I’m Keith Rice, the designer of Legacy’s Allure. I’m glad you’re here. Below are some answers to questions that will explain the purpose of Legacy’s Allure and my vision for the game.Why is the game called Legacy's Allure?
The phrase itself comes from a Magic: the Gathering card. 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. In Legacy’s Allure, the basic lore is that warring factions in a parallel universe are trying to establish their own legacy for future generations. The richness of this phrase will be more apparent once the lore is developed.
What is the history and current status 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 fantasy games with combat elements, including Magic: the Gathering, Diablo 2, 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 local gamer 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.
I am going to continue building the online community and holding online tournaments until the pandemic subsides, and then will begin holding casual tournaments with physical prototypes at willing game stores. My hope is that the game will grow organically from here. Once a large enough community has developed, I will have incentive to invest in professional production and artwork. Whether this will be funded via Kickstarter or other means is unknown.
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 new versions of the game will be released with updated cards. 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 if they want to continue playing competitively. This model has four big advantages over CCGs:
- It reduces cost. 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. While we hope to have collectible versions of cards that will not be obsoleted (e.g., full-art metal cards), those who want to play competitively on a budget will have the ability to do so.
- It reduces “card glut”. In Magic, the only way to keep playing with a card in the standard format is if they reprint it again. Magic’s expansion model also makes it extremely time-consuming to keep up with new cards. The VCG model allows us to focus on quality over quantity: we’ll give you a smaller pool of cards that we know you’ll love playing with rather than a sea of rotating cards, many of which you don’t care about.
- It allows for true card balance. 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.
- It prevents 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! We hope to include a random full-art metal card in each sealed deck. Since these cards won’t have numbers or text on them other than the card name, they won’t need to be obsoleted with the release of a new version. Some might still be obsoleted if the card is totally removed from the game, but for the most part we think that these kinds of cards will do a fantastic job at retaining their value and appealing to players that like collectability and “blinging out” their decks.
How will numberless, text-less metal cards not create confusion during play?
This is a great question. Most players will not have all cards memorized, nor should we expect them to. While we will need to get additional feedback before deciding on an official solution, we have two ideas for how this could work:
- Keep a paper version for reference underneath the metal card. The downside is that this could slow down games for players who need to regularly check the reference card.
- Use sleeves with numbers and text printed on them. This will provide a quick reference for players and additional protection to the metal cards.
- Use stickers with updated values. This probably be the most elegant solution and might be the choice of the most dedicated players, but will require more of an investment of time and money.
How many cards, factions, and heroes will the game contain in its finished version?
First, it’s not clear if and when the game will be “finished”. What we plan on doing is releasing factions, heroes, etc, at a rate that is appropriate to support enjoyable competitive play for all skill levels. Although the game might eventually include ten factions, with upwards of one-hundred cards per faction, many factions, heroes, and individual cards may not be playable at any given time in order to keep the meta fresh. For example, once a new major version is released, it might be more interesting to only allow 3-4 factions at first, and then slowly re-add the additional factions as the season progresses. This is beneficial for two reasons. First, it gives new or curious players an obvious, safe entry-point into the game, since the card pool will be smaller at that time. Second, it allows veteran players to experience a meta with a combination of factions they have never seen before, since factions would not need to be released in the same order as in other versions. At the peak of each season, when the card pool is the largest, I would imagine that roughly 500 cards would be available to use.
What fabric is the map made of and why have you chosen a fabric map?
The map, which is 30×34.5in, is made of polyurethane laminate, which is the same material used to make cloth diaper covers. This is a fantastic material because it is lightweight, waterproof, lightly adheres to many hard surfaces (i.e., it’s slightly sticky), and folds down quite small without wrinkling. The foldability aspect is key — we wanted this game to be easily transportable, in contrast to board games and their unwieldy boards. The downside is that it is far and away the most expensive component in the game, but we decided not to sacrifice in this area by using paper or a cheaper cloth.
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 only 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 (although the metal card will be unknown), or a sealed kingdom, with an unknown card list (including a random metal card). The sealed kingdoms would be used for limited play.
The inclusion of random metal cards in all kingdoms will also ensure that excess inventory does not lose its value. Since chase metal cards will likely exist, there would still be incentive for collector’s to purchase sealed product of obsolete versions from local game stores, thereby giving them security that the value of their sealed product will not plummet if they over-purchase.
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?
As mentioned earlier, we plan on this game organically online and locally until we have enough of a community to fund professional art and production. Also 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.