11 best legacy board games 2022

by | Family Games Night, Guides

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If you don’t know what a legacy board game is then it is a game that typically can be played for only so many times and then you can’t play again. This doesn’t sound like a good game to play but the rewards are often a completely unique experience that you can share with your friends that no one else has experienced.

You will also have strong storylines that will carry through the entire game that will have surprises and new challenges that will be a pure delight to play. As you play through legacy games they change in that items and mechanics may be introduced but also there will be things removed. Yes, even cards torn up and boards written on.

This sounds scary but actually what it does is invest you more into the game and make this game yours and yours alone. For example, you may name a character, monster, or even a place on the board. No other board game will have that name.

With many of the Legacy games the actual events and things that happen within the game are part of the fun. With this in mind I will refrain from giving away any of the actual storyline spoilers.

Most of the legacy games mentioned are for ages 12 and upwards. So I have included a section at the end recommending some great legacy games that are ideal for families that have younger players from 7 up who can join in. If you want to introduce a legacy game to your kids then definitely check that out here.

With all that said let’s get into some great legacy games and first off is Clank! Legacy: Acquisition Incorporated.

TLDR;

For those of you in a rush and find this article is TLDR; – Too Long Didn’t Read! Then here is a table of recommendations to save you time.

 

Recommended
Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated
Best Series
Pandemic Legacy Season 1
Best Casual
My City
Best Kids
Zombie Kidz Evolution
Best Kids
OR
Best Kids
Zombie Teenz Evolution

Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated

If you have played Clank! then you will know what a great deck building game it is. The basis for Clank! is that you are a burglar and need to stealthily make your way into the dragon’s lair and steal precious artifacts.

Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated is based on the D&D book Acquisitions Incorporated and follows the ironic humour this book creates. You will also have some elements such as you will be starting up your own Acquisitions Incorporated franchise and have your own HQ.

It is still a deck building game at its heart and so you collect more cards as you progress developing your skills and giving you more resources to increase skill, swords or boots that can then be used in the game.

Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated is a legacy version of this brilliant game.

Players

2-4

Age

13+

Playtime (m)

90-120

It has all the aspects of a legacy game in that it changes as you play through depending on decisions you make. However, there are a few differences over other legacy games that could be a real advantage. 

The first difference is that you can play this again once the game has been completed unlike Pandemic that we will discuss next which, once played, is finished.

The other difference is that Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated is a competitive game whereas most legacy games are collaborative. 

Recommendation

This is one of the best legacy games you can buy on the market and is very popular. If you like to compete in a game then this game could very well be the best choice for you. If you enjoy the Acquisitions Incorporated style humour this is another plus and will bring plenty of levity into your sessions.

This game has a great and rich storyline that is funny and really enjoyable to play. The game has all the great components of Clank! like the raging dragon and the clank mechanism. 

If you like deck building dungeon crawlers and have not tried a legacy game before then this is my recommendation to introduce this great genre to your friends at your next gaming session. They will thank you. You can buy Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated on Amazon here.

Pandemic legacy

First up, this is a series of legacy games and so I will discuss them together. Non legacy Pandemic is a very successful game in it’s own right and the legacy versions are some of the most popular in the legacy genre. 

Pandemic Legacy is a collaborative game series so you work together to win the game. There are three legacy games divided into seasons.

  • Season 1
  • Season 2
  • Season 0

Season 0 was the last released but is a prequel to 1 and 2. Each game is standalone and does not require you to have played any of the others but the story does flow through nicely.

However, I would still play the games in the order they have been released.

Whilst Pandemic Legacy Season 1 bares the most resemblance to Pandemic, all three seasons are significantly different in their themes to keep your interest. They are all similar but the designers have learnt at every stage and tried to improve them with each new season.

These games are truly legacy in that once played you will not be able to replay unless you buy another set. There is a conclusion to the games.

Season 1

This season follows Pandemic most closely and as such your group are disease specialists attempting to defeat four viruses that are infecting cities across the globe. Just like the base Pandemic game, if the infections in a city increases to a certain level then this will trigger an outbreak and infect connected cities.

Season one is played over 12 months with each month being a single game. Actions, decisions and effects that take place in a month are carried through to the rest of the months. If you do fail your objectives in a particular month then you will be able to play that month again but only once. This gives you a possible 12-24 games to play.

If you have not played non legacy Pandemic then I would recommend you play through a couple of times first as this teaches you the basic mechanics of the game and makes playing the legacy easier. You can do this on the Season 1 board so you don’t need to go out and buy the non legacy version.

Players

2-4

Age

13+

Playtime (m)

60

Season 2

The second season of Pandemic Legacy shows that the game designers wanted to stretch the legacy genre further. It takes place 71 years after Season 1 and a devastating plague has spread across the world.

The game starts with three offshore cities called havens and from these you work to supply the 9 remaining cities. The end of humankind is imminent unless you can prevent this from happening.

Pandemic Legacy Season 1 the board had the world including all its continents. In Pandemic Legacy Season 2 the board is limited to the Atlantic Ocean and a few points on surrounding land masses where there are cities. The rest of the board is blacked out symbolising the plagues devastating impact.

There are oodles of things that will change during each game with additions and deletions. You will start off with naming the three Haven Cities and creating your characters which straight away involve stickers and character characteristics.

Players

2-4

Age

14+

Playtime (m)

60

The game follows the 12 month period as per Pandemic Season 1, however, in Season 2 there is a prologue game that you can play multiple times without any changes or bad things happening. This will teach you how to play the game and become familiar with the mechanics before jumping into the first month.

This is a great follow on to Season 1 and if you completed and loved Pandemic Legacy Season 1 then this is a great follow up.

Season 0

As a prequel Season 0 is during the Cold War era and takes place in 1961. As medical students you have been recruited into a government program only to find out it is actually the CIA.

Trained as a field operative you travel the world investigating threats. There are rumours of a deadly virus the Russians are trying to weaponize and you are sent to investigate. Locked into the world of espionage against the Russians, you are working to neutralize their agents. Whilst working towards specific objectives you must set up CIA teams to help you with your tasks.

Season 0 is significantly different from Seasons 1 & 2. As in Season 2 it comes with a prologue that you can play to learn the new rules and mechanics. So this will make things easier once you start the game itself.

Players

2-4

Age

14+

Playtime (m)

60

There is even a QR code you can scan in that will take you to zman games website. There you will find a video and listen to the initial briefing from your handler to get you into character.

There are some nice touches to the game down to characters having passports. You will also create aliases for your character as the game progresses.

This is a great finale to the series which wraps up the story nicely and continues to deliver a great story within the game.

Recommendation

The three Pandemic Legacy games are a great series to play through with the Pre-apocalyptic Season 1, Post-apocalyptic Season 2 and the Prequels Season 0 you have three great and different legacy games to enjoy.

Pandemic Legacy Season 1 really brought the legacy genre to the forefront, get this game and you will see why. If you really enjoy Season 1 then there are two more fantastic Pandemic Legacy Seasons to get stuck into. Each of them evolve into a different and intricate game that will keep surprising and challenging you all together.

I recommend you try Season 1 with your friends and see if you can ensure the safety and security of the entire planet then you can buy Pandemic Legacy Season 1 on Amazon here.

Ps. Season 1 comes in two boxes: Red or Blue – they are exactly the same.

Aeon’s End: Legacy

Aeon’s End is another cooperative legacy version based on the base game Aeon’s End. This legacy version is more of an adaptation of the original game. This results in some of the original games’ Mage skills having been stripped out for you to gain as you build your character into a mighty and powerful Breach Mage. 

You are initiated into the lower ranks as an adept mage and so you can’t possibly have the skills that a character you play in Aeon’s End would have. Similar to Aeon’s End, you are defending Gravehold against the nemesis and their minions.

There are 12 chapters for you to defend Gravehold, each of which is 1 game and together makes up the entire campaign. Once you have completed these you will have created a totally unique character Breach Mage.

Players

1-4

Age

14+

Playtime (m)

45-90

Along with the chapters comes 12 stop decks that will add cards to your character and drive the storyline forward. You will also have 7 pages of insights which will be stuck to the rule book, characters and foe and finally 4 boxes in which to open.

I think this game is a little bit of a marmite game in that you either love it or hate it. So which of these are you going to be? Well, I think the two types of people that will really enjoy this game will be those who have not played Aeon’s End or those that love Aeon’s End and want to build themselves a totally unique Breach Mage whilst having some fun in the process.

If you haven’t played Aeon’s End

This is a great introduction to the game as it starts off with the basic mechanics. Then as you progress through the chapters you build your character and more is added to the game.

You also end up with a Breach Mage that, if you enjoyed playing Aeon’s End Legacy, then you can continue to play with in the normal game.

If you have played Aeon’s End

On the other end of the scale. If you have played Aeon’s End to death and absolutely love it. The only way to improve it is to have a different character to play then Aeon’s End Legacy will provide that for you. You will get a perfectly unique Breach Mage all your own to wow your friends with next time you play Aeon’s End.

Once completed you will be able to add the cards and use your characters to the normal Aeon’s End so that is quite a bonus. If you want to play through this legacy game again then you can buy a reset pack on Amazon here. So you don’t have to buy the whole game again.

Recommendation

This is a good game and you get a reward at the end which will enable you to take something unique into the base game of Aeon’s End. If you want to wow your friends with a unique Breach Mage or just have a new character to play in the game then you can purchase Aeon’s End on Amazon here.

The King’s Dilemma

Ever wondered what it would be like to rule a kingdom? Well the King’s Dilemma gives you the opportunity to do just that. In this legacy game each player represents an influential house and a member of the King’s council. The King always put great trust in the council and so the real power to rule lies with you.

However that may not be as easy as you think. This great game leads you through a storyline that gives you dilemmas and outcomes that will change the path of the game. In order to succeed you must choose wisely.

A dilemma card is picked and the council must then discuss, bargain and decide on which action to take in order to solve the dilemma and determine the fate of the kingdom. Once the decision has been made it may trigger more dilemma cards to be added to the game.

Players

3-5

Age

14+

Playtime (m)

45-60

It is a politically motivated game in that each member of the council must work together to ensure the kingdom remains prosperous and safe whilst also working to further your own house’s power and esteem.  

The objective is for your house to gain the most agenda points and so win the game. So, you must always draw a fine balance between working in the Kingdoms interest and your own house in order to win the game.

The King’s Dilemma has a rich storyline and excellent writing. The dilemmas are difficult and will often put you in difficult ethical positions. This is all part of the fun of exploring what it would indeed be like to have to make decisions of power.

Recommendation

If you and your friends are up for a game that will challenge you ethically and generate great conversations, viewpoints and surprising outcomes then The King’s Dilemma will be a really fun game for you to play. You can buy The King’s Dilemma on Amazon here.

Betrayal Legacy

Betrayal Legacy is an amazing legacy game based on the Betrayal at House on the Hill game. Betrayal at House on the Hill finds each player is an explorer and starts in the lobby of a haunted house where they must explore.

Betrayal Legacy keeps this same style of play with some modifications which becomes the main game you play. As you play through the game you discover new rooms by laying tiles of random rooms drawn from a room deck. Betrayal Legacy also adds an outside that you can explore too and so expands on its predecessor. This gives variety to the house and ensures that it will be different on every play through.

However, the legacy part is played over many games and so the explorer is now a character from your family and will change as you play through time. Each character is succeeded by following generations. So rather than playing one character you are playing the family throughout the story’s timeline.

Players

3-5

Age

12+

Playtime (m)

45-90

Each of these characters have traits which are speed, might, sanity and knowledge. These traits can go up or down in each game. Before the haunt no trait can be as low as the skull and so will not decrease. However, after the haunt this changes and the traits can drop to the skull. If any of the traits are lowered to the skull then this character dies.

This is a great storyline and works well and is played out through a legacy deck that will lead you through each game.

As with Betrayal at House on the Hill it is also, as the name suggests, a betrayal game. This means at some point during each game the haunt will happen and one of the players will become the betrayer. This significantly changes the game where the explorers become the heroes and attempt to survive whilst the betrayer will try and kill the heroes.

As you play through there are mechanisms that really change the game depending on your decisions. A good example is the ability to heirloom items. You can do this up to 9 times during the whole campaign. This is a one time deal and once you have picked up an item and chosen not to heirloom it then that’s it. If you pick that item up again you will not be able to heirloom it. This heirloom will then carry forward in your family during the whole game.

Recommendation

If you are looking for a game to play with your friends that will get you invested in your character and enjoy betrayal style games then this will be a great game to play with your friends. You will be discovering new locations, omens, items and events and will enjoy revealing the next part of the story as you play through.

If you have not tried a legacy game before and are familiar and love Betrayal at House on the Hill then this will be a great game to introduce to your friends. The story will carry through to each gaming session and keep you talking about what might be next. You can buy Betrayal Legacy on Amazon here.

Best legacy board games for families

Most of the games up to this point have been for ages 13 or 14 up. We now come to the next four games which are suitable for the entire family with games starting at around age 7 plus. These games will be a great opportunity for you to introduce the kids to this great legacy genre.

Zombie Kidz/Teenz Evolution

Again I am going to join these two together. They are not a series like Pandemic but it is unlikely you will want to buy both these games. Both these games are excellent to introduce young people into the world of legacy games. Your family will enjoy the gameplay as you play through and your kids will want to play it again which is a great thing.

When the game is finished you will also have a game that is changed but also one that is unlikely to be unique. However, the game will be replayable which means your kids will be able to continue playing this great game.

I’ll introduce both games and their play overview and then make a recommendation.

Zombie Kidz Evolution

Aimed at the younger player and sold as a 7 years an up game this is perfect for young people. The game is cooperative and very simple to play and will be a great introduction to legacy style play.

The zombie apocalypse has happened whilst you are at school and they are trying to get in and trash the school. You are the few remaining that will defend the school.

The game play starts with 4 zombies already in each entrance and you at the centre of the school. There are a number of zombies outside the school still trying to get in.

The game turn consist of the following actions in this order:

  1. Roll the dice and depending on the dice roll you put a zombie in the school or take no action.

Players

2-4

Age

7+

Playtime (m)

5-15
  1. Choose to move your character to an adjoining space or keep them where they are.
  2. Eliminate up to 2 zombies that are in the same room as you. Sending them back outside to be used in the pool of zombies.
  3. If you are in an entrance with another player then high five each other and place a lock on the door. You are on your way to winning the game.

Your goal is to get locks on the 4 external doors to keep the mindless critters out. You do that then you have won. If there are no zombies outside the school and you need to place one then you all lose. 

At the end of a game you place a brain sticker on the progress chart and after 5 games you will open your first envelope. These will be how new things are added to the game and how it evolves.

At the end of the progress chart you will find out how you can continue to play Zombie Kidz Evolution. The games last 5-15 minutes per game so they are just long enough for a 7 year old to keep their attention on the game – hopefully!

Zombie Teenz Evolution

This game is obviously for young Teenz (I mean teens!) although it is sold for ages 8 years and up. Whilst similar to Zombie Kidz Evolution it is different in its own right. 

The story follows on from Zombie Kidz Evolution and whilst you have kicked all the zombies out of your school they are now ransacking the town. As Heroes you have to go on the offensive and create a cure that will turn the zombies back to normal.

The school is your starting point at the centre of the town and there are four buildings in each corner of the board. Each one contains a crate that will make up the antidote to the zombie plague.

There are two parts to a turn: Zombie Actions and Hero Actions.

Zombie Actions

Players

2-4

Age

8+

Playtime (m)

15-25

A dice is thrown and depending on its roll there are two things may happen:

  1. If it rolls a ? then you draw an event card and follow the instructions.
  2. If you roll a color then you either bring the zombie onto the board or if they are on there already move them one space following the colored footprints.

If the zombie enters a building they immediately overrun it and fabricate a trampoline. This will allow them to automatically bounce to the next building on their next move which is bad.

Heroes can then take two actions from three choices in the game turn as follows:

  1. Move to an adjacent space.
  2. Attack a zombie and remove it to the end of the line off the board.
  3. Transfer and ingredient crate.

You need to work together to transfer a crate and create a human chain from the building to the school. You will then be able to pass the crate along to each player and finally onto a player in the school. This requires three characters and so if you are playing a 2 player game then you have a neutral Hero that will stay in the school. They do not have any other purpose but to receive crates.

There are only 4 zombies in this game and they seek to overrun the buildings. If they overrun all four buildings then you lose. However, if you manage to get all 4 crates back to school before that happens then you win.

As per the Zombie Kidz Evolution game at the end of each game you place a sticker on the progress chart and after 4 games you open your first envelope. You also have accomplishment badges that also open envelopes too. 

The games graphics are really cool and especially the rulebook that has a comic style story that is added to as you play. Which is a really nice feature for kids.

The game lasts longer than Zombie Kidz Evolution at around 15-25 minutes per game and I think is a great game.

Recommendation

These two games are fantastic entry level games for families who want to play legacy style games. They are really easy to learn and quick to play and so playing a few games is no hardship. If you are looking for some interesting games to play with your whole family then these are definitely for you.

I think Scorpion Masque was hoping to produce a second game that in a few years your kids will want to dig into. There are some nice touches in Teenz with the comic and theme but they are both so basic that it is more likely you will move on to more in depth legacy games.

If you have kids from between 6 to 10 years old then either of these games will be a great legacy style introduction and you will have a really fun, replayable game that your kids will want to play with you.

However, most games in this list are 12,13, or 14 and so for teens and some can be played early if you think appropriate. Games are sold at an age but the Board Game Geek community’s opinion for age is often different. Below is a table showing the differences in opinion:

Game
Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated
Recommended Age
13
BGG Community Age
10
Game
Aeon’s End Legacy
Recommended Age
14
BGG Community Age
10
Game
My City
Recommended Age
10
BGG Community Age
8
Game
The Rise of Queensdale
Recommended Age
12
BGG Community Age
10
Game
Charterstone
Recommended Age
14
BGG Community Age
10
Game
Machi Koro: Legacy
Recommended Age
10
BGG Community Age
8

The fact that your kid may be able to understand and play the game is one thing but you will still need to decide if you want them to play the game.

With all that said, the game is a great introduction to legacy style play and so buy the one you think your kids will most relate to whether it be Kidz or Teenz. It will be one they will want to play and is likely to lead them into further games if you wish. You can buy Zombie Kidz Evolution on Amazon here or Zombie Teenz Evolution on Amazon here.

My City

My City is a really fun and easy game to play. It is sold for ages 10 and up but you could probably introduce this to an 8 year old without problem. It is also an excellent gateway game to introduce the legacy game format.

It comes in two forms, the legacy game and the eternal game. The legacy game has all the aspects in that it can be played through once and that’s it and as you play the game will change significantly.

The game is very simple in that each player has a board depicting a landscape with mountains, a river, forests and other features. Each player also has three sets of 8 colored tiles. 24 tiles in total depicting buildings of different shapes. Think of Tetris and it will give you an idea of the kind of shapes.

There is a deck of cards that depict each of these buildings. The game begins by the first card in the deck being drawn and placed down on a discard pile.

Players

2-4

Age

10+

Playtime (m)

30

Whichever shaped house is on the card is the shape that all players must take from their tiles and place on their board. The first tile must have one edge along the side of the river. Tiles cannot be placed if they cover the forest or mountain. However, any rock or trees can be covered as long as there is a green also on the tile. The tile cannot span the river and that is about it.

The game continues until all the players have decided they don’t want to lay (or can’t lay) any more of their tiles and have withdrawn. If that doesn’t happen then it ends once the card deck is finished. The score is then added up for each player.

Each game is known as an episode and every three episodes you open an envelope and the game changes. There are 8 envelopes giving you 24 games. The game is well balanced and key to it being so good is that there are mechanics that (without giving away any spoilers) will ensure that no one runs away with the game early on. It will keep you all fighting for the win till the end.

This is a very light and fun game that is easy to play. It is very subtle and does not have the wow factor but I don’t think that is a bad thing. It is pleasant and a great way to dip your toe into legacy games before biting off something a little more substantial. With an age of 10 upwards it is a great family game you can play together.

Finally, once you have finished your ‘My City’ in the legacy game then you can flip the board over and play the eternal game. This is a modification of the legacy components that will allow you to pick it up when you fancy and play a few rounds. 

Recommendation

My City will tax your brain in very subtle ways as you try and place your components so that you gain more points than your opponents. As the legacy game progresses it will lead to conversation around how it has changed the game and what that means to strategy.

With a 20-30 minute playtime the eternal game could be a really nice little filler game for 2-4 players. If you are interested in building your very own city with your friends or family in a relaxed and fun way then you can buy My City on Amazon here.

Machi Koro: Legacy

Machi Koro: Legacy is the last family friendly game. It is based on the most excellent Machi Koro card game where you are mayor and building up your city. Obviously this takes money and you start off with one wheat field and one bakery card that will earn you income. 

Each type of card will have different effects and these effects will be triggered when you roll 1 or 2 dice. The cards have a number or range on them e.g. 1, 2 or 2-3. If the number rolled is the same as on the card then that card is triggered.

On each player’s turn the wheat field brings in 1 coin. Only on your turn the bakery will provide one coin of income. You also get to spend those coins on reinvesting in your city and buying new buildings.

New buildings vary in cost and come in three different colors to indicate their purpose.

Players

2-4

Age

10+

Playtime (m)

30
Card color
Blue: Primary Industry
Purpose
Get coin from the bank during anyone's turn
Card color
Green: Secondary Industry
Purpose
Get coin from the bank during your turn only
Card color
Red: Restaurants
Purpose
Get coin(s) from the player who rolled the dice
Card color
Purple: Major Establishments
Purpose
Get coin(s) from other players during your turn only

You roll the dice to determine which cards are activated during a turn. If a 1 is rolled in anyones turn then your Wheat Field is activated and you get 1 coin. If a 2 or 3 is rolled by you then you get 1 coin from your bakery.

As you build up your coins you can purchase more cards for their purchase value shown on the cards lower left hand corner.

Finally, each player has 4 landmark cards which can be bought using coins in increasing value up to the highest paid card of 22 coins. You can buy these in any order but once a player turns over their last landmark card the game ends and that player wins.

The reason I have just explained the standard game is because the legacy version is the same but with some nice legacy components. You will play Machi Koro 10 times and each time the game will change and more will be added to it. On the 11th game you will have a Machi Koro version that is different from the non legacy version and you will be able to get out and play again and again.

Recommendation

It is a really neat little game and is a really good choice for a family game. I think if you want something that is a little more of a legacy experience for your family then Zombie Evolution or My City will be better choices.

This game is something that you will want to play as an adult and can also play with your kids too. Which makes it a really good choice as it is 2-4 players which means you can also grab it off the shelf when the kids are in bed and play a couple of games easily. You can buy Machi Koro on Amazon here.

Conclusion

So, here are the best legacy games on the market at the time of writing. Any of these games will be a great choice. If you can’t decide which is best for you then go with Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated. It is a superb game that will thoroughly enjoy playing through.

You have the additional point that this legacy game is competitive so there will be competition and a winner. At the end of the legacy campaign you will have a great game that you will be able to replay.