Type: Deck Builder
Time to play: 60-90 minutes (Teaching: 15-20 minutes)
Best played with: 1-4 players (Best with 2/3)
(Image from BGG )
Aeon’s End Legacy takes a lot of what a casual deck builder player would enjoy and layers in the legacy structure that had become the fashionable way to republish succesful intellectual property. There’s nothing wrong with any of that, but if you are picking up a copy of this at any point it’s worth being aware that the novel component of this is best experienced by moving through mutliple games.
Going into the game itself, you are gathering resources to buy new cards for the deck, and ultimately trying to rush towards defeating the “boss” of each level through the cards that have damage attached to them. Just like Dominion (most classic deck builder I can think of) – there’s a finite pool of cards in the middle, they have a cost and some of them provide the resources to allow you to buy the more expensive ones in the future. This selection changes with each new round of the game (each new game in theory) and you have some agency over how you change or evolve this deck.
Each card within the pack feels unique, but not overpowered – there’s no game breaking rules being turned over with each new card, but there’s just an ever increasing scaling of the players’ power in the game. Overall this leads to a very satisfying feeling that you are building to the end of each level and when that hand comes round with all the cards you wanted – you get to finish the game. I actually think this is done better than Dominion where you always have to be fearful about drawing up too many points cards into the deck early, which can lead you to slowing down (rather than accelerating) to the finish.
The other particular strong suit of this game is the opponents – the Bosses. Throughout the game you swap the opponent and there is enough difference between each that I think there are real strategy differences to be had with most of the bosses. That might be a case where their damage output requires a focus on striking quickly rather than building as much, or it might be that the exact opposite. As I played through this, I found that each one offered a slightly different combination of cards as an optimal path to victory. Frankly, it’s also arguably more enjoyable if you actively lean into this approach because you can see more of the card combos and get more from the game.
I have to admit, all of the above is based on playing this the whole way through once and in two player format. That’s probably a weakness in this review but I suspect the downtime caused by having more players reduces the enjoyment without adding much and I didn’t personally feel there was enough in the game to want to go back and play it through a second time. I have it boxed up and on the shelf for when I have forgotten some of the mechanics / cards and it will feel new, but until then I am quite happy to leave it in the collection.
Overall, I would mark this game as easy to learn / teach, enjoyable as it expands but likely a single play through. A good expansion or introduction to the Aeon IP and definitely tempting me to revisit with a future offering by the same designers, but perhaps only at a price point where the one time play makes sense. I should say though, one time play was still a great number of hours and on that score it was better value for money than many other games I picked up around the same time.