I fell in love with Risk Legacy from the start, so I've been anticipating Seafall since it was announced (I think I'd like Pandemic Legacy, but with my luck at regular Pandemic, I feel we'd start Game 2 with South America permanently lost to plague...)
I talked it up to my group and established a permanent group of five. Once the game arrived, I created letters of invitation handed out to the players, establishing their title for the prologue. We picked our provinces and leaders and ended up in order of title:
Sean, Carrie, Juliet, Becky, me (Scott)
The prologue ran long- some of us had watched the How to Play video, and I went over rules at the start, but there was still a lot of starting and stopping- double checking rules, or backing up turns ("Look, if you try to raid there, you're going to automatically sink"). Things did speed up some when it sunk in that there were no real consequences here; you named an island or you didn't, you discovered some sites or you didn't. We didn't make it through a full year when the final island was named. Becky and Juliet were tied at 4 glory, Carrie and I each had three, and Sean was the sole unnamer at 2.
The islands, in order, are Kraken Point, Dune Isle (which until a later game, was the only source of spice), Lawbreaker, and Anvil.
Post-prologue and 1st game set-up
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I had read enough that I had an inkling of what was going to happen, but not full details. The rest of the group was going in blind, and I think they had the proper shocked reaction to hearing that our leaders had sailed off, never to return. I joined them on learning that we were to destroy our current ruler card; not knowing everything I had guessed that we'd just put the cards away, and that we might discover their fate later in the game. I had seen a suggestion to tell people to put the character you wanted to play in your box for the prologue, but I hadn't wanted to give anything away. There were various levels of unhappiness with this surprise, with Juliet the most pissed. And I understand her point- we're looking forward to 15 games, 30+ hours, and the leader is your representation. You want someone you identify with. We'd already chosen our favorite, and with 5 women and 5 men leaders, and a 3/2 split in our group, someone would be changing genders. I suggested a compromise of keeping our leader, and just adding a II after the name. Juliet, Carrie, and I went this way, while Sean and Becky chose new leaders. Becky pointed out that by tearing up their old leader, they'd be down an enmity sticker, so we did remove and tear up a sticker to keep things even. I think I understand what the designer was going for, but I think the game needed a greater selection of leaders.
It was about two weeks later, this past Saturday, that we met for the second game. We took our turns reading our entries and making our blind decisions on a starting bonus- although since Juliet formed an alliance with the merchant's guild as the first bonus, we could intuit that most of us would have something similar available. So, she was the prosperous, Becky was the wise, I had lucky, Carrie was glorious, and Sean was the only one without an appellation, gaining an improvement to garrison.
Starting in the new game, we had, from prince down
Juliet: Isabel of Bolivar, master of Pride and Joy
Becky: Althea of Rain Wilds, master of the Punisher and Quicksilver
Scott: Beckett of the High Reaches, master of the Red Mist and the Crimson Tide
Carrie: Aerin of Suil Nua, master of the Kestrel and Raven
Sean: Lord Bravery of Arjwani, master of the SS Danger Will Robinson and the Damn it, Jim!
We had been looking forward to this. With the different victory conditions for the prologue, some strategies didn't have enough room to grow; when it ended, Sean was sailing home with full holds, and surely he could have found someway to turn the coming wealth into glory.
Some of the islands had been uncovered, but there was still a lot left to explore. I made my focus exploration, going after harder sites and earning the first milestone, An Island Revealed. Sean tried a few things, and went all in raiding the site I'd uncovered for my milestone to score with Darkness Stirs (which also meant we'd be opening a box at the end of the night). Becky and Carrie both went after treasures, but it was Becky who pulled off The Finest Treasures milestone. Juliet was concerned with money, which put her out of the running for milestones.
Despite five of us out there, we kept the peace. Sean, Juliet, and Becky each put out an enmity on an island, but the home provinces stayed untouched.
My milestone, my explorations, and the upgrades and buildings I'd purchased granted me the win. I was disappointed that I came 1 gold short of buying a third building and getting a second milestone, but if I didn't win the game then, Sean would have bought a building, taking said milestone and the win (and it's possible someone else could have won before my turn came back around).
I went with a field upgrade as my prize. Three of us took explore on our little ships. Juliet improved her small ship's hold, while Sean increased the speed of his big ship. Everyone chose expensive advisors, so I was able to keep one, Jesus the Carpenter (puns and injokes abounded in advisor naming. The Renowned Explorer is Foxglove, after a stalker-creep in our Pathfinder campaign; Frank Lloyd is the renowned builder; Mervyn the Savage (a boy named Sue situation); John "Danger" Smith the advanced scout; Simon Milligan the Alchemist; and of course George the foreman)
First game and first box spoilers:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
And oh man, was I glad I had not claimed the milestone when the box opened and new title cards came out with a catch up mechanic. At the start of the next game, I'd be dealing out an enmity marker to everyone except Carrie. And everyone else would get some extra gold or reputation or luck- I had read this at first as they'd get all three, then realized it was one for every 5 points- that second milestone would have given everyone two boosts!
In the category of you can't plan for these things- Dune Isle continued to be the only source of spice. Lawbreaker Isle was where we first heard of the Pirate King. Oh, and I got to be his target when he showed. I was disappointed that I couldn't roll worse for him, as at that stage, the glory for his defeat would have won me the game.
The group felt we could have used just a note saying which were the research and which were the uncharted water cards, but we figured it out. the new advisors were welcome, as we'd named just about everyone. And new islands were very important; if we hadn't opened this box, there wasn't going to be much exploring in game 2.
Giddy over the new box, and just having had fun playing through a full game (and in less time than the prologue), we schedule game 2 for the next day. I got off to a bad start and paid the price prince by losing ties in several situations. I did recover some momentum, but I had to set aside larger ambitions to snag some glory. I ended up in last place, but tied for second overall (I had realized depending who won, it was possible I could lose the game and still have a lead on overall glory). Sean and Becky were the dominant forces here, each claiming a milestone, but Sean's attempted raid to get his last glory failed, and Becky took victory.
I am impressed with the tight bound on scores. Becky had soured on Risk Legacy in part because she hadn't won a game in 6 times playing (no one had won more than a single game, but 6 losses was damaging). Here, even though Juliet has lost both games, she could win #3 and might be propelled to the top of the glory chart. This could change in future games, but so far no one seems out of the running.
Becky increased her reputation. Everyone increased the sail value of the slow ship, except Sean (having already done that) who increased its explore value.
Spoilers for Game 2
Spoiler (click to reveal)
The enmity I handed out was worrying, and actually the reason for my bad start. I had figured I could probably get it back at the end- with Lucky providing extra tokens, I figured I could roll enough successes. But, in the first set of advisors was the Thief, giving +2 Tax and the ability to take the money from the vault of someone you're at war with. Juliet snatched her right up and used her on me- my 10 gold dropped to 5. My plans to buy and sell 2 resources early were thwarted as I could only buy one- and the starting resources were being collected fast. Juliet went aggressive on exploring, finding two islands beyond the edge of known territory. I was able to get one island as my last action of the game.
Sean went on a building streak, grabbing The Continent Awakens. Hating him a bit for getting two milestone bonuses now (I did profit from mine, getting to draw an extra research card- I combined that with the Historian, drawing four cards and keeping two). Early on, I had the opportunity to grab The Sea's Embrace, when Carrie sailed two very damaged ships nearby, but I didn't want that bad karma- sinking a ship was not going to help me avoid placing permanent enmity. It would be Becky later on who took it, savaging one of Juliet's ships and taking plunder- resulting in four permanent enmity (Sean had tried and failed to claim the milestone). The attack happened at the near island, Kraken Point, where ships of 3 or 4 nations had gathered. So of course, next round the Ghost Ship emerged- we scattered, but the equal distance we sat meant I became the target by virtue of highest title.
Going into game 3, we have two milestones left, both unlocks. Juliet has her sights set on sell 4 of the same resource- if she can get the right advisor. I hope she or someone succeeds, as I suspect this will give us colonies- which I know nothing beyond what the rules say.
And the point spread is such, Juliet comes up 1 point shy of getting a second starting bonus.
Overall, we're having a good time. Some rules confusion, and it seems like the rule book could be better organized. We're contemplating buying a second box and running another campaign after we finish. Or I'm hoping for a Seafall: Season 2.
Hey there, i enjoyed reading your session report, but dont see any further stories about your group. Did your group continue to play? I'd love to hear more how your group played... my group of 4 seems to have a similar dynamic. Relatively tight scores, a different winner each of first 3 games.
Just curious... hope to hear some more of your adventures!