It’s time for part two of my review on SeaFall (Original Post). I’m going to try and keep this spoiler free, but if I feel like I can’t keep it spoiler free for some reason, I’ll give you a warning as to where the spoilers are, so you can avoid them.
SeaFall is the third true legacy game out there that doesn’t fancy itself a role playing game as well. For a refresher, in SeaFall, you take on the role of “pirates” or “explorers” who are discovering new islands and chunks of see. You are battling your opponents so you can expand and score points through various means such as raiding sites, exploring sites, buying upgrades for your colony and ships, or buying treasure. The game is a race to a certain number of points per game.
This game is actually fairly strategic. Each time you play you need to determine what is the best strategy you can take and if you can support yourself with the strategy throughout the whole game. At times this is a downfall of a game though as depending on the strategy you take, have a ship sink might just completely wreck your strategy and will set you back a number of turns. Also with the number of things that you can do, remembering everything you can do is kind of tricky. It doesn’t help that this game has very poor rules. See the first post (linked at the top of the article) for a great video on how to play the game. I would say that this is probably 100% needed for every player who wants to play the game to watch that video and then have a single player as a rules expert.
So besides rules, there is another area that this game is extremely lacking. The story is really only pulled out when you are either exploring (and this isn’t too much in terms of story), or when you get milestones. So, I always recommend that you go hard after milestones. This is going to make the game feel like it’s moving, and it moves it from a more stale game into something that is a whole lot more fun. No spoilers as to what comes up, but there are some weird things that happen. Also, note that if you have any confusion about stuff, google it. We were playing with open sea cards (they have question marks on them) and research cards for a little bit of time. But the research cards had a compass on them, so we all thought it made more sense the other way around. But back to story, this game really really needs just a tiny bit of text at the start of each game as it would feel like the game is progressing.
So, would I recommend this game? I would say maybe. This is a game that really needs to have a more serious gaming group and it might not even work then. There are some random swings in the game that might really annoying a more serious player, so be aware of that. Also, this game isn’t great for an analysis paralysis player. AP players are going to want to do a lot of different things on their turn, and likely not in the same guild, so they are going to agonize over their decisions a lot and their turns won’t move quickly. For a game that is already somewhat slow, having someone take even more time is going to really drag out a game that takes longer every time you play.
What are some things that I like about the game? I do actually like the story when it happens, and we’ve played 6 games now (or maybe 7) and it seems like it balances out pretty well for players as everyone gets upgrades. However, since the story doesn’t happen often and it doesn’t set-up some of the huge swings that happen in the game, it makes it frustrating for people who picked a certain strategy. I will say that I always did say that they were going to run into issues because getting something powerful wasn’t going to come without a cost. Be aware of that trap though, and it should be pretty obvious when the mechanic comes up what is the trap mechanic.
Overall, I’d say that this game, while I enjoy it, leaves a lot to be desired. Some of why I like it is probably because I am a gamer, and I love playing board games. I do think that the game is pretty well balanced, but then there are certain moments that will throw it out of balance, but there are always ways to put it back into balance. There are some things that I really do dislike, mainly the rule book and lack of a consistent story, which you’ve heard me harp on already. These do make it a lot harder to really enjoy the game.
Overall Grade: C-
Gamer Grade: B+
Casual Grade: D
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