Jennie Mattila

Minnesota
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I liked it. I want to play again. Sometimes it was work instead of fun but it was engaging and immersive. If you don't like tactics and strategy this is not the game for you. It makes Pandemic look like Yahtzee.

I have used BGG for reviews and suggestions for years, but this *this* "game" has created so many mixed emotions for me, that I have to share. Since this is a legacy game, it grows, it changes, but more, it grows under your skin, too.

I could not play this game two days in a row. But when I was ready to play again, I practically needed it. I had a new idea for my strategy! I had a goal and a plan! And nothing ever went according to plan, not once. You see the game has its own agenda, too. So even a two player game is like three players because the game is playing you.

The game lists as being for 3-5 players but my wife and I played, just the two of us. We reviewed the rules and looked over the game board. First, you choose a province that you are the leader of. Then you get the two ships that are the color to match your personal board. This game takes up a huge amount of table space. The board is big, each player gets a small board, everything you need to play with doesn't go on your boards but need to fit around them and there is another small board that is where you place more pieces that you will need throughout. We actually bought a bigger game table because our portable 4" long one was too small. (OK so I wanted a bigger table anyway, but still, it was needed.)

I read the province descriptions and went with the one I thought sounded best. When I play again (which I will, we just ordered a second one), I will pick by color instead. Also, you might want to brush up on names of people and places - not specific things, just ones you like because you name A LOT of people and places in the very beginning.

The goal is to get glory. Glory is simply points that you earn by completing certain actions. Raid, Explore, Build/Upgrade, meet a milestone challenge: glory, glory, glory/glory, extra glory!

We used other reviews/advice that we had seen and decided how directly oppositional we wanted to be. This may have saved our marriage. We played as allies of convenience as opposed to cutthroat and that may have changed our view of the game as a whole. We did not play cooperatively, though. We also boosted up the glory we needed to hit before ending the game for the night. Turned out that setting the glory goal didn't really matter for us because we extended the game based on where we were and where we wanted to be. In other words, we kept playing epic long games because we had goals and the time to do so.

The game begins as an adventure. There is a treasure map in the Captain's Booke and you have entries to read with many choose your own adventure choices.

Roll the dice.

As you go through, you open boxes and unlock new rules, stickers, things.

The game takes a turn to being more of a goal oriented game (you are playing a province). Then there are more twists and turns. And the game becomes more of what you make it based on your own style. I am more "roll the dice let's see what happens" and my wife is more of the strategy, accumulating type. Both types have different advantages in each game but there are different times when the favor of the game definitely leans each way.

I very much liked some aspects of the game. I was very frustrated with my luck in many cases. There was some definite lag in some of our games while one person played their turn and the other person gave up waiting and picked up Candy Crush (ok, so that was me, I might not be the most patient person).

I really appreciated the things that were done to balance out the game. Just because you won, the other player(s) get something good. Not enough to make you want to lose but enough to keep you guessing as to who would win over all.

All in all I did like the game and got to the last game and said but, I finally really know what I am doing why is it over? We ordered a second game so we can play from the beginning again. It was worth every $ per hour that we put into it but the game is 1000% not really replayable after it is OVER.
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Darren Nakamura
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jennielyn wrote:
it grows under your skin, too.


This has been my experience with it. When I'm playing it, I'm having an all right time, largely spent waiting for other people to do their things. When I'm not playing it, I'm thinking about it and what I plan to do next time. I'm always looking forward to playing again, even if my time playing isn't the best it could be.
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Nathanaƫl Dufour
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jennielyn wrote:
It was worth every $ per hour that we put into it but the game is 1000% not really replayable after it is OVER.


You mean the campaign, right ? The actual game is perfectly playable once you've finished the campaign and the epilogue.
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Scott Douglass
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jennielyn wrote:
If you don't like tactics and strategy this is not the game for you. It makes Pandemic look like Yahtzee.


That wasn't my experience with Seafall at all. While there is room for strategy and tactics, I found Seafall far too random.
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sdougla2 wrote:
jennielyn wrote:
If you don't like tactics and strategy this is not the game for you. It makes Pandemic look like Yahtzee.


That wasn't my experience with Seafall at all. While there is room for strategy and tactics, I found Seafall far too random.


I think one of the things that makes Seafall so polarizing is that both of these things are true.

Most things in the game involve randomness of some sort. Personally, I found that almost all of the random aspects had enough inferable information, and there were enough ways of manipulating the relevant odds. But they are still non-deterministic, and if you aren't ok with things going dramatically right or wrong every now and then this game may not be for you.

On the other hand, it's not a game where you can just coast through on luck. In my first campaign, games were usually over in 6-8 turns. There was absolutely no room for wasted actions. In the games where I didn't carefully think out a plan beforehand, I didn't do very well. On games where I miscalculated by a couple gold, I didn't do very well. So, if you don't like careful tactics, this may not be a game for you.

I think there are a lot of people who like one of those things and not the other.
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Scott Douglass
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Sure, you need some strategic thinking in Seafall, but the problem with the randomness stems more from the random rewards and opportunities than anything else. I don't mind the planning aspect, and while it's not my favorite thing, I can tolerate taking risks (on endeavors for example) and having some of them turn out suboptimally.

However, I have significant issues with the rules, the reward structure, the campaign balance, the guild balance, the story, the pacing, and quite a few of the mechanics. The campaign balances is predicated on certain rewards being spread out between the players, for example, and having a runaway leader in a campaign game like Seafall is much worse than having one in a normal 2 hour strategy game.
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BLW
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There are lots of different kinds of random in Seafall. Random card draws. Random die rolls. Random rewards.

The die rolls are the most mathematically tractable. Sure, it's a risk, but you can compute and improve the odds.

The random rewards are not from a well defined, known distribution like the dice. But there are patterns to learn, and there's a fair bit that we deduced successfully throughout the campaign. But I think this is perhaps a rarer thing to enjoy. It's a very different way of doing things than most other games that also require strategy.
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Jennie Mattila

Minnesota
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My apologies...yes, the campaign is not replayable. There are rules and ways to replay games after the campaign has ended. But, we chose not to and bought a second one instead, because, well, for me it *is* more enjoyable as a growing legacy campaign.
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Lynn
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sdougla2 wrote:
Sure, you need some strategic thinking in Seafall, but the problem with the randomness stems more from the random rewards and opportunities than anything else. I don't mind the planning aspect, and while it's not my favorite thing, I can tolerate taking risks (on endeavors for example) and having some of them turn out suboptimally.

However, I have significant issues with the rules, the reward structure, the campaign balance, the guild balance, the story, the pacing, and quite a few of the mechanics. The campaign balances is predicated on certain rewards being spread out between the players, for example, and having a runaway leader in a campaign game like Seafall is much worse than having one in a normal 2 hour strategy game.


Run away leaders can be a thing in this game. With two people, we found in later games grabbing milestones among two players playing in the method of diplomatic posturing (vs out and out warfare) led to situations where a crazy point lead was possible for one player, but the other player had a good chunk of the milestones. In the end, I couldn't catch up in point totals to be crowned emperor (or really Empress as my wife demands to be called in our daily life now *grins*) by the time I realized that the point gap really did matter. More than once I eyed some things in her treasure room and seriously considered if it was worth possibly damaging our marriage over what was there by raiding it, but ultimately, I left it be. I doubt the "you sunk my ship here" would have been enough to save the epic fight that would have occurred otherwise. ;)

I disliked the random dice roll aspect. I had a tendency to amass my upgrades, and get the council members I wanted, before going after things that would do significant damage to myself. This cautious approach was enhanced in a really ugly way by the horrible die rolls I had leading to my ships sinking with alarming regularity. Twice I lost horrifically points wise simply because I sunk just after the first winter, leaving me unable to gain enough of a foothold back on the game to catch up points wise. I know now I should have just cut my losses and gone for grabbing glory rather than trying to accomplish my goals, and I made a few other really horrible tactical decisions early game that screwed up my ability to recover and be flexible in the future games. Full disclosure, I'd missed the rule that said your exhausted ship upgrades can be repaired with a repair action. When we started Seafall, I was having larger memory issues and I completely had this rule wrong and was only refreshing them in the winter. The entire campaign was over when we realized we had the rule wrong the ENTIRE CAMPAIGN. This alone would have really changed a lot of the way the game played for us, and led to my new vow to reread the rules at least every other time we play!

Despite all this- I loved this game! I'd really like to play it twice more ultimately:

~Once with my wife and I as the Coexisting diplomacy driven campaign as we played it this time, simply to see how everything unfolds this time!

~Once with 3-5 people as an all out raiding and exploring endeavor with a bloodthirsty goal to be the most cutthroat emperor that ever lived!

As for the replayability portion of the game, yes, you can play the various ways it suggests at the end of the game, and I can see for some people why this would be really amazing! For my wife and I, replaying the game at it's current state doesn't sound like as much fun. Now, part of this is we played it two player for a game stated to be 3-5 players, but part of it goes deeper for me...

Spoilers for the entire game under this tag- don't look if you don't want to be spoiled!

Spoiler (click to reveal)
We completed everything already. Every Island site has been explored and sticker-ed, and every other statement I can make about this could be a spoiler so...

To follow up on this, and it includes spoilers for the final game state, and additional things that you may not have reached if you haven't completed everything, so read at your own risk....

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Every milestone, including the special ones for the end of the game, have been claimed. Every relic is held by one of us, every tablet is in our treasure rooms, there are 3 research cards not held by one of us, and we have no enmity left anywhere on the board except one we're still arguing over. Sailing and collecting glory just doesn't sound fun unless you're going to raid each other, and that would only be fun for my wife and I if we really want a reason to be mad at each other and create an arms race of truly terrible proportions. Neither one of us likes to lose, and both of us are particularly vengeful in a truly frighten way when we choose to make that occur.

Spoilers for the game that ended the campaign:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The assault on Hell was easy with two players. While the penalties incurred by the special event deck were frustrating, for the most part they were things that were easily worked against. She had a massive stack of fortune tokens moving into the point that she could make the run on hell, and I could have done it the moment I got my first seal (silver), with a pretty solid odds of making it. She probably could have done it by turn 7 of the game. Ultimately, I went to discover the secrets of the silver statue, find the last relic, recover a lost relic, and obtain the gold seal before I was ready to end the game. I was also trying very hard to catch up on the glory totals. She beat me to the entire thing by literally one turn, jumping through a portal to slam down a raid and seal hell. Anticlimactic wasn't even the term for it. She made the goal before she even finished rolling half of her dice. Doing it all over again, for us it would be possible to win and seal hell before the first winter. That's not really fun.


So, we have a second copy of the game ready to go and play again! I'm looking forward to it so much, I actually sort of wish we'd already started!





All hail the glory of the Empire!



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Charles Waterman
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"I very much liked some aspects of the game. I was very frustrated with my luck in many cases. There was some definite lag in some of our games while one person played their turn and the other person gave up waiting and picked up Candy Crush (ok, so that was me, I might not be the most patient person)."

I think you're a lot more likely to have that in a two player game, although we had a five minute timer for each player's turn in our 5 player game. It takes a lot of time to plan your moves, so having more people in between gives you some of that time.
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