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SeaFall» Forums » General

Subject: Well, I lost. rss

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Casual Tryhard
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Final scores were:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
246
236
235
234 (me)


However,

Spoiler (click to reveal)
There will be a sort of epilogue game, in which I believe it'll be possible to dethrone the Empress.


The winner
Spoiler (click to reveal)
had never been in first place before (by her own design), and got 15 points on her last turn.


I blindly played a role in bringing it about -- I snuck up on the game-ending glory total through ordinary means while everyone else was focused on the big milestone. But when I hit 25 points she still had a turn after me in the round and just said "Oh, I guess I have to do it now, then."

Honestly, we all knew it was coming.
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Becq Starforged
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Cerritos
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Looks like a very close game, all things considered. But more importantly, did everyone enjoy it to the end?
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Casual Tryhard
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Becq wrote:
But more importantly, did everyone enjoy it to the end?


Ye-es?

The winner is naturally pleased as punch, but the rest of us are all more than a little salty right now. One is declaring he won't play the epilogue -- he'll come round.

As you can see from the scores listed above, we all had reason to think we were in it with a chance until the very last minute (although my best hope since I'd missed out on buying the specific structure I needed was to delay the final reckoning by one game while making a strong showing in points, which - alas! - I mistakenly imagined I had done.)

But beyond a loser's sour grapes, my final judgment on the game is good.

The basic mechanic -- get a bunch of dice; roll those dice -- is not all that compelling to me in itself, and the Euro-economic side that I normally enjoy more is pretty bare bones here. So what really makes the game is the stuff around the game -- the legacy elements, the story, the exploration, the developing player rivalries. What the mechanics add to that is big swings of luck, which you have to learn to relax and enjoy as part of the overall narrative.

I was not feeling relaxed about that for much of the mid-game -- despite often being the catch-up guy helped by luck at our somewhat cutthroat table, I don't like luck-based games and prefer to sink or swim on my own merits. But once I got over the wreck of all my cunning plans (which I did when someone else's cunning plans also got wrecked) I had a ball watching it all unfold.

The big criticism everyone acknowledges is that, with the story and lore bearing so much of the game's weight, that story starts awfully late. And yeah, that's a shame, not just because some players will quit before it gets good, but because once it is introduced there's not much time left to develop the ideas for those of us who did persist. There's a lot that's left just vaguely sketched about...

Spoiler (click to reveal)
the Society, the ancients, and the relationship of the natives to each of those


If those ideas had been introduced sooner, there would have been lots more space for detailed world-building, and that was a real missed opportunity. Unlike some reviewers I quite liked the schlocky style of the writing in the Captain's Booke, but there's no denying that some of the many entries about linen could've been put to better use in serving the bigger narrative and giving context for developments to come.

The final games did not quite whip up the drama that Pandemic Legacy did (sorry for the obvious comparison, but it's inevitable). Here, the swingy mechanics reduced the tension rather than increasing it, with people just raiding the same handful of [necessary items] back and forth trying to build up enough dice, failing, and trying again next game with little movement forward.

It was less "Oh no, how do we cope with this thrilling crisis?" and more just jockeying for advantage without any real sense of urgency -- we could have delayed the endgame indefinitely if we'd been really deadlocked and no one would give way.

I see that having said my judgment on the game is good, I then went on to mostly list my reservations. But the real testament is that, the morning after finishing this board game, I'm sitting here thinking about it and writing about it. We play on the weekends -- as the campaign progressed, I've started posting on this site during the week to have some way of talking about the game that was still occupying my imagination for the five days in between sessions.
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