Risk, Pandemic and SeaFall’s legacy mechanics were inspired by D&D, Lost and Banksy, Rob Daviau reveals


09 March 2017
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lost-04120.jpg A still from Lost
‘Father of the legacy genre’ discusses some of the surprising influences behind his industry-changing invention

It’s been six years since Rob Daviau launched Risk Legacy and changed the face of board games forever, but it seems that there’s still plenty to dig into when it comes to the creation of the industry-changing genre.

Speaking to Glixel ahead of this year’s launch of Pandemic Legacy: Season Two – the follow-up to Daviau and Matt Leacock’s 2015 spin on the co-op modern classic often heralded as one of the best games ever made – and following his solo take on the format with last year's SeaFall, Daviau once again retraced his path from working on licensed versions of Hasbro staples such as Cluedo, Trivial Pursuit and Risk to conceptualising the innovative mechanics that would make him a star of the tabletop world.

Interestingly, Daviau only names one tabletop title as one of his key influences behind the legacy genre – seminal roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons – instead referencing video games, TV show Lost (pictured) and even British graffiti artist Banksy as among the eclectic ingredients that led to the creation of Risk Legacy.

“Well, Dungeons & Dragons factors into it,” he explains. “The TV show Lost was at its peak when I thought of it, and that factored in significantly. When you get to an end of an episode, and things just kept changing within the season, and from season to season, and even the genre of the show, and I thought, "Oh, man, maybe I can do that with Risk." Just when you figure out the genre, everything shifts.

“Computer game tutorials where it's like: "Okay, we're just going to duck a lot for five minutes." So just the concept of layering just-in-time rules and letting you practice them until the new rules emerge.

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“I looked at Banksy's graffiti – when you're marking things and tagging things, a lot of people think you're defacing them. That shows up as stickers in Risk and Pandemic. Probably didn't help me too much, but it was nice to get Hasbro to buy me a Banksy book!”

In another charming surprise, Daviau also proudly looks back on his work on the Harry Potter version of Cluedo, which features hidden passages, the potential for player death and wheels under the game board that reveal new locations.

It’s a fascinating interview offering some more insight into one of arguably the most important games of the last few decades – read the full piece over on Glixel.

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