The entire Aeon’s End Legacy Campaign can be done in 12 hours, taking into account gameplay, as well as, setup time. The game is a stand-alone version of the deck-building game that includes one long continuous campaign that unfolds over many games. That is what a “Legacy game” is.
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This is Matt, the editor of Board Game Halv and I thought it would be a fun challenge to attempt the entire campaign in one sitting and stream the entire thing on Twitch to keep me honest. This is the spoiler-free (as much as possible) recap of my survival story.
OVERALL: First and foremost, this game is great and worth the ticket price if this is something that is at all in your wheelhouse. I did do absolutely horrible, but that was mainly because I was not Aeon’s End prepared. You should definitely be a pro at the original Aeon’s End and expansions before attempting this epic journey. If you are going to do this, maybe don’t stream it, talking for 12 hours was rough.
Of the 12 hour Aeon’s End Legacy Campaign run, the breakdown was about – 66% gameplay, 8% following allowing the adventure story, 10% making upgrades and changes, 10% setup and dismantle, 2% me losing things / trying to find them and 4% breaks. (The longest break I took was 13 minutes at approximately 8 hours in where after a big loss I proclaimed “I just need a break”).
This can be played with 1 – 4 players. I did it just myself, but I played with two mages whose names where “Walter” and “Donnie”. I just wanted to yell “you’re out of your element Donnie” often which I did. This is all a Big Lebowski reference for those unfamiliar. There are four different mages cards but this is just cosmetic, they all start the same and can all be customized in the 500 different ways or whatever ridiculous number was figured out by the designer for how much customization there is. By playing with 2, that means in a round of six turns, it was 2 each player and 2 nemesis.
BE A PRO AT AEON’S END FIRST
I was a huge fan of Aeon’s End when it came out back in 2016 and played tons. The impressive mechanics of the turn order deck making you not know who is coming next and the breach spots which you need to open to more effectively use your spell cards. These, the story and the fantastic gameplay were enough to propel the game to a high spot on the Best Deck Building Board Game List.
That was 2016/2017 though and it has admittedly been awhile. The Aeon’s End Legacy Campaign is not easy and it moves quick, there is no time to improve, you need to be ready or you are going to fall behind. In the beginning, I was very much in Dominion mode which killed me. In Dominion, another deck builder, you are often focused on building up your money so you can buy the best, most expensive, card to add to your deck. This is how I played and it was wrong. In an Aeon’s End Campaign it is more about adequately setting yourself up each turn to effectively cast a barrage of spells. I would often have a ton of money and nothing effective to do with it or I would add a card that I would regret drawing every time.
Then there is knowing the supply. Without spoiling anything, you get to make choices about what your nine supply piles are at the beginning of each battle, and those choices increase as you progress through the Aeon’s End Legacy Campaign. At first, I was just that I was using properly but then the problem was that the choices got so overwhelming I never felt like I was making the right one. Even if I was more on the ball at the beginning, that may have given me enough time to get a strategy going and be more ready for the later rounds. Sadly I was not.
KNOW THAT ABILITIES ARE FOREVER
As the Aeon’s End Legacy Campaign progresses you, as a mage being trained, get better and many things about you and your gameplay get enhanced. It is not just “ok your stats” are better. This game has found every interesting crevasse of gameplay to insert an upgrade twist. I will not ruin anything but huge kudos to designers for the creativity of how this journey evolves.
These upgrades are many different things, but in several occasions, you choose from 1 of 4-10ish options. THESE CHOICES ARE FOREVER and mine haunted me for the entire Aeon’s End Legacy Campaign. Know that these things are not throwaways, they stay with you and they COME UP A LOT. It even gets to the point where you need to rely on the combo of all of them together, in conjunction with the right supply cards, to bring it all home. There was one round (I’ll just say mind bridge) that destroyed me so hard because I failed at this so badly.
Really think about the mechanics you are choosing and do not forget to shake some of those initial newbie thoughts that creep into your mind. I choose to use a life based effect for something important. I should have thought back to my Magic the Gathering days, life gain is useless, you are just prolonging the inevitable instead of doing something useful. Really think about these choices because they are the most important ones you will make.
The worst part about my decisions is that I asked around for advice, gravitating towards certain abilities was the strongest response, but yet on the day of all that went out of my head and I ignored all of it.
THE JOURNEY WAS SATISFYING
You could do this all in one seating and have fun. I am not saying do not do it for that reason. I am saying it is not a good idea because it made me rush. By putting myself on a clock and on a stream, I felt the pressure to keep it moving and I made stupid mistakes in my choices. The choices you make outside each game in the Aeon’s End Legacy Campaign are the most important and should not be taken lightly.
That being said, the journey is terrific one and gets our seal of approval. It is not just about the game but about what happens outside of it. There is a stack of cards that takes you through a journey and has choose your own adventure like triggers. “If you defeated Beast man read card E04” and “open chapter 4 and deck IV” might be something you read as you go along.
The games that happen throughout are more reminiscent of the original game, but the journey outside is where there is all this new content and innovation. It is FUN. There are envelopes and big mystery boxes. Everything has a surprise insides and changes something for different. I was continuously surprised not only by the changes, but what actually was being changed.
AEON’S END LEGACY CAMPAIGN IN CLOSING
I would absolutely take on the Aeon’s End Legacy campaign again if I could wipe it from my mind (or even if not). I would instead do it with friends and not stream it. The hurrying pressure and having to worry about talking for twelve hours brought down the fun of the experience. It would actually be really fun to play with someone who has not done it. I can play knowing what I know, but stay quiet so the game could roll out through their eyes. I still have two-player cards left and could probably use the remains to play again (you draw on things and place stickers placed, there is no going back).
Great job by the designers in not just being creative and great in the story and effects of the stand alone game, but also being creative in how to push the boundaries of board games to make for a cool experience. Even though the Aeon’s End Legacy Campaign had me playing for 12 hours, I was always interested on the edge of my seat with everything flowing wonderfully. The strength on all fronts is what puts this one on the Best Legacy Board Games list. Thumbs up!