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Anyone play 7th Sea?

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#1
dboeren

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7th Sea is an old pirate-themed CCG that used to be published by AEG (the same company that does Legend of the Five Rings).

Out of the blue recently a guy on BGG offered to trade me a box of 7th Sea cards for my copy of San Juan. I'm always up to try out a new card game and hey, pirates!

Anyway, it's turned out to be a fairly fun game so far and I wondered if anyone else out there plays it.

A couple of interesting mechanics:
1. There is a 5-card wide "map" that your ships can move around on and you can only attach each other if you're in the same location. Some cards key off specific locations too.

2. Adventures are their way to implement the "buried treasure" idea. It's like a support card that you have to go find - but in return it's stronger than an equivalent Attachment that you can just play directly. The more powerful the prize, the further away you have to go to find it - each Adventure card says how many seas away you have to play it.

3. Your dudes are also your resources. Every Crew has a rating in each skill - cannons, sailing, adventuring, influence, and swashbuckling. They can also be used to soak damage. You "tack" them to pay for the actions you want to take, so you have to make a lot of choices about what the best use of each crew is that turn.


Anyway, we've only gotten a few games in so far but it's been a pretty fun game with a lot of pirate-y theme to it as we sail around blasting each other with cannons and digging up treasure.
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#2
Toqtamish

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I used to play it like 11 years ago with a buddy of mine. We bought a few decks for cheap on ebay. I still have the decks, Corsair and the undead pirate deck. It was a cool and unique game like most of AEG's stuff.

#3
dboeren

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I'm on the lookout for a copy of the Black Freighter (i.e. - undead) starter deck. I have 2 copies of the undead "booster" which fills them out with more copies of their basic crew crew but the starter deck is the only place to get the captain & ship so I can't actually run them until I can get the starter deck. Sooner or later it'll show up on ebay.

Have some Corsairs, but haven't made a deck for them yet. There were a couple decks build when the box arrived - one for Explorers and one for Montaigne (fake French navy) so we tried those and then I've built a few more. There's a Crimson Rogers big cannon deck, a Vesten storm magic + boarding deck, and a Sea Dogs "jack of all trades" sort of deck.

When I get back home from visiting relatives over the holidays I'd like to work towards having a deck build for every faction.

#4
blinovitch

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I'm curious about 7th Sea, as I often see people speak fondly of it in those "remember the days" type conversations. The closest I ever came to it was helping the local game store clean out a storage room. They had boxes on boxes of boosters and starters. It was truly amazing how unopened product they had stashed away, 7th Sea and otherwise.
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#5
dboeren

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It's fairly inexpensive if you want to give it a go, there's a bundle of four different starter decks for $15 on eBay right now w/ free shipping.

Turn structure:
1. Count total Sailing skill on each side - higher total is starting player this turn
2. Starting player takes an action
3. Other player takes an action
4. Repeat steps 2-3 unless both players passed
5. Draw 3 cards, discard down to 7, straighten any of your cards which are "tacked"

So, most of the game is taking turns taking actions one at a time. All the ships have a special ability that you can move + take a second action immediately though. An action is normally playing a card of some type or using a special ability printed on a card in play. Although some actions are free, most of them will require you to tack some crew members to generate a sufficient amount of the correct skill to pay for them.

Deck building goes like this. First you pick your captain which establishes what faction you're using. Then pick a ship of either that faction or Neutral. Your crew can be from your captains faction or Neutral as well - but all the Captains have a special ability that only works if you have enough faction crew (usually 3-4) on your ship so there's an incentive to use mostly faction crew to gain easier access to that. Your captain and ship start in play. In addition, the captain has a gold value printed on him, you can pick out a starting crew up to this amount and they also start in play. So, this sort of gives a small sideboard effect as you can tailor your starting crew after seeing your opponent's captain & ship.

You win by killing the other guy's captain, which is basically equivalent to killing his whole crew since he can assign hits to them first. There are two main methods of combat - cannons and boarding. There are also some small ones like allies, sea monsters, bad weather, etc… but these are the big ones and most decks will be some sort of mix of the two. When you take damage you can tack an untacked crew member to absorb damage equal to their swashbuckling skill. Or, you can sink (kill) a tacked crew member to do the same thing. However, you are also needing to tack guys to pay for cards you want to play so you need to weigh a lot of things to tell what's more important as well as taking the distance between the ships into account as most attacks can only target a ship in the same sea (there are 5 seas total on the map).

In our experience the early game is usually a period of trying to recruit more crew, buying attachments, and going on adventures to build up your ship and get some good cards in hand. There may be a few potshots or whatever. At some point one side will feel they're in pretty good shape and will probably start actively trying to chase the other guy down to try to force a confrontation. The other side can meet or evade, and may be able to still do some building up while doing so, particularly if they have a faster ship (costs less Sailing skill to move). Once there's a lot of battling going on you'll reach a point where the number of crew getting killed outstrips the ability to hire new crew and you're on a downward spiral towards somebody losing. It can be more gradual in the case of many smaller attacks or rather quick if your opponent is largely tapped out or you can make a really big attack by stacking bonuses or whatever.

#6
blinovitch

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It's fairly inexpensive if you want to give it a go, there's a bundle of four different starter decks for $15 on eBay right now w/ free shipping.

So what's with seemingly every set having its own starter decks? Are they all essentially the same deck list for each faction, or are they decks built from that particular set?

#7
Toqtamish

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So what's with seemingly every set having its own starter decks? Are they all essentially the same deck list for each faction, or are they decks built from that particular set?


Built from that set. With a few cards from the base set.

#8
dboeren

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It's a weird way that AEG does their releases. There are two types of releases, we'll call them "base sets" and "expansion sets".

In a base set, every faction gets a starter. The first release of every new CCG is of course a base set.

In an expansion set they have new cards for everyone but for some reason also pick out a couple factions to get new starters. I have no idea why, personally I find it dumb and confusing. They also use this to release new factions without having to wait for a new base set, that usage at least makes sense to me.

They STILL do this in L5R even today, each expansion has a new starter for a couple factions so that by the time they complete a full cycle every faction has two - one from the base set and one from an expansion. Then they put out a new base set and start the new cycle from there.

One starter doesn't really replace another, you usually want both - definitely this is true in 7th Sea because each starter has its own Captain and Ship which aren't available elsewhere. So for instance, I have the Castille starter deck from the base set (Broadsides/No Quarter) but I'm still looking for the Castille (and Vesten for that matter) starter decks that was part of the Reaper's Fee expansion. Mostly because I want the alternate Captains and Ships - think of these as being equivalent to getting new Netrunner Identities, sort of.

No Quarter and Broadsides btw are pretty much the same thing. They reprinted the whole original set I guess due to demand and running out of the old printing. Again, this is the sort of weirdness that can occur with a CCG model instead of a wholesome LCG :)

#9
blinovitch

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Thanks for clarifying the starter deck situation. Seems like it's equal parts, "It's easy to hop on!" and "Now everyone will continue to buy starter decks."

So Broadsides and No Quarter are largely equivalent. What about Iron Shadows? I see that it launched a new graphic design for the cards. It seems that it was a new base set at the time as well.

#10
dboeren

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My understanding is that Iron Shadows is a reprint of basically everything up to that point. So, it redoes the base set plus the first few expansions. However, it also introduced the new art style (which IMHO looks worse than the old one) and it updated some cards which were seen as underpowered. I have no idea how many of them were updated or which ones, I haven't found a good way to tell. Probably at the time there were lists circulating around but years later I don't know where to find them :)

In practice, Iron Shadows is hard to find so the difference won't come up much. It's probably worth checking to see if your ship or captain has been updated (I'm planning to make a list of those sometime), beyond that I'm not worrying about it.

#11
dboeren

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Deck building goes like this. First you pick your captain which establishes what faction you're using. Then pick a ship of either that faction or Neutral. Your crew can be from your captains faction or Neutral as well - but all the Captains have a special ability that only works if you have enough faction crew (usually 3-4) on your ship so there's an incentive to use mostly faction crew to gain easier access to that. Your captain and ship start in play. In addition, the captain has a gold value printed on him, you can pick out a starting crew up to this amount and they also start in play. So, this sort of gives a small sideboard effect as you can tailor your starting crew after seeing your opponent's captain & ship.


I just discovered that I was misreading something in the rulebook. You actually CAN hire crew from other factions with the following limitations:

1. Crew from other factions cannot be part of your starting crew
2. You cannot hire crew from other factions if they have the Loyal keyword

You still want mostly faction crew due to the Captain's perk, but often all you need is 1-2 guys that have the right ability...

#12
DarkJodo

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I am a huge fan of 7th sea. I have every printed card, and made decks for each faction. Great game!

#13
db0

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As you may imagine, I love 7th Sea, which is why I made the OCTGN plugin for it. Unfortunately as far as dead games go, this one is the dead-est :(

I would suggest you try to find some people to play online but I seem to remember that you can't or won't run OCTGN (don't remember which atm :) ). But if you can, maybe find some players and you can play there. The automation is pretty much 0 though :-/

#14
dboeren

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I've spent some time trying to get get OCTGN working on my Mac using Crossover (Wine basically) but was never able to get it working despite several attempts.

Just recently I was able to get it working successfully with a demo version of Parallels, but this is an $80 commercial product and OCTGN is really the only thing I would need it for so I haven't been able to justify the cost. Since the demo has run out of time, now I'm back to no OCTGN again.

Personally, I think 7th Sea is a really good game so far, although we're still novices at it.

Do you know if there is a script or something that can extract the card images and metadata from an OCTGN plugin and convert them to lackey or any sort of standardized format (comma delimited or whatever) that you could then work on converting to lackey? I don't mind putting in the effort to create the plugin file itself but finding all the images and typing in all the metadata is a much bigger job.

#15
blinovitch

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dboeren, would you be interested in sharing the load on making a new 7th Sea plugin? I can do the data entry and image compilation while you build the plugin itself, since you actually know how to play.

#16
dboeren

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Sure, we can do that. I'll drop you a PM later.

#17
Penh72

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I used to love 7th sea, but I never played it with anyone outside of my family.  

 

Regardless, I think we still have all the cards we used to collect.  I've played with every faction and had cards from every set!  

 

Haven't researched this much, but what's the possibility of this game resurrecting in an ECG format, like Doomtown? 



#18
dboeren

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It's certainly possible.  Doomtown seems to be getting a lot of attention and I expect it will turn out to be a big hit.  If AEG decides to bring back another card game I feel like 7th Sea would be the most natural choice.

 

However, from talking with Todd at Gencon it would probably be at least 3 years before any other card game could come back.  So while it might happen, it's not happening anytime soon.  For now, I think it's best to hang on to your old 7th Sea stuff and enjoy Doomtown.



#19
Ironswimsuit

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What?! You can't betray a Betrayal!

(Yes, you can in fact betray a Betrayal)



#20
Tobogan

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The little chance of getting 7th Sea resurrected is the point I am most excited about ECGs. Also, Doomtown is really fun to play. I wish I could activate my account at AEG forums, looks like they don't like hotmail addresses.