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Subject: Ten Things to Like - And Five Things to Dislike - About Seasons rss

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Trent Hamm
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The game itself isn't important. Spending time intellectually jousting with likeminded folks is the real reason to game.
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Seasons is a card drafting and resource management game from Asmodee, designed by Régis Bonnessée. In this beautiful game, you select and (eventually) deploy a set of nine cards which represent your powers. You do this by utilizing resources that you glean from a pool of shared dice, with each player drafting a dice result out of that pool and collecting the resources from that dice face. The cards have varying powers that combine together in interesting fashion, eventually generating "crystals" which are your victory points for the game. The game plays from two to four players and is playable in about thirty minutes per player.

Ten Things to Like About Seasons

1. The artwork is gorgeous.
The art team for Seasons did a tremendous job here. Every card looks beautiful and interesting. Everything is bright, colorful, and fantastic. If you want a sense of a bright and vivid fantasy theme, you're going to find it in this game.

2. The components are very well made.
All of the pieces are sturdy. The graphic design on the cards and components is very clear. The cards stand up to repeated shuffling without breaking a sweat. The symbols are all very clear and distinct. From a components perspective, this game executes very well.

3. The card draft at the start of the game offers compelling decisions.
The opening draft of the cards is the most enjoyable part of the game, as there are some seriously challenging card evaluation options to consider, particularly with the first few picks of the draft. For successful play, you have to develop some kind of plan with the cards you're choosing, and that plan starts with the very first pick and often carries through to the very last one as well. In terms of pure drafting, this is right up with 7 Wonders and Magic: the Gathering cube drafting.

4. The cards have interesting abilities and can potentially combo very well.
As with any thoughtfully designed variable power card game, the cards have a wide variety of interesting abilities. The cards also tend to line up very well for combinations, making certain pairings of cards worth far more as a sum than they are individually.

5. It shines as a two player game.
Two player Seasons is an enjoyable experience, as you tend to have more control over the card draft as well as more control over the flow of the game. This will work very well as a couple's game.

6. The basics of the game are very easy to teach.
The game mechanisms themselves aren't very complicated and can be taught quickly. The manual does a solid job of teaching the game, too. The challenge of the game comes from thinking through the card combinations and synergies, not from any sort of comprehension of individual cards or the rules of the game.

7. Multiple plays are rewarded with more sophistication and depth.
The first few plays of this game often result in players choosing cards that don't combo well and have poor synergy. As players get more experienced with the game, the drafting becomes more nuanced. Players begin to select some very powerful combos and cards that synergize well and, eventually, players begin to actually make counter-picks to prevent too much synergy from happening. Most card drafting games highly reward many plays, and Seasons is no exception.

8. The variable difficulty levels reduce the number of decisions for new players.
The game offers a low-complexity version (skipping the draft entirely), a medium complexity version (using cards #1 to #30), and a high complexity version (using all cards). The low-complexity version is perfect for teaching (since a draft is a waste of time for a player who doesn't know the basic game mechanisms) and the medium-complexity version makes for a lighter game than the high-complexity version. The ability to mold the game to your complexity desires is a big positive.

9. The game's complexity and decision tree grows throughout the game in a pleasant fashion.
As the turns progress in the game, the turns become more and more complicated, growing from a handful of options early on to a very large tree of options later on. This is a very pleasing phenomenon from a "multiplayer solitaire" perspective.

10. It's extemely pleasing to more casual gamers.
The art of this game, the straightforward game mechanisms, and the interesting card combinations make this into a pretty intriguing game for more casual gamers. I would happily teach this one to casual gamers who enjoy gamer's games on the lighter end of the spectrum.

Five Things to Disike About Seasons

1. The card draft is incredibly unbalancing.
A card draft, where you take a "pack" of cards, choose one, and pass it to a player adjacent to you, is inherently unbalanced. Some packs are going to simply be stronger than other packs.

Games that use the card drafting mechanism effectively, such as 7 Wonders or Magic: the Gathering, mitigate this by having many different strategies that you can draft and by having multiple packs so you can alternate directions with the draft and ensure that your strategy isn't blocked. Other games make the draft less important to success.

Seasons fails to do either, to its detriment. Players are going to have unequal access to quality cards and you can't really work around it.

2. The dice introduce too much luck.
In other games where dice produce resources, such as Macao, the luck factor is reduced by allowing players to select any of the dice, not just what's left over by the other players and you will eventually get access to the resource type you need. Neither is true in Seasons, where you can be locked down for several turns, unable to build much of anything, while everyone else builds and grows.

3. The middle to late turns in four player games have far too much downtime thanks to inevitable analysis paralysis.
The last time I played a four player game of Seasons, a player actually fell asleep waiting to do something. The problem here is the same problem that some later turns of Dominion can have - players are playing long combinations of cards and need to be sure they're doing it in the right order. Downtime isn't a bad thing as long as there's a deep enough puzzle for other players to think about while waiting; unfortunately, the depth of the decisions in Seasons doesn't measure up consistently. This is a design problem in quite a few games, where the downtime far exceeds the complexity of the game and the forethought required.

4. There is a significant runaway leader problem.
Show me a game of Seasons after the draft and, unless it's a very well matched two player game, I can probably tell you who one of the losers is going to be. After the first day, I can probably eliminate another player, and after the second day, the winner is almost always pretty clear. The last few turns of a game of Seasons is very often an exercise in just finishing the game, as the winner is usually clear by that point.

Part of this is due to the unevenness of the draft, but another big part of it is the fact that players can brutally knock the legs out from under each other in the first few turns of the game, leaving them so resource crippled that they have no way to catch up.

5. Experienced players will crush new players.
Knowing all of the cards is a tremendous advantage in this game. It allows you to draft far better and also allows you to have a much deeper understanding of the potential of other player's tableaus. A person who has a strong understanding of the fifty cards and a good working knowledge of the combos in Seasons will just mop the floor with a new player, and with the already-existing runaway leader problem, it just gets worse. Even when using the "beginner" rules, an experienced player will wipe the floor with a new player.

Who Would Like This Game?
Seasons actually was one of my biggest disappointments in 2012 - actually, it was my biggest disappointment of 2012. I had high hopes for this game as a great blend of variable power cards and resource management, and instead I got a game with too many luck elements, too much downtime for the level of decisions that you make with a four player game, and not enough compelling gameplay to even crack my top twenty five one-on-one games. Seasons is definitely on my "trade" pile.

Still, there are some who I would recommend Seasons to because the good aspects of the game can outweigh the problems for some people. People who will potentially like this game include:

Casual Magic: the Gathering fans - This game does a good job of expressing variable card powers and the card drafting mechanism in a fantasy theme package. It's something that seems like a strong match for casual Magic: the Gathering fans.

Card-drafting fans - If you really enjoy the card drafting mechanism, you'll like this one. Card drafting shows up in games like 7 Wonders and Fairy Tale, and the drafting portion of Seasons does it justice.

Partners attracted to the theme - The fun fantasy theme and strong art here can be quite appealing. It was one of the things that attracted me to the game and made me very excited to sit down and play it.

A Video Review
I also posted a video review of this game, which touches on many of the points described above in a reasonably short package. If you want a good glimpse of the game components, this is worth watching.

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David Dawson
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Very good points. I think you've listed all of the pros and cons of this game, and I think whether people decide to buy or keep it will come down to personal taste.

I wonder how the game would play with a "Macao" variant, with players able to select any of the dice. Die of Malice would then get nerfed a bit, but I can't see anything else being too different other than eliminating a bit of screwage from that draft.
 
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Tony Carson
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Interesting perspectives. On the whole I agree and you do a good job of not just highlighting, but explaining, the pros and cons.
However, my experience has been a little different.

I first played Seasons last fall, then a few times on BGA, and about 4 times over the past month, with my parents. We jumped right into the advanced game, and the first game did go very slow because of the lack of familiarity with the cards. But the core gameplay is really simple.

I like the limited choice with the dice. First player rotates so everyone gets a lot, then a few, dice to choose from. I've played some other games that have so much choice, it's overwhelming. This limited choice provided by the dice, help guide the player, especially someone who's not a hardcore gamer.

I'm not a great Magic player (too much choice, again), so I might just suck with card drafting and foreseeing the possible interactions, but 3 of our 4 games, the first and second player were within 10 points of each other. I'll admit I'm not necessarily "experienced" in drafting games, but I think that point is mitigated by the limited draft and the dice, although I of course agree that a person familiar with the cards and their interactions does have an advantage - but that's the way with many games.

I rather like Seasons, and hope to play it more soon. I don't care to play 7 Wonders again.

Perspective information: I like light to middleweight games, co-ops, and games with dice, that take 30-120 minutes; I sometimes get overwhelmed when presented with too much choice, and I can fall prey to AP, although ironically not so much in games as in other decisions.
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Runcible Spoon
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You have done a pretty good job with your pro and con list for seasons, so thanks I like a good solid review of this sort.

I believe the quote below is a true statement but I disagree with the conclusion that you draw from your interpretation of this statement.

Quote:
5. Experienced players will crush new players.


This is on your "things to dislike." It is fine if you dislike it, I am not one to dictate tastes to anyone.

But to bring a different perspective to the table I see this (experienced player's having a strong advantage) as "something I like" about this particular game for the following reasons.

An experienced and skilled player at --"insert game title X"-- (Key Market, Agricola, Goa, etc.) is going to "mop the floor" with any new player provided that game X has some depth to the rules, interactions among elements in the game, requires strategy and tactics etc.

This is as it should be.

If a player with a significant X number of sessions played loses to a brand new player (in 2p) then it suggests that skill and experience might not be required to play well. Even MtG, which you seem to be fond of, is certainly in this category for a whole host of reasons. Tons of rules, rule exceptions, thousands upon thousands of cards, deep card combos, many different playing formats, etc. It is a steep learning curve. Obviously seasons is nowhere near as steep as that but you are right, having some knowledge of the cards available for the draft will certainly provide a strong advantage to the "seasoned player."

Games like the ones I mention above require skill and experience to be good at them. I like these criteria in some of my games but not all of them. I do like dixit, tumblin dice and sorry sliders after all

I liked your review by the way, it was concise and insightful so thanks and have a thumbsup
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Richard Hellsten
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trenttsd wrote:
1. The card draft is incredibly unbalancing.
A card draft, where you take a "pack" of cards, choose one, and pass it to a player adjacent to you, is inherently unbalanced. Some packs are going to simply be stronger than other packs.

Games that use the card drafting mechanism effectively, such as 7 Wonders or Magic: the Gathering, mitigate this by having many different strategies that you can draft and by having multiple packs so you can alternate directions with the draft and ensure that your strategy isn't blocked. Other games make the draft less important to success.

Seasons fails to do either, to its detriment. Players are going to have unequal access to quality cards and you can't really work around it.


Interested to hear your opinion on what you would prefer over a draft.

I am a huge fan of draft because of its equality, the fact that it rewards players' ability to value cards and the opportunity to follow synergies. The obvious alternatives are fixed hands (which get dull after a few games) or random shuffles which seem much worse alternatives.

I agree with point three, and thats why I dont suggest four players with the game, and I also wonder about the value of the time travelling boots when all they ever seem to do in my games is prolong them.

Your other negative points dont worry me in the slightest as I think they are gaming preferences, rather than flaws with the game.

Great post!
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EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
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Runcible Spoon wrote:
You have done a pretty good job with your pro and con list for seasons, so thanks I like a good solid review of this sort.

I believe the quote below is a true statement but I disagree with the conclusion that you draw from your interpretation of this statement.

Quote:
5. Experienced players will crush new players.


This is on your "things to dislike." It is fine if you dislike it, I am not one to dictate tastes to anyone.

But to bring a different perspective to the table I see this (experienced player's having a strong advantage) as "something I like" about this particular game for the following reasons.

An experienced and skilled player at --"insert game title X"-- (Key Market, Agricola, Goa, etc.) is going to "mop the floor" with any new player provided that game X has some depth to the rules, interactions among elements in the game, requires strategy and tactics etc.

This is as it should be.

If a player with a significant X number of sessions played loses to a brand new player (in 2p) then it suggests that skill and experience might not be required to play well. Even MtG, which you seem to be fond of, is certainly in this category for a whole host of reasons. Tons of rules, rule exceptions, thousands upon thousands of cards, deep card combos, many different playing formats, etc. It is a steep learning curve. Obviously seasons is nowhere near as steep as that but you are right, having some knowledge of the cards available for the draft will certainly provide a strong advantage to the "seasoned player."

Games like the ones I mention above require skill and experience to be good at them. I like these criteria in some of my games but not all of them. I do like dixit, tumblin dice and sorry sliders after all

I liked your review by the way, it was concise and insightful so thanks and have a thumbsup


I wholeheartedly agree with this opinion, but to play semi-devil's advocate- a game in which an expert wipes the floor with an inexperienced player because of an intricate knowledge of the system and its interactions is always preferable to a game where an expert wins simply because he knows which cards are overpowered. That is- i prefer games where a player can take the seemingly lesser path/branch/strategy/cards and win due to knowledge of the system. Good examples include 7 wonders where each decision involves gaming the other players and manipulating scarcity- bad examples include RftG, where the majority of games rely on proper positioning of a couple of key cards, cost6 devs being particularly guilty of this.

Seasons looks to lean towards this second version.
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Steph
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I would agree with most of your points. This is my current favorite game.
I find the lsat two turns to be the deciding factor. The last turn in particular is most crucial and will determine the winner in almost all of my games. I dont come across the significant leader runaway problem like you mentioned. Probably becuase I play with people who know how to play and it is a fierce game which is why I love it so much.

In the end cards are most important and end game is crucial. If the dice don't work in your favor and you have to go first on the last turn it is a potential loss.... so much for your deamon of argos and Amsung Longneck who are a big game changer.

You just have to be careful and choose the correct dice towards the end to make it work in your favor.

As far as I am concerned... Anything can happen- the cards you get at the beginning are only guidelines but there is so much potentail during game play to change the outcome. You just have to be daring.
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Alessandro Maggi
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Nice review, although here I agree only on the positives. Ok, I can second point 3 of the things to dislike, but it's been not worse than probably any other game with more than shallow depth in my group (and we have a couple of exhausting AP players).

This is surely not a game tournament-oriented if you're searching for a zero-luck game, especially with more than two players. However I've never felt out of control, and the excitement of drafting one card without knowing if that other card that combos well with it will be present in the hand you'll be drafting next is genuine. Otherwise you can go the safe way and draft general purpose utility cards until you know a good chunk of cards going around or you can pick cards to prevent other players to get them. There are a lot of options.
I remember more than one game in which I got the Runic Cube without the Potion of Dreams and I desperately browsed the deck drawing more and more cards to get it: I pulled it off twice, if memory doesn't fail me. Good times.

Onto the runaway leader, I still have to experience that. I have little experience with the game overall, 3 2p games and 5 4p games. In 2p games, it's actually easier to tell if someone is hugely ahead, but again I still find it difficult to predict. Up until now I've always won each games of Seasons I had - surprisingly, I must say, I almost always lose at any game - and I don't remember a single 4p game in which I was confident about being ahead: most games ended with a 10 point disparity between first and second player.
If anything, I'd say that this is one of the games I have an hardest time telling who is going to win up to the latest rounds among all the (relatively few) games I've played so far.

dtcarson wrote:
Interesting perspectives. On the whole I agree and you do a good job of not just highlighting, but explaining, the pros and cons.
However, my experience has been a little different.

I first played Seasons last fall, then a few times on BGA, and about 4 times over the past month, with my parents. We jumped right into the advanced game, and the first game did go very slow because of the lack of familiarity with the cards. But the core gameplay is really simple.

I like the limited choice with the dice. First player rotates so everyone gets a lot, then a few, dice to choose from. I've played some other games that have so much choice, it's overwhelming. This limited choice provided by the dice, help guide the player, especially someone who's not a hardcore gamer.

I'm not a great Magic player (too much choice, again), so I might just suck with card drafting and foreseeing the possible interactions, but 3 of our 4 games, the first and second player were within 10 points of each other. I'll admit I'm not necessarily "experienced" in drafting games, but I think that point is mitigated by the limited draft and the dice, although I of course agree that a person familiar with the cards and their interactions does have an advantage - but that's the way with many games.

I rather like Seasons, and hope to play it more soon. I don't care to play 7 Wonders again.

I'm quoting you, except that recently I've started to like 7 Wonders a bit more than I did (never really cared that much before, and I was the one owning it in my group).

I wanted to try Seasons for a long time (I mean outside of BGA) without success, and finally my GF bought it to me (to end either my misery or hers, I guess!). First 4p games took probably 2h, or even more. Last time we gathered my table played two games of Seasons 4p in a row, and that was how I spent almost the entire evening. I'd probably do that again, and again. For me, it was the biggest discovery and pleasant surprise of the year.
Probably the biggest surprise was that the game became such a huge hit with a friend of mine who usually avoids fantasy and mostly plays classic eurogames as Puerto Rico and Agricola: complete addiction, I can't count how many games he played on BGA anymore, and he's still not able to figure out why he's willing to play it again and again.
He made me laugh hard when he tried to describe the game to a friend of ours: "this game is incredible... I mean, looks complicate but it's actually so simple... I can't describe it, it's really nothing special, but then you can't stop playing it... unbelievable".
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Steph
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RAVENBURG wrote:


I agree with point three, and thats why I dont suggest four players with the game, and I also wonder about the value of the time travelling boots when all they ever seem to do in my games is prolong them.

Your other negative points dont worry me in the slightest as I think they are gaming preferences, rather than flaws with the game.

Great post!


The boot is the most powerful card!! Especially at the end of the game. If you have a boot and Amsung Longneck and perhaps even another boot... you can end the game almost as soon as you hit the 3rd season!! slamming everyone with 3 or 4 cards counted against them. Definitely one of the best cards. during the game if I don't have that card I play the game like someone else does. very VERY valuble.
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Alessandro Maggi
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RAVENBURG wrote:
I agree with point three, and thats why I dont suggest four players with the game, and I also wonder about the value of the time travelling boots when all they ever seem to do in my games is prolong them.

One of the interesting facts about the game is how different perception about "value" of certain cards can be. We consider the Temporal Boots as the closest to "broken" card in the whole set. If your group has been playing it only to prolong games, then you're probably playing it wrong.
Taken alone, it's a free 8 point with added flexibility, but it can effectively combo with many other cards to make for a surprise end-of-game. In our group is becoming a must-pick as first card of the draft (either to go for the combo or to prevent it).
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Well-done review. I don't agree with a lot of it, but it does lay everything out nicely. A few things:

-The game REALLY shines more as a 2-3 person game. 4, as you mentioned, has FAR too much downtime.

-In 2-3-player games, the dice feel less random, since you have more turns/game where you go 1st/2nd, giving you greater chances of getting what you're looking for.

-If you think you can look at starting hands and know the outcome of the game, then you're probably not drawing enough cards, as a group. I don't generally see people ending with fewer than 11 or so cards out, and that's including some cards which inevitably are banished either by other cards, or on playing.

-The Temporal Boots....well, there's better ways to use them. The best way I've used them is to make sure to get all my cards out early (worry less about drawing additional cards or transmuting), have Boots + 1-2 "screw your opponents at the end of the game" cards and be ready to drop them all in the third season of the last year, or whenever you can to end the game early, leaving your opponents with quite a bit of unfinished business and cards left stuck in their hands. If you can manage to get 2 of them, well, you can make half the third year just not happen, when you're ready for it and others....not so much.

-I disagree about casual players being more into this game. There's a TON of cards to know, there's a lot of combos to figure out....I think this is the last thing most casual players want.
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Ted Magdzinski
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I love this game as a 2 player game with my wife, but we tried it 4 player yesterday and it was a miserable experience. Never again.
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Adam Kazimierczak
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Agreed that this is not a good game for experts and beginners to play together, but name me a hobby board game with any strategy that is. Games with heavy luck (Fluxx) or contrived catch up mechanisms (original GOSU) aren't really fixing this "problem."

As for AP, I played with the 2 most AP prone players in my group and they did fine in a 3 player game. I actually think this game helps AP because the dice limit your options on any given turn and you can't overplan the future due to the variable season progression.

Finally the draft: I personally don't subscribe to the group-think that there are only a few "power cards" that unbalance the game. The open scoring makes a runaway leader more apparent, but no more prevalent than any other strategy game, and I have seen enough last turn surprises with cashing in for crystals to know it's never over until it's over. It's just that in Seasons it's not the game that orchestrates the comeback.

If I have one beef it's the relative lack of interactivity: I wish there were a few more nasty attack cards to throw a wrench into the best laid plans of others...devil

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Bryan McNeely
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1. Fifteen card spots? Overkill.

2. It's a complex solitaire game with someone else sitting across from you. The "familiars" aren't gamechangers and they certainly aren't excuses for player interaction because if they are, then they're terribly weak.

3. Seasons? As in... variable rarities of appearing energies on rolls? Wow, so THAT'S why they call it "Seasons."

3.5. Come on. If you're going to incorporate a M:TG-style card system into this game, at LEAST make the seasons stand out. There should be cards in the game that deal specifically with each season individually. There should be spots on the playing surface near the seasons on the circle where cards can be played that affect being in that season. You should build your deck around particular seasons, making other seasons less desirable...and your opponent should be doing the same.

3.75. In a two-player game, the seasons fly by, often becoming obscured and running together. I don't find the difficulty of finding one energy over another one to be that tough. Plenty of cards grant extra storage or the ability to take whatever you want when you want. MAKE THE SEASONS INDIVIDUALLY INTERESTING! ...and not so freaking quick to pass through.

4. "Transmute?" Here's a thought: follow my 3.75 plea and then change transmutation to mean "changing one energy to another, spending crystals to do so." So, if I'm sitting on four water energies and I want wind, allow me to transmute them to wind at the cost of crystal. Not spend energy FOR crystal. I don't find myself in dire need of particular energies, really, but if you're going to allow a transmute, transmute for energy, not crystals.

---

I had great hopes for this game through research and the gameplay videos I had watched, but what I received was a very lackluster game with no "wow" factor. There's absolutely nothing about this game that pulls me back to it. Being colorful and easy to learn should be prerequisites for games such as these, not standout points.

Sorry. I paid full price for this and it will stay in my collection with the hopes that the rules for the core game will change. What I expect is that expansions will just add more cards. snore
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Sky Zero
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Occupy Boardwalk wrote:


3.5. Come on. If you're going to incorporate a M:TG-style card system into this game, at LEAST make the seasons stand out. There should be cards in the game that deal specifically with each season individually. There should be spots on the playing surface near the seasons on the circle where cards can be played that affect being in that season. You should build your deck around particular seasons, making other seasons less desirable...



If your assumption is for it to play like M:TG, then no wonder it's not for you. M:TG it is NOT. It's a game about building a points engine off a card draft. You're not casting vampires that are 4/4 flying shake
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Trent Hamm
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The game itself isn't important. Spending time intellectually jousting with likeminded folks is the real reason to game.
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My only point about the drafting mechanism in this game is that drafting becomes unbalanced if you're only drafting one pack and that pack is passed in a single direction. Drafting becomes more balanced with multiple packs passed in alternating directions. That's why, in my opinion, the drafting in 7 Wonders and Magic: the Gathering booster drafts work better than the card draft in Seasons.
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Sky Zero
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trenttsd wrote:
My only point about the drafting mechanism in this game is that drafting becomes unbalanced if you're only drafting one pack and that pack is passed in a single direction. Drafting becomes more balanced with multiple packs passed in alternating directions. That's why, in my opinion, the drafting in 7 Wonders and Magic: the Gathering booster drafts work better than the card draft in Seasons.


Agreed on the potential drafting issues. One thing I was considering in 3 and 4 player games was to separate the cards into 3 sets of 3 and use the 7 wonders approach. Although not a perfect solution, it does mitigate the drafting concerns somewhat.
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Runcible Spoon
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skyzero wrote:
One thing I was considering in 3 and 4 player games was to separate the cards into 3 sets of 3 and use the 7 wonders approach. Although not a perfect solution, it does mitigate the drafting concerns somewhat.


That is a good solution that you propose.

However, I think the need for a solution to this also highlights yet another reason this game is best with 2p.
 
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Seasons » Forums » Reviews
Re: Ten Things to Like - And Five Things to Dislike - About Seasons
trenttsd wrote:

Five Things to Disike About Seasons

1. The card draft is incredibly unbalancing.
Players are going to have unequal access to quality cards and you can't really work around it.

2. The dice introduce too much luck.
Neither is true in Seasons, where you can be locked down for several turns, unable to build much of anything, while everyone else builds and grows.

3. The middle to late turns in four player games have far too much downtime thanks to inevitable analysis paralysis.
Downtime isn't a bad thing as long as there's a deep enough puzzle for other players to think about while waiting; unfortunately, the depth of the decisions in Seasons doesn't measure up consistently.

4. There is a significant runaway leader problem.
The last few turns of a game of Seasons is very often an exercise in just finishing the game, as the winner is usually clear by that point.

5. Experienced players will crush new players.
Knowing all of the cards is a tremendous advantage in this game.


I don't agree that the last point is a negative but sheesh, those first four are brutal.

My spidey-sense was telling me this was a turkey in beautiful clothing. Thanks so much for this review and saving me the shelf space.

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RAVENBURG wrote:
trenttsd wrote:
1. The card draft is incredibly unbalancing.


Interested to hear your opinion on what you would prefer over a draft.


What about starting each player with a small number of crystals, and using an auction mechanic?
 
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Nice review but I don't agree with it:

Drafting is not an ideal system but it can be altered so the balance is better. There are some good suggestions in the comments. We also tried some variations with several drafting decks, having an additional card in each pile,...

The luck factor is there in most games and I like a small random factor in my games. If this is a downside, all games with dice or a random card draw have this downside. I like card games and games such as decent so this is a matter of taste. Getting that great starting hand in MtG or a no mana draw can decide on winning or losing before playing a single card. Guild selection in 7 wonders might win or lose you a game, getting a 6 developpement in RftG with some good combinations right from the start might give you direction from the first hand,...

Downtime: true in a 4 player game. But only a few 4 player card games manage to avoid this unless they have a "all play together" mechanic.

Experienced players will crush new players... Euh... Yes? Why is this a downside? A better knowledge of cards, scoring mechanics, rules in general, tactics,... will always give you an advantage. And if you have a group that likes card games I don't think it takes long for new players to settle in.

I always tend to put my games into 2 types: casual games (if my wife has people over) or gamers games (if i have my friends over)

I think seasons is the best buy of the first type I had this year. It's fast, nice artwork, simple base mechanics and people love it. I created some fixed decks for first time players or 6 card decks so they only have to draft the last 3 cards. These are the same people who didn't like RftG, blue moon,Dominion, Thunderstone,...

As with a lot of games, I think personal taste and the target audience are the key factors when choosing a game.

I would say Seasons is a good and fun game for casual gamers. For a group of regular gamers, pick a game with a bit more bite to it.
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Trent Hamm
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DeSelle wrote:
Nice review but I don't agree with it:

Drafting is not an ideal system but it can be altered so the balance is better. There are some good suggestions in the comments. We also tried some variations with several drafting decks, having an additional card in each pile,...


You seem to agree that the drafting doesn't work.

Quote:
Downtime: true in a 4 player game. But only a few 4 player card games manage to avoid this unless they have a "all play together" mechanic.


Or in any game where the game state changes significantly between turns. In Seasons, when other players take their turns, almost nothing changes with regards to what I'm going to do on my turn. Any game that lacks both a simultaneous play mechanism and doesn't significantly change the game state from turn to turn is going to have painful downtime. A lot of games manage to do one or the other - Seasons does neither.

Quote:
Experienced players will crush new players... Euh... Yes? Why is this a downside? A better knowledge of cards, scoring mechanics, rules in general, tactics,... will always give you an advantage. And if you have a group that likes card games I don't think it takes long for new players to settle in.


It's a downside in that, combined with the downtime problems, it makes games between unequal skill levels a miserable experience.
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Dustin Hermann
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trenttsd wrote:



2. The dice introduce too much luck.


5. Experienced players will crush new players.



These factors don't quite go hand in hand. If you have too much luck then, sometimes, no matter how well you play, you're going to lose do to luck factor. There's either going to be a small luck factor that only turns the tides for those that are both experienced, or a large luck factor that gives new players a chance. Point being: it should not be considered too much luck if the same player keeps winning every time.
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Trent Hamm
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manga3dmann wrote:
These factors don't quite go hand in hand. If you have too much luck then, sometimes, no matter how well you play, you're going to lose do to luck factor. There's either going to be a small luck factor that only turns the tides for those that are both experienced, or a large luck factor that gives new players a chance. Point being: it should not be considered too much luck if the same player keeps winning every time.


Give a new player two games of experience and the entire game will come down to luck. How are the initial draft packs delivered? How do the dice go? Those are both luck, and they determine virtually every matchup once a player has some basic idea of what's going on.
 
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The one WORST thing you failed to mention, is, whoever started first in this game, has a BIG advantage. HUGE one.

There's no compensation to be the last player, especially in a 3 - 4 players game. Being the last really screws.
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