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Which Aeon's End should I get?

So I see there are 2 stand alone expansions, and a legacy version, and I was wondering if anyone had advice on how to decide which one to get/what their differences are in broad strokes

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Hello jo-z, and welcome!

Very roughly, one might summarise the big boxes as:

Aeon’s End: new system, let’s see what it can do. Doesn’t have some of the complexity that comes in later. Can sometimes feel a bit like cooperative solitaire.
War Eternal: a bit more complication, and a bit harder.
Legacy: opinions differ as to how much of the content is worth replaying once you’ve done the Legacy bit; but great if you love Legacy-type games, or if you would like a gradual introduction to the mechanics.
New Age: lots more mechanics, and in particular lots more ways of interacting with other players. Also comes with the Expedition system, which lets you build a campaign of 3, 4 or 8 games, with both players and opponents getting tougher as the sequence progresses.

If you’re not a huge Legacy fan the short answer is probably “The New Age” because its cards are the most mature version of the core system.

One thing to bear in mind is that any of the big boxes will work with any other content.

Also, here’s a BGG link which may help:

For reference, I’m just back from Essen where I spent two and a half days showing off The New Age at the Indie booth. I know the system quite well, it’s one of my favourite games, and I own pretty much all of it. I am happy to wibble on about it at great length.

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This is helpful, thank you!
I guess my other question is: if I were to get just New Age, would it feel like I was missing some basic/essential types of mages or enemies or etc.? I guess my concern is that it would technically be playable, but would feel like it has some major holes in playstyle, because those playstyles were so thoroughly covered by previous installments

Hmm. I think that the mages in the later boxes are more specialised, i.e. there are fewer different ways to play them effectively. That’s not to say there’s a lack of decisions to make, but for example in the standard first-game setup Sahala and Gygar are the heavy hitters while Soskel and Claudia are definitely support. You can play them the other way round, but you’ll be less effective if you do.

My new rule is: get the legacy one especially if it has a replayability afterwards. Generally I’ll play a legacy variant more than a game as base plus expansion as an expansion usually becomes worth embedding after the steam for the game has run out, which is not really the best hope for the thing.

Usually get more games in and the legacy adds a nice layer of coherence.