This post contains SPOILERS near the end!
The world is emerging from a dark age where history and knowledge were lost. The great provinces have just begun re-establishing seafaring technology. Wealth and fame await leaders who are cunning and brave. Explore the coastal islands. Discover lost civilizations. Sail the open sea in search of new lands. Uncover long buried secrets. Sail until the sea falls off the edge of the world!
Last night, myself and three swarthy gents, Brandon, Pete, and Will, joined up to play through the Prologue game of SeaFall. SeaFall is a “legacy game”, in which choices and actions made by players can have permanent consequences for future games. The board, and even player cards, become modified over time by stickers and overwriting text.
SeaFall is designed to be played with a minimum of two players, up to a maximum of five, with the designer’s intent to be best with four players. After completing the prologue, the box provides additional content to be played through fifteen, or more, additional times, between new islands being discovered and permanently added to the board, or player Provinces rising or falling in glory as the game sessions progress.
Many of the major components of the game have their names left blank, to leave room for the players to write in a name of their choice as they acquire them. We themed our provinces, ships, captains, and eventually even islands that we discovered around different mythos.
Exploration, trading, building, and naval combat are strong themes present while playing, especially when you’re instructed to read through the Captain’s Booke, at which point the game takes on a feel of “Choose Your Own Adventure”. Every entry is coded to a specific number found in the Explorer’s Map, located in the opening page of the Booke. Be very careful not to read ahead, as you’ll risk revealing hidden information or spoiling certain plot lines that may be relevant to future games your group will play!
This game is dense. There are quite a few subtleties to the mechanics and actions players can take that are not intuitive or obvious. We highly recommend checking out some “Watch it Played” videos, or consulting with someone familiar with the rules to make sure you’re not missing anything very important. We didn’t find out about appellations until our first Winter round!
Thoroughly reading through the rulebook would also help, of course. The full descriptions of what an action does are important, as many of the minor details are included towards the end of the entry in the rulebook.
Spoilers ahead! Ye be warned!
One of the common recurring themes in the game is that Choices Matter. Of course, in the normal flow of a game, your choices usually do matter for that session, but as this is a Legacy title, the consequences of your choice may be a little more dire than you’d expect!
Not only are names created and written, and stickers added to the board and cards, but at some points, the game even instructs you to destroy certain pieces, ensuring they cannot be used again in the future!
We decided to go with the authentic experience, and literally destroy our materials when the game prompted us to, but if you are so inclined, you may wish to create proxies, or merely note that an item has been destroyed, rather than truly destroying them as we did!
Everything gets a name, too! During the prologue, at certain points, players get to name an Island, and it then becomes a permanent fixture on the board. These modifications carry over to future games, so now we’ll be sailing to islands such as “New Carpathia”, “The Three Sisters”, and “The Animal Kingdom” (an annex of The Magic Kingdom).
We’re amped for next week when we’ll finally begin “Game 1”, with a new set of goals and our own islands on the board. We’ve named our ships, and our provinces, and are striving to obtain the most Glory so that we may eventually succeed to the Emperor’s throne!
Also, as mentioned, this was merely the Prologue of the game. Once we reached the end of the session, it was discovered through a journal entry that we were playing the lives of our forefathers! Game 1 will take place in current day, and our chosen leaders are long dead. The Captain’s Booke instructed us to destroy our leader cards, along with any appellations and titles they had earned during the session. It was quite the twist!
This game is highly recommended, as long as you are able to assemble a group of dedicated players that will be able to play through multiple sessions after the first, so that the game can evolve over time.
Catch us again next week for a look at this holiday season’s most hyped strategy game, Cry Havoc.