$18.00
GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters: 105.06

6,574 Supporters

$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
41.4% of Goal | left

Support:

Recommend
62 
 Thumb up
 Hide
41 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

SeaFall» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Early Impressions of Full Game rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
This is based on playing a few games of the SeaFall campaign and unlocking some boxes and cards. I will not give any specific reveals, but obviously my impressions are influenced by both the public rules and some of the nonpublic rules and Captain's Booke entries.

I would not normally write a review based on only a few plays, but I know that people are eager to get some impressions of the game beyond what is publicly available. We played a few games so far, with four players.

Things I liked:

The overall pace of the game seems good. There are interesting decisions right from round one, and each game is not too long (typical so far is around 8 turns per player).

The catch-up (rubber banding) mechanism for players who fall behind in the overall campaign seems reasonably appropriate (i.e., not too overpowered, but not insignificant either).

The advisor system works pretty well. Getting the second use of your best advisors helps drive the game to a conclusion in the second year. Retaining an advisor into the next game gives you something worthwhile to strategize for, other than overall glory.

Things that are ok:

Ship upgrade system is adequate, but not as exciting as I would like. Everyone had the same basic ideas about how to upgrade, so everyone's position seems destined to be fairly similar, rather than having some divergence/specialization.

The appellations are also ok, but not as exciting as I would like. Again, they don't really distinguish the positions that much.

The structures also seem not that interesting so far, they are mostly a way to convert gold and goods to VPs.

The paragraph system is usually reasonably balanced. You could occasionally get a somewhat better or worse than expected result, and you could learn what kinds of things to expect in given situations. That said, a couple of times there was a big outlier that felt sort of unfair.

Things I don't like:

The game ending and victory condition are problematic. Because all glory is public, you can often see exactly who is in a position to reach the target glory this round. So there's a lot of possible kingmaking or who-bells-the-cat, as different players debate who will or won't stop the person who's in a position to win. This is exacerbated because the value of winning a game, even by a single VP, is quite high (it gives you a permanent advantage for every subsequent game in the campaign, and only a modest temporary disadvantage). And stopping a specific player from winning, by costing them 1-2 glory, is usually possible but often expensive to the person who does it (particularly in terms of enmity). It looks like every game is going to have the same issue/problem, unless there's some unexpected change sealed up for later.

The milestones seem too valuable and distorting. They give out glory in big chunks (out of proportion to the effort to achieve them) and have other effects too (I'm being deliberately vague here). To some extent that's self-balancing, because everyone can see what they are and go for them, but the consequences of winning or losing those competitions felt too big.

The rules are less clear than I expected. We had several significant confusions about issues that will be pretty obvious points of ambiguity (i.e., questions that aren't clearly answered in the rules, can't be anticipated until you get certain information, and have a big impact on the game if resolved differently than intended). A lot of these we were able to resolve in what I now think is probably the correct way, but only after lengthy discussions on each occasion, and in some important cases we had 2 players arguing for one interpretation and 2 arguing for another.

Since several players may be in position to try to win but can also be stopped, turn order is very important on the last turns, not as important on the first turns. The turn order on the first turns is logical (trailing player gets to go first). But, in year two, your turn order is determined by where you happen to be sitting relative to the player who's doing the worst in that game. So significant and uncontrollable by you. Also, it's not clear why low glory goes first in year 2, as that's mostly a disadvantage at that point.

My conclusion

I'm pretty picky, so my list of negatives is fairly long, but I'm still looking forward to another session. I'd rather play a few more games of this, with evolving rules, than a few games of a static unchanging 4X type game, which will likely have some similar issues.. But I also fear that the things I don't like will continue to be things I don't like---all of the things in that category seem relatively unlikely to be significantly affected by new rules, they seem pretty fundamental to the game design.

UPDATED impressions, after another session. No new spoilers, just more appreciation of the same game mechanisms.

The main thing I am rethinking from my previous comments is the rubber-banding/catch-up mechanism. The reason I'm adjusting my position is that for the first time I actually won a game. After winning, I realize that the reward for winning (one permanent province upgrade) isn't all that much, and the penalty for winning (no advisor for the next round, or only a weak advisor) is quite significant. What I wrote before is that the former is "permanent" and the latter is "temporary", but that overstates the matter because the "temporary" advantage in the next game might well translate into an increased ability to acquire "permanent" advantages.

I am starting to wonder if, rather than rushing to try to achieve the glory target to win the game, players will try to nudge up close to it but actually be just as happy to finish second. This might be especially true later in the campaign, when the number of games remaining for a "permanent" upgrade to pay off is not that large.

That also means I'm rethinking my criticisms of the turn order. If winning a game isn't as important as I had thought, then the value of going last in turn order in year 2 isn't nearly what I thought. So maybe the order makes sense, although I wonder if it would have made even more sense to reseat everyone in order of glory, rather than having low glory go first and then clockwise.

The other thing that I'm starting to wonder about the game is whether the gradual unlocking of rules is even a good idea. I feel like I might actually be enjoying it more if all of the rules were known from the beginning. The paragraph system and random outcomes from the Captain's Booke works fine. But I'm not sure I see any reason why the rules couldn't all be known in advance, which would make the opening games more interesting as you could do more looking ahead and strategic planning, in terms of ship upgrades, advisors to keep, bonuses for winning, etc.
83 
 Thumb up
2.50
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thomas Robb
United States
Calais
Maine
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb

hopefully some (or all) of your negatives will change as the game progresses

thanks for the valuable insight

there seems to be much discussion involving the milestones and the victory points (sorry, Glory) they give out when getting one

in your opinion so far, do you think that players who go for Glory Points and ignore milestones have a chance of
winning the game
winning the campaign


my question refers to hopefully, players having reasonable multiple paths of getting non-milestone Glory points and still being in the race to win (such as buy/sell, raid, explore, etc.)

could a player build structures and sell goods to get say, 6-8 Glory points but stay in the race to possibly win the campaign in the long run?
then, maybe next game, pick up a milestone or two?


6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
thomasrobb wrote:
in your opinion so far, do you think that players who go for Glory Points and ignore milestones have a chance of
winning the game
winning the campaign


You might win some individual games without getting any milestones. I don't think you could win the campaign if you ignore the milestones.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The milestones come out in batches, so some games might have lots of milestones, and the scoring will be high, and you definitely have to get one or more to compete, while others might have only one or two milestones, and they also might not be entirely clear how to complete, and so pursuing them may not be a priority or the best strategy.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Pereira
Australia
flag msg tools
How many games have you played through to form this impression?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tim Royal
United States
Kirkland
Washington
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I must confess I was surprised to see a review by you. Usually, I catch your review comments, but hadn't seen your reviews before. Cool.

One of the comments I've seen elsewhere is that this game is best played with four players or less. Do you think that's accurate, given your experience (it didn't mention player count above that I saw).

I pre-ordered this back in March, still awaiting a copy. I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll like it despite the issues mentioned.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I've only played with 4, so I don't know how other player numbers would be. With more players, and the same number of milestones, I think they would be even more significant (i.e., there are less different goals for people to aim for). It would also just in general be more chaotic. Personally I tend not to enjoy conflict-based games with as many as 5 players, that's why I chose to play it with 4. However, I think if you routinely enjoy other direct conflict games with 5 players, there's no reason this one wouldn't work just fine with that number. My guess is that people's preference for the number of players to play SeaFall with is going to track pretty closely with their preference for the number of players to play other non-legacy conflict games with.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I also believe the game would work fine with 3, and ganging up is really not going to be much of a problem.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
j n
United States
Georgia
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
DaviddesJ wrote:
Also, it's not clear why low glory goes first in year 2, as that's mostly a disadvantage at that point.


That's interesting. I would have expected going first to be an advantage (first chance to buy/raid that year, then first chance to spend them, first chance at the new advisors that flip up).

Is the problem that the game is just over too soon for this to help in year 2, and going later allows for more tactical flexibility? Or is it something else?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thomas Robb
United States
Calais
Maine
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb

Thank you very much for answering my question

Reading the rules, I've always hoped that getting milestones every game would not always be a priority - that sometimes you might only get one milestone but then could gather a significant number of Glory points in other ways

Of course, grabbing two or three milestones in one game would never be a bad thing either

Good luck with your game

Hopefully you will have time to give us an update on how things are going in the near future!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Paella
United States
East Aurora
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Excellent early review and thanks for not spoiling.

I'm very concerned about the rule issues. I'm a stickler for clear and concise rules. I'm having flashbacks to a very poorly written rule in Pandemic Legacy that pretty much ruined our end game. It's not easy finding rule clarifications in a legacy game without spoiling something.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
San Jose
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Ghorro wrote:
Excellent early review and thanks for not spoiling.

I'm very concerned about the rule issues. I'm a stickler for clear and concise rules. I'm having flashbacks to a very poorly written rule in Pandemic Legacy that pretty much ruined our end game. It's not easy finding rule clarifications in a legacy game without spoiling something.


If it's helpful, several other impressions I've read and watched are consistent with David's on the rules being a fairly serious issue -- far more so than Pandemic Legacy and to the point where a lot of the time you have to just make a call without much to go on.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Ghorro wrote:
It's not easy finding rule clarifications in a legacy game without spoiling something.


I didn't play Pandemic Legacy, but one good thing about the SeaFall rules is that every additional rule (at least as far as those that get pasted into the rulebook) has a rule number associated with it. So you can post threads like this, [SPOILER] Rule 16, that can be located with search or scanning titles. It's not a perfect solution, but if people follow this pattern it could help somewhat.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
thomasrobb wrote:
Reading the rules, I've always hoped that getting milestones every game would not always be a priority - that sometimes you might only get one milestone but then could gather a significant number of Glory points in other ways


Mild spoiler follows, read it or not as you prefer. I don't think it will ruin enjoyment for anyone. Same comment for my previous post about milestones---if you want to click on that spoiler, it will just provide a bit more context for my reply that will help you understand whether you will enjoy the game but won't give you an advantage or spoil the experience.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
One milestone is a lot. When I say that you can't neglect milestones, that means you usually need to try to get one if you can. You probably aren't going to get more than one in a game, from what I've seen, unless the other players really aren't paying attention. And there may well be games where no one gets any.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thomas Robb
United States
Calais
Maine
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb


interesting, most interesting

your comments are reassuring though, that game victory can come from multiple milestones, points, and combos thereof

thanks again

and good luck with your Province !!!!!!!!!!!!!

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt S
United States
Sharpsburg
GA
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
DaviddesJ wrote:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
One milestone is a lot. When I say that you can't neglect milestones, that means you usually need to try to get one if you can. You probably aren't going to get more than one in a game, from what I've seen, unless the other players really aren't paying attention. And there may well be games where no one gets any.



I will concur with this. Context is psudo-spoiler.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
While there are a few different ways to win, you should not ignore milestones. Other than being the way to progress the story, they as mentioned have a long term benefit for completing. From the games my group has played there is generally enough different milestones that players each can focus on different ones.


lactamaeon wrote:
That's interesting. I would have expected going first to be an advantage (first chance to buy/raid that year, then first chance to spend them, first chance at the new advisors that flip up).


Short answer is that it is still an advantage.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
As you say being able to get the first choice of newer advisors is important, however being able to dictate which milestone you are going to focus on and getting into position early is also very important.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
mcs1213 wrote:
lactamaeon wrote:
That's interesting. I would have expected going first to be an advantage (first chance to buy/raid that year, then first chance to spend them, first chance at the new advisors that flip up).


Short answer is that it is still an advantage.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
As you say being able to get the first choice of newer advisors is important, however being able to dictate which milestone you are going to focus on and getting into position early is also very important.


I still don't agree. You more often are going to be using your refreshed advisers at the start of year 2, rather than hiring new ones. The most important turn sequence effect in year 2 seems to me to be the advantage of going last, which means you can gain the glory to win and no one can take it away from you afterward.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
There's likely to be so many goods available that having the first opportunity to buy isn't that important. As Matt says, it could be that you are pursuing a milestone and because you go before another player you get it before they can; that's probably the biggest advantage of going first.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martin Gallo
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Are you playing a KS copy or are you a pre-orderer? I ask because I pre-ordered and have heard nothing about shipping or status. Before I bother Plaid Hat customer service I am trying to find out if my copy is really MIA or if shipping is still in process.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
j n
United States
Georgia
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
martimer wrote:
Are you playing a KS copy or are you a pre-orderer? I ask because I pre-ordered and have heard nothing about shipping or status. Before I bother Plaid Hat customer service I am trying to find out if my copy is really MIA or if shipping is still in process.


Preorders will be shipping in early October. See: http://www.plaidhatgames.com/news/735
4 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martin Gallo
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks. I thought I was getting updates, but that stopped. I have created a new account.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
martimer wrote:
Are you playing a KS copy or are you a pre-orderer?


I got a copy from GenCon.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt S
United States
Sharpsburg
GA
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
martimer wrote:
Are you playing a KS copy or are you a pre-orderer?


The game was not on KS. The copy we are playing was picked up at GenCon. Which is making rules questions very fun to search as only in the hundreds of copies made it into the wild.

DaviddesJ wrote:
I still don't agree. You more often are going to be using your refreshed advisers at the start of year 2, rather than hiring new ones. The most important turn sequence effect in year 2 seems to me to be the advantage of going last, which means you can gain the glory to win and no one can take it away from you afterward.


While I agree you will could be using your refreshed advisors at the start of year 2 and I can see the going last about protecting the glory total. Our group just thought about that situation, either we are being to nice or the score just wasn't that close when the game end triggered.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I just had an experience of happening to go second in a game in year 2 (because the lowest game glory player happened to be to my right) and then reaching the target and then having the remaining players take me down, in a way that I really couldn't do much about. So I'm kind of biased by that experience. I can't prove that it's typical.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tim Stack
msg tools
mb
DaviddesJ wrote:
martimer wrote:
Are you playing a KS copy or are you a pre-orderer?


I got a copy from GenCon.


Likewise. 5 games in so far, hopefully 6th Friday.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
UPDATED impressions, after another session. No new spoilers, just more appreciation of the same game mechanisms.

The main thing I am rethinking from my previous comments is the rubber-banding/catch-up mechanism. The reason I'm adjusting my position is that for the first time I actually won a game. After winning, I realize that the reward for winning (one permanent province upgrade) isn't all that much, and the penalty for winning (no advisor for the next round, or only a weak advisor) is quite significant. What I wrote before is that the former is "permanent" and the latter is "temporary", but that overstates the matter because the "temporary" advantage in the next game might well translate into an increased ability to acquire "permanent" advantages.

I am starting to wonder if, rather than rushing to try to achieve the glory target to win the game, players will try to nudge up close to it but actually be just as happy to finish second. This might be especially true later in the campaign, when the number of games remaining for a "permanent" upgrade to pay off is not that large.

That also means I'm rethinking my criticisms of the turn order. If winning a game isn't as important as I had thought, then the value of going last in turn order in year 2 isn't nearly what I thought. So maybe the order makes sense, although I wonder if it would have made even more sense to reseat everyone in order of glory, rather than having low glory go first and then clockwise.

The other thing that I'm starting to wonder about the game is whether the gradual unlocking of rules is even a good idea. I feel like I might actually be enjoying it more if all of the rules were known from the beginning. The paragraph system and random outcomes from the Captain's Booke works fine. But I'm not sure I see any reason why the rules couldn't all be known in advance, which would make the opening games more interesting as you could do more looking ahead and strategic planning, in terms of ship upgrades, advisors to keep, bonuses for winning, etc.
12 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Martell
New Zealand
flag msg tools
mbmb
Interesting revised thought David. This aligns much more with how I thought the game would play (from the rules), and it's good to hear you are beginning to find this to be the case.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.