Seafall Campaign: Game 11

Before we played game 11, we went back and discussed enmity distribution that happened in game 11 and lead me to believe I was relatively safe from my adversaries.

Oh man, how do I describe this game without spoilers? Since we opened up two chests in the previous game, there was naturally a big difference in how things happened to play out. With new unlocks around the board, particularly the one from the Octopus chest, strategies of players all changed a bit. As a result, I was able to settle back into my old strategy as nobody was deliberately trying to stop me.

My strategy was to play the roll of the explorer, and it was going reasonably well. I was able to pick up an upgrade that helped out, and also used the Navigator, who proved to be quite helpful in exploring. Sadly, through no fault of my own, one of my ships sank due to an event card. Even in hindsight, I don’t believe there was anything I could’ve done to prevent that. The harder part is that my other ship also wound up sinking. That one, however, could’ve been prevented. I played a calculated risk and it really didn’t pay off for me.

Sam turned out to have a good game though and took the win. His last turn, he might have been able to perform a major milestone unlock, but we were really pressed for time, so instead he attacked me for a few final extra points.

And though that’s fairly vague, I think that’s about all I can say without spoiling things.

Trust me, there’s going to be far more in the spoilers below…

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Seafall Campaign: Game 10

I’m a little late to the game on this post, as we’ve actually had two sessions of Seafall since my last blog post. In the first, I was awakened to a couple of surprises. The first was, as we had learned from our previous game, that not all of the contents we had been keeping obfuscated were intended to be treated that way. I can’t talk about it too much for fear of spoilers, but suffice it to say that Sean had discovered that things were supposed to be in the open, and I had been sandbagging. That lead to Sam playing the role of spoiler and attacking me to gain that particular item.

That wasn’t a surprise though. Back games 5 & 6, Sam painted a target on my back and it was evident that he was going to start attacking me.  The thing is, he hit a lull for games 7-9, before coming back with a vengeance. Realistically, the game’s enmity mechanic really limits the amount of attacking that one player can do throughout the course of a game though.

What I didn’t expect though was that he conspired with Sean to both plot against me. Sean isn’t the force for attacking that Sam is (though I suppose with the proper advisors and upgrades, he could be). Instead, he waged financial war against me–buying the various upgrades that he figured I wanted (ie. the ones I had been purchasing in previous games).

Their strategy worked to some degree. By the fifth turn, I was in the back of the pack as far as points go. The thing is, when playing in first place, you can’t depend upon the same strategy game after game. I’ve learned to be flexible, so when they had taken my preferred buildings, I opted to go another route: exploring.

That left me to a relatively slow start, but things picked up quickly. By the second winter, I had jumped up to the rest of the pack, and after that, I had taken the lead. In fact, I was within range to win the game completely by the first turn after winter, but Sam was going after me and was in a position that he could assault my port if things went awry. Rather than pushing it, I played it safe and had to wait two more turns for him to get out of position. Unfortunately, that meant that Derek had a chance to catch up.

Actually, he didn’t do much catching up in those two turns. I fiddled around, getting myself lined up, and Derek inched closer. When Sam moved away from my port, I snatched the points to win–but didn’t see Derek having an absolutely astounding turn. He wound up discovering an island, earning a milestone, and buying a large treasure with money he had earned earlier in the day. That scored him a whopping 14 points and pushed him over the top. Heck, he had to roll over on the point track to actually accrue all of those in a single game.

After that, Sean and Sam both went and they each looked for ways to attack me and take me down in points (they weren’t concerned about how to score points themselves, but rather how to make me lose by more). Both were out of position though, so there wasn’t anything they could do.

We only played one game that day because of a Star Wars tournament that some guys had to go to so we wrapped things up quickly. There was a fairly large factor we overlooked at this point though. More on that in the spoiler section below.

STOP HERE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ SPOILERS:

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Seafall Campaign: Games 8 & 9

This week in Seafall I decided to strategize.

It’s not like I go into the game with zero strategy. I’ve been in the lead since the first game, so there’s got to be a little more than dumb luck involved, right?

My strategy to this point is two fold:

  1. Go for anything that gives me an advantage in future games. Stickers are permanent upgrades on the board that will persist throughout the campaign. This means I should try to win each game (not a super secret strategy) and also that I should try to get whatever unlocks I can. Of course, there are some random explorations and such that give stickers as well, but you can’t count on those, so they just come up when they do.
    Although that does lend some credit to doing exploration more…I also went pretty heavy on… well, without spoilers, I can’t say. Let’s just say there’s a twist that comes out in the first couple of chests that allows you to basically have access to easy glory in future games. That’s not particularly the intent, but that’s the way I saw it, so I committed fairly heavily to those.
  2.  Adapt to the mission at hand. As the Prince, I’m forced to go last every game. That means I can’t count on the good advisors being available, or the right ship upgrades being there for me. As a result, I need to remain flexible. If I see an option left open, I go for it. I generally haven’t competed in areas for others. If a couple of people are exploring–I don’t fight them for it, and instead go a different route.

One thing I haven’t really done is pre-planning. I’ve had some vague insights as to what I was planning to do in future games based upon the resources I had and the twists that had been revealed–but I’ve never really put a lot of thought into how I’d play the first couple of turns–and that is probably a mistake.

I know that Sam basically won game five because he had planned out at least the first couple of turns (it really sounds like he had a pretty solid plan for the entire game)–and he took a commanding lead in that particular game. So maybe I need to focus a little more.

So that’s what I set out to doing.  Only, there are so many options and variations on what could happen, that I became overloaded.  I planned out a couple of strategies that involved either taxing or building on the first turn, but neither was optimal unless I could somehow start with additional cash.  I could do that by winning a game (and thereby upgrading a field) or finding a way to get access to a mine early in the game.  So that was my plan…

This is the part where the spoilers start.

Don’t continue reading unless you want to see spoilers…

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Seafall Campaign: Game 7

We postponed a week in the Seafall campaign due to a funeral, but we picked up where we left off this past weekend.

As always, I’m going to try to eliminate spoilers from this post (at least before the jump), so bear with me if things are a little vague.

In my last post, I had mentioned that we had discovered a new unlock. I won’t go into details about what it was, but I will say that my interacting with it, wound up with me earning 9 glory in a single turn. This was because I got 4 (effectively 5) for interacting with it because I passed the test, and then another 4 for completing one of the board state objectives. That made it difficult for others to keep up with me, and lead to me winning the game.

Sean pointed out that the games won to date are:

  1. Rob
  2. Sam
  3. Albert (surprise from behind)
  4. Rob
  5. Sam
  6. Albert (surprise from behind)
  7. Rob

So clearly, it’s Sam’s turn to win next week. Typically we’ve been trying to play two games per day, but we didn’t get in a second one because someone had to leave early. Them’s the breaks though, so that’s not a big deal.

Speaking of Sam, I mentioned last time that he attacked me in order to try to keep my in check. It didn’t have much success, but I figured that I was bound to face more of that this time, but it surprisingly never happened. I can’t say as to whether that was a fluke or not though. I guess we’ll find out next week?

I did find myself thinking, for the first time, this week about what it will be like to end the campaign. Don’t get me wrong: I’m definitely enjoying this, but I’m ok with it ending as well. That’s kind of an unusual stance for me, as I normally want to extend things out past when they’re fun. Something about this game is different though.

Well, to be honest, I’m not sure if it’s the game, or the fact that playing it so routinely has basically killed the friday night games. I’m sure that plays into it as well.

Ok, on to the spoiler stuff!

Stop here if you don’t want any spoilers.

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Seafall Campaign: Games 5 & 6

For anyone who read the spoilers section of my last post on the subject, I was pretty sure that I was going to win the next two (maybe three) games of Seafall. I didn’t have a set plan, mind you, but I did have a couple of advantages that my opponents did not, so how could I possibly lose?

Well, I will say that it’s possible.

I wound up losing the first game of the day because of a strategy I basically implanted into Sam’s brain. He was feeling a little morose last week when he had two bad beatings that gave him some pretty major setbacks. He was trying to come up with a plan on what to do, and I advised that he just sail out and start exploring islands. Well, he expanded upon that plan with a pretty precise schedule of what he was going to do when, and that really worked out for him. He wound up mopping up with the strategy and earning a first place victory (one more turn, and he still would’ve won, but I’d have earned four more victory points to close the gap).

In that first game, he had tried to convince Albert to start attacking me, saying that would be in his best interest. I fundamentally disagreed though. I figure that attacking me for the sake of attacking me gets him nowhere. He expends effort and resources to hurt me, and gets little benefit. The result is instead that he helps everyone but the two of us and keeps himself down.

And you don’t want to be the prince. The prince has the honor of being in first place through the campaign, but gets no other benefits otherwise. In fact, there are a number of disadvantages to being the prince (I guess this is a spoiler, but I won’t go into details. Suffice it to say, the game has some built-in ‘catch up’ mechanics). So, what you ideally want to do when you’re in second place is to win the game (thereby getting the bonus for doing so), but also to keep the prince relatively close. That way you get the advantage for winning, but don’t have any disadvantages of being in first place.

Sam saw it differently. So, when he got into second place, he decided to enact his plan. Only it really didn’t work out well for him. Sure, he managed to hurt me (destroyed a building off one of my colonies), but that basically only took a single victory point from me. It also made sure he couldn’t attack anyone for the rest of the game though. In short, it didn’t help out much.

Now, practically speaking, that one victory point did cost me the game, but that was only because of a fluke move by Albert. I was set to win the game by either 2 or 6 points (Depending upon which way I wanted to go), but Albert went out and explored a new territory and accidentally scored an objective in the process, skyrocketing himself to a victory. So, even after scoring six points on the final turn, I would’ve merely tied him (and lost the tie, due to being the prince). That was pure luck on Albert’s part though, both to explore a 10, and for that 10 to be the exact one he needed.

But now I have an issue in the game going forward. Sam is not one for logic or reason, and he never seems to change his mind–so I now seem to have an enemy that will be incessently nipping at my heels throughout the game. Even if it causes him to lose, he isn’t likely to back down, because that’s not how he plays things. My hope is that this doesn’t cause any sort of animosity in our friendship and that we can leave that on the table.

So I think I now have a new plan in the game. This is no longer a campaign about winning or exploring the game, but rather one about experimenting with how one deals with Sam. I have had very little luck rationalizing with him in the past, or getting him to change his ways. So, I’m now about to undertake a social experiment with him to see if I can find another way of working things out with him. I’ll let you know more about that as the campaign continues.

At this point, we’re six games in and we’ve opened four of the six chests (we’re seemingly poised to open the seventh one any time now). I’m a little worried that the campaign is going too fast. I’m having a hard time believing that we’ll somehow have seven or eight games in a row without opening that final chest, but I guess time will tell.

Well, on to the “spoilers…”

Stop here if you don’t want to read them.

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