Lost Legacy 1: A longish review of a tiny game

LOST

The Game

Five times my 9 year old had discovered the Lost Legacy, a broken and ancient starship hidden somewhere remote – something virtually everyone who was anyone in power had been searching for. Only twice did my crew find it. In short, there are seven alternate universes out there in which my 9 year old is Queen of the World in 5 of them. She wins a lot.

Lost Legacy I is a game by Seiji Kanai (creator of Love Letter, among a host of other games) and Hayato Kisaragi. If you’ve ever played Love Letter, Lost Legacy has quite a bit in common with it. It is however it’s own game and I think both games have a place in my collection. Especially considering there’s a total of about 40 cards between the two of ’em.

Lost Legacy is a 16 card ‘micro-game’ that also comes with 4 cards which describe game play, a small rule book and a faux-felt bag for holding it all. It retails for $9.99 and is a pretty sure bet if you like games like this.

It’s a deduction game with a bit of luck added in for 2-4 players, ages 8+ and takes about ~5 minutes to play.

The Rules

To copy directly from the rule book, here’s how to play:

Shuffle the 16 cards. Take the top card and place it to the side without looking at it. This is the Ruins. Each player is dealt 1 card.

  1. Draw: Draw the top card from the deck and add it to your hand.
  2. Play: Choose one of the two cards in hand to play and place it face up in front of you.
  3. Effect: Carry out the played card’s effect, after which the card is considered as discarded.
  4. End: If there is at least one card left in the deck, the turn goes to the next player; if not, the investigation phase starts. Using the investigation speed indicated on the card each player has in hand, players take turns guessing which player (whether yourself or someone else) holds the “Lost Legacy” card; this card might also be in the “Ruins”, a location that holds one card at the start of the game and possibly acquires more cards during play. The player who guesses correctly wins; if no one finds the Lost Legacy, then everybody loses.

LL1

Okay, so there are 16 cards. One of ’em is the Lost Legacy itself, the Star Ship. The other 15 let you lay ambushes for nosy players, or search the ruins, adding the occasional card to them or even swapping out your 1 card hand for a card in the ruins or on top of the deck. There’s a bunch of quick interplay and a surprising amount of poker faced bluffing going on for such a tiny game.

Each player works to find out who has the Lost Legacy card. At the end, if there is two or more players left in the game and the last card is drawn and played, the Investigation begins. The player holding the card with the lowest number in their hand gets to go first, and announces where the Lost Legacy is. It could be their own hand, another player’s hand or the ruins. If they’re correct, they win! If not, they lose.

It’s a very simple game and like Love Letter, is surprisingly full of choices for so simple a game. You can work to get the Lost Legacy in your hand, or if you hold a low number card and the end game is approaching, actively work to get it into another player’s hand (or the hidden Ruins) where you can be the first to Investigate and claim a victory.

flying gardend

Here’s the cool part – you can also combine multiple Lost Legacy sets to play up to six players. That means more than one Starship set, or you can add in Lost Legacy 2: The Flying Gardens – 15 new cards and a Lost Legacy card that works slightly differently than the one in LL1.

The Conclusion

This is a fun game. The price point is right, the complexity is just a bit more than Love Letter with a nice dystopian scifi theme to it. The game involves a bit more overt bluffing than Love Letter does, and I really like the Investigation phase at the end – it’s no longer the high card you’re seeking as in Love Letter, but the low card and some knowledge about who has the Lost Legacy card. I really like the option to add a second deck and not have to tweak the rules at all as well – 6 players with 32 cards is pretty amazing and it works well with a lower player count as well, though you’re more likely to get eliminated than to make it to the end game with 32 cards.

It’s interesting but I feel there’s room in a game collection for both this and Love Letter. Maybe it’s just me and my unapologetic love of tiny little games. Love Letter has that fantasy medieval theme and is extremely approachable by folks who aren’t gamers. I find that a winning combination. Lost Legacy is just that one tiny step up in complexity, sports a sort of scifi theme and is incorporates a slightly more subtle strategy. You can get Lost Legacy 1 for under $10 at Amazon. Same for Lost Legacy 2.

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