Last time, I talked about the birth of Life & Legend and how we’ve been hard at work on a second edition of the game. I explained why Life & Legend will make a great journaling rpg. In a future post, we’ll talk about how the journaling rpg works.
For now, let’s look at some of the changes we’ve made to the standard game.
Artwork & Icons
The aesthetic of the game hasn’t changed. The art still evokes that mystical higher fantasy feel. The layout and graphic design remains mostly the same, but we wanted certain information to be more clear and easy to spot. We decided to replace some text with icons. This worked well, but since Life & Legend has such a literate vibe already, it was important to use text as much as possible. We think we found a happy medium between text and icons. Maybe we’ll call them “text-icons”?
The Adventure cards were not only super important, they were some of the most text and information heavy in the game, so they had to stand out and be easy to understand. Here you can see an Adventure before and after the revisions:
Notice that we’ve replaced the flat (and less exciting) “trait symbols” with the more colorful and elegant “wax seal” icon. There are also the “text-icons” mentioned earlier as well as the new “discard” symbol.
A few things, such as the challenge dice, remain the same.
Life & Legend originally used a phases system for actions. Players would progress through four phases each turn: Contemplation, World, Life, and Resolution. Certain actions were only available during each phase. For example, you could attempt an Adventure during the World Phase; you could create a Background during the Life phase, etc, but the other actions weren’t available. You could skip some of the phases, some you couldn’t.
Additionally, different cards “went off” on different phases. For example, when War was in play, you would discard the top card of the Life Deck at the end of every Contemplation phase. This system worked, but the players had to keep a watchful eye on the cards in play to make sure no one was overlooking any effects that were supposed to activate on a given turn.
Since there were already actions in the game, we paired them on four action cards. Players now select one big action each turn by placing their marker on it. The catch? Player’s must select a new card, with a different action, on the next turn. This helped the game in two ways. One, it created a need to think ahead when selecting an action, and two, it used markers to represent the characters.
Playable characters were the next logical step.
Life & Legend already had a colorful cast of characters, you just couldn’t play them. They were the “bots” used for solo play. When designing the characters for 2nd edition, we looked at the bots first to see if any were interesting enough to evolve into playable characters. This meant tweaking their abilities into something useful to a player.
Side A and Side B
Special abilities make for an asymmetrical game, but there is an option for those who would rather start on equal footing. Each character card has a “Side B”, where the character has no special abilities. These are recommended for learning the game as well.
Base Game and Expansions
The 1st edition of the game had several elements that would have worked better as expansions. We’ve handled this by splitting the game into a base game, and three smaller expansions. The expansions are modular, so players can add any or none to the base game.
The base game supports one or two players. It’s parred down and easy to learn, using fewer cards and rules. Each expansion increases the complexity, upping the player count by one, adding new cards and a new playable character.
The plan is to release everything together. The base game will be the free demo print and play.
Life & Legend originally had several game modes to keep things interesting. After the revisions and the inclusion of the journaling mode, we were able to keep a couple of these older solo modes, such as the Arbiter. We also have one AI opponent, Rhust the Wanderer, who can be added to solo games. Of course, all of these additional modes are optional.
As we move closer to releasing Life & Legend, we’re interested in hearing your thoughts about all of these changes. What do you think is a necessary part to an adventure card game? Let us know in the comments.
For the next installment, we’ll take a deep dive into the mechanics of the journaling rpg.
Adam Glass is Head of Operations at Seven Day Games, which is a fancy way of saying he writes emails all day and plans meetings in his spare time. The resident rpg historian, he has a long past with Dungeons & Dragons and has been playing various rpgs since his childhood in the 1980s.