I’m a big fan of time travel games. One of my favorites being Chrononauts. It’s a great little card game that has you adjusting the worlds timeline to match your own. I even remember as a kid playing the old Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego. Although I’m guessing those games would be a lot easier now with access to the internet. But, I digress…
Recently, I was able to try a new game called, Legacy: Gears of Time. It’s a board game where you are competing against your fellow time travelers to create and influence inventions throughout history. Does Legacy have what it takes to influence its spot in history or should it be banished to the annals of time? Read on to find out.
Legacy: Gears of Time has a playing time of about 60-90 minutes and supports 2-4 players.
In Legacy, you are a time traveler going back in time to found and influence inventions throughout history. You start the game only being able to influence the early parts of history (writing, agriculture, etc…). As the years roll by, you start to influence more modern technology (flight, hospitals, the internet).
Each invention will either be a stand alone one, or require some dependent technologies. You can’t have the Combustion Engine without first inventing Fire and The Wheel.
So your turns are spent between founding inventions, drawing cards, traveling to the past and influencing tech. Each player gets 3 actions per turn, 4 turns per round and 4 rounds per game. The player with the most victory points at the end of the round is the winner.
The components in Legacy are pretty solid. The game has a small game board, a lot of wooden cubs, some player pawns and a lot of cards.
Most all that is fairly standard for a euro game, however the artwork stands out as the most notable. I’m not totally sure how I feel about the art. It almost has a cartoonish, Dr. Suess fell to it. The colors feel a little low saturation, but I’d say that’s more of a style choice then any printing issue. Overall, I’d say the art is creative, but would not be my first choice. Now that doesn’t mean I think the art is bad (in fact, I think the artist is quite talented). It’s just sometimes art doesn’t mesh well with your personal tastes. All-and-all it’s very well done, just not my cup of tea. But that shouldn’t diminish anyone’s enjoyment of the game. In general, I have no complaints about the components.
How to Play:
As mentioned previously, Legacy is played over 4 rounds, with 4 turns per round. Each turn you are given 3 actions. The 3 actions you can take are:
- Travel to the past – you can only travel 1 directions on the timeline, so plan ahead!
- Establish a technology – You do this by playing a tech card from your hand. You must pay for it by discarding other cards equaling the tech value. When you do, you also place a number of influence cards on the tech. This helps you keep ownership of it for a number of rounds.
- Influence existing technology – You can play any number of cubes from your personal influence supply on a tech card. Good for either keeping hold of your current tech or stealing one from another player.
- Draw a card – Draw 2, keep 1. Fairly straight forward.
- Play a fate card – These are unique cards you might draw that will break the rules.
Once a player has taken all three of their actions, their turn is over and the next player takes his actions. After the final player has taken all of their actions, the turn marker will advance 1 square. After the 4th set of turns that round, all players travel back to the present day and the timeline expands. Since you can only travel backwards durning the round, this is where you have to plan ahead to not get stuck in an early year when you still have 2 more turns to go this round.
Once the round has ended there is a scoring phase. Scoring is based on who has the most influence on a card and if all it’s prerequisites are met. Scoring is fairly straight forward and easy to understand.
That’s the basics of how to play. The game involves a good amount of planning ahead. You have a limited number of actions each round and have to use them wisely.
I found the game design for Legacy to be really creative. I like how the game stars with a very small timeline that expands as the rounds progress. The play board does a great job of keeping that all organized I also like the game rules that stop you from going forward in time on your turn. It requires some strategic thinking and requires you to plan ahead.
Hand managent also is an importnat part of this game. Since you have to discard cards to play new inventions, you have to decide which cards you really want to play. Sometime it’s hard to discard that one tech you really like to play the one you really need. But those tough decisions are what make Legacy so successful of a game.
Legacy also does a great job of encouraging player interaction. Since technology scoring is based on who has the most influence cubes on a tech, our games had a lot of battling for specific techs. It was fun to watch players fight over the same card, only to be foiled by a well timed fate cards.
Speaking of fate cards, I also thought that was a great addition. There aren’t too many of them, but used in the right way, they can be impressive. It’s always nice to have those small game changers hiding in reserve.
There is a lot to love with Legacy. As far as time travel games go, I’d say it’s one of the better ones. I should point out that if you have a player in your group that is prone to “analysis paralysis”, this game can be a bit of an issue. Since pre-planning and strategic decisions are a big part of this game, turns can be slowed down by someone who can’t decide what to do on their turn. Just something to be aware of.
So, what kind of impression does Legacy: Gears of Time leave you with? I’d say a pleasant one, that leaves you wanting more. This is the first game I’ve played from this designer and I walked away pretty impressed. There is a lot going in in Legacy and it all works well together. I was actually pretty impressed with their first attempt at making a game. There are not a whole lot of flaws in Legacy.
The playtime will run you around 60-90 minutes. A tad on a long side for the type of game it is, but not by much. The game flows pretty smooth and the downtime is minimal (except in the AP case noted above).
The game also does a great job of integrating with its theme. Sometimes a game will have a great theme that is clearly tacked on (Lords of Waterdeep). However, with Legacy, you feel like you are traveling around time influencing the past.
As with most eurogames, the rules are simply enough to play with your non-gamer friends. It might take a turn or two before they get the feel of it, but overall, they should have no issues picking up the game.
In the end, I’d recommend this game for anyone looking for something new to try out, especially time travel fans.
If you are interested in getting a copy for yourself, it’s about $50
Final Score: 3.5 Stars – A great interactive time travel game with easy rules and deep strategy.
• Can be an issue if a player is prone to “Analysis Paralysis”
• Nitpicky, but the artwork is not really my cup of tea