So, last Sunday, instead of really watching the Oscars at all, Kristen, and some other friends, and I started playing SeaFall. SeaFall is a legacy game, which means that when I say we started playing it, I mean that we are going to have several more months of playing games with different challenges and the longer you play it the more the game changes as you add things to the board, new rules are found, stuff like that. It takes you standard board game and makes it so that it’s something you get more invested in. There have already been a couple legacy games with Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy Season 1 (Season 2 sometime this year).
So, what is the premise of SeaFall? As compared to Pandemic Legacy which is built around the mechanics of Pandemic and Risk Legacy being built around Risk, SeaFall is a completely stand alone game that doesn’t tie into any other previous title. The story of SeaFall is that you are pirates who are going out to explore the world (or a small chunk of the sea), looking for the lost leaders of your clan and generally just trying to eventually become the pirate emperor. That’s basically what we know story wise at this point. All of this information is found out in the prologue, so I’m not really spoiling anything that is game central. It looks like a fun game with a ton of moving pieces and something that is going to be more challenging than playing Pandemic Legacy (which we did poorly at, but we knew how to play).
Mechanically, they have it split up into a number of nice different options. You can raid locations for resources, you can buy resources, you can explore (probably getting resources), and you can build in your settlement or upgrade your ships. Each of these actions is split into it’s own guild, so it’s not like you can all of these on a turn. A lot of these actions are built around rolling dice, and building that dice pool can be a bit complicated, but reading the dice, thankfully, is very simple. Alright, so let’s talk a bit more about how the game works. There are two different types of rounds, the first being the winter round. The winter round is when you can get additional money, refresh resources that were getting low, stuff like that. It’s kind of resetting the board so that you’re ready for taking turns during the six summer months. During the summer months the big thing that you get to do are the guild actions. Each guild has three actions (one always being sail), and you get to pick 2 out of the 3 to do. The other big thing that you can do in SeaFall, to help make it easier to complete a milestone or get points is buy an advisor. They can make buying or selling items cheaper, they can make it so that you are better at exploring or better at raiding, or they can make upgrading cheaper. A final nice thing is that with how the turns go, and once you get going, they don’t actually take that long, so you can really get rolling.
Let’s talk about one HUGE negative to this game though. The rules as written are kind of hard to understand to start the game. It took me probably an hour of reading them repeatedly to get exactly what they meant, granted that was during the first time we tried to play the prologue. So don’t let the fact there is a prologue fool you, it teaches you nothing about the actual game, you just get to play the actual game without consequences. So watch the video below, he explains the rules very well, and it’s faster than reading the book. Once I watched the video I was able to remember how to play exactly until we played, so it made it much faster.
So what else do you need to know about this game?
I’m not sure, we’re just starting it out and playing for the second time coming up here in about a week. I’m very stoked for it. If I were to give any more advice about playing the game, it would be, have someone who really knows board games be the person to “control” the game. Let them set it up, let them be in charge of the rules, and really lean on that one person. This game is intimidating for a casual player and there is going to be a learning curve. Also, pay attention to the balance of things. I’ve heard rumors that this game can break down a little bit and that once someone gets behind it is hard to catch up. There seems to be a mechanic in place in the game to help with that, but still, keep an eye on that. You are pirates in this game, but that doesn’t mean you always have to be cutthroat.
I’ll come back once we’re done with the whole game with a review of it and some grades for casual and more serious players, so look for that in a while.
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