Top 10 Legacy Board Games - HobbyLark - Games and Hobbies
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Top 10 Legacy Board Games

Jeremy enjoys gaming when he isn't pursuing his forensics graduate degree.

What Are Legacy Games?

Legacy games involve multiple sessions with ongoing changes, similar to a roleplaying campaign. What you do in one game influences the next, giving bonuses, detriments, or simply different choices based on past decisions. This lends your options weight, as they won't just impact your current session, but also future ones.

Some (but not all) legacy games involve single-use destructible components, meaning once it's gone, it's gone, but their long-term nature appeals to many players—which reign supreme? These are the ten best legacy board games!

The King's Dilemma

The King's Dilemma

10. The King's Dilemma

Players: 3-5
Release Date: 2019

King's Dilemma is one of today's simpler options, a good choice as a first legacy experience. Competing players represent the leading houses of a kingdom and make decisions with lasting impacts on both their own houses and the realm, leading to several branching storylines.

There are certainly gameplay mechanics, voting and such, but it's a very narrative experience, with players debating which paths to pursue and secretly moving towards their hidden objectives.

Zombie Kidz Evolution

Zombie Kidz Evolution

9. Zombie Kidz Evolution

Players: 2-4
Release Date: 2018

As of this writing, Evolution is the highest-ranking children's board game on BoardGameGeek, perfect for those looking for a family-friendly legacy. Easy to learn and great for young ones, you'll cooperate to keep a school from getting overrun by the undead, eventually unlocking new missions and enemies, giving nice incentive to keep going.

While too simplistic for some adult squads, you won't find a better legacy when gaming with the 6-10 crowd.

Betrayal Legacy

Betrayal Legacy

8. Betrayal Legacy

Players: 3-5
Release Date: 2018

Like the game it's based on, Betrayal offers a cooperative experience that shifts into one-vs-many thanks to a traitor mechanic. However, even the traitor doesn't know who they are until the haunt begins, where they turn against the group in a unique method, whether that means employing vampires, zombies, or demons.

But unlike the original, here you've got a 13-chapter story featuring many generations of your characters' families. Maybe grandpa died in his battle against the mummy, but years later, his granddaughter returns to pick up where he left off.

My one nitpick is that some haunts more skewed towards one side over the other, but don't let a small gripe hold you back from a fun narrative/dungeon-crawler mix that's dripping with horror theme.

Middara: Unintentional Malum – Act 1

Middara: Unintentional Malum – Act 1

7. Middara: Unintentional Malum – Act 1

Players: 1-4
Release Date: 2019

This one's more in-depth than some of today's entries, so casual gamers beware. But Middara provides an outstanding choose-your-own adventure that can even be played solo, has multiple acts to explore, and features dice-based combat. The game derives a lot from JRPGs, so fans of series like Final Fantasy will definitely feel at home.

There's a lot of reading and modifiers, so again, be warned it's a heftier bundle, but with such good world-building and lore, many fans will appreciate the attention to detail.

Aeon's End: Legacy

Aeon's End: Legacy

6. Aeon's End: Legacy

Players: 1-4
Release Date: 2019

Aeon's End creates an enticing medium-weight game that excels even with two players. You plays as breach mages, warrior mystics who defend the world against the monstrous Nameless. With a fantasy theme and challenging but fair encounters, End also features deck-building elements, a mechanic that blends well with the legacy genre.

One common nitpick is that the story here isn't as strong as some legacies, but most fans (myself included) love the gameplay enough to overlook it.

Charterstone

Charterstone

5. Charterstone

Players: 1-6
Release Date: 2017

We've seen many combat-oriented legacies thus far, but maybe you want a more peaceful experience. Try Charterstone, with can accommodate nearly any size game group and offers a worker-placement, euro playstyle.

The campaign does start a bit slow, but quickly adds new options while also providing some narrative twists. The game also has more of a sense of humor than many dead-serious legacies, a refreshing change of pace, and operates smoothly with higher player counts thanks to fast turns.

Maracaibo Legacy

Maracaibo Legacy

4. Maracaibo

Players: 1-4
Release Date: 2019

Maracaibo tasks you to sail across the Caribbean in search of wealth, trying to outperform your rival captains. You do this in a variety of manners, letting you emphasize combat, exploration, quests, or a mix, while also building up character cards.

The games are longer, exacerbated by a lengthy setup/cleanup time, but you'll have so much fun you likely won't mind. Maracaibo also boasts of an excellent solo mode, arguably the best on today's list.

Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated

Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated

3. Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated

Players: 2-4
Release Date: 2019

Mix the deck-building competition of its predecessor with continuous adventures to land on Clank! Legacy. With an evolving board and expanding deck, games will diversify as you progress, and Clank! works well as a family game thanks to a light-to-medium weight and strong sense of humor.

More than that, the legacy elements shine here, with several twists and add-ons continuously throwing new mechanics to tackle. If you crave an awesomely-fun game that doesn't delve into heavy-handed drama, Clank! Legacy has you covered.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

2. Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

Players: 2-4
Release Date: 2015

After Covid-10, Pandemic games are perhaps more relevant than ever, allying players to eradicate a spreading virus. And boy does this one succeed (currently ranked #2 on BGG), offering a tactical co-op less dependent on luck than many peers thanks to an absence of dice.

Throw in a simple but gripping story, multiple maps, and you've got one for the ages; after playing this, I can't ever see myself going back to base Pandemic. Further seasons offer additional content to explore, but be sure to grab Season 1 for about $65—you're definitely getting your money's worth.

Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven

1. Gloomhaven

Players: 1-4
Release Date: 2017

When you have the number one rating on BGG, you know you've done something right. Gloomhaven blends the dungeon-crawling and classes of D&D with the tangible experience of a board game.

Narrative choices, expanding abilities, unique characters, puzzles, and more capture the freedom of roleplaying with a more-approachable ruleset. That said, Gloomhaven is still a weightier experience, so be sure your party knows it'll be a long session, but those willing to take the plunge will soon be glad they did.

Non-Legacy Variants

While I recommend all gamers try a legacy at least once, some of today's entries have "regular" versions for those who prefer them. Betrayal at House on the Hill, Pandemic, and more offer loads of fun without the ongoing adjustments found in legacy experiences.

Since legacy games generally offer more content than traditional board games, expect their prices to range higher, yet when done properly, they're certainly worth the investment. But for now, vote for your favorite legacy experience and I'll see you at our next gaming countdown!

© 2020 Jeremy Gill