Review: Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy

A common question from one friend to another, at least in the US, is “Where does your family come from?” We have a fascination with genealogy because very few of our families have been in the US for very long. My family has barely looked into its history, but it has always peaked my interest. As soon as I saw Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy had a solo variant I thought that it had a very interesting theme, but I wasn’t sure how fun it would be. I mean, how much fun could it possibly be to research a fake family’s history? Turns out, quite a lot, but I’ll get to my opinion later.

courtesy of BGG
courtesy of BGG
courtesy of BGG
courtesy of BGG

In the multiplayer game you are competing to create the most influential family, marrying family members with the friends who provide the most advantageous benefits. In the solo variant, however, you are researching your family tree to prove whether or not you are related to a recently deceased, rich person. The friends become “known” family members and you are using their benefits to complete hints that tie you closer and close to the deceased.

In each generation you are given three hints, for a total of nine, that must be completed in order to claim victory. Using your guaranteed two actions you can identify specific members of your family as the “known” family members that you have received. You can also get small monetary gifts by identifying how rich your ancestors were, you can identify more “known” family members and several other actions that gain your prestige, income or honor points. Each of the family members you place into your family tree give you bonuses including more money, more actions, more “known” family members, etc.

courtesy of BGG
courtesy of BGG

The hints that you are trying to solve could be anything from “A male ancestor on your father’s side had a title,” to “Your grandparents had three children, one was a diplomat and the other married a Prussian.” Needless to say, some are much easier than others. The hints do not have to be solved in the generation in which they are revealed, but the sooner you can fulfill them, the better your end score. You have to manage your limited actions very well in order to complete each hint before the end of the game. It is not always easy, but it is a good challenge to and really works the brain.

What’s Good?

  • The limited actions makes for a very tough game. You have to make sure to use every action that you have to the best of your ability. One or two bad choices and it could mean a hint doesn’t get fulfilled.
  • Trying to manage the “known” family members and finding good combos to use is one of my favorite things to do. Timing when to put certain family members into the tree to get certain benefits in order to gain the title you need keeps me coming back to this game.
  • Hints in the last generation can really mess with your plan. Just when you think you have it all set up perfectly you get a new hint and have to find a Prussian to marry to your grandmother’s sister. That sounds like a negative, but I love it.

What’s Not So Good?

  • I never want to find out my ancestors are the ugly ones, but that isn’t really a negative, I just want my family to be pretty.
  • Having to think about whether a craftsman ancestor is the son or daughter of a noble or if your Russian great-grandparents had a Spanish daughter in order to not lose points is kind of annoying. It makes sense thematically, but I tend to not even pay attention to it at all.

What’s The Best Part?

  • Portal Games takes pride in the stories that are told in their games and this game is no exception. You could probably write a book on the family that you build and it is so rich in theme that is probably wouldn’t be that difficult to do either. I tend to talk about the family as I build it (yes that means I talk to myself) describing how one person was an outcast because they married the town fortune teller or how the underachieving craftsmen came from two noble parents. The stories are easy, and they are so good.

If you get a chance to play this game soon, and I highly suggest you do, watch the video below and you can add a 10th hint that Ignacy (Portal Games) recorded for me. Good luck!

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