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SeaFall» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Seafall Review: No Spoilers, 7 Games in, 4 Players rss

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Grant Rodiek
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Hi! My group has played 7 games of Seafall, all with 4 players, and I wanted to write a quick mid-campaign review. Our games tend to last about 2 hours in length. The score is very close for two players, third place is just a little behind, and fourth place (me) is a bit behind.

At a very high level, I would compare the game very strongly, and positively, to Merchants and Marauders, which is one of my favorite games. There are many similarities, including:

-A variety of ship upgrades
-PVP and PVE combat, the former of which an be painful and damaging
-Multiple paths to victory: merchant, scoundrel, explorer
-Global Events that change thing
-Economy based on transporting goods, scarcity

Also, the pacing is very similar. In Seafall, your turn is choosing to hire an advisor or buy a treasure (typically the former), then you take two actions from a category. Some of these actions need to be resolved, you might discover something so there are follow up effects. Merchants and Marauders gives you 3 Actions. Basically, between both there are many things that can happen, so if you're playing with four or five players, there will be a little downtime.

Know about it, bring a beer, sit with people you like, or join in on the story.

If you like M&M, and like the idea of it being a legacy game? You will like Seafall.

I really enjoy many of the Legacy elements in Seafall. You're going to slowly upgrade your ship stats, improve your income, cards will be removed and improved for all, islands will be discovered with a variety of gameplay, economic, and story consequences.

The game seems to have a nice "catch up" mechanism, but once you get a bit behind you might stay behind for a bit. I won games 6 and 7, finally, so perhaps I'm on the rise now? It's a marathon, not a sprint. But, some key things you should know:

1. I don't think this is a good game for the super competitive. I don't think it's why you should play this game. I think the game is fair, and it seems balanced. BUT, because it is a campaign, losing hurts emotionally more. Also, sometimes the game will just screw you. You might get very unlucky exploring something, your friend might raid your ship, or someone might complete a milestone out from under you. Take a breath, keep playing. Enjoy the story and the world you're building together.

2. The game will emotionally affect you. I just want to repeat that. You will lose sometimes. You will have something stolen. It sucks. I think that is purely the Legacy element. Thankfully, karma rolls around and it'll eventually take care of you. Or it should. But, you might get frustrated sometimes, I have been, from this game.

There are some things I really like about the game:

1. The endeavor system is elegant and flexible. This is how you resolve conflict, whether you're attacking a friend or exploring an island. You roll dice based on stats and modifiers. X successes determine your success and various demerits will inflict damage. It grows with you in challenge and output, and it's shared, so you don't need to learn 8 different systems.

2. I really enjoy the story book. I think it's fun.

3. The game is effectively a group worldbuilding exercise. I think that's the heart of this game. Again, I think that's really fun.

4. Naming things is always a hoot in a Legacy experience.

5. At 2 hours, I think games feel both substantial and relatively short. We can knock out two games in a game night if we get started on time, maybe three on a marathon Saturday.

So, who is this game for?
-Storytellers
-Friends who don't mind fighting each other
-People who know how to mitigate, anticipate,and deal with fortune

Who should avoid this game?
-People who are really AP. It's a Legacy game, don't overthink 30 hours of gameplay. Everyone will hate you.
-The hyper competitive. Some of the poor fortune resulting from story moments or PVP will upset your plans and you'll rage quit.
-The person who won't get off their phone. There's a little down time. Don't be that gamer!

If you have questions, feel free to ask!

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David desJardins
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I like M&M and like the legacy idea but I don't particularly like SeaFall. I feel that M&M did a much better job with careful development and rules writing. It's more clear and more balanced.
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Grant Rodiek
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DaviddesJ wrote:
I like M&M and like the legacy idea but I don't particularly like SeaFall. I feel that M&M did a much better job with careful development and rules writing. It's more clear and more balanced.


*shrug*

We've had zero rules issues.

I've found that both M&M and Seafall screw me over equally.
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Nathanaël Dufour
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I agree with most of this review !
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Jason Pisani
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I'm surprised you had no rules issues. We've had a few debates and had to go back to the book several times in our 5 plays.
Good reveiew.
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Grant Rodiek
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iamthepisani wrote:
I'm surprised you had no rules issues. We've had a few debates and had to go back to the book several times in our 5 plays.
Good reveiew.


We've always felt the designer's intent was clear.
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lucus Trout
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HerrohGrant wrote:
iamthepisani wrote:
I'm surprised you had no rules issues. We've had a few debates and had to go back to the book several times in our 5 plays.
Good reveiew.


We've always felt the designer's intent was clear.


This might be where you are doing better than my group and some that I've read about on here. We tend to like a solid answer and somehow one of us always disagrees on the designer's intent (not always the same person, just in many situations we often have a dissenter). Luckily the 3 of us that are playing Seafall tend to be able to work those issues out quickly and are enjoying the game, albeit with some grumbles about the rules.

I really appreciate your section on "who would like this game". I wish I had seen one of those before purchasing. I think I would've purchased it but might have suggested it to a slightly different subset of my normal gaming group.
 
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Grant Rodiek
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lucusvonlucus wrote:
HerrohGrant wrote:
iamthepisani wrote:
I'm surprised you had no rules issues. We've had a few debates and had to go back to the book several times in our 5 plays.
Good reveiew.


We've always felt the designer's intent was clear.


This might be where you are doing better than my group and some that I've read about on here. We tend to like a solid answer and somehow one of us always disagrees on the designer's intent (not always the same person, just in many situations we often have a dissenter). Luckily the 3 of us that are playing Seafall tend to be able to work those issues out quickly and are enjoying the game, albeit with some grumbles about the rules.

I really appreciate your section on "who would like this game". I wish I had seen one of those before purchasing. I think I would've purchased it but might have suggested it to a slightly different subset of my normal gaming group.


So, I tend to not game with hyper competitive rules lawyer types. They tend to suck the fun out of everything.

Also, 3 of the 4 of us are game designers (professionally) and one is a game developer with me. So, we feel comfortable talking about games and arriving at a logical destination quickly.

For example, I'm in dead last, and I try not to wield that as a cudgel to get calls in my direction. In the same way I think flopping makes soccer unwatchable, people who argue over every rule...are just tiresome.
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Kain W.
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HerrohGrant wrote:
iamthepisani wrote:
I'm surprised you had no rules issues. We've had a few debates and had to go back to the book several times in our 5 plays.
Good reveiew.


We've always felt the designer's intent was clear.


Agree very much on this.
From my very limited view currently I have the feeling that Seafall is a long story - and not a competitve game which is made for rule lawyers and ultra balance.
 
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Becq Starforged
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Cerritos
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I'm not sure that I agree that SeaFall is "not a competitive game"...
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Grant Rodiek
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Becq wrote:
I'm not sure that I agree that SeaFall is "not a competitive game"...


I think you should play to win. I think you should try. I think you should be excited by victory and saddened by defeat.

I don't think that's the main joy to be found from this game.

I also think if you tie yourself solely to that end you may find yourself more disappointed than, say, a game of Concordia.
 
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Kain W.
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HerrohGrant wrote:
Becq wrote:
I'm not sure that I agree that SeaFall is "not a competitive game"...


I think you should play to win. I think you should try. I think you should be excited by victory and saddened by defeat.

I don't think that's the main joy to be found from this game.

I also think if you tie yourself solely to that end you may find yourself more disappointed than, say, a game of Concordia.

Thanks - that is what I wanted to express. It is not a game to play WAAC or have your optimal opening builds like Terra Mystica for every Race.
It is more to enjoy the world and make the best out of it - and aiming for the win.
 
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"-The hyper competitive. Some of the poor fortune resulting from story moments or PVP will upset your plans and you'll rage quit."

I wouldn't say I'm hypercompetitive. For me it's perfectly natural to be upset when I get a story moment that results in the death of an adviser vs a story moment that results in 8 VP. Those fat tails in the probability distribution without that many ways to mitigate the chances is the death knell to any sort of strategy I could hope to have. Go ahead and try and plan more than two turns in advance and see what happens. The legacy concept, as it is currently implemented in the two competitive legacy games out, existentially cannot coexist with long-term strategy.

"-The person who won't get off their phone. There's a little down time. Don't be that gamer!"

HA! I'm in a group of 4, and I get to do a turn once maybe every ten minutes due to the game board changing every turn due to random BS events or two people exploring and having to read an entry from a book. And heaven forbid you go from first or second turn to third or fourth during a winter.
 
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