I’m Keith Rice, the designer of Legacy’s Allure. I’m glad you’re here. I hope that my answers below will explain my vision for the game.Why is the game called Legacy's Allure?
The phrase itself I got from a Magic: the Gathering card of the same name. The game has no relationship whatsoever to this card, I just always thought it was a beautiful noun that captured the idea of a meaningful quest. Lore-wise, this is reflected in the game’s warring factions, which are pursuing a great legacy for future generations. Meta-wise, this is reflected in a player’s pursuit for competitive glory.
What is the history, current status, and future hopes of this project?
The seeds for Legacy’s Allure were planted in the nineties, when I began considering how to create a tabletop implementation of Castles 2: Siege and Conquest, and later Heroes of Might and Magic 3. In the following two decades, I tinkered with various ideas and prototypes, but nothing felt right, and I would frequently put away the project for years at a time. During this time I also played countless other high-fantasy combat-oriented games, including Magic: the Gathering, Warcraft 3, and Dota 2.
In 2019 I started playing Magic once more through Arena. I found the experience dissatisfying for a number of reasons: I was fed up with the randomness of competitive Magic, I strongly disliked the new card design direction by WOTC, and I disliked WOTC’s clear push to make competitive Magic primarily a digital experience. Instead of complaining, I uninstalled Arena, pulled out my old design notes, and got to work. By late 2019, I had a working hand-made prototype that I validated at a local game store.
In early 2020, work kept me occupied, but once the COVID-19 pandemic began, my work scheduled lightened. I spent most of April through July hammering out the ruleset, creating factions, and performing physical playtests with a friend. The game felt better and better with every playtest, and finally it was in a place to get feedback from one of the premiere card shops in Vancouver, WA. The manager and employees were impressed and encouraged me to develop it further. I ran a 4-man test tournament in late September, which went quite well, and then decided to put the game aside for a few weeks.
In early December I unveiled a significant design change that greatly improved the game. Additional physical playtesting validated this change, but I wanted even more feedback, so I turned to the online tabletop community and began aggressively demoing Legacy’s Allure in Tabletop Simulator (TTS). Providentially, I ran into a fantastic scripter who was able to help me take my TTS implementation to a level of quality that made building an online community a realistic prospect. By early January 2021, I had over 40 people in our official Discord server, and we ran our first online tournament (10 people!) on Jan 2, 2021.
Since then we’ve consistently held bi-weekly tournaments, focusing on balance-testing and community-building. I have reached out to countless content creators on YouTube for their feedback, which has been highly positive and given me all of the encouragement I needed to invest serious money into the artwork. We have also begun talking to manufacturers in China. The artwork should be completing by November, at which time I will invest in dozens of physical prototypes to send out to playtesters for feedback. After a few months of IRL feedback, we’ll determine if and when a Kickstarter should be held and whether we should pursue a season-based release of the game or whether we should release the game as a stand-alone product.
Why are you versioning cards instead of using a standard expansion-based model?
Legacy’s Allure is a Versioned Card Game (VCG) — the first ever, as far as I know. What this means is that the game will be released in versions, which major versions corresponding to six or twelve-month seasons and minor versions corresponding to mid-season balance patches. New major versions will not be compatible with older major versions, which means that competitive players will need to upgrade their decks at every major version to continue competitive play. This model sacrifices the collectability aspect familiar to CCG players in exchange for four notable advantages:
- Affordability. Since the cards in Legacy’s Allure will not have a rarity and will not be sold in randomized boosters packs, creating a competitive deck will cost around 20 USD, not in the hundreds or thousands of dollars. We want the top tables to be filled with the best players, not the best players who also had lots of disposable income.
- No “card glut”. In CCGs, keeping up with new cards is incredibly time-consuming. The VCG model allows us to focus on quality over quantity: we’ll give you a smaller pool of cards that will always be relevant rather than giving you a huge pool of cards, most of which are irrelevant.
- Balanced. In a CCG, the only way to balance a format is either outright ban a card or print “answer” cards in future expansions. In Legacy’s Allure, if a card is broken or simply overplayed, we could remove it outright from future versions, but we also have the option of nerfing it or reworking it.
- No power creep. The unavoidable consequence of the CCG is the average power of cards getting more powerful over time, which makes the game harder to balance but also frustrates long-time players who see their favorite cards from early sets become increasingly irrelevant.
Will your game have any collectible aspect?
Yes! Obviously this game would have a hard time getting off the ground if it included nothing collectible. Metal cards, full-art cards, custom maps, custom tokens and dice — the possibilities are limitless.
What fabric is the map made of and why have you chosen a fabric map?
The map, which is 29×34.5in, will be made of polyurethane laminate or microfiber. These materials are lightweight, waterproof, lightly adhere to hard surfaces, and folds down quite small without wrinkling. The foldability aspect is key — we want this game to be easily transportable, in contrast to board games and their unwieldy boards.
What kinds of products will be available for purchase?
Aside from the starter kit, which will include a map, dice / tokens, and two starter kingdoms, the game will primarily be sold as self-contained, 200-gold kingdoms so that a player will always have all of the cards they need to play a full game. Players will have the option of buying a starter kingdom, with a known card list, or a sealed kingdom, with an unknown card list. The sealed kingdoms would be used for limited play. Depending on demand, we may also create faction backs that contain 1-2 copies of every card in a faction.
Are you going to use an existing publisher or self-publish?
Self-publish. Since I already have quite a bit of business and startup experience, self-publishing is very comfortable for me and prevents the conflicts that always arise when doing business with others. Although this is my first business in the consumer product space, I have started two other businesses in the past ten years, one of which I still currently manage and consider a great success. I believe I can transfer my experience in the area of leadership, product creation, hiring, customer service, marketing, and sales into this market space in order to create a company that players and local game stores can put their trust in. Think of how many publishers have let down their customers over the years! I know the stories. I’ve been that customer. I’ve studied their failures and I promise that if this game does not succeed, it will not be due to lack of leadership, communication, and business sense.
How do you plan on growing the game?
Central to our marketing and sales strategy is strong relationships with local game stores. We believe that other CCGs have forgotten their first love — the community created through the LGS — in pursuit of maximizing their bottom line to please shareholders. This is partly why you see the shift from tabletop to digital. We aren’t opposed to having a digital platform one day, but only as a complement to the tabletop products.
What has been the feedback you've received thus far?
I’ve shown the game, in various forms, to about 60 people since Thanksgiving 2019, including tabletop game players, tabletop game reviewers, and LGS owners and employees. The feedback has been very positive, with players praising the lack of randomness, interesting cards, and engaging gameplay. I have already had offers from LGS owners and managers to stock the game, once it is released. One LGS employee said, “This is the best card game in this shop, and we’re a card game shop.” You can read more feedback from other “industry experts” here and here.
Will Legacy's Allure ever have single-player, cooperative, or non-competitive modes?
I’m sure it will, but this is not the focus initially. Right now we want to guarantee an enjoyable base product and go from there, hopefully at the direction of the community. Co-op modes, including casual modes like castle sieges, would be easy enough in tabletop form, but single-player campaign modes could prove to be a challenege until a digital version of the game is available. Again, if and when a digital version is ever available is unknown at this time.
Could this game be played with miniatures? Will you ever sell it with miniatures?
The game could be played with miniatures but I have no plans to implement them or sell them with the game. Ease of setup, transportation, and manufacturability are very important for me, and miniatures make it quite hard to attain these goals. I believe that someone who enjoys miniatures can get their fix more easily in other games. That being said, if the community wishes to design, print, and sell third-party products involving miniatures for use with casual play, more power to it. (Admittedly, I am not beyond selling miniatures as promotional items, but they will never be a requirement for organized play.)
How did you create your prototype cards?
All of the art is from game-icons.net. I am extremely appreciative for the resource they have provided to the game design community. The card images themselves were created in Paint.NET using Calibri font. Size 36 is used for all text not in the textbox. Textbox text is size 28-22 depending on much text is used.
How can I get involved?
Spread the word about our Tabletop Simulator mod and teach others how to play it. Please join our Discord server to reach out. Once COVID-19 restrictions die down, volunteering to demo the game at LGS’s and organize tournaments would be very helpful. Eventually I may start an ambassador program to incentivize this.