To see a full playthrough of Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy, click here.
What is this game about?
In Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy, you play a patriarch or matriarch who carefully tends to the growth and social development of a family across three generations. Throughout the game, you can use your limited action tokens to arrange marriages, produce children, purchase titles, make important friends, buy mansions, try out business ventures, and undertake secret missions. In the multiplayer version of the game, you will also work towards secret goals assigned to you by a famous patron—goals that will grant you even more honor points (i.e. victory points) at the end of the game.
There are a many paths to take in this game, and you'll want to do everything. But there are only so many rounds, and there are only so many actions you can perform in a given round. The goal of your hard work is to accumulate prestige (and points!) for your family.
How does it play solo?
There are two ways to play Legacy solo. The first is simply to play the main game by yourself and try to beat your high score. Honestly, the game is sufficiently entertaining that you might want to do this a couple of times—especially if you are testing out strategies to use against other players in an upcoming multiplayer game. Certain cards have good synergy with each other, and regular practice will help you to figure that out.
But the true gem in terms of solo play is Testament, a dedicated solitaire game that differs drastically from the main game. In Testament, you are not building a new family—you are trying to work backwards to reconstruct your family tree and lay claim to a fabulous inheritance. The friend cards that you use in the main game as marriage prospects for your children become your long-lost ancestors in Testament. For each generation, you receive three hint cards that give you clues to your relatives' identities. Was your grandfather a writer? Did your great-grandmother marry an Englishman? Throughout this solo variant, you also have to check for consistency between generations. For example, you lose points if a Russian and a Spaniard produce a French child. (After all, you can't claim that inheritance if you don't have a consistent story, right?)
If you successfully create a family tree that fulfills the requirements on all of your hint cards, then you win the game—and the life-changing inheritance. If you lose, then, well, you go back to being one of the hoi polloi. No one will ever acknowledge your true, illustrious heritage.
Legacy is a worker placement game, but it's one of the most fun and thematically consistent ones I have ever played. While several scoring tracks and card types can initially seem intimidating, every action you take in the game makes so much sense that you won't find yourself constantly scouring the rules to help you understand the details. The game also lends itself to storytelling—you will find yourself creating bizarre and hilarious stories about "your family" as you go, which makes it a lot easier to invest as you play.
I also want to praise this game for being inclusive. Without making a big deal out of it, Legacy allows you to play as a male or female head of a family. In addition, there is racial diversity among your friends (and potential members of your family through marriage). Most board games with European settings don't do a good job of acknowledging that not everyone in society at that time was white. It's refreshing to see diversity in any board game, but especially one with this sort of theme.
Although I think I prefer to build up my family in the multiplayer game, I really enjoy Testament. The solo game can be puzzly and surprisingly difficult as you try to make the cards in your hand work with the information you've been given about your family history. I also truly appreciate any game that puts so much thought into a solitaire design—not only is it still rare to find games with official solo rules in the box, but it is rarer still to find a game that puts so much thought into solo play. That's something I would like to see more often.
Do I recommend it?
Yes. Legacy is an awesome game all around. If you want a more fun and thematic worker placement game, it's a fantastic choice. You will get your maximum value out of this game, however, if you occasionally enjoy it multiplayer.
Overall Rating: 4 stars (3 if you are thinking about it strictly for solo)
5 stars — I love it!
4 stars — I really like it.
3 stars — I like it.
2 stars — It's okay.
1 star — Meh.