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Subject: Mina's Mini Review - Into a Sea of Clouds With Two rss

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Milena Guberinic
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Mina's Fresh Cardboard
Mina's Mini Review - Into a Sea of Clouds With Two

The Overview

In Sea of Clouds, you will become the captain of a flying pirate ship! Doesn't that sound awesome!? It is!

You start the game with 3 doubloons and a captain board. Your captain board has 4 slots, which you will uses to store face-up and face-down cards representing objects, relics, rum, and pirate crew you acquire during the course of the game.

Your board might start to look something like this over the course of the game

The game also comes with a central board that shows the progress of of all players' ships through various islands (rounds). Certain islands (rounds) show a red sword icon that indicates when "Boarding" will occur. When the turn marker would move off of one of these islands, "Boarding" occurs.

To set up the game, you place the central board with the ship on the first island. Then, you shuffle the deck (with some cards removed for 2-player games) and place the top 3 cards in the 3 card slots below the central board. The starting player gets the starting player marker and parrot marker, the latter of which breaks ties and can change hands as a result of the effects of certain cards.

Each turn, you look at the first share of loot cards and either leave it or take it. If you leave the first share, you place another card from the top of the deck on that share and move on to the next share. If you take it, you replace the card you took with the top one from the deck.

The game proceeds in this manner and is interrupted when the round marker reaches the "Boarding" spaces on the central board. "Boarding" means that players compare the strengths of their pirates and the player with the greatest strength gets to execute the effects of all of his pirates!

When playing with more than two players, you compare your strength against your neighbors and the player with the greatest strength executes the effects of all his pirates for each victory.

At the end of the game, you gain points for
-All your doubloons
-Value of your rum
-Value of your relic collection
-Value of your Secrets, which provide certain scoring conditions such as having the most money or the largest relic collection, among other things
-Value of your object bonuses

The captain with the most points wins!

Various types of cards in the game

The Review

Played prior to review 6x

1. So pretty and well produced
This is a light game targeted at a casual/family gaming audience and it succeeds in creating the visual appeal that is particularly important for that crowd. Of course, I'm a sucker for cute stuff too, so it sucks me in too! I particularly love the unnecessarily 3-dimensional kissing parrot token! heart He breaks ties!

2. Quick to play
Sea of Clouds takes about 15 minutes to play with two decisive players, which is as long as it should take and no more. It makes for a great 2-player filler.

3. Exciting push-your-luck style decisions to make!
Sea of Clouds is a light game, but that doesn't mean it is devoid of decision points! It presents you with exciting push-your-luck-style choices that keep everyone engaged! Each stack of loot that you leave behind will increase in size and potentially value for your opponent. And though you have some idea about the identity of the cards in upcoming piles based on their backs, you can't be sure that you will find exactly what you are seeking there. And some cards are negative, forcing you to discard pirates or take negative points if you can't find a way to get rid of them before the game ends, so every time you decide to leave a pile of loot behind, you're taking a risk, both because you could be giving your opponent something good and because you could be stuck with something not so good. And deciding when to take that risk is fun!

The relics also create a push-your-luck aspect because some are worth negative points if you don't manage to collect multiples. Deciding to take these can be risky at any point in the game; late in the game, you may not get a chance to acquire more and early in the game, your opponents are likely to try to prevent you from collecting them.

The excitement generated by the choice between pushing through loot stacks and simply taking one is my favorite part of the game! Complemented nicely by the risky relics, it makes Sea of Clouds a lot of fun to play!

4. The fact that card types are visible even when the cards are face down generates some tactical decision points
Sea of Clouds may be light, but it does feature some elements that allow you to make informed tactical decisions. Even though you don't know the exact identity of the cards in each loot stack, you know what types of cards you are facing. You also know the type of card is on top of the deck. So if you see an opponent collecting relics and the top card is a relic, you might want to take the first stack of loot (provided it's not riddled with negative points) just to force him to push through the loot cards and give you more choice.

5. The drafting system is fun and different from that used in most board games
Though familiar to Magic: The Gathering players, the Winston draft isn't a drafting system that is often used in board games, so it feels different.

6. Compulsively replayable
Sea of Clouds is not the deepest of games. It isn't a game that will keep you coming back to explore the depths of the interactions between cards or clever mechanisms. Regardless, Sea of Clouds is compulsively replayable. The game contains a huge number of unique cards that make for a different game each time and I find myself reaching for the game just so that I can experience all the cards!

7. Clever 2-player scaling
In order to ensure that the distribution of various card types works with two players, certain cards are removed from the game. I appreciate the fact that something was done to ensure that the game worked with two players.


soblue 1. Very light, so mostly useful when you have little brain power or non-gamers around
Sea of Clouds is as light as a cloud. For me, that's a bit of a negative because I tend to prefer heavier games and have little need or time for very small, very light games. There is indeed not much to explore or discover in this game, but it is still strangely satisfying and addictive. The push-your-luck aspect of going through the various loot piles and the tension of possibly increasing the value of a pile for your opponents makes Sea of Clouds stand out and warrant a place in my life. Plus, it is easy to teach and pretty, so it is likely to satisfy non-gamers.

soblue 2. Boarding is less interesting with only two players than it would be with more
The only concern with the two-player version of Sea of Clouds is the boarding action, which is undoubtedly less interesting with only two players than it would be with more than two. With 3+ players, you compare your strength against the strengths of both your left and right neighbors. This means that you have to keep two individuals in mind when drafting pirate crew AND that you can take advantage of your pirate crew's powers twice if you win both sides! Having said that, I do think that the two-player version is interesting enough without a second opponent for this strength comparison because boarding is only a small part of the game.

Final Word

Sea of Clouds is a simple drafting/set-collection/push-your-luck game that is strangely addictive. I don't typically gravitate towards these types of games and set collection is something that tends to irritate me, but here, it works and makes me happy. The fact that the game takes 15 minutes to play with two players (disclaimer: we are speed demons) certainly doesn't hurt. For me, Sea of Clouds fits in the same category as Fairy Tale; it's a light, drafting game that I can take out when I really want to extend the night of gaming but don't necessarily want to think too hard.




Mina's Love Meter

angry Burn it! - I dislike this game so much that it makes me angry. (I rate these 4 or less on the BGG scale)
Dislike - I don't like this game, but I can see why others like it.
(5 on BGG scale)
heart Some like - I find this game somewhat appealing, but it doesn't really grab me. I am glad to have had the opportunity to try this game, but it is unlikely to stay in my collection for very long.
(5.5 to 6.5) on BGG scale)
heart heart Like - I like this game and appreciate the design. I am happy to play this game occasionally when the mood strikes and enjoy doing so.
(7 to 7.5 on BGG scale)
heart heart heart Some love - I love this game. It's not perfect, but it really appeals to me and I will play it frequently.
(7.5 to 8 on BGG scale)
heart heart heart heart Lots of love - I really love this game. The design really speaks to me. I want to play it most of the time.
(8 to 9 on BGG scale)
heart heart heart heart heart All love all the time - I ADORE this game and can see myself playing it many times and for many years. I would go to sleep clutching it in my arms and want to play it all day every day...only not literally because that would be insane.
(9 to 10 on BGG scale)

To see my other reviews, visit this geeklist.

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Brian B.
United States
New Hampshire
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I agree with boarding being "meh" with two players. I've played twice (two-player) and both times thought it would have been much more fun with four! Good-looking game, though.
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Milena Guberinic
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Mina's Fresh Cardboard
brianmbe wrote:
I agree with boarding being "meh" with two players. I've played twice (two-player) and both times thought it would have been much more fun with four! Good-looking game, though.

Yeah. But there is more to the game than just boarding, so it works for us
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