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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Seafall: Games 3 & 4

For our second week of Seafall, we got another two games in.   We got to test out a few new rules for this game–and honestly, I think it’s about all of the rules that are contained in the starting box. By this time, we have basically tried everything we could.

The first rule we tested was something I can discuss without spoilers because it’s in the base rulebook. One of our participants, Derek, called in sick to game day, which resulted in him being included in the game, only sort of. The rules state that you still set him up, give him ships, but do not give him gold or goods. So, we could raid him if we wanted to, but there really isn’t much (any?) benefit to doing so.

Now that I think about it, I guess you could burn down his fields for some money, but that’s about it. Maybe his holdover adviser could be pilfered as well?

Whatever the case, nobody bothered to mess with him as he didn’t have much bearing on the game. He wound up scoring one point less than the lowest scoring person (per the rule), which was bad, because we had a pretty poor performer during one game.

Since he started in dead last, it was inevitable that he would still be in last place when the game ended. We just didn’t know how far in last place he’d be (I think it’s 21 points behind the leader, who has roughly twice that many total points).

And, I’m the leader!

Out of four games, I won games 1 and 4, Sam won game 2, and Albert won game 3. The only real result that has happened in the standings has been that each game 2nd and 4th place keep flopping back and forth.  Well, this is excluding the prologue, which I counted for some reason in the first blog post.

I won my first game simply by completing the mission objectives. I was ahead in the second game, but Sam had a terrific round of exploration to pull ahead. Albert won, to the shock of everyone at the table (including Albert) by trying to put Sean’s trading nonsense into check. By doing so, he inadvertently wound up earning glory for thumping Sean and stealing his treasure. The fourth game I pulled out by well….

******* Spoilers Incoming… *******

Seriously, don’t read after the break unless you want to know what’s coming in the game.

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Seafall Campaign: Games 2 & 3

This past weekend we wound up playing two more games of our Seafall campaign (actually, it’s the first two games, for those that are taking notes, as my first post was concerned entirely with “the prologue.”

I’ll start off with the basics and try to avoid any spoilers until after the break, but I will warn anyone who is going to play the game that there will be spoilers throughout this series, so you may want to skip this post (and future posts) altogether if you ever intend to play the game.

And, at this point, I strongly recommend you do.

Seafall is a legacy game, so our play through might wind up being significantly different than yours. Each exploration will result in a mini choose-your-own-adventure tale that, in turn, results in a different of sticker being added to an island–plus some small benefit. You also have some other decisions to make throughout the game which will affect how well your character/advisors are at certain actions, and it would appear that the goals of the game are non-linear, so you it’s possible you actually beat a mission without completing any of the goals (though that seems decidedly unlikely).

I took a comment of Raymond Matthews on my previous post to heart when he said “Plan your strategy for each game and be ruthless.” I’m not sure if he meant it the way I took it, but I did wind up doing just that in my game. For the first game, it served me well. Me and one other player split the mission objectives and I came away with first place and a few permanent upgrades. For the second game, I learned the disadvantage of winning (especially by a large margin) and wound up coming in second place (which was probably the worst place I could’ve come in) due to a pretty shrewd one turn jump of another player to get six glory and skyrocket past me at the last minute.

I’m not sure that I can say much more without spoilers, so prepare now for the jump.

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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.

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