Game Review: Legacy at Sea by DPH Games

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Number of Players: 1-4

Time: 120 Minutes

Ages: 12+

Game Type: Combat/Resource Management

Gamer Type: Causal

Complexity: 7

Hi, all. As you know, recently I have not been doing as many game reviews as I would like. Business is good in my other job and I have been traveling for conferences. However, when DPH games reached out and asked me if I could review their newest offering, all I could say is “Aye.” Legacy at Sea (LAS) is a combat/resource management/reputation management game which is a challenge on all levels of the game. Buy, hey, a pirates life is never easy.

The Story

It is the golden age of piracy. You are a pirate, so times are good. The game takes place over a series of years and during these years, you see stories from actual events that create game effects. This allows players to adapt their strategy to what is going on in the game. Other than that, you want to get the “booty” so you can be the best pirate in the seven seas – so how the story turns out depends on you. (7 of 10).

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The Artwork

When I got the game, the designers noted that it was a prototype, and not to judge it too harshly. I always take that with a grain of salt. However, when I opened the box, I was wowed. The game comes in a standard medium-sized box, so it fits on your shelf well. And while it is sitting there, man, does it look fine. The box has all the essential information on the box to help you decide whether to buy it (spoiler alert, you should buy it).

Inside the box is an amazing game. With minis for most things, great tokens for others, and a set of dice to kill for, this set the board up with some high expectations. Well, the board lived up to the expectations. With a great period map of the carrier, this board was a work of art itself. All the peripheral pieces live up the the quality of art you expect for a DPH game. I gave it a 9 just because the designers told me it was going to get better in the production copy, so I needed room to let them improve in score (9 of 10).

The Mechanics

The randomizer for this game is a set of dice and a bunch of really nice cards. This makes every game different and allows for massive replay value. The movement scheme is simple enough to pick up, but complex enough that it defines success in the game. Additionally, the trade/war/movement mechanic of the ship also forces players to decide if they are going to race from port to port or just steal stuff to get their points. This makes the game dynamic, but it gets better. The cards can create game effects which change even the best laid plans of our scallywag captains. (6 of 10).

The Strategy

This game has every category I look for: offense, defense, rush, and engine building. The changing playscape forces you to adapt your skills to change at each level. This makes the playstyle dynamic enough that it is different every time you play. I am having difficulty explaining the playstyle because of the shifting elements, which makes it amazing. Not since early MTG have I seen such an adaptive playstyle in a box game; usually you have to drop nearly $1000 on Warhammer or Bloodbowl to get this level of strategy (10 of 10).

Novelty and Overall

If you read this column often, you know Merchants and Marauders is one of my favorite pirate themed games of all time. So LAS had big shoes to fill. And fill them it did. While M&M will always be close to my heart, LAS is a more modern game with elements that did not exist back in the early part of the century. This gives LAS an edge on mechanics and strategy. It also incorporates more elements into the game, which gives it a more refined standing. (7 of 10 for novelty)

Overall, with a score of 39 out of 50, this is one of the highest scores I have given to a non-GMT game in a long time. This game has all the elements that an advanced casual player could ask for, plus it is about pirates, so it is legendary right there. This is definitely a game you should have for your collection. Keep an eye out for it when it hits the market…you always want to see pirates before they see you.

Christopher W Smithmyer
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