It’s been a while since I’ve written about Seafall, and that’s largely to do with the fact that we just haven’t played it ages.
Part of that is because of the holidays at the end of last month and trying to schedule time with people on vacation proved difficult–but it also has to do with the notion that the game had fallen out of favor.
In truth, I’ve also omitted a complete playing session from the write-ups (so I’ll cram that into this post now).
The last time we played (sometime in the middle of December), we had come to grips with the thought that the campaign was rapidly coming to a close. We had just barely discovered the final “wave” map, and had unlocked a variety of other options that would give us a chance at finding the end of the world, but even then, 30 successes seemed ridiculous. If we loaded all of the upgrades onto a single player and let them try, we figured we could count on maybe 17 guaranteed successes. That still meant you’d have enough dice (and successes) to muster 13 more. Possible, sure, but not great odds.
Yeah, I know that you could potentially use multiple “wave” charts, but how realistic is it to achieve many of those during the course of a game?
So, I brought up the conversation that, given what we knew about the game, we would probably need to come up with a point in time to just end things. After all, if one person had all of the ideal upgrades and then only had a chance to win the game, what would happen if we were all squabbling over the upgrades? Surely, nobody would win. I was fine with playing a few more games if they wanted, but I didn’t care to drag it on forever. Let’s pick a goal, complete that, and then end the campaign.
Clearly, fatigue had set in with me.
I wasn’t the only one. I was growing weary of having multiple people single me out as the threat and then assaulting me the entire game. My thought was that it wasn’t fun for me to host the game, feed my friends, have them come over and just punch me in the face for the afternoon. I just didn’t enjoy it enough. I went along with it for a few weeks, and even suggested an alternative that I thought would be amicably accepted in the form of a penalty against me (hint: it wasn’t well received).
But others too were ready to end the campaign. Sam was frustrated with the various rules we’d gotten wrong over the game, and figured that our misplays wound up giving an unfair advantage to some players. He’s not wrong, for sure, but playing with different rules to me (as long as they were consistent) made for a fair game–if a different game than the designer intended.
So, we met again in January to wrap things up. During our last December game, Sean managed to steal some charts from other players, which set him up to be the one to win the final game. So, when we met at the table in January, I was in position to aid him in doing so. He went first and bought all of the best upgrades, and I, over the course of the next few turns, managed to stack the adviser deck in his favor so he could get all of the ones he wanted.
Between those things, he managed to get to the point where he needed to only roll four successes on eight dice. I don’t know how to easily calculate that, but my guess is that’s still about an 11% chance (as there’s about 11% chance of rolling zero successes on two dice). I’m guessing that’s not remotely accurate, but I’m just underscoring there is a possibility. It’s not a red endeavor though, and he had enough fortune tokens, so it’s really a moot point.
And that wound up ending the campaign. Sorry for the anti-climactic ending, but there are too many spoilers to say much more than that.
Keep reading if you’re OK with spoilers.
The campaign end was odd, because there was still another box to unlock after. We had talked about what we thought would be in that box. I thought that there would be some sort of prize for the winner, but it really unlocked one more game to play.
When we discovered the final island, it turned out to be a portal to hell, and we had to go into the depths to save the world. As the newly crowned emperor, I discarded my title card and earned an extra 5 reputation to start the game. We then played a purely cooperative game wherein together we had to save the world from destruction against the horsemen of the apocalypse. The event deck was discarded and replaced with an apocalyptic deck, which triggered every round and did bad things throughout the world. We setup a strategy wherein Derek would sail out and explore the final island, but due to complication and damage on his ship, he got stranded and failed his mission. After, Sam and Sean were building up vehicles to make an attempt as well, but I turned out to have the key.
It seems that our benefactors from the original prologue, all went to hell (presumably because of how we treated all of the indigenous peoples). They were each represented in the apocalyptic deck. One of them came out and spilled out bonus reputation tokens to everyone. That, coupled with my large number of starting rep (because I was the emperor) made me a lock to buy the black ship upgrade where I could spend reputation for additional dice. I had a total of 25 dice and managed to roll 22 successes, saving the world from imminent destruction.
I should also mention that I wrote this post back in January, so it’s nearly a year old. I never went live with it because I was hoping to post photos. I don’t imagine I’ll be keeping this game any longer because it’s only taking up space. I should mention that it’s still playable, as a separate game. The final twist was that it spawns a new game that you can keep playing over and over, so there’s no need to throw it out. The only thing is that particularly game was ok–not amazing, and I just don’t see it getting much (if any) play in my house. Plus, I’d like to get rid of it so I can forget it, and maybe one day play it with my children.
Or better yet, maybe serve as a referee should they play it on their own.
I’d like to wrap up by writing a little more about our particular game. If you recall, I started on a theme, with the intent to name everyone after the Wu-Tang Clan. I wound up naming my first leader “Okimoto Dai Bunta”–or O.D.B. for short, who in turn passed the torch to Method Man. To fill things out, I started naming every adviser I found after the various members of the clan, starting with RIza, and working my way through the deck. I think the best named one of the lot is clearly Ghostface Killah, the Madman.
I took it a step further and named the settlements I established after hardcore areas like Compton, Hollis, & Crenshaw (ok, maybe Hollis isn’t really hardcore, but I recalled it in the old Run DMC song). I tried to go old school rap. I got into it enough that I bought a Wu Tang hoodie that I started wearing to all of the game nights. Giving it a theme made things a little more fun for me throughout.
I took a few photos of the state of the game, including one to show what everyone had at the end. Derek, was the green player, and though he didn’t have any real upgrades, he had a bunch of map pieces and was pretty consistently in last place, so he was holding his own in missions at the end. By the looks of it, I was not too far ahead of him, with not much in the way of material possessions either. Sam, on the other hand (bottom right) was loaded up with all sorts of goodies. I had gotten out to an almost insurmountable lead, but I think if the game would’ve gone on long enough, he would’ve easily passed me.
There’s also a photo of the various cards we were told to rip up throughout the course of the game. If you recall from the first session, it was truly painful to destroy game components permanently, but it did eventually get easier. Still, I was surprised at just how much we destroyed over the course of the campaign.
Two more photos show some of the advisers that we found to be consistently useful throughout the game. I wound up leaning heavily on John Stone (aka. “The Foreman” through the beginning of the game. I only kept him because I was winning and everyone was keeping advisers of 4+ costs, locking me out of “the good ones.” I attribute much of my early success to using him though–as he gave huge advantage on the first turn of the game. Derek basically kept Guy, “the Helmsman” locked up for the entire game, and Albert was really partial to Firoz, “the Renowned Explorer.” I had some success with both Queen Latifah and Cappadona too. Jonathon Shipley wasn’t used extensively until Sam set his sights on me and started to beat me down.
Finally I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge some of the more brilliant names we had come up with. Some of them, like Strider, were named because of who they looked like (see a list of those in a moment). The ones that really stood out to me as fantastic though, were those that played with their titles. Undoubtedly, my favorite was Sigourney, “the Weaver.” Runners up included Randy, “The Savage” and Flightov, “The Navigator.”. The ones based upon image included:
- Al, “The Contractor” (From Home Improvement)
- Harry Potter “the Apprentice Builder” (complete with mark)
- James Potter “the Surveyor”
- Palin, “the Politician” (worth noting that we live in Alaska)
- Church Lady, “the Priest”
- LeChuck, “the Blackmailer” (from Secret of Monkey Island–which also makes an appearance on the game board)
- Indiana, “the Archeologist” (I thought he should’ve been named after Kevin Spacey)
- Strider, “the Keeper of Lore” (from LoTR)
My names are merely included as honorable mentions–I was really impressed at how clever my friends could be.
Now that the campaign is over, I’m not sure what to think of it. I really enjoyed the games at first, but it eventually outwore it’s welcome. There were so many great twists and turns throughout, but I’m sure we were all glad to see it run it’s course.
We had some issue with the way some rules worked, and I would hope that they could fix that for future reprints of the game. I’ve already purchased a copy for my kids to play one day, but I now know that I won’t be playing it with them. Even if we play it ten years in the future, I fear that I’ll remember too many details, so I’ll probably be better at playing referee than participant (and, if our game is any indication, they’ll probably need it).
Still, I think the game was fun overall, and provided several weeks of entertainment for five people, so well worth the $35 that Amazon seems to be charging for it. At that price, it’s probably worth it to buy the box, crack everything open, and then throw it away. It certainly has enough story there to make it an entertaining evening or two.
Some things I wish the game would’ve done that never came to fruition:
- We never discovered the secret of the statues. Someone since looked up how to discover these and it seems rather arcane. I would guess that some advisor would’ve given us a clue to this, had we bothered to play long enough–but we were just ready to get it over with by then.
- There was never an evil pirate boat. Man, that would’ve been neat to have a black pirate ship sailing around and attacking people. Every other twist we thought of (and more) came to fruition, but no little boat.
- I never got to finish the Wu Tang Clan. I started naming all of my advisers after the Wu, but it became evident after the second chest was opened that I was going to run out of names. That meant that “U-God” never showed up in the game.
- I was sad that they stopped giving us stickers to upgrade advisers. After about the third box, we no longer received stickers–though we had plenty of open slots available on advisors. I’m not sure why the other boxes don’t come with more stickers–what’s the harm?
Those are pretty nit-picky though. We all had fun and more than half of us intend to play the game again (or, as in my case, referee). So, if you’re at all thinking about playing this game, it gets my hearty thumbs up.
Then again, you’ve already ruined it at this point because you’ve read the spoilers. What is your problem!?!?!