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Subject: Stupid Game 8 (Box 5 unlocked) [spoilers tagged] rss

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Eric Penn
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I’m writing this session report over week after our game and we’ve had another session since then. Also, this session was our longest yet. Despite being only nine turns total, this session went on for nearly four hours! I am trying to remember all of the events, but this one may be light on detail due to the intervening time and my fatigue at the end of the game. Sorry about that! Note this is a continuation of our 5-player playthrough. Links to the prior session reports are:
first session
second/third session
fourth session
fifth session
sixth session
seventh session

This report will contain spoilers, but I will try to tag anything that would affect a first-time playthrough. Having said that, at this point the vast majority of the gameplay deals with spoilers in one form or another. Pretty much any discussion of strategy is going to venture into spoiler territory, so un-spoilered text here might be pretty minimal.

Our group played through Pandemic Legacy with five players - we had our normal group of four, but whenever one player couldn't make a session, we had a dedicated "filler" player who would rotate in and out. It was with this dedicated group of five that we are playing Seafall. I’m going to refer to players by their province color rather than Rank. While it’s mostly easy for me to keep track of who is who, for that sake of the reader, I think the colors will help track who is winning and who is falling behind.

Our players, in order from lowest to highest scores at the outset of the game:
- The Merchant, who will be known by this title. He was playing as the Lord in this game, and seems to be happy to be the “first” player.
- The PURPLE Baron, who is starting to catch his style of play.
- The BLUE Count, who not only seems to the worst luck possible, but also appears to be the favored punching bag of the RED player.
- The GREEN Duke (me) – and the majority of my commentary will focus on my personal strategies and experiences.
- The RED Prince, who seems to be solidifying his military presence (which could be a problem moving forward).

Going into this game session, there was only one “unlock” milestone on the board:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
”Whispers Made Real”, which required the “Ornate Chart” to accomplish. While I owned the exploration colony in the far seas and it was still within reach of one final column, I felt like there were too many research cards in the deck to make that a priority this game. And to make matters worse, the BLUE player (to my right), with the help of several Advisors, was focused almost entirely on exploration and research. I was only three (3) points behind the RED leader and my goal was to widen that gap to exactly 5 points. As such I planned on completely soft-pedaling this game.
(Un)fortunately, my ambition didn’t allow me to completely throw the game, and there was a late-game surprise upset.

At the start of the game,
Spoiler (click to reveal)
the large amount of enmity on Patmos
made it impossible for most players to buy or raid. This affected everyone to varying degrees.

Our Lord Merchant
Spoiler (click to reveal)
only has one enmity sticker on the entire map (and it isn't on Patmos!)
so he was least affected. He set out to start his financial empire,
Spoiler (click to reveal)
using his startup bonus cash as a bootstap
but ill-timed demands for gold and goods from the Pirate King slowed his progress immensely. Despite this, he quickly amassed a pretty significant amount of gold. Rather than cashing it all in for glory, he started doing calculations based on the projected winner’s score and his “goal”
Spoiler (click to reveal)
of having a specific number of starting bonuses in the next session.
He only purchased treasures that would put him exactly where he wanted to be and no further ahead. Every time someone other than his predicted winner would score a point, he would re-calculate his “allowable” score. And if he had already exceeded that amount he would wheedle and cajole other players into scoring more to put him back on track. Aside from this questionable “alternate” gameplay strategy, he continued buying and selling goods as per his normal strategy.

The PURPLE Baron was also almost completely unaffected
Spoiler (click to reveal)
as he already had up to four enmity on almost every island already (from prior “adventures” – mostly from over-use of the Thug advisor) and the enmity on Patmos was dwarfed by various island's native’s hatred of him.
Still, he was able to maintain his normal gameplay strategy of buying (albeit at a slower rate than the Lord Merchant) and translating this into buildings and colonies. He quickly built
Spoiler (click to reveal)
the building that allowed him to hire Patmos advisors from afar.


As mentioned above, the BLUE Count seemed to be entirely focused on research and exploration, specifically
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Tombs.
Alas, the curse of Bad Luck still weighed heavy on him and his three
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Tomb forays resulted in: he sank in the attempt; he gained some (small) amount of gold and nothing else; and in his final try, he actually found the game’s first Relic!
Of course, almost imediately afterwards, he received damage to his hold and
Spoiler (click to reveal)
the Relic was “lost” to the seas.
In the meantime, he was hiring every Explorer’s Guild advisor that appeared in the forum! This was exceedingly frustrating to me, as I was seated to his left and he was taking all of the advisors that I was looking at. By the end of the game, he had both Archeologists, plus the Explorer’s Patron and the Renowned Explorer advisors! (So, maybe his luck was not so bad after all.) As a result, on any turn where he could not explore, he was researching. He probably performed the research action at least four times during the course of the game. Due to his continual actions using beneficial advisors, BLUE found, not one, but two
Spoiler (click to reveal)
of the special two-part maps
and was able to use both of them in this game, resulting in
Spoiler (click to reveal)
gaining a 7-box upgrade to his raiding; a 7-box upgrade to his exploration; and the destruction of an iron market on an island owned by the RED player. And, of course, he applied both upgrades to the same ship.
Due to all of these shenanigans, BLUE was holding a healthy Glory lead in this session.

GREEN (me) went into the game with the strategy of exploring the few still available spaces on far-flung islands, and do some minor research on the side. But since my BLUE opponent was stopping me from doing any of that (by taking all of the advisors), my options become much more limited. I did have one decent advisor (The Captain), who had
Spoiler (click to reveal)
been upgraded to an overall explore bonus of +5, which is not shabby!
But she was only one advisor. Luckily, I was able to pick up “throwaway” advisor that allowed me to refresh any advisor in my council chambers, so I was able to leverage her twice in one year. Between those successes and investing in a couple of structures and upgrades, I stayed in competition. I was still far behind everyone else, which was fine. Until…

Around the sixth turn, I realized that BLUE had almost completely cycled the research deck. On a whim, I used my appellation to perform all three Explorer’s guild actions and did some research (in addition to exploring). And, of course, I pulled the
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Ornate chart! (Interestingly, I also pulled the second half of the specific “two-part” chart that the RED player was hunting for. I think he was far more upset that I dumped that one – rather than putting it in my Treasure Vault where it could later be raided away – than he was that I’d basically completed a milestone. On my next turn, I went to the last column where my colony had +Exploration influence and used the chart, and unlocked Box 5.


The ensuing chaos was worth it. It catapulted me from dead-last (in terms of Glory) to second in the session, and only behind BLUE by one point. If the game had ended right then, that would have been ideal for me. But it didn’t and it wasn’t.

The RED Prince was soft-pedaling on his usual hit-and-run strategy. Instead, he was mustering forces for a dedicated run at
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Ker.
And after some maneuvering, upgrades, advisor selection and travel time (his slowest ship only has a sail value of three) he mounted an all-out assault on the colony. Armed with a stunning 21 dice, minus the defensive values, he still had an almost certain victory. And indeed, he was victorious! This may have been why he was so non-plussed when I
Spoiler (click to reveal)
discovered the Ornate chart – he was already eyeing Ker. In fact, if memory serves, I believe he captured Ker on the same turn that I discovered Arados.
This pushed him up to the same score as me. So our top three players RED, GREEN and BLUE were far ahead of everyone else and any of us could win in a turn or two. This game our Lord Merchant fits as he was trying to reconcile how many points to gain based on a nearly 10 point campaign spread.

As it turned out, BLUE got there first… but not last.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
With Arados out of the bag, all players began interrogating their advisors, with all of them coming up blank. We actually began to wonder if the “Light of Truth” was a gag gimmick that had no real effect.
The game was winding down, I’d done as much as I had hoped (and far more), and there was a
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Patmos Advisor in the forum that would allow me to reclaim two enmity form the table. I sailed to Patmos and hired him (at great cost – 12 gold after the penalty for my 4 Patmos enmity). On my next turn, I interrogated him with ill effect: (Double spoilers here because even players who have reached this point may not have revealed this particular advisor’s “ability” yet!)
Spoiler (click to reveal)
He was immediately dismissed and I was unable to use his "end of turn" ability to reclaim enmity. I paid 12 gold for him and got nothing for it!
Still, this did confirm that sometimes the “Light of Truth” had some effect.


The PURPLE Baron had also hired a
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Patmos Advisor, and upon interrogating him, was forced to DESTROY the card. Apparently Arados infiltrators are skittish and/or suicidal!


Immediately following that fiasco, BLUE gained the victory points needed to win the game. With one final turn remaining, I launched a suicidal raid against the Lord Merchant’s colony. This was not “suicidal” in that it was a Hail Mary last-ditch effort. No, instead it was suicidal in that I had literally ZERO chance to succeed. My flagship has a native raid value of two, and was suffering from a damage card that gave it -2 to Raid. Taking into account the emnity stickers on his province, I would need to deduct 5 more dice from that. And then the defensive values of the colony would take effect, reducing the number even further. So in essence, I was rolling zero dice, was guaranteed to take at least eight damage. We didn’t even pull the cards and just sank the ship. Which had an upgrade. So, I dropped two points. (I did this on purpose to maintain an appropriate deficit.)

But the RED Prince was sneaky and used his final turn in a completely different way. Not only was what he did amazing (for him) but it was also devastating (for me). He
Spoiler (click to reveal)
interrogated a throwaway advisor (for one point), bought a final structure (for a second point), but the structure immediately awarded him two point for each of his Tablet (he has two - for an additional four points). This did several things: it moved him AHEAD of the “winning” BLUE player and gave him the session victory (which he used to upgrade the farm on the always active Ker); it not only invalidated my prior point “dumping”, but since he was already in the lead it pushed me even further behind (I was going to be finishing the game slightly ahead of him, before his six point finale); and it annoyed the Lord Merchant, who could have gotten far more points based on the already leading player winning (again).


RULES QUESTION
Was my deliberate sinking of my own ship legal? (For reference, this is the second time I've done this in order to position myself for the following session.) I know that a player cannot mount a raid against a site unless they have the required tokens to place. For example, if a player only has three tokens remaining, they can't even attempt to raid another player's Treasure Vault (with a raid value of 5). In this case, I had plenty of tokens, but my "attack" value (after deducting for enmity and defenses) was far less than zero. In essense: Can a player perform an endeavor that is guaranteed to fail (and sink their flagship)?

This session was our longest one yet and I sincerely hope we do not have a repeat of this length. For me, the game dragged on and on and never seemed to go anywhere. The first few hours were pretty unexciting and while there was a mid-game pickup with
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Arados and Ker
the final turn was personally distressing. Seeing my well-crafted plan fall apart unexpectedly was not a fun time. I can only hope to make it up next session.

Our next session was scheduled for one week later, and actually has already occurred.
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Becq
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Re: Game 8 (Box 5 unlocked) [spoilers tagged]
TheRealStupid wrote:
RULES QUESTION
Was my deliberate sinking of my own ship legal? (For reference, this is the second time I've done this in order to position myself for the following session.) I know that a player cannot mount a raid against a site unless they have the required tokens to place. For example, if a player only has three tokens remaining, they can't even attempt to raid another player's Treasure Vault (with a raid value of 5). In this case, I had plenty of tokens, but my "attack" value (after deducting for enmity and defenses) was far less than zero. In essense: Can a player perform an endeavor that is guaranteed to fail (and sink their flagship)?

Sure! As you pointed out, you do need to have the enmity to pay for a successful rad (even if there's no chance of success), but there are no rules to say that you can't attempt an action that is doomed to fail. One popular reason to do this is to dead-a-port your crippled ship home for repair in the middle of the game. Another is to gain a better position for the next game ... though deliberately sacrificing victory points for a few more gold doesn't sound like a winning strategy to me. (Though on the plus side, it sounds like your strategy paid off double, increasing your benefit by another multiple! Woot!)

Regardless, good luck on your next game! (Which ... has been completed?)
 
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DJ Johnson
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Re: Game 8 (Box 5 unlocked) [spoilers tagged]
I really had to read this one twice. Your recall is excellent, but with both of the last two sessions in my head and my aloofness towards the actions of the other players during this game
Spoiler (click to reveal)
(due to that focus on Ker)
it took me a moment to recall the series of events in the proper order.

It does seem that the last turn usually plays out similarly for us. Since the Lord Merchants actions early on don't score points (which he makes up for with treasure later, of course) he almost always is the first player in the second year, meaning I usually go last. I can see where Purple and Grey must often feel cheated, but the board does tend to change much by the time my turn comes around.

My politicking this game was limited to
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Shouldn't we all come together and destroy that so called Emperor? How dare he tell us not to swindle and raid his people! I'm the one with the tools, and-


at which point the Blue Count made it clear he wasn't really interested in speeches. . The idea was the other players could expect to have a free hand as long as they didn't interfere with the 'important' objective for all of the provinces.

Purple and I even discussed when he expected to win, and I was pleased he didn't anticipate ruining my raid on ***. I wouldn't expect my friend to sacrifice a win for me, but I was willing to call him a traitor for standing in the way of my very patriotic goal. We were even chummy enough that I let him watch the fort at St. Rebecca, which meant he was going to swing by to buy up all the spice, then sell it all right back. Sadly blue snuck in and somehow
Spoiler (click to reveal)
summoned a demon that destroyed the iron market? Accounts vary, but I was both intrigued and disheartened I wasn't coming 'home' to investigate unntil I mounted some imperial heads on spikes. The game ended in the first turn on year 2, so we had the 'Sympathy' event twice in a row, which prevented me from using my 'Soldier's Patron' adviser.



My only difference in perspective came from the throwaway adviser.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
It was Maison Depot, the renowned builder. Since two players had lost their people to interrogations, I was reluctant. However I made it clear that while it was a risk, I was willing to take it to steal the carpet under blue. He had just won the last game, and I wanted everyone to do well (as long as I'm still winning) I was willing to stretch out our rivalry a little longer. Plus the guy summons a demon in my iron market? Get your own colony . Luckily it paid off.


Historically I think this game will be known for the epic amount of taxation most of us did than anything else.
 
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Eric Penn
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Re: Game 8 (Box 5 unlocked) [spoilers tagged]
Becq wrote:
(Though on the plus side, it sounds like your strategy paid off double, increasing your benefit by another multiple! Woot!)

Regardless, good luck on your next game! (Which ... has been completed?)
Yeah, the next game session report should be posted tomorrow. I was (and still am) a bit grumpy about how it went, but that's just me and my sour grapes.

Dustinjjohnson wrote:
Historically I think this game will be known for the epic amount of taxation most of us did than anything else.
I don't think I mentioned that in my writeup! I know that I alone taxed four times in the eight or nine turns we played. I am pretty sure the everyone else (with the exception of the Lord Merchant) taxed at least once or twice as well. It was a very tax-ing game session for sure! (In more ways than one.)
 
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