Comparing the Legacy of Charterstone & Pandemic Legacy S1

This is a post about the design and development of a currently unnamed Shipwreck Game. You can see the other Blog posts at the Index for the Game.

My Legacy Board Game group has just finished ‘July’ in the 12 months of Pandemic Legacy, and I just wanted to put some more thoughts down, comparing it to Charterstone. There will probably be **Spoilers**, for both games. You have been warned.

Legacy Story and Game Development

The choices in directing the story so far in Pandemic Legacy have been essentially non-existent. The things that have happened as the story unfolded were always going to happen. One of the viruses became non curable, and then adapted to create “the faded”. This was unavoidable. Which virus this was going to happen to (the Black virus, in our case, for anyone interested) was dependent on our game play, and the shuffle of the decks. Different characters have been added, with different abilities, as this story unfolded, but likewise, there was no choice here. The military was always going to be introduced to play a larger roll, as Continents (again, Asia and Africa in our particular case) became overrun with this virulent, and incurable disease. The Rule changes and introductions at the end of each game, were prewritten by the game designers, and you are essentially along for the ride, to see how you deal with these changes. As such, Pandemic Season 1, seems to be a series of 12 games of Pandemic, that have slightly different starting states and Rules.

As I mentioned in my last post on this topic, the Charterstone story trundles along, independent of the game play. The Legacy story, whilst still structured as in Pandemic, does not restrict how you must play each game in the Campaign. The game develops, as an organic thing, entirely dependent on the Players, the Charters they start in, and the choices they make in constructing Buildings and opening Crates. The state of two Charterstone Campaigns at the end of Game 4, can be very different, whilst two Pandemic Legacy Season 1 Campaigns, will be very similar at the end of ‘April’.

Purpose of the Games

That being said, it seems that Pandemic Legacy is created to be a game you play through to it’s conclusion, and then after the years worth of ‘Episodes’ is completed, the game is done. It is meant to be a Story that is told, from beginning to end (with the chance for do-overs, if you don’t complete the months objectives the first time around) and then it is put away. It is meant to be a one off experience, that you enjoy enough to play Season 2 (and then Season 3, etc). And as such, it is doing it’s job admirably. We are very much enjoying it, and our FLGS has got in our copy of Season 2, so we can go straight into it once it is completed.

Charterstone does not have that feel at all. I played, probably the first half of the first Campaign, just enjoying the development of the game. Collecting VP was just something that happened as I constructed Buildings and opened Crates, and worked towards the current Guidepost. It has very obviously been designed as a game with Post Campaign play in mind.

Shipwreck Legacy

These two Legacy experiences, have helped solidify my goals with the MaYP Shipwreck game. I am trying to make a game of open discovery and development, like Charterstone, that also, includes a number of definitive goals, that need to be solved, like Pandemic. My plan, is to make all the scenarios in Shipwreck, independent, rather than building on each as they do in Pandemic. This way, they will be played in a random order, and each version of the Campaign will be a different experience, and end with a different deck of cards.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island, comes with 7 Scenarios, that you can play in any order, and this is certainly giving some inspiration, as a modular desert island game. But my aim is closer to creating a deck builder, like Legendary, that has a series of Masterminds and Schemes, and as you come across these different obstacles to overcome, you are creating your deck from scratch, to give you the tools you need to win.

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