I Hope This Legacy Ain't Just A Letter To A Princess! - Lost Legacy: The Starship Review

Little, light portable games will always grab my attention as it's good to have something that provides a decent amount of fun, but doesn't contribute to breaking your back when you're lugging 5+ games in a holdall to every game night.

Love Letter is well known in the card game universe as a modern great. Whether you like it or not (personally I do as a quick filler every now and again) you can't deny for such a simple idea, it's really taken off.

Well Lost Legacy utilises the same simple "draw a card / play a card" mechanic that appealed to non-gamers, but adds a new twist by adding in a deductive element at the end so victory is not simply just going for the highest rank. Does it replace Love Letter or will it bow down to its master?

"Cool sci-fi space look, but you could paste any theme on this game"

Designer: Seiji Kanai
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
# of Players: 2-4
Ages: 10+
Play Time: 10 minutes
BGG Rank/Rating: 1422 / 7.13
Dice Tower 2013 People’s Choice Rank: n/a
Category: Bluffing & Deduction Card Game
  
Find Me The Legacy

Each player is dealt one card and the rest of the deck is placed in the centre. The top card is placed face down next to it to form the Ruins and play begins.

Each turn a player will draw a card from the deck and then play a card, performing it's effect which will usually involve swapping and revealing cards with other players or the centre cards. Sometimes a card will involve the Ruins which are single face down cards in the middle that are hidden from all players. Other cards may eliminate other players from the round. Each card also has a rank number from 1 to 8 which is relevant later.

The object of the game is to find the Lost Legacy (or eliminate everyone, whichever comes first), which is one of the cards in the deck. When the deck runs out there is a deduction round where in rank order from lowest to highest, each player guesses where the Lost Legacy is, be it in another players hand or in the Ruins. If they guess right, they have won the game, otherwise the other remaining players will in turn make their guesses until either one wins, or no-one wins.

"Top notch artwork across the board, but I'm getting tired of felt cloth bags"

The catch however is that the Lost Legacy is itself Rank 5. Therefore if a player has it in their hand and no-one has guessed this before their rank is called out, they win the game. Otherwise the other players will have to assume it's in the Ruins and guess accordingly.

Dare You Take A Peek?

As you can tell, this is a simple twist on Love Letter, but what elements does it add to the game to distinguish it from the pack?

Well for starters you have the potential to be eliminated by looking at someone's hand thanks to the Sneak Attack card at Rank X. Now right there you've added a fear/push your luck element to the game as beforehand you looked at other player hands and didn't really care too much about repercussions (other than the Baron backfiring in your face obviously). Now suddenly you're worried. You want to find out where that Lost Legacy is, but dare you check that guy's hand? Has he been sitting there all the time waiting for you? If you're on the other side, then how long do you hang on to that Sneak Attack because Rank X is excluded from the deduction round?

The deduction phase itself is also a welcome addition. Throughout the whole game you're thinking about where that Lost Legacy is and by witnessing what other players do, you gain clues, but just because you're going first on the choosing, doesn't necessarily guarantee victory. Yes there is a luck element here, but then that's half of the game anyway.

However even with these new additions, the game is still super simple to teach and very quick to play. The rulebook mentions playing a campaign mode which is essentially the first person to four victories, but you could just do a quick random game for the ultimate filler occasion. Weirdly unlike Love Letter they don't provide a way to keep score, but to be honest I'm pretty sure we can all count to four and did anyone even like those dull red cubes in the other game?

"Cue the world's most pointless box - if a store advertises this as "damaged", GRAB IT!"

Verdict

Lost Legacy is worthy of a place among other good light filler games. I'm curious as to why it doesn't seem to be getting as much love on BGG as Love Letter considering it's pretty much the same game, but with added elements which in my opinion improve it. Maybe because Love Letter has been around longer and Lost Legacy hasn't had much buzz online, who knows. It could be said maybe that people prefer the extremely simple nature of Love Letter, but this is hardly taxing on the brain cells is it? If you can teach one, you can teach the other, pure and simple.

For me given that both cost £7, I can happily keep both in the collection, but if I were to choose one or the other, I'd grab this. The added deductive element and the fear of getting killed off by sneak attacks are what elevates this above Love Letter, though I still wish it came in a box and not a silly cloth bag! The only tentative issue I have is the prospect of expansions and having to pay for those also, but with the possibility of mix and matching the cards and playing a game with 6 players in under 10 minutes, I look forward to finding out more in The Flying Garden. . . . . . . To Be Continued.


You Will Like This Game If:

  • You enjoyed Love Letter - it's essentially that game with added twists.
  • Cheap and cheerful is your 'stick' - it's less than £8 and plays really quickly.
  • The prospect of multiple different cards and playing with 6 players is appealing.

You Will Not Like This Game If:

  • Love Letter is a game you'd rather forget.
  • You want a strategic game - it's a light mix of bluffing, luck and deduction.
  • You hate having to store the game in a cloth bag rather than a box.

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