Base Price: $10, The Starship; $10, Flying Garden; $15, Second Chronicle
2-4 players (typically, can expand to 6)
Play time: 5-10 minutes per round.
BGG Link: The Starship
Buy The Starship on Amazon (via What’s Eric Playing?)
BGG Link: Flying Garden
Buy Flying Garden on Amazon (via What’s Eric Playing?)
BGG Link: Second Chronicle
Buy Lost Legacy Second Chronicle on Amazon (via What’s Eric Playing?)
For my third game selection, I decided to review a bunch of what I’d call “microgames”. Lost Legacy isn’t really a game that you pick up and say, “tonight’s a Lost Legacy kind of night.” Lost Legacy is more of a “Hm, such-and-such just went to the bathroom and God knows how long they’re going to take. Might as well play something quick in the interim.” That being said, it’s actually amazing for what it is. Let’s talk more about that.
So, at its core, Lost Legacy is actually two Chronicles, each comprised of two games. The First Chronicle is made up of The Starship and the Flying Garden games, while the Second Chronicle brings the Vorpal Sword and Whitegold Spire expansions. I’ll explain the general game style first and then dive a bit deeper into what each expansion brings to the table.
So, any one of the four Lost Legacy decks comes with sixteen cards. Each card will have a picture, a title, and a number (or X) in the corner known as the investigation speed, and they look like so:The cards appear with the following distribution:
- One each of (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- Two each of (6)
- Three each of (7, 8, X)
When you begin, shuffle the 16 cards together and set one card to the side of the deck. This is what’s known as the Ruins, and will be dealt with later. Deal one card to each player. Your setup should now look like this:
This game is dead simple to set up, so I’m going to skip straight to gameplay.
The game is played by drawing one card, choosing from the two cards now in your hand, playing one into your discards in front of you, and resolving that card’s effect. That’s it. Draw one, play one.
As the game progresses, you will add (and potentially remove) cards to/from the Ruins. If you’re adding cards, always put them next to, not on top of, the current card in the Ruins. Now, play can begin. Each player should, on their turn, draw one card from the top of the deck and then choose one card from the now-two cards in their hand to play, face-up, in front of them in their discards. That’s it, it’s dead simple. You draw a card, then you play a card, following the instructions written on the card. We call this a “draw-one-play-one”-style game, since, well, you know.
Once the deck is depleted the Investigation Phase begins. In this phase, players who have not been
killed eliminated can search for this deck’s Lost Legacy, hence the name of the game. Though, I suppose that once you’ve won the game should be called either Found Legacy or Sloppily and Continually Misplaced Legacy or No Seriously, I Left The Legacy By The Car Keys or something. That’s not important; these are:
Regardless, this is where the Investigation Speed I briefly mentioned earlier comes in handy. Once the deck is depleted and the last turn taken, someone (usually me, for my group. I’d be happy to do it for your group, too, I suppose.) calls out the various numbers in ascending order (that’s going from one to eight, for those of you keeping track at home). When someone’s number is called, they reveal their card and guess where they believe the Lost Legacy is. Their options are any card in the Ruins (though you should know that cards that have already been searched are not, in fact, the Lost Legacy, otherwise the game would be over) or any card in any other player’s hand (similar logic applies). However, there are three critical caveats to this process:
- If you share the same Investigation Speed as another player, neither of you get to investigate. You both just lose. Sucks to suck.
- If you have an X as your Investigation Speed, you do not get to investigate. It continues to suck to suck.
- If nobody successfully finds the Lost Legacy, everyone loses. This is pretty much the most hilarious outcome, as it’s pretty much super embarrassing.
Technically, once you find the Lost Legacy you earn a point cube (there are some blue cubes that come with these games), and once you have X or Y point cubes you win and everyone can go home. I have never played this way, but it sounds kind of … dull? I think that lends itself too much to weird targeting in subsequent games, where you’re trying to eliminate players who are ahead. I prefer the random and cruel hand of fate deciding who wins, so I avoid the blue cubes. It’s your prerogative, though. I also don’t like having a strict endpoint when I’m playing this.
That’s the basic gameplay. There is some generic strategy, but a lot of it is game-specific. I’ll highlight the basic stuff before talking a bit more about each deck:
- If someone sees your card, get rid of it. In almost every case, this is sound advice. Even if you have an X (which somewhat protects you from elimination), there are cards that eliminate X’s. So, be careful.
- Do NOT have an X in your hand for the Investigation Phase. You’d be surprised how many people forget this. It’s totally fine to count how many cards are left in the deck and drop your X, even if it’s a good card. If you have an X, you cannot find the Lost Legacy (which almost always means you lose).
- Don’t overthink it. The average round time is like, 5 minutes, max. You should just be breezing through cards and dropping them like nobody’s business. If you lose, whatever. You can get petty and absolute revenge on the person who slightly wronged you next round. Just imagine it’s Black Friday and they have the TV you want, so you punch them.
Meet the Decks: The Starship
You can hopefully read the text on the cards, so I won’t retype it here (if not, sorry, amateur photographer). This is the first deck I started with, and in a lot of ways it plays like its spiritual predecessor, Love Letter. This deck has a primary focus on what’s in your hand or in your opponents’ hands, with a slight focus on cards in the Ruins (primarily via the 6 and 7).
It’s actually pretty cool because of the various interactions between cards. If you have the 1 in your hand and someone looks at it, you lose, but if you have the X, they lose. One of the major features of this deck is that the Lost Legacy (The Starship) cannot be played. This means it’s just dead weight in your hand unless you manage to get it away via Search or Assault. Problematically, if someone finds out that you have the Lost Legacy, they can use the Shadow Thief to win the game (NOTE: You CANNOT use the Shadow Thief on your own hand. This has been a problem before.)
Overall gameplay strategy: Keep goading your opponents to look at your hand, then crush them with a Sneak Attack. They’ll never see it coming, unless they have the Swordsman. Then they clearly saw it coming. They completely understood the purpose of your taunts and just, wrecked you.
Meet the Decks: Flying Garden
Of the First Chronicle, I must say that this deck is much more hilarious than its counterpart, The Starship. While The Starship focuses on your hand, Flying Garden focuses on what’s in your discards. Will the Saint prevent you from meeting an untimely demise? Will the Storyteller buy you time to investigate further? Or will you ultimately succumb to Wounds? Ironically, most of the time you get Wounds from False Rumors. Suck on that, “words will never hurt me” person.
Like I said, I really like this set. People continually spend time adding good or bad cards to their or other players’ discard piles (respectively, I hope) only to be thwarted by the Necromancer, forcing them to shuffle their discard back into the deck (save the Necromancer, otherwise the game would last forever). This also brings in the Curse, the first card that allows you to guess a player’s hand and eliminate them if you’re right. Few cards cause a general consternation among players faster than the Wound, though. Not only is it an X (an overwhelmingly undesirable card to have during the Investigation Phase), but you can accidentally eliminate yourself if you are forced to play two Wounds (or are Wound-ed by another player). Furthermore, this Lost Legacy is playable, meaning you’re not hosed if you draw it.
All of these cards pale in comparison to the joy that is False Rumors, though. It lets you either seed your discard with good cards, seed someone else’s discard with bad cards, and/or place things in the Ruins that only you know about. It’s just a fantastic card overall, and quite possibly my favorite card in the game. That, or the Guardian. Nothing quite like playing the Guardian on the last turn to potentially put a Wound in someone’s hand right before the Investigation Phase. We’ve done this a few times to great success, only once being thwarted by the time that every player had a Wound in their hands already.
Overall gameplay strategy: Sticks and stones may break your bones, but False Rumors can always hurt you. Use your discards to your advantage.
Meet the Decks: Vorpal Sword
This is the best expansion so far. There, I said it. If The Starship’s about hands and Flying Garden is about discards, this is about sweet, sweet victory. Honestly, I can’t think of a cohesive theme otherwise. They say the Vorpal Sword’s shape changes based on who wields it, and with the Medusa behind it you are literally unstoppable.
Enough lore. Let’s get down to business. If you play with this set you are unlikely to investigate much. If you play the Medusa on yourself, you lose. Immediately. The only way to save yourself is the Seal, and even then if you’re not paying attention you can Prince the Medusa straight out of the Ruins. This is a hilarious thing that has happened several times, as the Prince lets you immediately play a card straight from the ruins, and as soon as someone plays the Medusa on themselves, we start clapping. Like the Curse, Rotting Miasma lets you guess another player’s hand, eliminating them if you’re successful. However, unlike Curse, the Rotting Miasma has a massive drawback — if all three are played, a player can summon the Lord of Rot to win instantly, in one of the most satisfying win conditions the game allows. Like, it’s the best. Intrusion is also a fun card just for getting rid of other cards. Suddenly, you can “give” someone the Medusa.
This Lost Legacy, however, is fascinating. Instead of it being mostly useless, it’s an offensive powerhouse with the right cards. Once played, you compare hands with another player. The higher card is eliminated, with X being the highest. The best part is that after elimination, the Lost Legacy is shuffled back into the deck to kill again. Forever. We call this getting “Vorped”. If there’s a tie, it’s sort of awkwardly shuffled into the Ruins. You try to avoid that happening. Beware one specific situation, though. There are very few things worse than Vorping another player when you have the 1, only to find out that they have the 2. While they DO lose, they also reveal their card to everyone else, who then must assume that your card is the 1. You may have killed them, but you’ll be joining them soon.
Overall gameplay strategy: Everyone who isn’t you has to die eventually. And by eventually, you mean immediately. Secretly, though, always try to win by Lord of Rot.
Meet the Decks: Whitegold Spire
And now for something completely different. Literally. The Whitegold Spire takes the traditional “eliminating players” paradigm that we’ve grown so fond of and completely turns it on its head. This game version is all about $$$. While each card still maintains its Investigation Speed, the number is also how many points the card is worth in the endgame. After the Investigation Phase, players compare how many points they’ve earned and the highest scorer wins. It’s odd.
This change-up is further complicated by the fact that you only score face-up cards, and most of the game is switching cards face-up or face-down or trading cards from your hands or from the discards or something. It’s actually pretty fun, albeit completely different from the other three decks. Most interesting of all is that you don’t all lose if nobody finds the Lost Legacy; instead, nobody gets the point bonus. (Note the massive point bonus from having the Street Performer + the Lost Legacy.) It’s almost like a microgame’s microgame, since I’d probably play it in between rounds of Lost Legacy.
Overall gameplay strategy: Try not to have the most points until the end. The Phantom Thief wrecks frontrunners.
Meet the Decks: The Megamix
There’s an old saying that if something’s worth having it’s worth needlessly complicating. So let’s do it.
As you can see, you CAN (and are encouraged to) make your own decks from combinations of other cards. If you enjoy needlessly inflicting pain on your friends, this is a pretty good set. Personally, I prefer a different option: rather than making one deck from a variety of cards, you can combine two decks into a megadeck, provided you take out one of the Lost Legacies. This allows the game to be expanded to a whopping six players and allows for humorous card interactions, as the card descriptions are left fairly vague for a reason.
If you’re going to combine two decks, I’d recommend Flying Garden and Vorpal Sword. Combining two already-aggressive decks means that games tend to be light, short, fun, and angry without much emphasis on the Investigation Phase. This also allows for some humorous card effects, as previously stated:
For instance, while the Saint protects you from death, it only does so once. So having the Medusa added to your discards while you have the Saint means that, after the Saint saves you, Medusa just kills you again. Aggressive. It also means that the False Rumors card is significantly more powerful, as you can instantly kill someone instantly by dumping a Medusa into their discards. We call this “Medusin’ for a Brusin'” or “Getting Medused”. These are both terrible names. Let’s move on.
Personally, I’d say that this is a matter of preference how you combine decks, as it also has some mildly adverse effects. Since the number of each card (save 5) is doubled, it makes guessing someone’s hand pretty easy, since there are six 7’s and six 8’s at the start of the game. This can be a bit of a bummer. Overall, though, just combine two decks that you like.
NOTE: I’d specifically not recommend combining Whitegold Spire with anything, as the changes to gameplay are kind of jarring. It’s more of a standalone bonus than an additive expansion, in my opinion.
Thoughts / Verdict
Like I said, it’s kind of a filler game with a bunch of filler decks, but that’s not even slightly a bad thing. I’ve played this game for five minutes and I’ve played it for two hours. I think it’s got a lot going for it, but naturally it’s not absolutely perfect. Honestly, I have no idea why I have a topic sentence here since I just lead straight into pros and cons. I think it might be something about having two heading elements right next to each other looking weird?
Who knows. Moving on.
- Elimination doesn’t hurt. I’ve played games where being eliminated means you can be sitting out for 20 – 60 minutes while everyone finishes (I’m looking at you, BANG!). That sucks. This game you’re out for like, five minutes, tops. This prevents a lot of feelings from getting hurt, as games with player elimination are wont to do.
- Mercifully short. Even your slowest game-playing friends will play this fairly quickly, especially if you’re yelling “5! 4! 3! 2! 1! PLAY!”, which I’ve had to do before. It’s just pretty fast, especially if you’re only playing with one deck and not a combined deck.
- Lends itself well to inside jokes / metagame. A lot of the enjoyment of this game comes from evolving a metagame around certain cards. My group has a near-reverence for False Rumors (Flying Garden 6) and an absolute fear of Medusa (Vorpal Sword 1), probably for good reason. Sometimes it’s fun to come up with nicknames for cards, even, though I can’t think of any off the top of my head that I’m willing to share with people. ANYWAYS.
- Doesn’t require “good” strategy to win. While technically any strategy that wins can be considered a good strategy, playing Guardian (Flying Garden 4) and swapping everyone’s cards around on the last turn before the Investigation Phase can be considered fairly bad, as you have a nontrivial chance of screwing yourself over. Even so, it’s pretty funny. A lot of times, people will play the Vorpal Sword (Vorpal Sword 5) when their other card is high (7-X), just for the humor of throwing themselves on another player’s metaphorical sword. Sometimes they, surprisingly, win from this. I would say that means this is a great game for kids (since it’s not complex), but the Wound card has some guy getting cut by a sword and I dunno if that’ll freak your kids out?
- Super modular. If you like certain cards from certain decks, you can combine them all to make something excellent. Just make sure you’re only using one of each card type (unless you want to make a double-mix combo deck, which is an unholy abomination). I think it’s nice that this game has enough expansions to do that (and the Third Chronicle is coming out later this month, hopefully).
- Relatively inexpensive for what it is. It’s short, fun, and has a high replay value. For $10ish per set, that’s pretty good. This is also one of my go-to “value” games, along with Hanabi, as it’s great for Secret Santa or things where you have a low maximum. Sure, it’s only sixteen cards per set, but yeah. The First Chronicle games came in a lovely velvet bag, though.
- High replay value. Like I said, it’s very short and lends itself to building a metagame over time, so this sees a lot of plays with my group. The expansions also inject a lot of new life into the game, so it’ll probably be something we play often for a while. For only ~$30ish (I got parts on sale), that’s pretty great.
- It’s literally just sixteen cards per set. Maybe this bothers you, but you’re not getting a whole lot of cards for your money.
- Pretty random. Even if you’re playing with a lot of strategy, you can still draw a bunch of bad cards and get totally screwed. Usually this is the person who draws a 7 as their first card, meaning that they’ll likely get eliminated by one of the “Guess another player’s card” cards pretty early.
- Whitegold Spire doesn’t combine with other sets well. It seems like they wanted to make another game and ended up just branding it with the Lost Legacy stuff so that it would sell. It’s almost completely standalone, because player elimination with that game style is confusing.
- The current theme is painfully bland. It’s uh, actually generic sci-fi fantasy. Like there’s a Starship! And some robots! And an orc! And swords! Wow! You could literally retheme this to be about anything (sort of like Love Letter), and a few people have. This one is pretty sweet, actually. I think the original theme wasn’t as bland, but then they blanded it up for the Americas. It’s currently about as bland as only having one word for bland. Hold on, lemme check a thesaurus. Unimaginative! Humdrum! Hackneyed! Pedestrian! Those are all other words. You’re welcome.
- The Investigation Phase is really hard to explain, for some reason. People just get confused by it when I’ve tried to explain the game, so lately I just haven’t mentioned it and I’ve said something once we’ve gotten to it. While they get mad, I’m usually like “it’s okay, we’ll play more” and things are fine.
- I’m a little miffed that the velvet bags didn’t come with the Second Chronicle. They were so nice!
Overall: ??? / 10
Lost Legacy has rapidly become a mainstay at our table and I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon. That being said, me assigning it a rating as a game is kind of arbitrary and pointless, because it’s really four games with the same overall branding. As a result I’m just going to score each and maybe a combination, since I assume if you’ve read this far then another couple hundred words won’t offend you too deeply. If you’d like more information about each set, check out “Meet the Decks”.
The Starship: 6.5 / 10
Yeah, this one is pretty good to start off with. Very basic gameplay, fairly fun, and a satisfying elimination mechanic to punish or reward players who would dare snoop at someone else’s hands.
Flying Garden: 8.5 / 10
This one is a bit more interesting to me than The Starship, personally, as it’s a bit less random and a bit more spite-based, since you can actually see what cards people are getting or losing based on what ends up in their discards. It also introduces False Rumors, which, as I’ve said several times, is an amazing card. Having the Saint protect you from one elimination is also interesting, as it makes it a pretty sought-after card.
Vorpal Sword: 9 / 10
Currently my favorite out of the sets, Vorpal Sword is aggressive and unapologetic. Also watching someone Medusa themselves is an unparalleled delight. Honestly, this set feels amazingly strong to me, and I really appreciate it. You can either focus on killing everyone in your way or try to bide your time and summon the Lord of Rot.
Whitegold Spire, Standalone: 6.5 / 10
It’s actually a bit fun if you forget that it’s part of the Lost Legacy series of games. It’s an interesting form of discard pile management, as you’re trying to keep your score high without making yourself a target. Also the money theme is kind of humorous, because it is literally just $$$.
Whitegold Spire, as a Lost Legacy game: 4.5 / 10
Sorry, Whitegold Spire. It’s just a very off-the-wall game to be part of the Lost Legacy family, especially because it doesn’t combine well with other sets. It’s like if you shuffled a deck of playing cards in with the Lost Legacy deck. You get Lost Legacy cards every now and then and other times you just get confused. It’s not unplayable (since some of the Whitegold Spire cards can counteract some of the Flying Garden cards and, I believe, some cards in the third expansion), but it’s pretty weird. There are just better combos. Speaking of which:
Flying Garden / Vorpal Sword combo: 9.5 / 10
This is the absolute best, in my opinion. All the ruthless aggression of Vorpal Sword combined with the interesting mechanics of Flying Garden, and allowing for the False Rumors + Medusa combo that is both my dream and my nightmare. Basically the good cards from each of the sets end up augmenting the combined set as a whole, which is great. It’s an excellent combo deck.
Okay, that was a lot of ratings and I kind of regret typing them all out. Regardless, I would say that this game is definitely worth trying, especially if you’ve never played anything like it. It’s a great way to pass time between other games if you’re just talking, and if you combine two decks it starts to stand on its own legs as a solid short game.
Ooh, one more.
False Rumors (Flying Garden 6): 10 / 10