Who remembers the perpetual poker game played by a rotating group of off-duty doctors in the television show M*A*S*H? Did anyone spend their childhood vacations playing a summer-long game of Monopoly, with the board left set up from week to week on some out-of-the-way surface in the rec room? What about one of those weeks-long Dungeons & Dragons adventures?

A so-called Legacy board game plays out over time and a series of games, sort of like the examples above. The games collectively form a campaign, in which actions taken and decisions made (and their consequences) have repercussions in subsequent games, changing the options open to player-characters, non-player-character interactions, and perhaps even the map itself. 

The two best-known offerings in the legacy board game genre to date have been Pandemic Legacy and Risk Legacy, both reimplementations of other games and both designed in part by Rob Daviau. They are now joined by Seafall, an ambitious original offering from Daviau.

Seafall is a so-called 4X game ("eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate”) set in an alternate Earth-like world just entering the age of sail. Players are trying to discover and explore new islands, develop trade, and consolidate their positions. Players will buy access to advisors who lend strength and flexibility to game play, will acquire goods to sell, and will then use that income to upgrade their ship(s) so that more difficult — and more profitable — actions may be taken later. Players are racing to achieve milestones before their opponents do, so risks must be taken!

Seafall is an absorbing strategy game that will be appreciated by those who are intrigued by game possibilities provided by a longer story arc. Careful strategy and a bit of luck are both needed to succeed in Seafall, as some situations are resolved by dice rolls that, if they come out badly, can dash a player's best-laid plans at that moment. Still, the dynamic nature of the game and the choices that must be made along the way mean that things can change on a dime!

  • 3 to 5 players
  • 90 to 120 minutes per game (depends somewhat on the story arc and somewhat on players themselves)
  • ages 12+
  • published by Plaid Hat Games

© Karin Belanger 2018