If Galileo and Issac Newton created an invention together perhaps it could have been the pocket watch. Impossible you say? Well you’d be right as Galileo died one year before Newton was born and the pocket watch was invented in 1882. Which is after Issac Newton died. Now you might be thinking I’m a bit off my rocker. You’d be right again, but, I’m a bit off for other reasons. So you might wonder how I know this stuff about Newton, Galileo and the pocket watch. Ah! This is where I get to the point (finally!). It is possible to pull this off in the game Legendary Inventors.
Legendary Inventors is a game for 2-5 players. The box says 40 minutes. Experience tells me 2 players will be under 40 minutes. Maybe 40 minutes for 5 players. The box also says 10 years old and up. But I could see 8 and 9 year old kiddos playing this. We start our set up by having players choose their team of inventors. There are 5 teams of 4 real life inventors to choose from. Once you have your team you will put point tokens, in the cut out circles on the very thick inventor tiles, that match the starting skill level for that inventor. Each player also gets a pile of tokens color coded to their team of inventors. Next we set up the card decks. There will be 3 stacks of cards. One for each of the 3 ages (aka rounds) you will play. The cards represent the inventions you will compete for. The number of face up inventions is player count +3 (3 player game will have 6). You start with age 1.
Albert Einstein and Marie Currie actually knew each other (they are both on the red team of inventors). There is the following story from the book Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson. During a vacation from the southeastern Swiss mountains to Lake Como in August of 1913 Marie Currie and Albert Einstein were part of a hiking group. Currie challenged Einstein to name all the peaks. They also talked science of course. Einstein had stopped suddenly and grabbed Currie’s arm and said, “You understand, what I need to know is exactly what happens to passengers in an elevator when it falls into emptiness.” Einstein was referring to his ideas about the equivalence of gravity and acceleration.
Once a start player has been decided and given the Leonardo da Vinci bust play begins. Players must do 1 of the 2 following actions. They’ll either send an inventor to work or refresh their inventors. Sending an inventor work involves placing cubes from their pile on one invention. How many cubes and on which space depends on the current skill level of that inventor. The other action involves turning used inventor tiles right side up again so as to have their inventors available to be put to work again on future turns. As the game proceeds at some point an invention card will completed. The player completing the invention gets the first player da Vinci bust. The players take a pause taking turns to share the rewards. The player who has the most cubes on the invention gets first choice. The second most player gets a choice of the 2 rewards left. The third player with the 3rd most gets whatever is left. The invention card is one of the reward choices and 2 tokens pulled from a bag at the start of the age and put on the invention are the 2 other reward choices. Once the second to last invention card is completed the age ends. The first and second age play out the same way. However after sharing the rewards on the second to last invention in the third age the game ends.
The work of French mathematician philosopher Blaise Pascal (He’s on the yellow team) inspired the following story told in the book Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar… by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein.
A little old lady goes to the bank with a satchel filled with $1000,000 in cash and asks to open an account. The cautious banker asks where she got the money. “Gambling,” she says. “I’m very good at gambling.” Intrigued, the banker asks, “What sorts of bets do you make?” “Oh, all sorts,” she says. “For example, I will bet you $25,000 right now that by noon tomorrow you will have a butterfly tattoo on your right buttock.” “Well I would love to take that bet,” says the banker, “but it wouldn’t be right for me to take your money for such an absurd wager.” “Let me put it to you this way,” says the woman. “If you don’t bet me I will have to find another bank for my money.” “Now don’t be hasty,” says the banker. “I’ll take your bet.” The woman returns the next day at noon with her lawyer as a witness. The banker turns around, drops his pants, and invites the two to observe that he has won the bet. “Okay,” says the woman, “but could you bend over a little just to make sure?” The banker obliges and the woman concedes, counting out $25,000 in cash from her satchel. The lawyer meanwhile is sitting with his head in his hands. “What’s wrong with him?” asks the banker. “Aw, he’s just a sore loser, she says. “I bet him $1000,000 that by noon today, you’d moon us in your office.”
Now that the rewards have been shared for the second to last invention of the 3rd age it’s time to add up all points. There are ways to score points. You 1. Add points from inventions that you acguired (Upper right of invention cards.)
2. Points from runs you formed (These are near the upper right of the invention cards.)
3. Points from victory point tokens you got from sharing rewards (Those little round token thingys.)
4. Points from your inventors who reached their progress target (From those thick square inventor tiles with the holes.)
There is one tie breaker and that is victory goes to the tied player who has the most inventions.