One of my favourite games last year was Aeon’s End, a co-operative deckbuilder set in a very dark fantasy realm, Gravehold. In Aeon’s End, mages are battling the “Nameless”, a horrible bunch of hideous looking monsters from the breach (where the mages gain their energy) to save their lives and their city. I loved the art style, the great representation in the playable characters and the unique twist on deckbuilding (you don’t shuffle your deck as you play). You can read my review of it here: spoilers, I dig it. With a few expansions out since its regular release, the content has been kept up pretty well. When I walked by the Indie Board and Cards booth at BGGcon in November, I saw a group of people playing some Aeon’s End and poked my head in to see what was coming up next. Aeon’s End: Legacy, was the answer. OH MY.
So, I reached out to the folks at IBC and expressed my interest in checking this out, because it seemed like so much my jam. I got a jam packed box full of prototype goodness – quite a different experience from a published legacy game! But all of the good stuff was in there, ready to dive into and I got some pals together and cracked open the legacy deck to begin. As breach mages going through training, you have yet to reach your full potential – and you’re about to go through your final ordeal. Your home, Gravehold, is suddenly attacked, and it’s then all hands on deck to safeguard this place, the last remnant of humanity. Grab a character and make them yours – time to head into the breach(es).
Making the character mine really made me feel like I wasn’t just naming her, but giving her a bit of personality as well, to go along with the art. There’s some decent diversity in the art of the available playable characters as well as having a gender on each side to choose from. Unlike the regular game of Aeon’s End, with mages that already have their set powers and whatnot, you’ll be building that up for your character throughout the chapters of the game. We really chose paths for our characters that fit our party’s needs, and crafted combinations of powers that worked really nicely – plus, getting to create your own character’s card to add to your deck is a super nice touch. There’s a lot of decisions to make with these upgrades, but all of them are fun new stuff to give a try.
Each chapter of Aeon’s End: Legacy will pit you against a new nemesis, with new and nefarious ways of making you hurt. The first one sort of eases you in, but don’t relax too much. I was expecting it to be a challenge, as the regular game’s bad guys are pretty dang tough – but the game throws some pretty cool new stuff in as far as what the creatures can do. Each chapter was quite a surprise opening up to see what was going to smash us next. Don’t worry – almost every chapter gives you the ability to reply if you fail the first time, with a little help from the fully fledged breach mages should you need to call on them. Throughout the campaign, the way the threats escalated and changed up kept us all on our toes, which I think is really key for a legacy game. If it’s not doing enough to keep fresh, things can feel overly repetitive and start to drag. We just kept on wanting to go, and fight more!
Aeon’s End: Legacy was a really satisfying cooperative campaign for us – an exciting cooperative deck builder with a difference, with added excitement and freshness that is fun to play through. The length of it overall felt just right – not over too soon, but not so long as to drag with how intense it could get. The reveals of new abilities escalated nicely along with the threat of the nemesis, and being able to tailor your card supply each game gives you a good variety of choices throughout the campaign.
Make no bones about it – Aeon’s End: Legacy is a challenge. But it was a lot of fun. Once it was over, I wanted to start it all over again from scratch and see how well I could take on the nemesis through a whole new campaign – it’s pretty great to feel that after over half a dozen games of something. Lucky for anyone backing it on Kickstarter, you’ll be able to get refresh packs to do just that. Don’t snooze on that one! Really, I’d say don’t snooze on the Kickstarter itself at all. I’m a fan of the original and think the way Riley & Little have crafted a campaign experience is fabulous, and if you’re even remotely interested in deckbuilding and/or co-operative games, get on board.
Aeon’s End: Legacy is a cooperative legacy game for 1 – 4 players. Designed by Kevin Riley and Nick Little, with art by Gong Studios, it’s published by Indie Board and Cards / Action Phase Games. Thanks for the opportunity to playtest the game, folks!