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Saturday, February 08, 2020

The Fall of Seafall

Tonight, after  two  three years to the month of playing, Scott, Sean, Mike, and I completed SeaFall, a so-called "Legacy" game with a board, pieces, characters, and rule set that evolve as you play.  In SeaFall, players take on the role of a provincial leader who competes with other leaders to explore the sea and unlock its secrets and treasures. Players earn points for building colonies, upgrading ships, finding treasures and secrets, trading goods, and accomplishing tasks. Player choices alter the way the map looks and plays, as well as their own characters and ships, and there are several important strategic and tactical decisions to make every turn, and, more widely, over the course of the long arc of the total number of games that it takes to finish the game. 

The game has a number of strengths and weaknesses. Exploring the sea and its islands and uncovering its secrets for uncertain rewards is fun, and provides a sense of progress and accomplishment. You get to customize your ships, colonies, islands, and advisors with names of your own choosing, often to humorous effect. Each game ends with a set of rewards commensurate with the number of points you earn, and those who finish last need not fear, because there's a balance mechanic that gives you a leg up on other players the next time you play. 

On the other hand, it's very hard to switch your overall strategy midway through the campaign, so once you focus on a particular playstyle, you're incentivized to stick with it or fall further and further behind your rivals. We also suspected early on that Scott was going to run away with the win, and that certainly proved to be the case. Congratulations, Scott, Emperor of the Provinces! 

All in all, I'd say it was a rewarding experience, but having completed the game, I can't say I'm tempted to return to it for the post-conclusion play options. Our heroes have earned their rest. 


Totty said...

3 years, not 2. Feb 18, 2017 is the first / oldest Seafall date that I have in my calendar. But we only played once in 2019 (also in February, as it turns out).

Earl J. Woods said...

Oof! Thanks for the correction, Mike.