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ANCESTORS LEGACY: 12 REALMS:  Ignazio Corrao designed for MAGE Company



It is not until you arrive at page two of the Ancestors Legacy rulesbook that you are told this is an expansion, there is nothing on the outside of the box to indicate it, other than it says “12 Realms” which is the original game. The box does indicate that it is for 1-6 thoughtful and cooperative players aged 11+ and that an average game time is 40 minutes. Like its mother-game, Ancestors Legacy is full of inspiring fantasy art from the front box cover and continuing throughout the boards, tiles and counters. It soon becomes clear that the base rules are not included and that you will need those plus a few assorted pieces from the main box to be able to play the adventures in Ancestors Legacy.

Apart from the pieces you actually need from the main box there are also many that can be used to enhance, expand and the fun. Some pieces, tiles and cards etc can be replaced by the older versions and others can be shuffled in with the originals. This gives the game a constantly different flow, and thus there is no reason for two games to ever be the same. Take the Event cards for example, there are 12 in both packs but they are only mentioned, not defined, in the basic rules book under Advanced Rules. The four sets, Green, Black, Blue and Red, from the main box can be brought into play in rounds 3, 6 and 9 (as noted on the card); for the expansion the cards are Green, Purple and Flame and are not in sets of 3 as are the first dozen, there are 2 sets of 3 and one of six.

The character cards are designed the same so that any character can be used in almost any adventure, from either box, though there are some special rules which ensure certain characters have to be involved, depending on the scenario.

The models for the characters that come with Ancestors Legacy are of a much better quality. They have the same excellent craftsmanship in the detail but are not as thin or fragile and stand firmly on their fixed bases. I personally thought the original models were superb, but I do have several held together with araldite (strong glue) as their skinny legs separated from their bases, so I am pleased to see this small but effective design change.

The new heroes are: Achnaton, Andromeda, King Arthur, Merlin, Nefertiti, Perseus, Ruslan, Scheherazade, Sindbad and Prince Ivan & the Snow Wolf. The character cards are double-sided (as before) but this time there are slight differences on each side. The nameplate for each card gives a quick ID of the side being used as it is contained in either a Yellow or a Brown scroll. Every character has their personal traits which can make an adventure slightly easier, or slightly more difficult, depending on the plot. Each character can be used on their own even prince Ivan and the Snow Wolf who can also be used as a duo by the same player – there are advantages and disadvantages of one player controlling two characters. If you are good at miniature model figure painting or know someone who is then the 12 Realms models, all of them, have been designed to be painted and look fantastic when completed, and somehow even though them looking good does nothing for the gameplay, it does give the game additional visual appeal.

The adventures are set in different Realms: the Kievan Empire, Nile Valley, Olympia, and the Golden Caliphate. I haven’t played through the entirety of the booklet yet, nor have I used the expansion pieces with the original pieces in a customised game, only when and where necessary for the adventures. Unlike 12 Realms itself, where the players are cooperating to prevent the Lords of Darkness’ hordes from conquering the 12 Realms, ANCESTORS LEGACY is a series of well determined plots with different winning conditions. The four new adventure boards can be used for their intended scenarios, as described in the new booklet, and also as regular boards in non-plot-based scenarios, as per the main game. The box says that the expansion is for 1-6 players but the scenario adventures within the booklet are mainly for a minimum of four players – only one “The Forgotten Lamp” is for 3 players and none are specifically for one or two players. “Squirrel Raiders” is for 4 or 5 players. “Double Challenge” is for 5 players. “Find the Ninja” 5-6 players. “Pantheon Path” (4-5 players). “Chase their Brooms” (4-6 players).  “Pyramid of Time” (5-6 players) goes a little against the run of regular as far as the description and detail in the booklet goes. Whereas the other scenarios are in a fairly large text and interspersed with illustrations, “Pyramid of Time” has one full page of tiny text as its description, prior to the Setup page.

Playing solo or with just 2 or 3 players and only using one character each makes the scenarios extremely hard, nigh impossible at times. If you play with enough characters on the board you should have enough of the required talents to be able to solve the problems and collect the necessary treasures and artefacts and defeat the adversaries and enemies presented; in some cases it is not always necessary to defeat the Dark Lord, just their minions. I like 12 Realms Ancestors Legacy, it has so much to offer and because it is a fantasy game where the players cooperate against the inner mechanic. It has some realistic idiosyncrasies which mean that not everyone (every character) can succeed at every task undertaken.

Overall we found that 12 Realms itself was less of a challenge than Ancestors Legacy mainly because the characters themselves were more balanced against the environment no matter which of them were involved; whereas in Ancestors Legacy the choice of character is most important. Cooperation has always been necessary but in Ancestors Legacy it is imperative.

12 REALMS has many screw-on parts (aka expansions) available, attributed to it being a Kickstarted game that was so popular that additional goals were always being added and reached. It is a pity that the base rules aren’t in the expansion box because there are enough components and stories here for it to be a stand-alone game that also counts as an expansion – it already has virtually everything you need to play except for those base rules.








The miniatures look fantastic when painted. I found these following pictures on the internet and I believe them to be from MAGE Company. Whoever painted them I would like to give give them full credit and hope they don't mind me reprinting them here.



© Chris Baylis 2011-2015