For two and a half months, we've been playing Betrayal Legacy every Saturday until we finally finished the campaign. Now that we've had time to let our experience sink in, we thought it would be time to reflect on our experience and share our spoilers with you!
Betrayal Legacy - The Basics
So if you haven't heard of Betrayal or Betrayal: Legacy up until now, it's a fantastic horror-themed dungeon game that takes place in a haunted mansion. It starts out co-operatively, but eventually something (or rather, someone) will trigger what's called a "haunt". In this haunt, usually one (and sometimes more than one) of the players you're playing with becomes a traitor and initiates an unknown scenario for all of you to play. The scenario can range from a blob monsters to vampires to two-headed snakes, and a whole bunch in between.
Betrayal: Legacy is basically a version of that game formula where you play a set number of chapters in a whole overarching campaign and storyline. The biggest appeal being that your choices and decisions may affect future chapters you play.
How Much "Legacy" is There?
The legacy aspect in Betrayal: Legacy affects the following things:
- Naming cards - take a sharpie and add names to items, giving it a personal touch
- Adding "heirloom" stickers to items so they give you an extra boost if your character owns the same item in a later chapter. Usually only one or two players can claim items as heirlooms.
- Card variations in the decks - depending on how your chapters end, will determine what new cards (some worse than others) will be added to your item and event decks going forward.
- Marking Tiles - if characters die in tiles, you get to add ghost stickers which buff certain items that you use on that tile, as well as mark tiles if you have an event that lets you find a secret passage, and sometimes mark them from the result of an scenario ending (i.e. blood splattered room vs gaping hole in a room)
Playing Betrayal Legacy. Good with 3?
For our game, we played with 3. According to the designer, Rob Daviau, he designed the game with 4 in mind, and scaled the difficulty and player count to have one less and one more than the design base line. And you know what, we'd have to agree that experiencing the game at 4 probably would've been nicer. With an extra person, some scenarios would've been a little easier on the "hero" team. But with 3, the game manages itself really well, surprisingly.
Better Than Vanilla Betrayal?
In short, yes! We found the scenarios to be fairly clear on your objective, and more balanced than regular Betrayal scenarios we've previously played before. We've heard before how some of the old scenarios, people would get stuck and be unable to finish a scenario because they found themselves in an unintentional loophole they couldn't get themselves out of.
Because Betrayal: Legacy needs a clear winner in order to record who won, what happened, etc. we found the design of the scenarios themselves to be really well balanced and really clear (well, mostly) on your objectives, with no loopholes to leave you in a perpetual limbo of "so, what do we do now?".
The Chapter and Haunt Spoilers and Results
Prologue, 1666: The Chalice - Haunt 1: Witch Hunt. No traitor. Blue won.
Chapter 1, 1694: The Brooch - Haunt 37: Wrath of the Berserker. Blue Traitor. Blue won.
Chapter 2, 1729: The Crucifix - Haunt 31: Hellbound. Red Traitor. Red won.
Chapter 3, 1763: The Porcelain Doll - Haunt 9: A Growing Boy. Yellow Traitor. Blue and Red won.
Chapter 4, 1797: The Talisman - Haunt 34: Damnable Behaviour. Blue Traitor. Red and Yellow won.
Chapter 5, 1830: The Hand Mirror - Haunt 44: Gaze at the Abyss. Yellow Traitor. Red and Blue won.
Chapter 6, 1849: The Apothecary Kit - Haunt 17: Double Blind. No Traitor. We all won!
Chapter 7, 1876: The Wedding Veil - Haunt 21: Her Beating Heart. All Traitors. Red won.
Chapter 8, 1890 - Haunt 29: Hell Breaks Loose. Red Traitor. Blue and Yellow won.
Chapter 9, 1901: The Portrait - Haunt 28: The Reanimator. Blue traitor, yellow turned traitor. Red won.
Chapter 10, 1925: The Kris - Haunt 4: Shoggoth. Yellow Traitor. Blue and Red won.
Chapter 11, 1947: The Radio - Haunt 3: Malignant. Yellow traitor. Yellow won.
Chapter 12, 1969: The Meteorite - Haunt 10: Abductions. Blue traitor. Yellow and Red won.
Chapter 13, 2004 - Red traitor for using the helm too much. Yellow and Blue won. But we all won in a way.
Things We Loved
Scenario Variety and Design - It was really awesome to see that the scenarios you got ranged from Lovecraftian to Aliens to traditional horror so you almost got a taste of a bit of everything.
Callback to OG Betrayal - Loved that the ending swung back around to the first Betrayal game and it's almost like you continue the story from the game with a regular game of Betrayal: House on the Hill.
Easy Drop In and Drop Out - if you have someone that wants to stop playing all of a sudden, or someone who wants to join, the game is really accessible to allow that and allow the game to continue. There's always a story to experience, even if that player doesn't stay for the whole over-arching one.
Things That Were Meh
Personalization - Naming characters and setting up the ages of characters didn't really feel an attachment to them. We tried to age characters if they lived from the previous scenario so that their story could continue but everything as a whole felt like it didn't really matter.
Some Flavour - In particular, the family photographs you got didn't really feel like it meshed well with the narrative it was going for. It just felt like it could've been a token instead or...something. The game does a lot of things to immerse you, and really well at that, so when the game gives you something that kinda ends up feeling inconsequential, it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Singular Ending - We peeked at how the ending might look if you let Fenrir win, if you beat him, and even at the third ending possibility and everything ends up almost exactly the same way no matter how your game progressed. Would've liked more variation on this part so it didn't quite feel like all our work got us to the same place no matter what.
The prologue chapter where you scratch off to find out if you're a witch or not. That prologue really inspired a lot of paranoia as we were pointing fingers at each other and sometimes doubting ourselves if we read our own card right, and if your friends suddenly got really good at lying. To find out that everyone was a human was such a mindblowing moment that it really set the tone for the rest of the game and really started us off on a really high note.
Worth Playing AFTER You Finish The Campaign??
Yes! There's a lot of scenarios that the game doesn't even cover in the campaign so there's definitely reasons to play this again. Variations on the haunts you got in certain chapters are varied enough to really feel like stand-alone experiences despite playing some other variation of it during the campaign.
Betrayal: Legacy starts off on an extremely high note. It's one of the most accessible legacy games out there due to an easy drop in and drop out that lets uncommitted players still experience a portion of the game and have some impact on decisions to affect later chapters. We get it, not everyone can commit to a full 13 sessions for a game, especially if you want to blow through it in a short time so you don't forget it. It's awesome that the game comes with this in mind.
Even though the game has ups and downs (and really, the downs aren't really "downs", just in relative terms if you get a strong scenario here, and a slightly sillier one there), the game and the narrative as a whole is a trip that I'd say is completely worth it. Betrayal fans will probably LOVE this, and Betrayal skeptics who don't like the wildness of imbalanced scenarios, should take one more look here before passing judgement on this formula that's a whole whack of fun.