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Subject: Thinking hard about backing reprint – Have a few specific questions rss

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B K
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Thinking about buying and have read a number of reviews and seen a couple of walkthroughs. Still have a few questions that would help me solidify my decision if others have specific thoughts on any of the below questions:

• How long is a successfully completed game? I gather a winning game is 10 – 20 hours depending on the curse you attempt to complete. Is that reasonably accurate? I have also gathered it is easy to leave an in-process game and come back to finish. If anyone disagrees, would be good to hear.

• How much do (i) luck, (ii) skill (including luck mitigation and logical thinking) and (iii) precognition/repeated plays factor into winning or losing. I personally don’t mind luck based games at all, just think a heavy luck-based game is better short and am therefore somewhat concerned about losing 10 hours to luck effects with minimal mitigation opportunities. Similarly, how much precognition is needed in the choices – meaning choices like “Do you take the red or blue pill” where logic and skill have no direct impact and its completely luck on playthrough 1 and then on subsequent playthroughs you are just executing the “learned” choices. As a basis of comparison, Robinson Crusoe is one of my favorite games, because, while there is luck involved, smart mitigation decisions are very important, and while subsequent playthroughs are necessary (for most), its more about learning and developing an appropriate strategy and tactics vs. take the red pill when this card is drawn and then turn right when this card is drawn, etc.

• If skill is a primary or significant part of the equation of the game, what are the skills and mechanics that drive winning? It seems like resource management is the most obvious. How crucial is this and what other decision making elements factor into the game? I like the choose-your-own-adventure element conceptually. I am very concerned, however, this will not hold up for 10+ hour games if there is nothing else interesting built around the game (strong resource management engine, etc.)

• How does the story play out in subsequent playthroughs? Specifically I am concerned that the game is designed to play and lose many times and wonder if the story becomes stale after one or two playthroughs. As far as story goes, are there significantly randomized elements or can you mostly follow the same story path each playthrough if you make the same choices at each location?

I very much appreciate any input on one or more of these questions that others can offer. This is a very interesting game that I have not yet pinned down completely how good it will fit my interests.
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bk375 wrote:

• How long is a successfully completed game? I gather a winning game is 10 – 20 hours depending on the curse you attempt to complete. Is that reasonably accurate? I have also gathered it is easy to leave an in-process game and come back to finish.


10-20 seems to be a good range for completing the recommended 1st curse, over multiple plays. It took us 3 attempts and about 25 hours as a 2 player team.

It is very easy to stop your progress and return to it at a later time. The most time will be spent sorting out the discarded cards into the boxes, but you can do that at any point between the time you end the current game and start the next.

bk375 wrote:

• How much do (i) luck, (ii) skill (including luck mitigation and logical thinking) and (iii) precognition/repeated plays factor into winning or losing.


There are some elements that are consistent, and knowing about them in advance does help. There are other times when results are randomized and you might know the possible outcomes, but not which one will happen. And then there are times where you won't be able to predict the results at all and just have to hope for the best.

The entire mechanic of the action deck is about pushing your luck/mitigating the cost of actions. Each action has a defined chance of success. You know the odds of success (roughly) and choose what limited resources you will use to make it more favorable. In most cases you know the outcome of success and failure, and can weigh those outcomes against the potential cost. Sometimes you can guarantee success (at a cost), sometimes you have to get lucky.

bk375 wrote:

• If skill is a primary or significant part of the equation of the game, what are the skills and mechanics that drive winning? It seems like resource management is the most obvious. How crucial is this and what other decision making elements factor into the game? I like the choose-your-own-adventure element conceptually. I am very concerned, however, this will not hold up for 10+ hour games if there is nothing else interesting built around the game (strong resource management engine, etc.)


The game is an optimization puzzle. So being able to plan and organize events is critical. Even when you know exactly where to go and what to do, there is still a tension in being able to get there with as few actions as possible.

You are always in a situation where you want to use as few cards as possible to do as much as possible, so being patient, and considering all the options and the order in which you take those actions is probably the most important strategy.

After that, I would say that paying attention to visual and narrative clues can be a big help.

bk375 wrote:

• How does the story play out in subsequent playthroughs? Specifically I am concerned that the game is designed to play and lose many times and wonder if the story becomes stale after one or two playthroughs. As far as story goes, are there significantly randomized elements or can you mostly follow the same story path each playthrough if you make the same choices at each location?


This is probably the most impressive thing about this game to me personally. We played one curse, and saw a lot of the continent. When we played the second curse, we started someplace else, and our objectives were different but we were going through the same terrain. However, because our objectives changed, what was unimportant in the last game was suddenly relevant. And while we knew some of the layout of the terrain, we hadn't absorbed ALL of the many small details of every card, so we had to go and explore again, this time looking for different things.

The banner mechanic also acts as a lock and key to certain content, so you can ONLY experience it if you are on that specific mission.

I hope that helps!
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bk375 wrote:

Thinking about buying and have read a number of reviews and seen a couple of walkthroughs. Still have a few questions that would help me solidify my decision if others have specific thoughts on any of the below questions:

• How long is a successfully completed game? I gather a winning game is 10 – 20 hours depending on the curse you attempt to complete. Is that reasonably accurate? I have also gathered it is easy to leave an in-process game and come back to finish. If anyone disagrees, would be good to hear.


Yes, I would say 10-20 hrs is a good estimate of how long a winning run through the first curse is. I think subsequent curses go a little faster assuming you know your way around better... but don't discount the learning curve if you play by the rules as written (meaning a death = start from the beginning again). It took me about 60 hrs to finally beat the first curse... but I was enthralled the whole time, so it's not necessarily a bad thing. There are some threads going around with proposed variants to handle the difficulty of starting over from scratch and losing 10 hrs of progress so there are certainly options to remove the issue if it's a deal breaker.

bk375 wrote:

• How much do (i) luck, (ii) skill (including luck mitigation and logical thinking) and (iii) precognition/repeated plays factor into winning or losing. I personally don’t mind luck based games at all, just think a heavy luck-based game is better short and am therefore somewhat concerned about losing 10 hours to luck effects with minimal mitigation opportunities. Similarly, how much precognition is needed in the choices – meaning choices like “Do you take the red or blue pill” where logic and skill have no direct impact and its completely luck on playthrough 1 and then on subsequent playthroughs you are just executing the “learned” choices. As a basis of comparison, Robinson Crusoe is one of my favorite games, because, while there is luck involved, smart mitigation decisions are very important, and while subsequent playthroughs are necessary (for most), its more about learning and developing an appropriate strategy and tactics vs. take the red pill when this card is drawn and then turn right when this card is drawn, etc.


Luck is everywhere! But there are very few luck-based situations that will sink or swim your whole game. Exploration involves flipping over an Exploration card. There is a deck of those for each region/area in the game and some are good, some are bad, but none of them are debilitating. You could attempt the same portion of the game and have very different experiences, so a lucky run would have you acquiring useful items or food more often and an unlucky run could see you failing tests and taking state cards (e.g. tired or injured). But no single card flip is going to end your game by itself. Where luck really comes into winning or losing is hunt/fish results. When you are low on life and spend most of your remaining Action cards to get to a hunting spot and desperately throw everything you've got at a hunt in hopes of scoring some food, sometimes you get a lousy draw and don't get any food or get a single food card or get a card that is too difficult for your to overcome so the elusive food just never comes to rescue you. Maybe it doesn't happen in a single hunt, but maybe you try 2 hunts in a row and the second one is dreadful whereas one different card in those results could have made all the difference and you'd be back to a full deck. This is where luck can really help or hurt you...

BUT with all of this, you can mitigate. You can plan ahead and reduce the risk of bad luck. You can play conservatively and fast and loose. You can control the likelihood of these random events to really hurt your chances of winning/dying. If you are risk adverse, you just go more cautiously and rest/eat more often.

As for red pill / blue pill, this definitely exists. There are places you'll want to go and others you'll want to avoid. There are some cards with tests that once you know the answer you don't need to think about, but these are relatively rare... and they add to the adventure the first few times through. Again, it's not like a card say pick A or B and the wrong answer kills you. It's just better to choose the right answer. From what I've seen, the only way to really die in this game is for your deck to run out and then be drawing from your discards and pull a curse card. There are 5 curse cards in the deck and you can run some numbers to figure out the odds, but if your starting deck is at least 45 cards and 10-20 of those end up in your inventory or hand... you've still got a good amount of cards to work with. Sure, a single bad event could be the card that has you drawing from the discards and pull a curse... but you'll have made a ton of decisions leading up to that single event that were equally the cause of your death.

bk375 wrote:

• If skill is a primary or significant part of the equation of the game, what are the skills and mechanics that drive winning? It seems like resource management is the most obvious. How crucial is this and what other decision making elements factor into the game? I like the choose-your-own-adventure element conceptually. I am very concerned, however, this will not hold up for 10+ hour games if there is nothing else interesting built around the game (strong resource management engine, etc.)


Resource Management is key. There are some strategic shortcuts you can learn as far as managing your fires and reducing movement costs... there are some combos you can try to set up and pull off between various cards, but mostly you are just managing your Action Deck, Inventory and Skill cards to be as efficient as possible in navigating the world.

I will admit that once you've discovered most of the map, the exploration part of the game is less exciting. What was a bright shiny thing during the Voracious Goddess curse is a bit duller and more mundane in the subsequent curses... but then it's more about puzzle solving within a relatively known universe... so the challenge changes a bit.

But all of that said, I'm over 100 hrs into this game and if I never play it again, I've gotten more hours out of this box than 95% of the other 100+ games on my shelf. And this has been mostly solo with a new game I started with family a few weeks ago.. so I've got the potential to see the game from a 3p perspective and watch them experience all the fun twists and turns.

bk375 wrote:

• How does the story play out in subsequent playthroughs? Specifically I am concerned that the game is designed to play and lose many times and wonder if the story becomes stale after one or two playthroughs. As far as story goes, are there significantly randomized elements or can you mostly follow the same story path each playthrough if you make the same choices at each location?


The curses themselves don't provide much narrative or story. The story comes from the Adventure Cards mostly. If you are playing in a group there is certainly the opportunity to roleplay characters a bit if that interests you and that can provide more story and theme... but mostly you are weaving a tale through all the various encounters. As I said above, you can navigate the same 6 terrain tiles in the same order and have very different results. In one attempt you could step on a steam geyser and get burned, then learn about a plant that allows you to craft items more easily and then find a bamboo tube that can help with fighting and breathing underwater and then encounter some angry bees. In the other run through the same tiles, you could try to hide from a predator and succeed to gain experience or fail and get injured running away then eat some berries and get a bought of diarrhea followed by finding a shortcut that reduces movement cost from that tile or play some music to get a rare item to open..

I made up some of those things (not saying which ones), but hopefully you get the point. Before discovering a terrain tile, you'll have one of these types of encounters. And many of those involve good or bad consequences depending on how you decide to handle them... so the whole course of your game shifts and turns with every card. Also, you get to keep a card from your action card draw... so the items in your inventory will be different each time you play and how you mix and match them will lead to interesting decisions and different outcomes. For instance in one game you'll have decided to craft a raft that will help you with the rest action.. if one of those cards you revealed during Exploration requires you to get 2 successes with a rest action, you can just do that with the raft and not sweat how many cards to draw from the action deck. With no raft, maybe you draw 3 cards and only get 1 star, so now you've failed and spent 3 extra cards from the Action Deck... your game is now totally different from the other version with the raft... and so on and so on.

OK... sorry for the long winded responses... hope they help you make up your mind.
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bk375 wrote:

• How long is a successfully completed game? I gather a winning game is 10 – 20 hours depending on the curse you attempt to complete. Is that reasonably accurate? I have also gathered it is easy to leave an in-process game and come back to finish. If anyone disagrees, would be good to hear.


I'm still working through my first curse, so can't speak to the time. It is definitely easy to stop at any point, though it's usually best to make sure you've thoroughly investigated all visible locations as you will want to minimize the number of places you have to 're-explore'.

bk375 wrote:

• How much do (i) luck, (ii) skill (including luck mitigation and logical thinking) and (iii) precognition/repeated plays factor into winning or losing. I personally don’t mind luck based games at all, just think a heavy luck-based game is better short and am therefore somewhat concerned about losing 10 hours to luck effects with minimal mitigation opportunities. Similarly, how much precognition is needed in the choices – meaning choices like “Do you take the red or blue pill” where logic and skill have no direct impact and its completely luck on playthrough 1 and then on subsequent playthroughs you are just executing the “learned” choices. As a basis of comparison, Robinson Crusoe is one of my favorite games, because, while there is luck involved, smart mitigation decisions are very important, and while subsequent playthroughs are necessary (for most), its more about learning and developing an appropriate strategy and tactics vs. take the red pill when this card is drawn and then turn right when this card is drawn, etc.


I find very little of it has to do with luck. Yes, different outcomes happen, but the game is really all about risk assessment and risk mitigation. If you lose, it's due to an accumulation of mistakes over- or under-compensating for the risks of actions, and not dealing with issues like bad health states or low action deck count. It is much like Robinson Crusoe, but even more so.

Choices presented are not random or arbitrary - the success/failures are often spelled out for you right on the card, so you are most of the time really choosing how badly you want to succeed or avoid the risk of failure.

Subsequent play through helps in knowing what actions are relevant vs irrelevant to completing your curse, and where to find useful resources. It is not random like Tales of the Arabian Nights.

bk375 wrote:

• If skill is a primary or significant part of the equation of the game, what are the skills and mechanics that drive winning? It seems like resource management is the most obvious. How crucial is this and what other decision making elements factor into the game? I like the choose-your-own-adventure element conceptually. I am very concerned, however, this will not hold up for 10+ hour games if there is nothing else interesting built around the game (strong resource management engine, etc.)


It's all about risk assessment and judging how much you want or need to succeed/fail at an action.

bk375 wrote:

• How does the story play out in subsequent playthroughs? Specifically I am concerned that the game is designed to play and lose many times and wonder if the story becomes stale after one or two playthroughs. As far as story goes, are there significantly randomized elements or can you mostly follow the same story path each playthrough if you make the same choices at each location?


Over time you'll see the same story path for a curse. I hope to complete each curse in no more than 4 plays; after that I think you'll have seen a lot of the stuff related to that area of the continent. There is still a lot to explore, and it's possible to take differ routes other times you play.
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First off my favorite game is Robinson Crusoe and I think The 7th Continent is right up there with it. I've played 4 of the 7 curses and completed 2, and never on my first attempt. I think 10-20 hrs is realistic for your first curse Voracious Goddess, but much of that time will be spent going in directions or with actions that don't specifically help with the curse. If you understand the continent I would say 5-10 hours is more realistic. I thought replayabiliy would be an issue, but the game changes as your knowledge of the continent increases. There is nothing like the first time you explore something. It is crazy exciting, but after you understand things it becomes about efficiency in travel, building the right items, exploring the right places to get things to help you, knowing where to hunt/fish/sleep/etc. And so far I'm still loving it.

As far as luck/skill/precognition, the game is well though out. The worst things that can happen to you are cards that lead to "Your Adventure Ends Here", but they seem to be rare and so far I've never seen an action that lead to one that wasn't an action you knew was very dangerous or risky. If you die that way you likely will say to yourself, yeah I probably had that coming with that action. I don't think winning and losing is any more random than Robinson Crusoe. And like that game, the better you understand the game and it's mechanics you will be better at the game and mitigating all the bad things that can happen when your surviving in a brutal and unforgiving wilderness.

As for skills and mechanics, the game has a fair amount of things going on besides adventuring. You only have so much life force (cards in your action deck) so you have to be efficient with traveling, making tools/items, making informed decisions about what actions may be too risky for now, and earning advanced skill cards which improve your action deck over time. Also knowing how to best use your character specific skills and the non item cards in your action deck is important to your success or failure in the game.

The story is one of the best parts of the game by far, but it is different than I thought it would be. The story bits are woven into the cards and actions and interconnect the whole continent and all the curses together. It is not one linear story, but more like bits of flavor text and occasionally more story at important points in your curse. Everything is interesting and thematic and holds up well even when you are overlapping areas from different curses.

Bottom line for me is that this game is an amazingly unique experience and simulates adventure and survival well. It can be challenging and frustrating to survive but it's what keeps me coming back for more. If your on the fence and have the means, I'd say go for it!
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• Length: that really depends on which curse you're playing, if you're going slowly or rushing through your turn, and how many times you die and restart. 10-20hrs is a fair estimate but I also saw posts saying 25hrs or 8hrs for Voracious Goddess. But yes I agree with your estimate.

• I'm sure people will disagree on this because there is the myth that the tests are random (and it's true that sometimes you end up just 1 star short of a success and it sucks) but by and large I found that skill and preparation is key. If you are prepared (by crafting items, having useful skill cards in your hand, etc) you can make it through most tests with no problem. I've found that most of the choices are meaningful in a way, there was only one instance where I chose poorly and I think I just misunderstood the situation; otherwise, there are hints everywhere, though some are obvious and some are so subtle that you might miss them entirely and think it was all random.

• Item management is key. Build useful items working around the card limit, optimize them, etc. Puzzle solving: (this ties into luck mitigation) there are riddles and mini puzzles that you can solve to replace a challenge with an easier version or even automatically succeed. Also just simply paying attention because anything might be a hint; remembering the places you've been (or taking very good notes).

• As for replayability, the game will be mostly similar from one game to the next but it also encourages exploring and trying new things you might not have done previously. There are some things that are unpredictable (like the fog) and the expansions add some variant cards, but I don't think this game is as replayable as Robinson Crusoe. It's more like T.I.M.E Stories where once you know the solution to the puzzle there isn't much point playing again.
There isn't much story really, just a few snippets of information on the continent's inhabitants and the previous expedition, but I feel it's more for atmospheric value than to form a full narrative. (I've played all the base box curses but not the expansions yet, so this might change, but I doubt it.) Pros: each curse is a different puzzle, so even if you visit the same areas you'll do different things. Cons: visiting the same areas over and over does repetitive after 30+ hours. However I am still finding new things in those locations, so I don't hold it against the game.
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1> It depends on the curse. Some of them are longer than others. The first one seems to be the longest. I played the first cure, Voracious Goddess for 21 hours with one use of the 777 card to a loss (but was very close). When we played again with one new person we cleared the curse in 10 hours. Then when we played Icy Maze in 10 hours too.

2> The luck in 7th Continent isnt dice-roll luck, its more an unfortunate buildup. You might fail at an action that you had an 80% chance to complete, and if that action was a hunt or something wtih severe negative consequences it will be much worse than failing something simple but almost any fail is recoverable from.

3>The exploration is what sells the game. Others are complaining there's not "enough game" to it, but I'm actually pleasantly surprised by the amount of game to it. The hand/resource management is huge, and the statistics-figuring for actions, but then it all gets deeper when buying advanced actions (do you choose cards for their text or for the successes they add to your deck), and learning the card "combos" or ways to recycle cards back into your hands when you need them is huge.

4> The first curse takes you through a large portion of the island. On our 2nd time through we were still finding new places we didn't explore the first time, and plenty of new random exploration cards. On our Icy Maze playthrough, on our THIRD trip across the main part of the continent...the exploration cards and new places to check out made it completely different yet again. And there are still a few caves and passages we have NEVER explored. I'd also think that for "most" people this is different than an escape room or TIME Stories - once you beat a scenario, you CAN do it again with other people, or in the future after time has passed and it would still be fun. They aren't completely 1-and-dones.



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bk375 wrote:
• How long is a successfully completed game? I gather a winning game is 10 – 20 hours depending on the curse you attempt to complete. Is that reasonably accurate? I have also gathered it is easy to leave an in-process game and come back to finish. If anyone disagrees, would be good to hear.


It depends on how much you know the map and how much you grind food. I've been grinding food for 3 hours here. Haven't left the 3 cards area in 3 hours. The fun.

bk375 wrote:
• How much do (i) luck, (ii) skill (including luck mitigation and logical thinking) and (iii) precognition/repeated plays factor into winning or losing. I personally don’t mind luck based games at all, just think a heavy luck-based game is better short and am therefore somewhat concerned about losing 10 hours to luck effects with minimal mitigation opportunities. Similarly, how much precognition is needed in the choices – meaning choices like “Do you take the red or blue pill” where logic and skill have no direct impact and its completely luck on playthrough 1 and then on subsequent playthroughs you are just executing the “learned” choices. As a basis of comparison, Robinson Crusoe is one of my favorite games, because, while there is luck involved, smart mitigation decisions are very important, and while subsequent playthroughs are necessary (for most), its more about learning and developing an appropriate strategy and tactics vs. take the red pill when this card is drawn and then turn right when this card is drawn, etc.


Knowledge is key. Skill is important. Luck is very important in regards of successful hunts (notice the emphasis on HUNTS), successful hunt results, events and state cards.

bk375 wrote:
• If skill is a primary or significant part of the equation of the game, what are the skills and mechanics that drive winning? It seems like resource management is the most obvious. How crucial is this and what other decision making elements factor into the game? I like the choose-your-own-adventure element conceptually. I am very concerned, however, this will not hold up for 10+ hour games if there is nothing else interesting built around the game (strong resource management engine, etc.)


The game is mostly push-your-luck, resource management, and knowing when not to do something and when to accept losing a skill-check. If you're looking for meaty mechanics you'll be disappointed.

bk375 wrote:
• How does the story play out in subsequent playthroughs? Specifically I am concerned that the game is designed to play and lose many times and wonder if the story becomes stale after one or two playthroughs. As far as story goes, are there significantly randomized elements or can you mostly follow the same story path each playthrough if you make the same choices at each location?


Very poorly. There is no story to speak of, it's mostly atmosphere and random events, with a loose canvas to hold it together (your curse.) Don't expect deep story-telling.
Curse replayability, overall, is low. After your initial discovery you'll mostly skip the flavor text too unless you have a poor memory. There are some randomness in making the same choice at each location but most of the time it's either you'll draw card A or card B.

bk375 wrote:
I very much appreciate any input on one or more of these questions that others can offer. This is a very interesting game that I have not yet pinned down completely how good it will fit my interests.


It's an interesting exploration game that does not live up to the hype in my opinion, mostly due to the huge emphasis on grinding food (my last sessions are mostly hunt fail hunt with poor result hunt fail die) and the poor replay-value of the curses. I was surprised at how small the map is but how grindy it is to make it through. If you're expecting an adventure game full of narration you want to skip this. If you're expecting an exploration game with an emphasis on survival that mostly relies on eating meat that is 90% found in hunts, then you'll be happy.
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First of all, thanks to the community for the really helpful and insightful answers. They did clear up a lot for me and gave me a good range of opinions on my concerns.

I've been leaning towards buying and I believe that I will. As a worst case, this sounds like a very interesting experience that I would like to see (I think that worst case scenario occurs if for my tastes the resource management engine does not hold up for a 10+ hour game). In a better case, this will be a great combination of exploration/story telling built around a strong resource management engine that does hold together over that long of play.

Either way, thanks for the insights.
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as others have said I just want to reiterate.

none of your options are random outcomes (ie red pill or blue pill) everything I have encountered has had foreshadowing to give you hints and clues and nudge you in the right direction if you find them.

however if you don't happen to find those, then they can seem random. just remember read everything, all flavor text, look at all the cards for hidden numbers, you really have to explore.

and then there is the issue of finding clues and nudges that you never need for your playthrough either because it is a different curse or you never find the puzzle that goes with the clue.

there is so much to explore in this game I cant wait to get to more.
 
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