Legacy: Forbidden Machines Game Expansion Review


The Basics:

  • For ages 10 and up (publisher suggests 13+)
  • For 2 to 4 players
  • Approximately 60 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Reading
  • Strategy & Tactics
  • Hand/Resource Management
  • Worker Placement & Area Control

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Moderate
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • The Timeline is beginning to unravel! In hopes of restoring the balance, you must take desperate measures…for fun and profit.


  • Gamer Geek approved!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!


Time travel comes at a cost. While moving back and forth, an energy known as “vesper” seeps through the Timeline, corroding it. It travels with the Antiquitects as they go about ensuring Time remains balanced, but it’s through their actions that Time is now unraveling. In hopes of saving Time itself, the powers that be have given the go ahead for the Antiquitects to build the Forbidden Machines; powerful inventions that could destroy the balance and erase everything.

Legacy: Forbidden Machines, designed by Ben Harkins and published by Floodgate Games, is comprised of 79 Technology cards, 4 Character cards, 12 Failed Technology markers, 7 Reward Modifier tokens, 1 Extra Turn token, 1 Spliced Timeframe marker, and 1 “X” Timeframe Capacity marker. The component quality of the expansion is in every way equal to the high quality components that come with the base game. It’s also worth noting that the game expansion box can fit within the base game box with little effort, keeping your game bits in one place and organized.

Note: We will not be covering how to play the game in this article. If you are not familiar with Legacy: Gears of Time or want to learn more about how the game is set up and played, please read the Legacy: Gears of Time review.

Saving Time

Thematically speaking, Legacy: Forbidden Machines is a slightly darker version of the base game. The players are no longer joy riding back and forth through time in hopes of besting their opponents. Instead, they are racing back to the past to establish technology that will save Time and reality. Heavy. Rules wise, not much has changed. Players still score points through Influence on Technology cards and play the game almost identical to the base game with only a handful of exceptions. Which I will now summarize.

New Characters

New Character cards are introduced for the players to time travel with. These Character cards are meant to replace the base game’s Character cards and are to be played with the expansion only. Each Character card’s Pursuit Technology is only obtainable using the Legacy: Forbidden Machines Technology cards. The only significant difference between the Character cards in the base game and the Character cards in the expansion is the noticeable lack of space dedicated to the player’s Influence pool. This space on the expansion’s Character card is now dominated by a lengthy explanation of a Technology card’s Activation ability. Which tells you two things. First, Activation abilities are really important in the expansion. Second, if you don’t understand the difference between Influence cube “supply” and “pool”, you haven’t been paying attention to the most basic of game rules.

Note: When we played the game, we dedicated the space next to the Activation Description as the Influence pool and the space to the left of the Character Name and Story as the supply. This worked out great.


New Technology Cards

The new Technology cards are much more Sci-Fi in their appearance and description, demonstrating the Antiquitects ability to invent technology that was thought impossible. The Technology cards that come with the expansion replace the base game’s Technology cards. Each Technology card has a different card back, making it easy to swap the cards out. This means that all the Technology cards, the Fate cards, and Technology Tree in the base game are no longer in use. The expansion’s Technology Tree is online and the rules to how to build Technology cards hasn’t changed. When setting up the game, simply swap the cards out, shuffle them, and continue game set up as normal.


The Legacy: Forbidden Machines Technology cards have an identical layout as the base game’s Technology cards with one exception. Some (not all) Technology cards have an Activation ability. This is similar to the “When Established” Technology card ability that is triggered when the Technology card comes into play on the Timeframe. However, the Activation ability can be used multiple times per game, albeit only once per turn, and does not count towards the players optional mandatory 3 actions per turn. If the player  is located on the same Timeframe as the Technology card, currently has the most Influence cubes on it, and the Technology card is successful (all the technology the Technology card is dependent on has been successfully built in the past), the player may use the Technology card’s Activation ability.

Spliced Timeframe

In the base game, players could only go so far back in Time. Through the use of the Forbidden Machines, players can now travel to the beginning of the known universe. When the “Season Splicer” Technology card has been successfully built, a player who has the most influence can trigger the card’s Activation ability (see card above). The Spliced Timeframe marker is then added to the end of the left-most side of the game board, creating a new Timeframe. A Capacity marker is then added to the Timeline. The “X” Timeframe Capacity marker is used when the base game’s Capacity markers have all been used.

Being able to travel so far back provides players with several advantages. First off, some of the more complicated Technology cards have a lot of technology they are dependent upon. Technology, I might add, that is also dependent on other technologies. With the longer Timeline and additional Timeframe, players can get to work early in time to build the technology they need to win. Of course, that also means the players will be stretched pretty thin when it comes to maintaining the Timeline. There are only so many Influence cubes, after all.

Extra Turns and Modified Rewards

Two new tokens are introduced in Legacy: Forbidden Machines that will upset some players and delight others. The Extra Turn token is awarded to the player who trigger’s the “Destiny Grafter” Technology card’s Activation ability. Doing so will force them to remove all their Influence cubes from the technology, but they will be given the Extra Turn token as compensation. This token gives the player a 5th turn this round that only they get to enjoy.

The Reward Modifier tokens are placed on Technology cards to increase their Reward value by +1 or decrease it by -1. The player must be able to trigger the “Gilding Cannon” and “Rustifier” Technology card’s Activation ability before modifying any values. If they can, the tokens are added to any Technology card the player likes as long as the Technology card in question doesn’t already have a Reward Modifier token on it.

To learn more about Legacy: Forbidden Machines, visit the game expansions web page.

Final Word

Legacy: Forbidden Machines adds more depth, strategy, and tactics to the base game without adding more weight or difficulty. Which is not to say you won’t be thinking harder using this expansion. I’ve heard some mention that the base game is easier, but I don’t believe that’s correct. I think it’s just lighter. Legacy: Forbidden Machines threw out the Fate cards, but adds Technology card Activation abilities that give players powerful advantages. Advantages that the players must now compete for. This adds more to think about and increases individual player’s need to focus in on certain technologies. In essence, the Timeline and its Timeframes become much more competitive, not only for their limited space, but also for the Technology cards they contain. Influence cubes also become much more important. It’s no longer enough to simply have influence on a technology to keep it running. You must completely control the Technology card to have access to its ability.

I personally prefer this expansion to the base game, as did the majority of the players, giving it full approval by all we played with. The Child Geeks loved the new Technology cards, finding it fun to invent the very strange and the very awesome on their turns. According to one Child Geek, “I love that I can invent all this cool stuff!”. The Parent Geeks found the new game play to be a welcome twist on the base game without making the game more difficult to play. According to one Parent Geek, “I like how this expansion introduces new ways to play the game by tacking away other base game play. This makes it easy for me to juggle the new rules, because I can forget some of the old rules.” Finally, the Gamer Geeks really liked that the Fate cards were no longer in the mix and the new depth of strategy that was necessary when playing for Activation abilities. According to one Gamer Geek, “Excellent. Simply excellent. I really like how you are playing the Timeline as much as you are playing the Technology cards. It really improves the game, in my opinion.”

And there you have it. This expansion was not only a welcomed addition to the game, but some of our players even thought it improved it. When we pause and consider that all our players already thought the base game was fantastic, any improvements on fantastic must be …. what … super fantastic? That sounds stupid, but might be on the mark. I prefer to think of the expansion as an extra side of awesome. It does a great job of building on what works in the base game and changes it slightly to provide new game play without ever losing what made the base game so wonderful. Now that’s good game design.

If you are a fan of Legacy: Gears of Time, I believe Legacy: Forbidden Machines is a no brainer. It takes the base game to new places, adds depth, changes tactics, and presents the players with a new challenge without ever demanding more of their energy. It’s like learning how to drive on a city street and venturing out onto a busy road for the first time. You still use the same driving skills, but now you are using them differently. That’s what this expansion feels like. You’ll be playing the same game, but feeling like you are playing it in a very different and entertaining way. Do take a look at this game expansion when “time” permits.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

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About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner. Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....

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