You then earn income depending on the outcome of the die you rolled. Remember, all these phases happen in turns. When throwing a die, its number activates all buildings corresponding to it. All buildings mean even those belonging to your opponents. The buildings are unique and respond differently. Blue, green, red, and purple establishments respond differently. For instance, while all players with blue establishments earn income from the bank – those with green establishments can only gain if it’s their turn. Finally, construct something by paying the cost of the building. Every player creates one structure per turn. Pay close attention to your landmarks because they have special abilities. For you to win the game, you must build all four landmarks.
If survival is your thing, then Pandemic Legacy Season 1 will interest you. The game has been around for over a decade now – and has great mechanics and concepts. Pandemic lovers find it worth their money and time. Pandemic Legacy Season 1 is a storytelling cooperative game whereby you with your team have a task to save the world. There is a disaster – a series of deadly diseases have invaded the earth. You must work together to stop it from wiping the globe. In the game, you’re the survivors, and the struggle to keep the world alive is overwhelming. The fight against the four deadly diseases takes place for a whole year. Each month comes with new surprises. While you might prepare by putting the best strategies in place, what unfolds next remains a mystery. Like other legacy games – the decisions you make in each game will affect the remaining games.
It’s not a guarantee you’ll win the first game, especially if you’re new to pandemic board games. Many seasoned players will advise you to play a few practice rounds before getting into the real thing. Before the campaign starts – which takes place over twelve months, players must choose their characters, draw infection cards, and create player decks. One month represents one play through the game. For you to succeed in the next month, you must accomplish and succeed in all objectives of the previous month. One crucial thing with this game is taking care of your characters because losing them is easy. However, if you manage to move to the next play, the game presents you with new challenges and objectives. Meaning each month is unique. Whether you win or lose, you get two upgrades. Note that the enhancements are not always rosy – they can either make the next game easier or harder. All in all, Pandemic Legacy Season 1 is one of the best legacy board games for two players. If you’re a couple, get it and have fun.
Aeon’s End Legacy is for the fantasy guys. Besides, it’s a cooperative deck-building adventure legacy board game. Players take on the role of Breach Mages, and their main objective is to protect the city of Grave hold from being threatening to end humanity. Players must work together through the campaign to be successful. The first thing players need to do when the game begins is to customize their characters. Next is to decide which side of the board they’ll start. Each character choice determines the deck of ten cards. These cards are crucial because players use them to purchase other, more reliable tickets and also attack Nemesis. As the game progresses, players gain new abilities, meet new enemies, and upgrade equipment. Note that the decisions you make lead to permanent changes. Prepare for a lot of surprises in the game.
Unlike some cooperative games where one player tends to be bossy – Aeon’s End presents its players with a unique deck each. All players must think about making the right moves. It’s either the team wins or loses – there’s nothing around it. Note that you don’t need any prerequisite games for you to play this one effectively. The storyline is well thought out, and the game mechanics are exciting. Besides, the game requires strategic thinking as the story evolves, and the game changes. While the game requires two to four players, it’s perfect for two. It’s difficult to give a review of Aeon’s End Legacy without spoiling it. However, like many other legacy games, you grow as you play it – the more you advance, the more you get a better understanding of the game. Be careful with every decision you make – especially during the first game. Give it a try and lift your spirits.
The Ultimate Werewolf Legacy has a different approach to legacy board games. It has a moderator who’s not on a team but runs the game. The game is interactive yet extremely tense with secret identity and deduction. Two teams are involved – villagers and werewolves. While the villagers don’t know who the werewolves are, the werewolves are trying to hide their identity. They stay anonymously and secretly eliminate the villagers one at a time. The game takes place in a set of days and nights. The werewolves utilize the nights to choose a villager to eliminate, while the villagers spend each day discussing who among them is a werewolf. The game ends when either all the villagers or werewolves are eliminated. If you’re looking for the best party legacy game, don’t think twice about the Ultimate Werewolf Legacy.
For those familiar with the Ultimate Werewolf – you may realize that these two games have similar gameplay. However, there’s a slight difference such that the legacy version lacks standalone games. Also, each decision that players make during the first games has effects in the remaining games. The game starts with each player getting two cards. One is a family card, while the other is a role card. The family card determines which family a player belongs to. Role card, on the other hand, is secret and determines whether a player is a werewolf or a villager. While players can earn titles, which provides them with special abilities in future games – wrong decisions are threats for the village. The game may take different paths, meaning, two different sets of people playing the same game will have different experiences. However, you can only play this game once.
What we liked:
Worth the money and time
Excellent for parties
What could be better:
You can only play once
Things to Consider
Reviews might sound perfect until it’s time to make the final decision. Sometimes it is overwhelming, especially when all the games look interesting. You can’t buy them all – and being in a dilemma is the beginning of messing up. The good news is that these board games have been around for decades and are not disappearing any time soon. It’s vital to take your time and make the right choices. We’ve put together interesting factors in our buying guide to help you shop like a pro. Make sure you go through all of them to get a better understanding.
The excitement of a legacy board game
If you’re new to legacy board games, then you must read this section. Perhaps someone gave you a hint, and now you’re trying to find out more about legacy board games. These games are amazing. Check the list below for what to expect in these games.
Exciting customizable campaign and story
Great thematic narratives and creative tales with endless twists
Permanent and persistent alterations increase the excitement
Discovering new rules and unlocking new content as events unfold
Making long-term strategies and lasting consequences
The pleasure of meeting with the same group of people and engage in something beyond social media
Features to consider before you buy a legacy board game
Before you spend your hard-earned money on any legacy board game – it’s imperative to understand what to look for in them. As we said earlier, most of these games look attractive and tempting. However, no two games are alike. While some are a risk, others are pandemic. In most cases, players’ tastes and preferences determine the type of game to play. Sometimes it’s the influence that does not end well. We have five elements that we think play a significant role while deciding to purchase any of the games. They include game theme, ages, number of players, playing time, and types of play. Understand that they all matter – be keen.
Whether you’re a seasoned player or new to legacy board games, there is no way you can assume this feature. The first thing you want to look for is the theme. As you may already know, the theme is the center of the whole game. It’s what makes the game. The environment it creates, the feeling it brings, and the story it tells. All these things play like the backbone. While you can pick any legacy board game, choosing a wrong theme might make you never finish playing the game. You must have seen some players complaining about how they never managed to play to the end of the game. Likely, they never considered themes while making their purchases.
If you do not want to lose interest while playing, make sure you pick the right theme for you.
Several themes are available from different legacy board game designers. For instance, we have different themes on our list, including deck builder, strategies, politics and strategies, house of mysteries, among others. You’ll realize that the approach to each game is unique to it. If a strategy is not your style, then it may end picking dust on your shelf if you were not keen while buying. That said, Risk Legacy is the best for guys who are into politics and strategies. Aeon’s End Legacy, on the other hand, is a perfect choice if your lover deck builder games.
The idea to put age categories on these games was never a mistake. If age didn’t mean a lot – you’d have never seen it anywhere on them. However, since legacy board games are never equal, their approach will always be different. We are not talking about the level of difficulty only – the theme and gameplay would also influence the ages. Next time you want to buy any of these games, think of who is going to play. Then consider their ages. Once that is done, you can be sure to pick the right game for them. In most cases, ages are marked from the minimum to infinity. Your interest is to check the least.
Why should you consider ages anyway? The first thing you’ll notice is that kids might not reason like you. Also, the events of different games have different effects on kids or rather people of different ages.
A game marked ages 14+ is different from that for ages 10+. While the ages of 10+ groups can play games for ages 14+, it will be overwhelming. However, seniors may not have issues playing games for juniors. A good example of a game on our list suitable for ages 10+ is the Machi Koro Legacy. It’s fast, easy, and has a short playing time. Besides, it’s a great family game.
Number of players
Did you know legacy board games have different numbers of players? Most of them require at least two players. However, Aeon’s needs at least one. It is the best solo legacy board game on our list. Why should you consider the number of players while you could pick any? The answer is simple – you cannot play a game that needs at least two players alone. These games have rules, the first being the number of players. It’s possible you’ll not even break the seal. If you’re looking to play the game with your spouse, you better get one that suits two players. Interestingly, there’s one game on our list that requires at least nine players. The Ultimate Werewolf Legacy is a game that needs a minimum of nine players. Suppose you picked this game to go and have merry with your better half. Imagine the frustration and embarrassment. Your partner must see you as a big joker. Note that game designers do not just throw in any number of players. Meaning, if a game needs at least three players, you can’t assume and say two would do. Understand that each player has a role. The game can only be a success when they’re all present.
While playing time might not seem to be a big deal, you must know the amount of time you’ll spend on a game. Understanding that different games have different playing time will prepare you psychologically. Also, legacy board games with short playing time are suitable for beginners and kids. The opposite is true. For instance, Machi Koro has a playing time of thirty minutes. If you recall, we mentioned that it’s a great kids’ game. Playing time is a factor that makes it to be suitable for kids. Unlike older folks who’ll want to engage in a long strategic game – kids need something that they can see results quickly. Remember, they get distracted easily, hence concentrating on a longer game might be a problem. Types of play (as we discuss below) also have an impact on playing time. You might want to look at them closely. For instance, if we were to compare two games based on their types of play and to playtime, you’ll realize that competitive and cooperative games have longer playing time. Meaning they’re games that need concentration. Look at the Betrayal Legacy; it takes over 60 minutes. Also, you can see it’s only suitable for ages 10+. Before you buy any game, always check its playing time and make sure it’s suitable for whoever is to play.
Types of play
Just like the theme of the game, making the wrong choice on types of play means a disaster. Types of play make each game unique. They act as the structure of the game and determine the direction it will take. You’re likely to meet with three types of play. They include cooperative, competitive, and solo. It’s insane to buy a cooperative game when your idea is to play solo. Also, it doesn’t make sense to do the opposite. Well, the different types of play bring different experiences to each game. The experience you’ll have with a competitive game is different from what you’ll have with a cooperative game. However, some games combine these types of play. Betrayal Legacy is an excellent example of a legacy board game that combines two types of play. It is cooperative such that players must work together to get some tasks done. On the other hand, the game gets competitive once one player turns against others. If you’re aiming to get a perfect strategic cooperative game, check out Pandemic Legacy Season 1. It’s a fully cooperative game, and players work together until the end. Note that some games do not specify their types of play. Do not make a mistake and assume. Ask the creator to specifies and save yourself from the trial and error thing.
Since legacy board games have different designs, both are possible. However, playing the game in a small company of friends or family makes it more exciting. Very few legacy board games accommodate one player. They’re best when played by more than one person.
While expansions for legacy board games are rare, some games offer this option. For instance, Aeon’s End Legacy has expansion capabilities. When you finish playing Legacy board games, you’re done. But you can play some of them more than one time.
Absolutely. Most legacy board games may help you with your strategy skills. Also, cooperative games are good at improving your teamwork skills. So, they’re not just for entertainment.
Wrapping It Up
Legacy board games are an exciting way to have fun. Whether you’re a pro or starting on them – these games have something for everyone. While anyone can play most of the games, new players should play through a few practice games before getting started. Risk Legacy Game is our top pick and the editor’s choice. We love it because it’s versatile and the best risk game you’ll find on the market today. Again, it is the pioneer of legacy board games, has straightforward rules, and unique to each player. Betrayal Legacy, on the other hand, is our premium pick. We love it because it’s not only easy to play but also has a great story. You can also play the game more than once. Finally, we chose the Machi Koro Legacy as our best value game because it offers more than you can imagine. It’s a great family game, has a short playing time, and a beautiful design. We hope our buying guide can help you find the best legacy board game.