The Start of our Seafall Campaign!

I’m sure most of you don’t know what Seafall is.  My guess is that, of the folks that happen to drop by this blog, most of you play 40k and might dabble in a other games.  I sincerely doubt many visitors have embraced board games as I have (not that I’m special, mind you, but because my hobby focus on the blog is almost exclusively GW related, so it makes sense that I would attract a specific type of followers).

Don’t get me wrong: I do like 40k.  Heck, I built a blog around it.  Anymore though, I find myself playing (and purchasing) board games more than 40k–by no small measure.

Back in February (or perhaps a little sooner), I had heard of a game called “Seafall” that completely intrigued me.  Seafall is a legacy game (meaning a game that changes over time based upon the outcome of each game played and the choices that the players make.  And like other legacy games, you wind up literally destroying components of the game, or otherwise modifying pieces so that you can never play it again (well, without buying another copy of the game).  While that might sound like a horrible waste of $79.99, it seemed really intriguing to me.

I viewed it as a board game where the choices you make really matter.  It’s a campaign, akin to the old D&D campaigns I used to play in, and gives true progression throughout.

Well, anywho, I heard about (and subsequently purchased) the game back in February, largely due to some feedback from The D6 Generation.  I’ve been listening to that podcast for a long time, and I’ve found that whenever Russ tends to really like a game, I seem to like them as well.  Plus, it had a great concept, and who doesn’t love pirates?

Then, it became a matter of finding friends that wanted to play–which turned out to be quite easy.  In fact, it’s a 3-5 player game, so the problem actually became who wasn’t going to be able to play with us.  Then we had issues with timing (we wanted to play, but didn’t want to usurp our regular game night–nor did we want to eat up weekends when it was Summer outside).

Well, last week, we finally got around to cracking the box open and playing our first game.  I warn you now, for this post, and the rest of the series, I will be including spoilers.  I’ll try to be good about including warnings and “more” tags so that you don’t have to see the spoilers if you don’t want to.

Before our first play-through, we passed out links to the rulebook online as well as the official training video on youtube.  The thought was that, by doing so, we’d have more time to play the game.  Since we’re committed to playing on a Saturday morning and we want to try to get two games per week (which may be impossible), not having to read the rules to everyone would be a boon.  In practice, it probably helped a ton, but we still wound up reading a fair bit of the rules as we played.

We started with the prologue (I’m not sure you have to, but it was a good primer for what we’re about to get ourselves into).  In total, it took about two hours for us to get through it with five players–but that includes assorted shenanigans and coming up with names for things.  For example, my captain was Okimoto Dai Bunto, a Japanese sailor from the province Wu.  Okimoto Dai Bunto (or O.D.B. as I call him) named a series of advisors throughout the game: Ghostface Killa, RiZA, Raekwon, & Mrs. Fields.  For those of you who aren’t big fans of rap music, those are all members of the Wu Tang Clan–well, excepting Mrs. Fields, but she just looked like a Mrs. Fields.

If you don’t listen to rap, don’t feel bad.  I typically don’t myself, but I did find myself buying a Wu-Tang hoodie to wear at next week’s game.  What can I say?  I’m totally into this…

I tried to play the role of a trader and an explorer, but wound up being the only player who didn’t get to name an island of my own in the prologue.  (It’s not a spoiler to say that, because the entire mission of the prologue is to name the islands).  Most of the other players tried to raid everything, but found that raiding didn’t work until other people explored things.    Clearly, I’m not saying my strategy was the best because I effectively lost the first mission (actually, I came in 4th out of 5).  In my defense though, the winner was only two points ahead of me, so it was a pretty tight race.

The hardest part about the game was when it came to ripping up components.  None of us had an easy time with doing it.  It just feels wrong to destroy a game component.  But, if I’m being honestly, it’s secretly a little exciting to do so.

Sadly, we only got one game in because one of the guys wasn’t feeling well.  The hope is that we’ll get in two this weekend.  I’m honestly having great fun and don’t remember the last time I was this excited about a board game.  I keep trying to convince the guys to all call in sick and see if we can’t knock a few games out.

And here come the spoilers.

Stop reading if you don’t want to know.

Seriously…

There really aren’t many spoilers about the first game.  I’m sure I could go nuts in reading all sorts of spoilers by telling you what specific entries in the captain’s log are, but I’m not going into that level of detail.  Really, there’s just one spoiler in the prologue, and that’s that your captain dies at the end of the adventure.

This really seems like poor design to me.  I mean, we just made a character and built a theme around him (not necessary, mind you, but many of us did just that).  Before the game started, I wound up naming all of the male captains:

  • Inigo Montoya
  • Abraham Witherspoon
  • Admiral Aurelius Longbottom
  • Kumar Nahasapeemapetilon
  • Okimoto Dai Bunto

Before the game even started, I was developing background and story for them.  My first pick was ODB, but I was actually last to pick (and still wound up with ODB).  So, having to rip him up was a little hard to swallow.  They don’t even explain why you’re doing it, which makes it worse.  We did wind up peeking ahead to the next mission, and found out that there is an underlying reason.  Still, if you’re playing this with your group of friends, you may want to go through and pick out the five worst options and start with them.  That way, you get to have the one you really want when you play the campaign.

Also, for that matter, it would make sense if you had to choose either boys or girls to start.  That way, you don’t have two people take the Asian characters.  The problem there is that (spoiler), when another member of my family takes over for me, it would be nice if that person at least looked like they were a member of my family.

I had a hard enough time ripping up my character that I actually didn’t rip up any of them.  I also toyed with the idea of keeping my character and making the other character my ancestor.  I also thought that maybe I’ll just name the new guy ‘ODB2″ or something like that.  I eventually succumbed and named him “Method Man” and will keep the legacy of the Wu alive.  Next week though, no peaceful trading.  I’mma kill someone!

 

5 comments on “The Start of our Seafall Campaign!

  1. Ha! Good old Seafall! My group hated the change of characters after the prologue, but we went along with it. We picked the ‘family members’ to take over. I got beaten so badly in that first game. I didn’t enjoy it at all. It was really rough. I went away, thought about it and played my subsequent games much differently. I have currently won every game since but my high score comes at a tough handicap. My opponents are now learning what I learnt in that first game. Plan out your strategy for each game and be ruthless. Don’t get caught up in distractions. If you are in it for some fun exploring and expeditions you are mistaken. That is not what this game is about. This is a brutal strategy game. Every choice, twist and turn the game throws at you is cutthroat. Keep adapting. Happy sailing mate. Hope you enjoy the ride.

    • When you say “be ruthless,” do you mean to say that you’re raiding other players’ ports and ships? I was going to try to avoid it personally, but based on my experience in the prologue, it seemed that those that were raiding did far better than I did.

  2. I’ve been quite interested in getting some board games lately. Do you have any suggestions for cooperative style board games for playing with novice-types? I’ve played pandemic with some people and it was fun but got a little repetitive

    • Like 100% cooperative? I don’t really have many of those.

      Pandemic is not well received in my group because of the difficulty factor and the success rate. I do know a guy that loves that game, and his favorite game is Flashpoint, so you may want to look into that. It’s also a cooperative game and has a similar level of difficulty.

      Otherwise, I’m not sure I have many games that are purely co-op. Typically when starting in board games, I recommend things like “Settlers of Catan,” “Ticket to Ride,” and “Small World.” All of which are great games, but they’re not co-op.

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