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Subject: 1-7-18 UPDATED A Review / Session Report after 10 Games Boxes 1-5 (Spoilers) rss

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Will Adams
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This is part-review, part session report. It's not a blow-by-blow account of every move, its more about our impressions after each game, thoughts on the rules and, perhaps most of all, how the game made us feel. I intend to keep it updates with our thoughts and feelings as we go through the campaign.

Seafall – the game that I had heard so much about. A game that has split opinion so markedly as to confuse, put-off and intrigue potential buyers and players in equal measure. The more I read of people’s opinions of the game, the more I realised two things.

1) Many of the negative reviews were from people who didn’t bother finishing the campaign. Whist I feel this is unfair on the game, you also have to wonder why so many avid gamers had given up on a game which might well have cost them upwards of £65?
2) There is an amazing game in here – just not everyone has been able to find it.


Above all, having read up on the game, I knew that I really, really wanted to love Seafall – but the cost, the time and the lack of critical consensus (some said “Stay the course, you won’t regret it”; others said “Don’t waste your time on a broken game,”) made me extremely wary. Eventually, when I stumbled upon a copy for under £20, I decided to go for it, safe in the knowledge that – if the naysayers were right, I’d wouldn’t have wasted much money, and if they were wrong, then I’d have grabbed myself a bargain.

Before getting my board game group around to set sail, I set about playing the prologue on my own as four players to try and sus-out the rules; I photocopied the resources sheet and cut the ones out that I needed so that I didn’t spoil the board. I would really recommend, if not necessarily doing this, that at least one of your gaming group learn the rule book inside and out before you even attempt the prologue, as nothing kills a new game more effectively than constant rule-checking (you’ll have to do enough of that as the game progresses – so don’t add to it). This is one of the unavoidable drawbacks of Seafall. Both Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy were built on top of pre-existing, complete sets of rules. You could learn the game and have a good time, before applying the legacy mechanics over the top. Seafall is not a complete game when you start. It is nowhere near a complete game when you start. As a result, you are constantly learning on the job. This may be a reason why some players have really turned on Seafall, as it is almost impossible to plan your perfect strategy before the game and then try to execute it, because you don’t know the full rules for the game you will most likely be playing in your next session.

Game 0
The Prologue - Once I’d assembled my crack team of wana-be pirates, I gave them a brief 10-minute rundown and we intrepidly set sail, happy to play through the prologue at as brisk-a-pace as possible and learn as we went along. It is worth noting for the context of the review that my gaming group are all seasoned gamers, most with experience of legacy games and none too prone to analysis-paralysis. We got through the prologue in reasonable time (45 minutes from memory) and, whilst not exactly being enthralled, picked up the basic mechanics of the game. It was tedious but necessary. It would’ve been nice to maybe be able to keep something after this game to make it seem more worth it. I agree with getting rid of any enmity, but maybe allow the keeping of an advisor? The big reveal at the end of the prologue – that of destroying your current leader, got a suitable reaction from the group, although if it had happened even just one game further in, I think the reaction would’ve been significantly more pronounced. In the prologue you’re spending so much time trying to work out what on earth you’re doing that you don’t really care about your leader; this is mainly because you haven’t played with them long enough to care about them. Perhaps shifting this twist to the end of game 1 (before the winner takes their upgrades, in case they chose to take an appellation) would’ve been a better place?

Game 1

Our first full game was hugely enjoyable, despite a few glaring rules errors (most of which were only spotted in hindsight) and which mostly involved forgetting to reduce raid pools for garrisons and that support ships only add one dice, not three, but these only happened occasionally and didn’t greatly affect the result. Interestingly, our four players naturally adopted the four different guild strategies within the game: we had an explorer, a raider, a merchant and a builder. The raider got his comeuppance when he decided to be a little too ruthless in his treatment of the natives, landing a total of 3 permanent enmity at the end of our first game. The merchant and the explorer both performed well for a first outing, but it was the builder who won the day – bricks and mortar, it seems, really is the best investment. No chests were opened in the first game, although the three other available milestones were all completed, one for each of the merchant, the explorer and the builder. Our first game has left us hungry for more, especially now that we all feel comfortable enough with the games basic mechanisms that we can focus more on strategy rather than process. Whilst rolling dice is something I normally abhor, I have quickly realised that Seafall is not an exercise in pure strategy – it is an exercise in communal world-building and mitigating luck where you can through good planning and forethought. Yes, the dice will sometimes go against you and the odds; they will sometimes pull the proverbial rabbit out of your hat. Deal with it. If you want a pure strategy game with no element of luck – go and play Terra Mystica or Agricola. This game is about knowing when to take the risk. After all, the merchant and the builder offer (thus-far) almost completely risk-free routes to glory for those who want to play that way. After our first play through, I’d say that the milestones are not unbalanced in terms of the amount of glory they offer, you just need to be sure to make it your goal to achieve one. As in a game like Scythe, you cannot hope to achieve them all in each game, so prioritising one or perhaps two was one of the key strategy points of our first game (one that I picked up too late; I was the raider for those of you who hadn’t guessed).

What I would say it that the over-riding impact of our first game has been the ability to plan for the next game. I’ve never ever played a game where I’ve mulled and thought so much about how I’ll approach the next game as I have with Seafall. This never happened with our game of Pandemic Legacy, but in the weeks between our first and second game, I’ve found myself researching advisors; jotting down possible crack-combinations; planning my first few moves. It really is a game which makes you think even when you aren’t playing it.

Game 2

Setting sail once again on to the high seas – after a longer than desired gap since our first game – meant we spent the first ten minutes trying to remember what on earth we were doing. There was only one milestone left to aim for in this game (Darkness Stirs) so most players had to attempt to adopt a non-milestone-based route to glory. In a way this was good, as it forced players to analyse and assess the usefulness of the buildings and ship upgrades that we had (largely) ignored in our first game. With only the starting four islands available to us and a finite pool of resources, those players who had avoided raiding at all costs in the first game were compelled to part with some of their enmity tokens as most of the purchasable-resources had been bought by the end of turn two. It seems that that enmity (at this stage of the game at least) has to be spent/used in the game, regardless of its negative consequences. Early in to this game, the raider from our first game (me) succeeded in completing the ‘Darkness Stirs’ Milestone with the help of Jack Rousseau, the Advanced Scout. This led to access to the first of the games sealed chests once this game was completed. As the rest of this game had to be completed with no milestones, it was certainly longer, but not so long as to annoy too much. Treasures were bought, island sites were raided and the remaining few unexplored sites were ventured in to and we very nearly (although not quite) had our first sinking. The raider, thanks largely to the lead afforded by the milestone, won the game and took a narrow lead in our campaign. The main feeling after this game was that it is slightly slow without the milestones to move games along, and most players are still trying to work out the best way to harness gold and goods in the game. You need gold to buy goods, but the most profitable way of using goods is to discount for buildings, upgrades or treasures, meaning that you don’t have more gold to buy more goods with…tricky…Anyways, all players managed to keep an advisor (yes, even me with the quite frankly terrible Powder Monkey…) and upgrades were taken. Then we then opened the first box…blimey…

Game 3
My experience of Pandemic Legacy was that there would be, at most, two things in any of the sealed boxes. One set of counters perhaps? Or some model figures? As soon As I pulled up the first sealed chest, I knew this was not going to be the case; it weighed the same as a small child. From its inside poured not one but two decks of new cards, as well as additional cards for existing decks and a whole panini-album-full of new stickers. To say we were taken aback is an understatement. We slowly started to make sense of what was before us. We had the research deck (which we were kind of expecting) the uncharted waters deck, new advisors, new milestones, new sealed events, new Islands that could be discovered and new buildings and upgrades. We felt that all the rules additions made sense; the one that took most checking was the raiding of ships, but we got their eventually. Ready, but with none of us having a clear strategy considering the glut of new information and options we’d just received, we bravely set sail once more. Most of us (one way or another) were able to start by buying an upgrade or building. We quickly discovered our first new Island, with cool new symbols on it, as well as testing the natives trading between islands. But the seas, it seems, really are treacherous. No sooner had the player who’d discovered our fifth island been lowered down from the ceiling, than he promptly sunk trying the same endeavour again! “Too much of a good thing,” or so they say…In general, players tried to keep their ships together to guard against the threat of an isolated ship being raided. As soon as a careless player did leave a ship alone and in the open, no mercy was shown and our first sinking through raiding took place, being marked on the map with a curious ‘x’. What connotations this might carry further in to the campaign I am learning not to try and guess…

This game also saw our first province raid take place, with the sunken-ship’s leader clearly wanting to level the playing fields. With the enmity he’d been given as a result of the ship raid, he was able to raid his attacker’s province whilst giving away no enmity of his own: revenge, it seems, really is a dish best served cold. But this is also an excellent balancing mechanic built in to the game. It makes a sustained attack by one player on another without reprisal almost impossible, and actually encourages counter-raids. The other notable thing introduced this game was a catch-up mechanism for the game. The players who are behind the leader got a bonus depending upon how far behind they were, with the leader getting a further penalty of dishing out enmity to all his opponents. On the face of it, you’d think this is a great as it gave hope to the player most behind. However, I’m not at all convinced that the catch-up mechanism is strong enough to really effect the players behind; the game-end upgrades for the winner just seem too strong. Gaining a few extra gold or a couple of extra reputation tokens just doesn’t seem like it will help enough; especially we go deeper in to the game. I have heard the game suffers from runaway leader issues, and whilst this can happen with the game, I have to admit that it hasn’t happened in our campaign…yet. We are at the end of game three now and there are only 6 points separating first from last and the lead has already changed three times. We also unlocked the second box, but as it was getting very late by the time we finished the game, we decided to wait until the start of our next session to open it.

Game 4
This session started by opening the second sealed chest and…reaching for the rule book (I fear not for the last time…). Colonies were introduced in to the game, with rules that could’ve done with proof-reading before publishing. For instance, it is not clear from the rules whether you need to reactivate your colony every winter (although it is implicitly inferred that you don’t because of what it says about those fields etc. on colonies) but it really could’ve been clearer. The other milestones that came with the box, upon first glance, seemed unachievable. Have 60+ gold in your vault? Make 30+ gold in a single transaction? Discover a Tomb (whatever that is…)? But actually, with a series of ever-increasingly powerful existing and newly added advisors, these milestones transpired to be well within reach.

Being honest, despite the addition of colonies, three out of our four players (including myself) simply ignored them in this game, mainly because we weren’t sure enough about how they worked and their benefits. One player managed to found a colony and, now that someone has gone through and modelled the process, I think it is safe to say that we will all go for at least one next game, especially as thus far, it is one of only three things that you can keep from game to game (one advisor and research cards being the other two). There seems to be far too many advisors now (sixty I believe) which makes planning for certain advisors coming up almost impossible. You might not see a certain advisor for three games or more. I really hope that at some point the number of advisors is cut back as I liked the element in the first few games of planning around certain advisors coming up, pretty much knowing that you’d see them at some point.

This game did suffer from a runaway-leader issue. In fact, the leader was able to exceed the glory target by three glory with a mega-play final turn, meaning that there is now a widening gap between first and last place, although I am hoping that this will be curtailed next game by the leader going last (which I feel is a massive disadvantage for reasons I will expand on in a moment), the fact that the winning player was not able to keep an advisor this game and the knowledge that the player in last place will get three sets of bonuses next game. However, as I mentioned previously, I’m not convinced that these catch-up mechanisms are strong enough to really effect the players behind; the game-end upgrades for the winner just seem too strong. I hope I’m wrong, but that is the feeling I get a the moment.

Turn order is becoming increasingly important in the game; the players that go first and second are able to completely sweep up the resources on the closest two islands, putting them effectively a full turn ahead of the third and especially fourth place players as they with have to spend an extra turn sailing to an island further to the west (no-one has upgraded their base sail beyond 3 yet), or raid in order to gain resources.

Up to this point, we have been an extremely low-raiding group. I think we’ve only seen one ship raid and one province raid so far in four games, mainly because people are so scared about building up a lot of enmity early in the campaign. However, I think we are all coming to realise that enmity, as well as being the games main balancing mechanism, needs to also be seen a form of currency in the game. You risk spending it at exactly the right time, knowing that you will either be retaliated against at some point, or that you won’t realistically be able to attack that player again for the next few games. I think one of the keys to Seafall is getting that timing right, and making sure the reward is high enough to mitigate the enmity that will be built up. I think this is one of the reasons ships are so easy to raid in comparison with other board areas; it allows players going third and fourth in a campaign to have the option of raiding a ship for all their resources, effectively putting them a turn ahead, in exchange for three enmity tokens.

Everyone took the same ship upgrade (hull) at the end of the game – partly to enable colony building and partly to provide better protection against ship raids, which I fully expect to become more prevalent as people begin to understand the dual role of enmity within the game. I also have a nagging feeling that research cards are going to be incredibly important, especially in the late game – and that building a stock-pile of them now could well have a big pay-off later on…but then, what do I know…

UPDATE ON 24-05-18

Game 5
"Dear Mr Daviau, I’m sorry that I ever thought to presume that your catch-up mechanism wouldn’t work…please forgive me…"

The above sentiment constitutes a fairly good synopsis of our fifth game. The glory gap between first and last had widened significantly after our previous game, with the last-placed player getting three sets of catch-up bonuses (for those who are interested, the player took one of each). I had hypothesised that turn order was going to be the biggest draw-back to being in the lead, and goodness me was I annoyed to be proved right (I was the player in first…trust me, it gets worse; just keep reading…)

No one in our game has upgraded their sail beyond three as yet, preferring to use sail-based ship upgrades or wait for the calm seas event cards. The other reason, of course, was that everyone upgraded their hulls at the end of the last game, both to make colony-building easier and make their ships harder to sink. The upshot of all this is that no player, unless helped by an advisor or a matching event card, is able to reach beyond the closest two islands in their first turn; as game leader, perhaps I should have realised this and upgraded my sail (hindsight is a wonder thing). By my first turn, there were no goods available except through raiding and, to add insult to serious injury, that option was effectively removed as the Pirate King had emerged from…wherever he lives…to demand tribute, meaning nobody wanted to leave gold in their vault. No goods to buy meant I had to build or upgrade. The upshot of this was that I then spent the next two or three turns taxing my poor subjects, just to get some gold to do something with, whilst trying to reach an island upon which I could do some exploring. I know that so far I’ve written about me, but I want people to realise how much planning is needed if you are the front-runner, as the board often closes up very quickly in front of you before you even set sail. Whilst I was, well…not doing very much, the player in third was busily building his first two colonies. Colonies are at this point one of the only carry overs, and as the games get longer, will become more and more economical to activate at the beginning of games. The player in second was…pottering…not doing anything outrageous but clocking up the victory points none-the-less. It was the player in last, with his three sets of catch-ups and first dibs on the island-resources who was making waves. Having kept over a +6 Explore Captain advisor from the previous game (+7 if you keep your ships together), he sailed straight for the first skull icon he could find, which he had deduced was probably how Tombs would be discovered. Low and behold he was proved correct…

I can bare it no longer. Tombs. We need to talk about Tombs. Neat idea. I love the whole, ‘Will you find treasure?’ thing, and the fact that it makes you think about upgrading beyond your explore skill in order to explore. The map at the back of the book with cryptic hints as to how you might survive the tomb is also a nice touch (I’d been beating there was a second sheet of character upgrades behind there; shows what I know…) The curse cards are also a cool twist, meaning some advisors and building are now quite niche but could end up being very important. But Explore value 7? 7!? And for a reward of normally three or four glory plus either a hoard of money or a relic or ancient tablet? Come on…So this player promptly sat on the tomb for two more turns, exploring it both times and gained a tablet and 50 gold before the tomb thankfully decided it had dished out enough jackpots for one game and hung up the ‘out of order’ sign. Needless to say, he won by a huge margin, (and I mean HUGE - more on that in a minute) taking the ‘discover a Tomb’ milestone and the ‘explore a Tomb without taking damage’ milestone…

Tombs are literally a game changer. At present they seem to churn out so much glory that it is making any other strategy (except possibly for colony building) seem completely obsolete. Nobody is even paying attention to the buildings sideboard any more. The upgrades maybe, but why build a building for a lowly one glory, when exploring a tomb will probably earn you’re the equivalent of six or seven by the time you’ve bought treasure with the gold you get, or four plus an ancient artefact? I’m just glad that we all know how valuable Tombs are now so that, when someone manages to discover the next one, we can all have a go at plundering it.

But I have regressed. Remember I said earlier that it got worse for me (the leader)? So having spent time taxing and trying to get to the nearest skull, only to be out-stripped by the last-placed player, I thought... “Well, I’m clearly not going to win this game, so let’s at least try and gain something that will last…” I therefore spent the rest of my time desperately trying amass the six goods I needed to build a colony…and then the game ended the turn before I would’ve been able to build it. How many glory did I have, I hear you ask? One. That’s right…one. Yes, it was partly my own fault: I should’ve bought a ship-upgrade not a Marketplace, and I should’ve gone and sat on the tomb with the last-placed player, but I hadn’t yet realised just how good Tombs were going to be.

This leads to one of the game’s most widely-criticised mechanics: how a game ends. Now even though I was on the receiving end of just about the roughest treatment I can think of in this regard, I’m still not sure how it could be improved. The best option would be to invoke a Through the Ages system, where if the turn end is triggered on the first-players turn then this is the last round, if it isn’t then everyone gets another round. The problem with this is that it would allow too much time to go and desperately raid the leader and pull them back, meaning that games could simply go on…and on…and on…Some people have said “Add a final buy phase,” But again, that just means someone who has played poorly can score better than they should’ve. There is no easy solution to this as far as I can see. And I can only comfort myself in the knowledge that it will probably screw everyone up roughly equally as the game progresses. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t annoyed.

The winner catapulted themselves back in to the pack, with only a handful of points now separating first from last (it is a mark of how far ahead I was that I was still only four points from the lead). However, as a team we did stop this player from keeping an advisor…every cloud and all that…

Game 6
This game finally saw an end to the unspoken rule that we wouldn’t really raid each other. A kind-of silent truce had pretty much held until now, mainly I think due to the fact that we are all essentially Euro-Gamers at heart; risk is simply not in our nature. But what was interesting was to see how counter-raiding really acts as a deterrent against…well…raiding. Player one went off and bought some goods, as any good player would. Player two did likewise. Player three decided, as they couldn’t reach an island with goods on, to raid player two for their goods. However, they didn’t score enough successes to raid and sink (or even damage) the enemy ship, choosing to plunder them for their three goods (and therefore giving-up three enmity). Now that we’ve seen what I’m about to describe, I’m sure we will all be wise to it, but as I said before, hindsight is a wonderful thing: the raided player was then immediately able to counter-raid on his next turn, and not only plunder two of his three goods back, but also sink the opponent’s ship. Ouch. To add insult to serious injury, they did this at the net-cost of only zero enmity (the pirate advisor allowing them to give over two-less enmity tokens than usual and they had three from that player in their ‘at war’ section). Raiding a ship needs to involve sinking the opponents ship if you don’t want to get raiding back in return, at more favourable odds. It is this that makes raiding ships risky. You need to be as sure as you can be that your opponent will flounder or you are literally a sitting duck.

Interestingly, and not through want of trying, no more tombs were discovered this game. The game generally revolved around the building of more colonies (the founded three colonies milestone was claimed) and a realisation of what I had previously suspected. Research cards aren’t just important; they are essential – especially in light of just how much glory is now being given for successful explores of sites and tombs. The carry-over from game to game makes them even more of a non-negotiable and I would even go as far as to say that some of the strongest research cards would be the choice plunder in a province treasure-room raid.

This game did have another “What, the game has ended!?” moment. The player who founded three colonies scored a total of eight glory by doing that. Yes – eight. He was the last-placed player in that year and so the game ended immediately when this catapulted him from third-place to the glory target. One other player had 50 gold in his fault waiting to be spent; another had enough goods to build a colony. Again, it brought up the same question as the previously game – does the game end too suddenly? The answer clearly is ‘yes’. The response on how to fix this problem is less clear.

In other news, we now have a pile of advisors about half-a-mile high; I was really hoping for a Stalinist purge – it has yet to materialise. There is also a key use for colonies that goes beyond the gold and goods they bring you. The build space. Building are still lagging far behind other glory sources at this time; but the ability to build a port six-spaces out to sea is absolutely game-changing. No more traipsing three-turns back to home or Island Three to repair. The player who builds this on a colony out to sea each game will get a lot of opponents reputations coming their way I predict, but as we have clearly seen already…what do I know…

The best thing for us as a group is that, most important of all – we are all still loving the game. This is due in part to the fact that, seven games in, first-from-last is separated by six glory (60, 59, 58, 54). I’m so glad that the game - at this point at least - is staying tight, as I can see how falling miles behind in a campaign-based game like this could be more than a little disheartening. It also ‘helps’ that our games have thus-far been very short. I think we’ve only seen a second winter three times, never a third. Although this is annoying in that it makes any sort of engine building incredibly risky, the brisk pace has kept everyone interested. As a strategy game, Seafall’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness – how best to optimise give the current state of the board and rules, whilst never being able to accurately forecast when the game will end. In games 1-through-4, one was able to foresee how much glory opponents could accumulate within a turn fairly accurately. Now – who knows? Eight, nine, even double-figure glory swings are very possible within a single turn. Do you rush to harvest resources and gold as soon as you get them for less gain – or do you hold out longer, hoping that the game doesn’t end before you’ve amassed enough resources and gold to achieve something bigger? Questions, questions, questions…


UPDATE ON 6-06-18
Game 7

This game started off so serenely. So calmly: a spot of trading with the natives on the island; a few sights cheaply explored. About the most dramatic thing that happened was one player getting absolutely battered by the ghost-ship, sending him back to his home province with his tail firmly between his legs…and then box 4 was opened. Que a steward’s enquiry in to what on earth all these new rules meant…

Here’s the issue. If you are going to add new rules in the middle of the game, especially relatively complex rules, you need to make sure that they are articulated in a crystal-clear fashion; these rules were ‘clear-as-mud’ as the saying goes. Just some of our questions were thus: Can an inactive colony be raided and, if so, what is its defence and garrison value? When event cards talk about enmity at all islands, suddenly you’re looking at 40 enmity if they are all equal to enmity at Pentos, making some uncharted waters cards ridiculously harsh if that is the case? When do you take the glory for hiring a Pentos advisor, when purchased from the card-row or only once they are activated? What happens if you conquer Ker but don’t have a spare province marker to place on it? There was also ‘veteran stickers’ and a random ‘Dangerous Site 7’ sticker that had absolutely no explanation at all.

But the biggest question, by far, was this: Why was none of this identified and resolved during play-testing?! Was this game never, in its ‘final draft’ form, given to groups of players to play with the mandate of ‘come back to us with everything that isn’t clear enough or is just down-right confusing? Why on earth should a game that would’ve cost some people £70 to purchase require players to scour online forums or even email the game designers to try and gain some sort of consensus, only to receive such pitiful responses such as ‘it was an error in the final files that went to print’? Crazy.

For our part, we continued along, pretty much as though nothing had happened; we made the foe-par of completely forgetting the ‘enmity is equal to Pentos enmity’ rule for purchasing goods, meaning that everyone kept on buying and selling goods at normal prices; luckily (after realising our error) we felt that it had probably benefited each player equally, so decided to just play properly from the next time. One player managed to piece together a map which led them to unleash Hell – or a demon from Hell to be more precise, but they got 3 glory and one of the aforementioned veteran stickers, so they were happy enough. Aside from that, it was a fairly ordinary game – I don’t mean that in a bad way, but not a huge amount of note took place. A colony was founded by one player; another player literally spent their time hoarding all the research cards thanks to the Treasure Hunter; the 5 Structures milestone was claimed. It was a much tighter game, with only 6 glory separating first from last at the final whistle, which was taken by the Prince, who chose to upgrade his garrison again (one assumes in the hope of defeating the Pirate King’s raids).

I was glad to see ship-upgrades and buildings coming back in to the game now; we didn’t find another tomb which probably helped in this regard – as well as the fact that these buildings and upgrades are becoming more and more powerful.

The event cards are getting much more difficult to navigate, with them increasingly putting pay to even the best-laid plans. I like this as it keeps players on their toes and is one of the factors that allows the game to keep pace (in terms of difficulty) as ships, advisors and leaders improve. Whilst this is probably stating the blindingly obvious, I am completely starting to see how it would be an almost insurmountable advantage to have played the game previously – far more so than even Pandemic Legacy. If I were to play Seafall for a second time (and I’m not ruling it out at this stage) I feel you’d have to play with other players who had already played, or make certain up-coming information public knowledge.

Looking ahead, only one of our players at the end of this game had no enmity with Ker (the others had 3, 4 and 6 respectively) meaning that only this player (who has pursued a stringent policy of pacifism) will have a realistic chance of taking the Pirate King down in our next game...but as we’ve definitely seen, what do I know…

Game 8
Let me be clear – I – we, are loving this game. So far I think our experience is not matching up to the general consensus that this game is completely unbalanced and broken. We are literally having a brilliant time, in fact I’d go as far as to say that, thus far – it is right up there with my best board-game experiences. I’ve never played a game where I think so much about what I’ll do in the next game as I have done with Seafall. Despite this, I was kind of dreading game 8, as I knew there was a good chance that we would be opening box 5, and based on the sheer number of threads online regarding the rules we were about to unlock, this filled me with trepidation. You see, so far, although I would absolutely agree the rules could have been much more clearly written and a lot of the ambiguities and edge-cases ironed out, we hadn’t come across anything that we flat-out didn’t understand. Yes box 4 was annoyingly ambiguous, especially regarding raiding inactive colonies, but we have worked through it. I was worried that box 5 might be a bridge too far…

I was wrong…kind of…

But more of that in a minute. Back to the game. So we’d realised that we had completely forgotten about the Pentos enmity thing during the last game. We now had to come to terms with the realisation that three of us effectively couldn’t trade: goods would be costing us 6, 7 and 9 gold respectively. But far from being annoyed by this change, we actually liked it. The game was forcing us out of our ‘Eurogame’ comfort zone and making us think and strategise differently. Colonies now became of huge importance as that ‘free good’ every winter now seemed so much more valuable. Raiding, whilst more possible that Merchanting, was also much more difficult due to Patmos’ enmity, meaning that you really needed a heavily upgraded ship or the right advisor to pull it off, which is why the Guild Hall is becoming increasingly useful – the advisors are getting so powerful now that the ability to get the ones you really want is hugely helpful to any successful strategy.

Another one of the treasure maps was followed to its destination, leading to the Veteran Explorer being claimed and (finally) another tomb was opened – being pillaged twice before deciding to shut-up shop. I stand by what I have said previously about tombs: once one is open, you need to make every possible effort to get there, otherwise you will fall behind. The event cards continued to throw spanners in to people plans, especially rounds where you couldn’t end at an island, which seemed to come up a lot.

Finally, about three-quarters of the way though this game, our ‘Researcher’ used the Ornate Chart to discover…Box 5…

Wow. I mean Wow. I think box 5 has taken our game experience to a new level. This is something we’d never really seen before in a game. Yes you could say it’s gimmicky, but it’s really cool. It’s taking the game in a new direction. I kind of see this game falling in to broad phases. The first phase was a game of buying and selling, with a spot of exploring on the side. Phase two was very explore-heavy, and seemed in danger of leading all other paths to victory obsolete. This latest phase is moving the focus more on to raiding, what with Ker, the Temple and Tortosa needed to be raided.

But the rules...For goodness sake – how did these get through editing in this state? Here’s the real problem Mr Daviau: if you’re going to do designer diaries and talk about how much work it was to balance the game and iron out all the kinks in your pre-game-release publicising; if you’re going to wax lyrical Mr Honeycutt about how you had endless play-testing sessions and meetings about various aspects of the game and how they needed tweaking, about ‘punch lists’ to remove ambiguity - if you are going to advertise a game based on that, you need to make completely sure that the product you are selling lives up to that billing! And it doesn’t. It doesn’t match in almost any respect. I feel like we’ve been fortunate in our group that we’ve been happy to persevere with the new rules, but I can see how some groups would simply no have this kind of patience. For box 5, several questions came to mind: Are we correct in assuming that Arados Advisors are ‘public’ society members and all other advisors who have a UV number on them are ‘private’ society members. If a ‘private’ society member is exposed, do they then become a ‘public’ society member? The temple – on first viewing I assumed this meant you needed to leave 10 enmity if you raided it, which is impossible except with the help of a very select group of advisors, and assuming you haven’t had to give out any enmity at the start of the game. This seemed right given it was a building tile and it has a specific plunder value. Another interpretation is that it only takes one enmity to raid as it is an island site, not a province site…expect it’s not. It is a colony site; moreover, it is a colony site with a building tile rather than sticker, which hadn’t come up in the game yet. If you raided a building on another players colony, you’d leave 3 enmity, so why not the 10 enmity that the temple states? This desperately needs clarifying. ‘Discover the secret of the gold/silver/bronze statue milestones have no information at all; I can only hope that that will be made clearer in time…

Don’t get me wrong – we are loving Seafall, absolutely loving it – I’ve never played a game with such ambition and such well-thought-out legacy mechanics. The game really does benefit from having theses built-in from the start, rather than being scaffolded on to an existing game. But I do understand why so many groups have got infuriated with it. A game this big, with this much scope and dramatic rules changes, needed absolute clarity on every point possible. It simply does not have this.

The game ended soon after the discovery of Arados, but not before we had a chance to interrogate a few advisors. The game is still very tight, with only …. Separating first from last place. My biggest concern, aside from some less-than-clear rules, is the research cards. I think don’t think it would overly-boastful to say that I feel that I am being proved right I predicted that research cards would become increasingly important – but they seem just so important. One of our players, when using the Treasure Hunter, is able to keep four – yes four – research cards each time; we have sometimes come very close to running out of research cards as a consequence. Being able to look through lots I agree with, but being able to harvest 7-8 research cards per year seems a little excessive given how prominent they seem to be becoming…but then, what do I know…


UPDATE ON 1-07-18
Game 9
At the start of this game, three of us had still our backs up against the wall…or rather we had our backs up against Patmos…The three of us were still in a position where, with two enmity each sitting on Patmos, it was no more economical to buy and sell/discount than it was to simply tax (saving the faff of going to and from markets). However, this game quickly took on a new dimension as we started to interrogate the advisors, something we had only been able to do right at the end of our last game. I really like the slow-reveal of the story, it feels like we are really being made to work for it. We were quickly discovered that that we should start using the Light of Truth on the backs of the advisors as well as the front (although this proved fruitless for the entire game) and that the society’s true leaders were not public society members (yeah, go figure…)

The upshot of all this was a pretty short game, what with people being almost guaranteed a glory-per-turn just from questioning advisors. The milestone regarding having five questioned advisors was taken and the silver and gold statues were discovered (this may seem trivial to write, but it is important – just keep reading…) By far and away the most important event of the game was the defeat of Ker, and despite what I said earlier, it turns out that two players managed to get themselves in a position to conquer the colony, through a combination of upgrades and advisors. As it happened, it was the last-placed player who had no existing enmity on Patmos who finally took-down the Pirate King, much to everyone else’s joy. Despite the glut of glory that this earned him, it was still not quite enough for the win – as I write this I also just realised that he forgot to put 4 enmity on Ker and 2 on any other islands, but as you will see from our next game, that really is the least of our problems...

Aside from that, we kind of plodded around not really knowing what to do. We had no tombs to plunder except the one on Arados (and nobody really fancied the 12 defence value); we had a series of milestones that were so vague it didn’t seem worth the risk trying to work out what they meant. The consequence of all this was glory scored mainly from a spot of light piracy and buildings/upgrades. To be honest, it felt like a holding game until Ker was conquered. A colony was built and another reclaimed after it had been taken over the previous game. The final treasure map was pieced together – incidentally, the game leader hasn’t gotten any of the treasure-map bonuses, and has been playing largely as a merchant – and now he will be able to continue to do so (now that Ker has been conquered). Exploring still seems absolutely key in the game, and the whole Ker-enmity-thing completely blocked all strategies bar raiding and exploring for a couple of games. Although this does force players to pursue facets and strategies in the game they would otherwise have avoided, it does seems a little unfair on those players who have worked hard to perfect their merchant/building strategy. I can only hope that a little later we will see a flip the other way for a few games to balance it out, but then again, what do I know…

Game 10
Dear Mr Daviau, I have tried. Really I – we – have tried. We have tried so hard to give your quite frankly awfully-written rules the benefit of the doubt. But Game 10, and in particular the intricacies of box 5 might just have been a bridge too far. I would like to point you towards a quote from your colleague, Mr Honeycutt, regarding your development of the game, in particular the rules. “If SeaFall binds you in its spell, tells you a story you fall in love with, and provides a few dozen hours of fun for you and your friends and family, without ever seeming too complicated or too hard to understand, then I’ll be ecstatic.”

Our group is a bright-bunch. I know that might sound arrogant; it wasn’t meant to. I’m sorry Mr Honeycutt, but if that was your intention, then you failed. Miserably. It’s not that we couldn’t understand your rules, it’s that we found ourselves having to make up/clarify so many of them for ourselves…

Allow an example, if you will…This game began by quickly being told that we should ‘restudy’ the tomb map, and that tablets were ‘more than they first appeared’. Okay, I get it. The tablets have hidden symbols on them that corolate with the tomb map. Brilliant idea. Neat. You just need to tell players that once they can decipher a code it is okay for them to start looking at that entry. Would that have been so hard? Yes it might ‘seem’ obvious, but it shouldn’t have to ‘seem’ anything. It should be made crystal-clear. In a legacy game, perhaps above any other type of game, players want to make sure that they are doing everything right, as the choices, right-or-wrong, affect more than just the rest of that game. That is why it should have been imperative to make any changes, any decisions that were even the least bit ambiguous, clear in the rules/Captian’s Book entry. It’s like the whole ‘enmity on all islands’ thing for uncharted waters cards. If you read that to the letter, you’d end up with upwards of 20 enmity?! Surely that wasn’t what was meant? But who knows – as it was never clarified or thought about. I ask again – how did this game get through final play testing?

But that is not the worst of it – not by a long chalk. The biggest issue in this game was this. The Temple on Arados was raided. Great! That player got (from memory) 1 reputation and a decent amount of glory. Here’s what they didn’t get: the 20 gold they should’ve. Why? Because we didn’t know they needed it. The rule book, when referring to plundered buildings, talks about raiding province sites. The Temple isn’t a province site, not even if you argue that colonies, once owned by a player, are proxy-province-sites. So this player got his milestone and the game moved on. The problem was, had we know that he was also meant to receive 20 gold, he would’ve been able to build the Temple first. As it transpired, because he didn’t have the extra 20 gold, another player built it instead. Can someone, anyone, please tell me: why wasn’t this stated in the milestone entry in the Captains Book? Even if they just put a ‘reminder’ note at the end of key entries. It could’ve read: Remember to take 20 gold for raiding the structure. I would argue that it wasn’t even that we forgot to do something – it was more that we were following the rulebook, the rulebook that mentioned nothing about what happens when you raid a build site on a play-owned colony, let alone a colony owned by the Pirate King. It was only because I stumbled upon it on an FAQ that we even knew, albeit a few turns too late. That’s a 5-glory plus province-upgrade swing because of terrible rule-writing. Simple as…We've actually decided as a group to lower the player who did managed to rebuild the temple by 5 glory and raise the player who should've been able to build the temple by 5 glory and give them a garrison upgrade that came with it, but it is very much as case of closing the gate after the horse has bolted.

Which brings me to the crux of it all – the Temple. I love Seafall. I really do. Everything about the game so far, I love so far that I have been able to see past it’s faults, imperfections and glaring deficiencies. But this…this is a bridge-too-far. In one fowl swoop, you have destroyed the game. What was a brilliant, balanced, nerve-gangling game. You have destroyed it, and replaced it with a simple race to get to 40 Gold. Why would you do that? Why? The Temple is so powerful – so game-changing, that it really is the only thing possibly worth going for. And once you’ve got it – what do you do? Either go and explore pretty much any island site without bothering to roll any dice, or go and sit on the temple on Arados and glean treasure, tablets and relics to your hearts – or holds’ – content. What is to stop you? It is so hard to get-rid of once built, what with a plunder value of 10 (and who’s want/be able to leave that much enmity anyway?) and raiding ships is becoming increasingly difficult. You might remember my hint as to what was to come from our game 9 review – yes we have discovered all 3 statues, meaning that the Temple gives +9 to any explore endeavour. Yes the strength of this was compounded by the fact that in this game it went to the wrong person, but it is literally game-breaking. I can just about swallow the idea that it is a good catch-up mechanism for the players behind – the players who should (if they play properly) have the opportunity to buy it first, assuming they take gold as their catch-up benefit. But it is just so powerful. Too powerful. I also get that other players could split their ships, sail to the owning-province and ask to use the Temple’s power for one reputation, but why would the owner accept, when they are in such an advantageous position? It is the first time we’ve considered a house-rule. Fortunately it wasn’t built until two turns from the end of the game so it couldn’t be abused too much, but we’ve talked since about making it exhaust-after-use until the next winter.

And after six lengthy paragraphs, I still haven’t really talked about the 10th game. That’s because the Temple controversy dominated it. But here are a few asides. Tortosa was conquered. Why on earth is there no milestone for this? It seems ridiculously hard to do for virtually no gain, it does not even automatically activate like Ker does! The Society advisors are really powerful; I can see a strategy being sitting at least one ship on Arados for the entire game…Another island was discovered – thanks completely to the Temple. Thankfully buying and selling was back on the menu now that the Pirate King is dead, and we are slowly learning more about the Society, although we’ve only just realised that we are allowed to interrogate public society members too…We’ve also been told that only the leaders of each guild know where the final island is, so I’m assuming that the map to the end of the world is on the back on one of them, but then – especially with this game and this set of ‘rules’…what do I know…

Are we still enjoying the game? Yes. Are we now worried the game is broken? Yes. Am I getting fed up with having to assume rules? Yes. Will we still be enjoying this game by the end? Yes...but then again, what do I know...

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Brad Keillor
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Re: A Review / Session Report after Boxes 1 & 2 TBC
Excellent write up. Can't wait to see how your future games turn out.
 
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Alex P
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Re: A Review / Session Report after Boxes 1 & 2 TBC
Nice report.

Re: the catch-up mechanism. Maybe our game is unique, but I found it really worked well. At game three I was so far back I thought I was totally out of it. Now at game 10, I’m the Prince. (And I’m worried about how to stay on top now that everyone else has the advantage.) Certainly part of it was figuring out the game better. But the catch-up advantages made it feasible for someone who had gotten better at the game to translate that into points and wins. At least in my case.
 
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Will Adams
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Re: A Review / Session Report after Boxes 1 & 2 TBC
Cliffy73 wrote:
Nice report.

Re: the catch-up mechanism. Maybe our game is unique, but I found it really worked well. At game three I was so far back I thought I was totally out of it. Now at game 10, I’m the Prince. (And I’m worried about how to stay on top now that everyone else has the advantage.) Certainly part of it was figuring out the game better. But the catch-up advantages made it feasible for someone who had gotten better at the game to translate that into points and wins. At least in my case.


That’s encouraging to hear - as you’ve seen were only s few games in so it’s hard to judge the catch-up mechanisms effectiveness yet, but really hope what you’ve said holds true for us. Perhaps the combination of the catchup and going last will be enough to balance it.

We’ve got our next couple of sessions coming up so will be in a position to update soon 😀
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Alex P
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Re: A Review / Session Report after Boxes 1 & 2 TBC
(No spoilers.) I don’t think it’s the most robust catch-up mechanic ever designed. In some games the catch-up pushes a player that’s way behind back in contention. This doesn’t work that way. It’s a campaign mechanic. It works by leveling the playing field somewhat. To win game five, say, you still need to outplay the field (and have luck on your side). But the catch-up allows someone who plays a strong game five to win game five even though other players have upgrades from earlier wins. YMMV, of course.
 
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Bill Collins
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Re: A Review / Session Report after Boxes 1 & 2 TBC
First thanks for the write up and good luck with the campaign!

SeaFall is enjoyable indeed as a story. As a player in a group with three other well-seasoned boardgamers I think SeaFall offers more interest and fewer challenges because we’ve had to decipher and/or interpret rules from say, first edition Cosmic Encounters and Source of the Nile. So while the rules really could have used more clarity and an editor who played the game they work well enough if you read carefully. You’ll find the endgame quite interesting and that’s all I’ll say on that.

Cliffy73 wrote:
(No spoilers.) I don’t think it’s the most robust catch-up mechanic ever designed. In some games the catch-up pushes a player that’s way behind back in contention. This doesn’t work that way. It’s a campaign mechanic. It works by leveling the playing field somewhat. To win game five, say, you still need to outplay the field (and have luck on your side). But the catch-up allows someone who plays a strong game five to win game five even though other players have upgrades from earlier wins. YMMV, of course.


Concur that it’s not a great catchup mechanic. Cumulated rewards for winners are a bit of an issue yes. For example if you get to improve a structure on your province to give you one Glory a game, you’re going to gain 1 more Glory over X games than all your peers. By improving Fields with winning you’re going to get consistent cash flow over the rest of the Campaign that will, to some degree, offset the cash that the guys at the bottom of the barrel get to try to level it out. (Now if the gold or rep for catchup were taken in part from the Prince or Duke that would be a highly interesting leveling mechanic. Hm. Just thought that one up. They’d still get their Winter income after the first year. Hmm. Anyway.]

In my personal opinion - to speak to a point upthread since I’m pontificating - the constant whinging from those who have to go last because they won the last game or two may be gratifying but they aren’t hampered significantly by it. On Campaign Two, I’m seeing a trend already emerging. The person who wins the first game is in a good position as is the person who wins the second game and they trade back and forth between Duke and Prince. The random draw of advisors is a big variable that effectively compensates in great part for the so called leveling mechanic as well as the ongoing awards.

All that said SeaFall is an engaging game. I’m delighted to see that you - the OP - tried it and are enjoying it. Please keep posting results!
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Will Adams
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Re: UPDATED A Review / Session Report after Boxes 1, 2 and 3 (Spoilers)
Just posted an update of Games 5 and 6. Our next session is on Sunday so hopefully will have a further update next week!
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Brad Keillor
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Re: UPDATED A Review / Session Report after Boxes 1, 2 and 3 (Spoilers)
Excellent write up. You're at that critical stage where the game turned south for my group. I see the hints of excitement in your posts of things to come and am curious to see if that excitement is realized or not.

At this point in time, what would you rate the game on a 10 point scale? I would've said 9 at least, and in fact we bought another copy and started another campaign with a smaller group because we just couldn't stand the wait between playing another session. We were absolutely hooked and obsessed at this point.
 
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Alex P
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Re: UPDATED A Review / Session Report after Boxes 1, 2 and 3 (Spoilers)
I think the endgame is perhaps less unpredictable than you think, especially as it is very dependent on milestones which are public information. And, moreover, unless you open a box (which doesn’t happen that often), the trick won’t work over multiple games. But I wouldn’t say this ever goes away exactly. You just have to plan around it, and you need to pay attention to what others are doing.

Ultimately the game continues to work for our group because we’re more interested in the discovery than in winning. (Which is easy to say for me because I’m kicking their butts right now.)
 
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Re: UPDATED A Review / Session Report after Boxes 1, 2 and 3 (Spoilers)
So my obsession with this game came to a head right around game 7 or 8. I literally left the game on my table and spent hours scripting my "opening" moves and figuring out the moves I had to make to get what I wanted done before the abrupt ending. I actually achieved all I wanted to the next game and won by a good margin but I spent the better part of my week at night studying the board to make it happen. I felt no shame in that!
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Re: UPDATED A Review / Session Report after Boxes 1, 2 and 3 (Spoilers)
Yeah, I think it’s part of the reason the reviews were unkind. (Not that there aren’t legitimate issues with the game.) Part of the fun is spending a week planning your next game, but you don’t get that experience if you’re binging.
 
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Brad Keillor
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Re: UPDATED A Review / Session Report after Boxes 1, 2 and 3 (Spoilers)
Won't spoil it here, but I also did that on our 2nd to last game(which ended up being our finale) and had an ultimate opening move and was going to win by a wide margin, regain the lead, and become emperor. The next half hour could've been the worst I've ever had playing a game, and ended up banning a player from future game nights. I wake up in cold sweats some nights thinking about it!

To give SeaFall some credit though, I'm determined to return to it, in a modified fashion.
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Becq
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Re: UPDATED A Review / Session Report after Boxes 1, 2 and 3 (Spoilers)
willadams33 wrote:
Game 6
(...)
I’m sure we will all be wise to it, but as I said before, hindsight is a wonderful thing: the raided player was then immediately able to counter-raid on his next turn, and not only plunder two of his three goods back, but also sink the opponent’s ship. Ouch.

A couple of quick questions:
1) Were the original victim's ships split up (to buy more goods, perhaps?
2) Did the (original) raider attack with only one ship?
The reason I ask is because I have a suspicion you might have done something wrong here. When a player raids another player's ships, each player chooses which of his own ships will be the flagship. That is, if the victim has two ships together, the raider doesn't get to pick his target. What that means is that you can usually use one of your ships as a defensive screen for the other, making it much more difficult for the opponent to do as much damage to you.

Let's say player A (the original victim) split his ships so that he could use a merchant advisor to buy a pile of goods from two islands. No problem, there's that truce, right? Player B decides to switch to "aggressive shopping", and raids one of the ships with both of his. He doesn't sink player A's ship, but steals the goods. At this point, player B should think about which ship he wants to defend with, and put the goods on the *other* ship. Let's say he puts the goods on the little ship.

So now player A tries to exact vengeance and raids B. Player B just nominates the large ship as his flagship. It gets sunk, but B still has the goods, and is able to sail them home on his following turn. (Note that this isn't a guaranteed defense; if Player C had joined in, he would have been able to attack B's second ship, since it was alone after the first ship sank.)

Quote:
This game did have another “What, the game has ended!?” moment. The player who founded three colonies scored a total of eight glory by doing that. Yes – eight. He was the last-placed player in that year and so the game ended immediately when this catapulted him from third-place to the glory target. One other player had 50 gold in his fault waiting to be spent; another had enough goods to build a colony. Again, it brought up the same question as the previously game – does the game end too suddenly? The answer clearly is ‘yes’. The response on how to fix this problem is less clear.

Take a look through these suggestions (particularly the "end-game cashout" option about half-way down the post). Spoilers are marked, so don't click on the boxes relating to content you haven't gotten to yet!

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1808695/seafall-11-house-ru...

Quote:
The player who builds this on a colony out to sea each game will get a lot of opponents reputations coming their way I predict, but as we have clearly seen already…what do I know…

I've actually been disappointed by how rarely this rule has been used in my campaigns. I think it ends up being too expensive. Rep is valuable -- generally worth about 3 gold when used for hiring -- and that has felt too expensive to the players in my games. Perhaps your players will feel different!

Quote:
The best thing for us as a group is that, most important of all – we are all still loving the game.

Awesome! (I still loved the game after playing through the campaign twice...)
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Re: UPDATED A Review / Session Report after Boxes 1, 2 and 3 (Spoilers)
BSKeillor wrote:
The next half hour could've been the worst I've ever had playing a game, and ended up banning a player from future game nights. I wake up in cold sweats some nights thinking about it!

Wow. I'd be curious to hear what happened! Perhaps geekmail, or spoiler-tagged?
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Re: UPDATED A Review / Session Report after Boxes 1, 2 and 3 (Spoilers)
I'll fish out my game this weekend to get the particulars straight and spoiler post after OP next game update. It was a few games in the making for me for sure and I would've definitely won the campaign. It was darn near a table flip when it happened.

All this SeaFall talk is pulling me back in!
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Will Adams
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Re: UPDATED A Review / Session Report after Boxes 1, 2 and 3 (Spoilers)
BSKeillor wrote:
At this point in time, what would you rate the game on a 10 point scale? I would've said 9 at least, and in fact we bought another copy and started another campaign with a smaller group because we just couldn't stand the wait between playing another session. We were absolutely hooked and obsessed at this point.


Hmm... At this point I think we would be giving it a 9. We are hooked and the things that are less than balanced aren't bothering up too much on the assumption that it is affecting everyone pretty much equally. It will be interesting to see how that rating fluctuates as we head in to the mid and late game...
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Re: UPDATED A Review / Session Report after Boxes 1, 2 and 3 (Spoilers)
Becq wrote:
willadams33 wrote:
Game 6
(...)
I’m sure we will all be wise to it, but as I said before, hindsight is a wonderful thing: the raided player was then immediately able to counter-raid on his next turn, and not only plunder two of his three goods back, but also sink the opponent’s ship. Ouch.

A couple of quick questions:
1) Were the original victim's ships split up (to buy more goods, perhaps?
2) Did the (original) raider attack with only one ship?
The reason I ask is because I have a suspicion you might have done something wrong here. When a player raids another player's ships, each player chooses which of his own ships will be the flagship. That is, if the victim has two ships together, the raider doesn't get to pick his target. What that means is that you can usually use one of your ships as a defensive screen for the other, making it much more difficult for the opponent to do as much damage to you.

Let's say player A (the original victim) split his ships so that he could use a merchant advisor to buy a pile of goods from two islands. No problem, there's that truce, right? Player B decides to switch to "aggressive shopping", and raids one of the ships with both of his. He doesn't sink player A's ship, but steals the goods. At this point, player B should think about which ship he wants to defend with, and put the goods on the *other* ship. Let's say he puts the goods on the little ship.

So now player A tries to exact vengeance and raids B. Player B just nominates the large ship as his flagship. It gets sunk, but B still has the goods, and is able to sail them home on his following turn. (Note that this isn't a guaranteed defense; if Player C had joined in, he would have been able to attack B's second ship, since it was alone after the first ship sank.)

Quote:
This game did have another “What, the game has ended!?” moment. The player who founded three colonies scored a total of eight glory by doing that. Yes – eight. He was the last-placed player in that year and so the game ended immediately when this catapulted him from third-place to the glory target. One other player had 50 gold in his fault waiting to be spent; another had enough goods to build a colony. Again, it brought up the same question as the previously game – does the game end too suddenly? The answer clearly is ‘yes’. The response on how to fix this problem is less clear.

Take a look through these suggestions (particularly the "end-game cashout" option about half-way down the post). Spoilers are marked, so don't click on the boxes relating to content you haven't gotten to yet!

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1808695/seafall-11-house-ru...

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The player who builds this on a colony out to sea each game will get a lot of opponents reputations coming their way I predict, but as we have clearly seen already…what do I know…

I've actually been disappointed by how rarely this rule has been used in my campaigns. I think it ends up being too expensive. Rep is valuable -- generally worth about 3 gold when used for hiring -- and that has felt too expensive to the players in my games. Perhaps your players will feel different!

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The best thing for us as a group is that, most important of all – we are all still loving the game.

Awesome! (I still loved the game after playing through the campaign twice...)


Ah you are right Becq! We had been playing it that the defender chose the attackers flagship, but the attacker chose the defenders flagship. Your way around makes more sense (although I still say the rules are horribly unclear!) It meant that the weaker ship has been attacking but has been able to pick on the treasure it wants. Will make sure we play it properly on Sunday during our next session - Thanks!
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Will Adams
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Re: NEW UPDATED A Review / Session Report after 8 Games Boxes 1-5 (Spoilers)
Hi guys, I’ve just updated for our 7th and 8th games - five boxes now open!
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John Andrikopoulos
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Re: NEW UPDATED A Review / Session Report after 8 Games Boxes 1-5 (Spoilers)
I am really enjoying your write ups... For our group, Seafall was an amazing experience as well although there were a lot of rules disputes! I am looking forward to seeing how this will play out with you guys!
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Alex P
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Re: NEW UPDATED A Review / Session Report after 8 Games Boxes 1-5 (Spoilers)
Yeh, I remember giggling when we opened Box 5 because it so dramatically changed the world that I thought I’d been living in all this time.

BTW, there are rules in the basic RB for when you count glory for advisors that grant it — whenever they’re in your council chamber, active or not.

You’ve almost caught up to our campaign (we had to take several months off in the middle), so I’m unsubscribing tonthe thread, but I’ve really enjoyed your thoughts so far.
 
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Chad Urso McDaniel
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Seattle
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Re: NEW UPDATED A Review / Session Report after 8 Games Boxes 1-5 (Spoilers)
Another great narrative of your games.

You are spot-on about the difficulty in integrating the new rules and the huge amount of questions not answered by the rules.

I will again take time to thank Becq for organizing the FAQ.
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George
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You can take my game… when you pry my cold, dead fingers off the board!
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Re: NEW UPDATED A Review / Session Report after 8 Games Boxes 1-5 (Spoilers)
Really enjoying your reports. I'm glad you are making a stink about the rules... totally deserved. Especially since they have provided no official FAQ. (I'm mostly miffed at Plaid Hat about this.)

Anyway, glad to see your enthusiasm on the game continue. I'm interested to see if it keeps up to the end or not....
 
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Brad Keillor
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Re: NEW UPDATED A Review / Session Report after 8 Games Boxes 1-5 (Spoilers)
Another excellent write up. I agree on the rules and it was frustrating for me being the rules expert and having to pass judgement. I was so sick of flipping through a rule book that I could say I read at least 10 times. The game went south for us with a realization you will soon come to regarding tombs.
 
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Will Adams
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Just updated with games 9 and 10 - enjoy my ranting!!
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Brad Keillor
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Seafall 2, or even Seafall Revisited would be hands down my most anticipated game. Can’t say that about any other game that I ended up hating at the end. Can’t wait to hear more. Good write ups!
 
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