Legends of Sleepy Hollow Print and Play

I am sucker for games with strong narratives and early American folk lore,[1] so when word about the Legends of Sleepy Hollow game started to circulate, it caught my attention. Being a cooperative game with a defined narrative arc, a shoe-in theme and an art style that clicked with me, I thought this was the perfect game for me. Even when the Kickstarter launched and I started scrolling through more details, I kept thinking, “Yeah, I’ll like this game.”

Probably my first glimmering this might not be for me was an admittedly emotional reaction to seeing the game would retail for $100 after the Kickstarter. I wouldn’t say cost was a concern, per se, but I’ve come to associate that price point with games that have a high “toy value,” where you’re buying a bunch of figures to paint as much as a game in and of itself. I’m sure there are plenty of games that don’t fit that perception, but it’s one I’ve found myself with after hearing about so many different miniature-based games made possible by crowdfunding. So that was my first personal warning sign.

Then I started thinking about the figures themselves. Again, this is a emotional reaction, but it basically went, “I’ve never owned a game that’s mainly a box of minis before. Do I want to?”

Fortunately for me, the publisher released a print and play version of the first scenario in the campaign. Originally, I skimmed it and thought, “Yeah, that seems fine.” As time progressed and I thought more about what I understood of the gameplay, it seemed increasingly like a wise idea to make use of it.

So with less than 24 hours in the fundraising campaign, I got everything printed, cut and taped together and my friend Carlo came over to test things out. As it transpires, the basic game itself feels a lot like Zombicide and Ghostbusters, with a map that keeps filling up with monsters the heroes have to manage while achieving an objective. There’s more to Legends, as characters have upgrade options between scenarios, but the core gameplay seems to be essentially Zombicide with a heavy narrative arc linking the scenarios, as the heroes search for Ichabod Crane in the days after the “incident.”

So given that, I decided this isn’t a game I want to own. I would play Legends for sure, but I don’t want to be the one who has it sitting on their shelf, thinking about how infrequently I get to play it — that’s what Eldritch Horror is for these days — or hassling a friend to paint the figures. That was a lot of manual cutting and taping to arrive at the decision, but it was probably worth it compared to arriving there after the box has been dropped on my doorstep.


[1] I hung on to watching Fox’s Sleepy Hollow series for way longer than it deserved. The first season is still delightful, though.

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