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I am about to start a Pandemic Legacy campaign. I have managed to avoid spoilers so far, but I have read enough to know that the game is essentially designed to be played through once - changes are made during the campaign that are not easy to reverse (e.g. stickers added, components destroyed). How practical would it be to modify the process so that the entire campaign could be replayed? I realise that the experience a second time around would be less exciting since you would know what was coming, but I can still see potential value in trying out different decision paths, trying a different number of players, etc.

  • Rather than adding stickers, could one just keep a written record of the relevant information? Or could the stickers be peeled off afterwards?

  • Rather than destroying components, could one just put them to one side?

  • Are there any other changes required to the game components that would be irreversible?

No spoilers please!

  • 4
    You may replace every irreversible change with a reversible one. The question is whether the time spent to do that is worth more than buying a fresh game box. – tsuma534 Jun 2 '16 at 11:54
  • @tsuma534 Exactly! Question edited slightly to emphasise that point. – user2390246 Jun 2 '16 at 13:06
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Yes, it is possible. Someone on BoardGameGeek has designed a Reset Kit, which gives full instructions for keeping various components separate, rules reminder cards so you don't have to sticker the rule book, and other stickers to go over the ones on the board/cards to set them up afresh.

If you're really careful, you can remove the stickers from the board and have something that is 99% vanilla Pandemic, which is also an option.

However, for many people the permanence of the game is part of the experience. You don't just get the excitement of winning, you get the visceral feeling of finality when you tear up cards and mark the board. I understand that that experience is not for everyone, but there is a lot to recommend it.

  • If you want to remove the stickers from the board, don't stack the 1-2-3-4-5 stickers. That makes them 10x as hard to remove. – Sparr Oct 6 '18 at 22:23
5

The other answers totally overrate the work necessary to keep your Legacy game reusable. I spent the most time of that process on writing these instructions!

We played Legacy reversible without killing the fun or investing a lot of time. Some of it actually improved the fluency of the game play.

What we additionally used (you can do with less)

  • 3 sealable transparent plastic bags
  • color photocopier (having one close by is probably the biggest challenge)
  • Post-It notes (often only the sticky part)
  • scissors
  • paper glue stick

How we did it

General

Put things aside, instead of destroying them.

Dossier doors

Some doors had associated text in the door retainer with no clue as to which door number that text was coming from. We turned (e.g.) “open box 3” on the retainer into “X → open box 3” with a pen to remember that “X” was the cause which revealed that prompt.

Start of the campaign

Reversible or not: use one bag to keep the game end bonus material (e.g. skills), the other to keep the in-game-material (e.g. scars). This way nothing mixes with the rest.

Once we had two surprise-boxes empty, we used the space they left in the game box to bury copied and “destroyed” material for eventual retrieval.

We photocopied the front side of the character cards and the last page of the manual. These are the only things you need to write on. The character card back sides have a simple table which we drew by hand (a header and a single line).

We also photocopied the sticker sheet (minus the small stickers, see next paragraph).

Small stickers

We actually used the original small, repeating sticker and stuck them on the board (e.g. panic levels, permanent research facilities, destroyed permanent research facilities). But we never stuck stickers over existing ones: if we had to, we peeled the stickers off, put them back on the sticker sheet and reused them. Some repeating stickers were not limited (e.g. panic level), but some were (e.g. permanent research facilities). It was very easy to keep count of what resources we still officially had and which were only in stock because of sticker removal. For example, if you never lose a permanent research facilities in the first place, or never created six in total, you will never need to remember that six is the maximum. – Otherwise, well, keep that in mind.

After the campaign it was a little tedious to peel so many panic level stickers off, but totally doable. We also put them back on some blank scrap plastic sheet instead of the original sticker sheet for practical and preserving reasons.

Those stickers might eventually wear out, but I don’t plan to play the campaign myself again, and my friends should have enough energy and do-it-yourself-skills to create and use makeshift post-it variants of them: a little yellow square with a “2” on it or a little white sticker in the shape of a house – nothing complicated.

Bigger board stickers

There are only very few. So we either used a Post-It and copied the text/picture by hand, or we made a photocopy, glued it on a Post-It to create a sticky copy. In “Season 2” we started using adhesive spray to turn a photocopy into a Post-It.

Stickers which go on cards

Those usually had a headline and some explanatory text. We used Post-Its and wrote only the headline on them. We kept the originals as reference. And we actually also made photocopies: their only purpose was to indicate that we still had that sticker in stock. We discarded the paper copy once the corresponding Post-It was on a card.

Rule book stickers

We used those as intended with one addition: we marked the sticker (actually the space next to it) with the letter the sticker had. E.g. a little “G” marked the space for sticker “G”. This served only as reference for the final cover-up with Post-Its and can also be done later (with the help of the PDF rule book).

Surprise boxes

Open them from the side for better reuse. – They are easy to reconstruct with this list on boardgamesgeek. You can also drop a note inside (a single word was enough for us) to undo their opening without the help of the Internet.

Pawn actions

The rule book discoveries are kept in sync with stickers for 4 action reference cards. We created only one self-made paper reference sheet with photocopied stickers. That was easy, fun and really enough.

Final notes

As the cards have labels, it was very simple to re-create the legacy deck. We put a Post-It over scratch fields on them. We also created a secondary legacy deck consisting of the pristine dossier doors left:

  • it was easy to order those doors chronologically by reading the legacy deck again (only door 30 had no fixed order)
  • a considerable part of the doors could be moved to the surprise boxes as those were discovered at the same time
  • it turned out that almost all doors left over had a nice size to be stacked up to form a deck
  • it made perfect sense to put the two annoying tiny doors (hard to stack with the bigger ones) on top of the secondary legacy deck
    • door 19 was the first to open anyway
    • door 30 had no fixed order and was “in your face” this way (but not too much)
  • the empty dossier door retainers are pretty much useless, except for the “X leads to the opening of box 9”, which we wrote directly on the Post-Its covering the additions in the rule book
  • the third sealable transparent bag helped to hold the secondary legacy deck together, even with copied papers in it (so the next players don’t need a photocopier any more)

Have fun!

4

Technically, it is very possible to replay the game, but that involves so much bookkeeping that it would hugely impact the fun and general flow of your game sessions.

For every game component that you reveal, you'll have to take note of where and when it appeared. You probably can't use the stickers as intended: they will be hard to remove and/or won't stick the second time.

So, you can do it, but be aware that you might dilute the fun in the process.

3

Anything is possible. The bookkeeping involved would be very intensive. From about May on, pretty much every action and card play would need to be double-checked against your written record of modifiers. You'd start to remember some of it, but relying on memory would mean you'd likely make mistakes throughout the game (heck, I sometimes make mistakes even with the stickers staring me in the face). As mentioned in the comments, it ultimately comes down to how much time, mental energy, and loss of the true experience you're willing to spend in order to save yourself some money.

2

We are playing through our Pandemic game without altering or destroying anything, and just finished August. With a set of colored Staples dots (the kind people use to mark up papers and so forth), post-it notes, masking tape, colored markers or pencils, scissors, and a bit of creativity, it isn't hard to replace all the game stickers with homemade versions. Bear in mind we're crafty bullet journal types, so your milage may vary.

For our version sold in 2018, the Legacy deck is numbered, so there isn't much book keeping needed. I write the number of a Top Secret tab underneath when I remove it. I have been copying the rules stickers onto post-it notes at the end of the game which adds about ten minutes per game; but if you don't care about having a pristine game at the end, you could also paste the actual sticker in the rules, write the letter next to it, and later cover them with post-it notes.

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    Has there been a version were the Legacy deck was not numbered? – Robert Siemer Jul 6 '18 at 1:54
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My group just finished last weekend. We did not destroy anything during the course of the game. We used stickers which may be difficult to remove and re-apply. It would be especially hard to put the stickers that came off of "door #1" back onto door #1 without having kept track of the fact that it came from said door originally. We wrote on the character cards; I suppose you could white that out. There are scratch-off cards with secret information, but given that you'll already know said information, that shouldn't be a problem. So overall, almost everything could be reset with enough effort. The stickers might not stick very well the second time around.

We plan on removing all the stickers and using it as a regular version of Pandemic. Then we don't need to keep the stickers in good condition.

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