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Subject: My wife's new favorite game (and she's played several) rss

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Edd Allard
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Okay, so I’m not going to address the rules – that’s been done. I’m not going to debate whether this is better or worse than other games with similar themes, mechanics, etc. – that’s often a matter of opinion as much as a function of the game itself. This is just my synopsis of the relative strengths/weaknesses of the game after several sessions within my gaming group.

Theme: The theme (competing wizards) isn’t new, and there’s nothing particularly unique here. This game could have worked with any number of themes, but this one is as good as another, and the mechanics do lend themselves nicely to the story line.

The art (somewhat Manga-ish) is engaging and will appeal to the younger players while still having some visual appeal to the older audience. However, it neither enhances nor detracts from the theme.

Mechanics: There’s some luck (dice), but much of that is mitigated by the choices each player has regarding dice selection from turn to turn, and card selection both in the pre-game draft and throughout play. There are enough tactical decision points to reward thoughtful play. The various card/dice interactions also lend themselves to a fair level of strategic planning and forethought.

The primary mechanics (roll/select dice, gather/use resources, play/use cards, repeat) are easily explained and mastered making teaching the game fairly easy.

Time: A satisfying two-player game can be played in less than 45 minutes between experienced players. A four-player game will be between 60 and 90 minutes (unless one or more players suffer from analysis paralysis). The end-game decisions might be slightly more time consuming, but if you’ve played your tactical and strategic game well, you generally already know what your “best” option is at that point.

Player Interaction: There is some (take a die your opponent wants, use a card ability to “screw” your neighbor, etc.) but this game is less about screwage than it is about making the best possible use of your resources to garner your highest score. If you want a lot of direct conflict, look elsewhere. If you want none, look elsewhere as well.

Customization: The initial draft mechanism is a big plus. The game has a little of the feel of a CCG or LCG in that players can customize their hand of cards, and to some extent dictate when they are available for play. But, the relatively small number of cards (9 per player initially) makes this manageable for players who might otherwise be paralyzed by a lot of decisions and card choices.

Weight: It’s somewhere north of Kingsburg (without the expansions), south of Magic: the Gathering, and roughly equal to 7 Wonders (without the expansions). The tactical and strategic planning and decisions, the variety of choices in each turn, the “chains” that can be created with certain cards, and the opportunity costs associated with allocating limited resources to one action over another all contribute to mid-level weightiness rating.

Replayability: The draft mechanism, the variability (some say randomness) of die rolls on each turn, and the mix of cards in the draw pile all provide enough variety to keep the game fresh through several playings. The relatively short duration (an hour to an hour-and-a-half) and the ability to teach it quickly to newcomers also make this an attractive option for “pickup games”.

Overall Assessment: Seasons has quickly moved into the “top 3” of my group's preferred games. It’s relatively quick, doesn’t get bogged down (except maybe the last turn in a multi-player game), offers a lot of decision points without requiring overly deep analysis, and keeps everybody “in the hunt” right to the end.

My wife's favorite game has always been Magic: the Gathering, but we don't play much anymore because of the shear cost of maintaining a decent collection. Seasons really appeals to her because it offers a lot of the same decisions, strategies, and customization but in a self-contained (non-collectable) format. In her own words, this is probably her "new favorite".

When the hype is over, we still think this will be in the “top” tier for our group. Bottom line: it works, it’s fun, and it doesn’t overpromise or underdeliver.
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A. B. West
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I agree with everything here. It's quite fun to play and improves with the 'experienced' cards which adds needed interactions and interesting bits. So much so that I'd recommend playing with them immediately if your group is experienced gamers.
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Stefan Kaiser
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adamw wrote:
I agree with everything here. It's quite fun to play and improves with the 'experienced' cards which adds needed interactions and interesting bits. So much so that I'd recommend playing with them immediately if your group is experienced gamers.

Agreed. We also skipped the beginner version and jumped right into the complete game.

Love it.

Thanks for the great review.
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Jack Francisco
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edralla wrote:
Bottom line: it works, it’s fun, and it doesn’t overpromise or underdeliver.


I think this line encapsulates Seasons as good as any. It's just right. Nice review.
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Kadian O'Reilly
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wow Great write up for a Game im going to purchase now, this more than anything else I have read has SOLD it for me. Great review thanks
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Kim Williams
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I was interested that in your review you write that Seasons' weight is pretty much equivalent to 7 Wonders.

I had written off 7 Wonders as being too 'light' for my tastes, and in fact when I just checked their listed 'weights' 7 Wonders comes in as a 2.2 whereas Seasons is currently a 3.0.

So now I'm intrigued. If 7 Wonders really does have a similar depth to Seasons then perhaps I've written it (as in 7 Wonders) off unfairly.

Seasons has a great depth for us, particularly for its short play time, so if 7 Wonders delivers something similar I'd be really interested.

What do others think?




 
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that Matt
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entwife wrote:
I was interested that in your review you write that Seasons' weight is pretty much equivalent to 7 Wonders.

I had written off 7 Wonders as being too 'light' for my tastes, and in fact when I just checked their listed 'weights' 7 Wonders comes in as a 2.2 whereas Seasons is currently a 3.0.

So now I'm intrigued. If 7 Wonders really does have a similar depth to Seasons then perhaps I've written it (as in 7 Wonders) off unfairly.

Seasons has a great depth for us, particularly for its short play time, so if 7 Wonders delivers something similar I'd be really interested.

What do others think?

I noticed that too, and (as someone who owns and plays 7 Wonders) I don't think the comparison is apt. 7 Wonders is feather-light. Once you draft each card in 7W, its function for the rest of the game is almost always to either score points or reduce future costs. The cards most often do this directly: gain X points, or gain X resource. There are some variations in the point/resource gain, but 7W does not have the kinds of complex.effects or interactions featured in Seasons.

I'd put the gap even wider than the BGG average weights, with 7W below 2... but even if you see 7W as 2+ weight, I don't see how they could have a common weight.
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Steve Walker
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entwife wrote:
I was interested that in your review you write that Seasons' weight is pretty much equivalent to 7 Wonders.

I had written off 7 Wonders as being too 'light' for my tastes, and in fact when I just checked their listed 'weights' 7 Wonders comes in as a 2.2 whereas Seasons is currently a 3.0.

So now I'm intrigued. If 7 Wonders really does have a similar depth to Seasons then perhaps I've written it (as in 7 Wonders) off unfairly.

Seasons has a great depth for us, particularly for its short play time, so if 7 Wonders delivers something similar I'd be really interested.

What do others think?



I would say that Seasons and 7 Wonders with the Leaders expansion are on a par - our gaming group sees 7 wonders hit the table fairly regularly and this will increase while we figure out everything cities brings to the game.

I suspect that Seasons will follow a similar pattern with plays decreasing as familiarity with the cards and combos becomes set in - followed by renewed plays as and when an expansion rolls in

I am very pleased with my purchase of Seasons and am very happy to bring either game to the table - soon to be further complicated when Among The Stars gets picked up from Essen - more drafting / variable set up fun.

To summarise I would give 7 Wonders another go - but add Leaders as this really does increase the strategic decisions.
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Tiffany Leigh
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edralla wrote:

Theme: This game could have worked with any number of themes, but this one is as good as another, and the mechanics do lend themselves nicely to the story line.


Excellent and succinct analysis. I'm curious about this statement, because I do feel like the theme - casting spells, gaining energy/crystals to acquire items and familiars - is strong here.

I didn't see this as fungible to a slew of other themes - akin to a Knizia game where theme is "math with something pasted on top of it." And an argument could be made to list examples of other "genres" (I would think a farming/settlement one perhaps to be in tune with the Seasons wheel), but I do think that this one is the strongest and most evocative for the overall experience.

This is *not* a criticism of your writeup, which I enjoyed. But for me this was a theme that seemed to be more endemic to the gaming experience.
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Edd Allard
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tumorous wrote:
entwife wrote:
I was interested that in your review you write that Seasons' weight is pretty much equivalent to 7 Wonders.

I had written off 7 Wonders as being too 'light' for my tastes, and in fact when I just checked their listed 'weights' 7 Wonders comes in as a 2.2 whereas Seasons is currently a 3.0.

So now I'm intrigued. If 7 Wonders really does have a similar depth to Seasons then perhaps I've written it (as in 7 Wonders) off unfairly.

Seasons has a great depth for us, particularly for its short play time, so if 7 Wonders delivers something similar I'd be really interested.

What do others think?

I noticed that too, and (as someone who owns and plays 7 Wonders) I don't think the comparison is apt. 7 Wonders is feather-light. Once you draft each card in 7W, its function for the rest of the game is almost always to either score points or reduce future costs. The cards most often do this directly: gain X points, or gain X resource. There are some variations in the point/resource gain, but 7W does not have the kinds of complex.effects or interactions featured in Seasons.

I'd put the gap even wider than the BGG average weights, with 7W below 2... but even if you see 7W as 2+ weight, I don't see how they could have a common weight.


I've played a lot of 7 Wonders, and now that I've played several rounds of Seasons, I stand by my comparison. First, I don't think 7 Wonders is feather light. It has more subtlety than a lot of folks seem to realize. There are multiple winning conditions, each card can be used in multiple ways, and early round actions/choices have a significant and lasting effect on later rounds. The rotational draft can create some opportunities for screwage as can the military scoring.

Seasons also has subtleties, but I don't think they are deeper than in Wonders. The screwage is less direct in many cases, and can often be countered. Many of the cards are one time shots so their effects don't carry forward any more than in Wonders. The dice selection (which I equate to the rotational draft in Wonders) is more transparent as you can see immediately what your opponent is doing.

I think familiarity with any game may make it seem "easier". But, based solely on mechanics, ease of teaching/learning, ability to grasp the subtle concepts and apply them well, and approachability (e.g. how much you like the aesthetics such as theme and design), I think these two are still pretty close to each other.
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Edd Allard
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hackryder wrote:
edralla wrote:

Theme: This game could have worked with any number of themes, but this one is as good as another, and the mechanics do lend themselves nicely to the story line.


Excellent and succinct analysis. I'm curious about this statement, because I do feel like the theme - casting spells, gaining energy/crystals to acquire items and familiars - is strong here.

I didn't see this as fungible to a slew of other themes - akin to a Knizia game where theme is "math with something pasted on top of it." And an argument could be made to list examples of other "genres" (I would think a farming/settlement one perhaps to be in tune with the Seasons wheel), but I do think that this one is the strongest and most evocative for the overall experience.

This is *not* a criticism of your writeup, which I enjoyed. But for me this was a theme that seemed to be more endemic to the gaming experience.


I didn't mean to imply it doesn't work quite well with the theme. I simply meant that the mechanism is flexible enough that it could have worked well with other genres. For example, the cards could have been mideaval knights, or WWII soldiers, or spacefaring pigs for that matter. The elements could have been any number of "items" that the card characters might acquire and spend (weapons, shields, horses, damsels for the knights ... guns, ammo, C-rations, med kits for the soldiers ... etc.) The crystals are essentially just victory points. They could be gold, prestige, enemy kills, or whatever.

Again, I think the theme is very good, and certainly makes the game quite attractive. I just didn't think it was so unique to the mechanics that the latter couldn't have stood on their own in another setting.
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