Betrayal Legacy – Card and Journal Interaction

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 game group finished up Seafall, near the end of last year, a relatively enjoyable experience, though the campaign did run a little long. It had a lot of amazing Legacy mechanics that got introduced during the campaign, but none that I could borrow for a MaYP game, beyond the Journal book of entries, which I have mentioned in another post. The same day we finished Seafall we went straight into another Rob Daviau game, Betrayal Legacy.

Betrayal Legacy was a much tighter campaign, with some fun elements that built up the story over time. It is also a game with base mechanics quite similar to the core of my Shipwreck game. You move into a room, and then draw a card to either resolve it’s effect, or to add to your tableau. I think it is because of these similarities that there are two parts of this Legacy game I can draw on for inspiration.

A Bleak Journal

Bleak Journal

The majority of the story you experience during Betrayal Legacy is housed (pun intended) in bite size snippets in the Bleak Journal. It works in the same way as the Captain’s Booke in Seafall, where some action in the game will prompt you to turn to a specific entry and read that part of the story. The difference being, that all entries in the Captain’s Booke in Seafall will potentially be read during that campaign, as there is one for each Island space you explore. The Bleak Journal, by comparison, is filled to overflowing with entries that will never be part of your story.

If you have played original Betrayal at House on the Hill, you will know that a different Haunt gets triggered, depending on what Omen you found, and in what room. Betrayal Legacy works in the same way, with individual games of the campaign having different possible endings. This means there are multiple Haunts that were created for the game, that you will not experience during your campaign. And there are also different entries to be read at the conclusion of each game, depending on if the Heroes or the Traitor won. All that variation means that most of the content in the Bleak Journal will not be read during your campaign.

So the first inspiration I took from Betrayal Legacy is to create a lot of story, without worrying about it all being seen by a player.

Expanding Throughout the Campaign

There are 2 decks, that add cards to the game throughout the Betrayal campaign.

  • The Legacy Deck adds cards at the beginning of each game, as part of the setup. All these cards will be used during every campaign, and are a controlled way of expanding the game.
  • The Purgatory Deck adds cards at the end of each game, depending on which Haunt was triggered, and if the Heroes or Traitor(s) won. These specific ways of expanding the game, will be different for every campaign, and a lot of these cards will not be used on your play.

The Legacy Deck adds things in an obvious way, but it is the Purgatory Deck that is more interesting. Like the Bleak Journal, it contains more elements than will be used in a campaign, and goes a long way to making an individual experience at the end of the campaign.

In a MaYP game, all cards will be created in the same way, so there is no need to think of them in these separate ways. As with the Bleak Journal, the Purgatory Deck is a reminder that not all of the elements you create need to be seen in every game. But the second inspiration I took from Betrayal Legacy, is that cards added to the game, don’t have to be permanent additions.

Betrayal Legacy card with Checkboxes

Betrayal Legacy contains a lot of modifiable cards; Item Cards that have a set number of uses, or Event Cards that get stronger each time they occur. They come with check boxes, so you can keep track of their use, and when they have been completed, they trigger something else in the game. Some Journal entries lead to the addition of cards, and there are cards that can lead to new Journal entries.

Expendable Cards in “Shipwreck”

I had already contemplated card destruction in “Shipwreck”; items being destroyed being the main one that occurred to me. But at the time, it was as simple as “The item is destroyed, so destroy the card.” My original poll lead to a suggestion that destroying a “bottle” card might lead to creating a “glass shard” card, which is a great idea, but I wasn’t sure how to implement it. The idea that it’s destruction could lead back to another entry, is a great way to go.

Bottle Card

47. “The Bottle accidentally falls and smashes, its contents quickly soaking into the ground. A large shard of glass, with a sharp jagged edge, sits among the smaller pieces.

Destroy the Bottle card. Create “Glass Shard” card, “Item”, including 3 boxes. Write “Check a Box each time you use this card to “cut”. Destroy this card when all 3 boxes are checked.”

I learned a lot from Betrayal Legacy. There is one more card mechanic to add into the game, but that is for another blog post.

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