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季節に、プレイヤーは12季節の伝説的なトーナメントに参加し、時間の最大の魔術師の1の役割を引き受けます。 季節2段階で行われますカードとサイコロのゲームです。 最初のドラフトで構成されています。このフェーズの目的は、（各カードは、特定の効果があり、勝利ポイントを稼いでいる）を選択することができる9カードとゲームの残りのための戦略を確立することになります。 ドラフトが完了すると、各プレイヤーは3枚のカードのパックで、その3 9枚を分離する必要があります。彼は、ゲームが進むにつれて徐々に、彼は3枚の2パケットを受信する、3枚の彼の最初のパックでゲームの第二段階を開始します。 そして、プレーヤーのラウンドごとの最初にプレーの第二段階は、サイコロの季節（プレーヤー+ 1ごとに1サイコロ）を展開していきます来る。 これらのキューブは、プレイヤーにさまざまなアクションを提供しています： - （あなたがテーブルの上に置かれた可能性があり、カードの最大数）をお呼び出しを増やす - 呼び出しマップの費用を支払うためにエネルギーを収穫（水、土、火、空気） - （現在のシーズン中に）結晶化エネルギーは、結晶を収集します。これらは、いくつかのカードに依存するリソースだけでなく、終盤での勝利の多くのポイントとしても機能します。 - 新しいカードを引き... 各プレイヤーは、ターンごとに1つのダイを選択することができます。最初のプレーヤーは、立ち上げたものの中のように残っているし、それらの間で、次の点を選択します。 各ターンで、ダイスはどのように多くの残りのセル（1、2または3箱）先に季節のマーカーを示している。 さらに、すべてのダイスは季節によって異なっている。たとえば、特定の季節に同じエネルギーがありません。ゲームを通じて、プレイヤーはそれゆえ、これらの変化に適応する必要があります。 ゲーム終了時に、我々は所有する結晶の数与えられたカード上の勝利のポイントを追加します。最も勝利ポイントを持つプレイヤーが勝つ。 。
Seasons is a game that features dueling mages, battling through four seasons and three years (for a grand total of 12 Seasons).
Gameplay - Planning
The game starts by players drafting a hand of cards which they will use for the rest of the game. Each player has 9 cards, and takes 1, and then passes the rest on to another player. Then each player takes 1, and then passes the rest on to another player. In this manner each player starts the game with 9 cards, but most of the cards have been seen by other players at the table.
Then there is a planning stage, where you have to divide your cards by year. There are three years in the game, and you get three cards per year. This leads to a decision of "what do I need right now" versus "what could I use later in the game".
Once this planning stage is complete, the actual game-play begins.
It should be noted that though the above drafting and planning doesn't take a lot of the game time they are key activities -- the entire rest of the game will unfold in large part based on the effectiveness of your card-playing plan.
Gameplay - Battling
Each turn begins with a player rolling the dice that belong to the season of time that the mages are in. These dice will represent actions that can be taken on that turn. There is always one more dice than players at the table. The player is rolling for the entire table - dice are not re-rolled until the next turn (which may be in a different season).
Each player takes one of these dice, which represent their turn action. Then each player takes a turn, using the action on their dice and then playing a card as they want to (each card has a cost associated with it, so a player will need to plan to gather the supplies necessary to pay for that card in order to play it).
Once each player has taken their turns, the die that has NOT been selected by any of the players will have an indication of how many spaces the wheel of time will move - in short, determining how quickly time moves and whether seasons will change.
There is a different set of dice for each season, and therefore a different set of options. Players are trying to collect elements (there are four elements possible to collect) in order to play cards in front of them. Each season makes one element more plentiful (more likely to be rolled). This is the pull of the game - players need to maximize their turn in any given season, even if the season isn't giving them the elements that they need.
Once the seasons have been moved through, the year changes. Once the year changes, players get to add the cards to their hand that they set aside for that year. Then play continues much as before. Dice are rolled, actions are taken, cards are played.
Players accumulate points by playing powerful cards (cards in front of them have victory points associated with them), and by moving their marker along the "crystal tracker" - which is essentially just a means of keeping score of overall points. At times players will sacrifice points on the tracker to play more powerful cards - since cards add points, and the tracker adds points, it is the combination of the two that will determine the winner.
This is combination of the scoring in a tableau-building game (like Race for the Galaxy or Fleet) with the scoring track found on many games (like Carcassonne or Ticket to Ride). The scoring track specifically reminded me of Carcassonne, but this is only one of the ways of accumulating points.
This is a bit of a mixed box for me.
On one hand, I love the dice. The colors are bright, they are well etched, and the symbols are clear and consistent.
On the other hand, I really don't card for the quality of the cards. They feel a bit thin to me for continued use, and though I love the artwork on some of the cards they feel a bit busy. There is vibrant artwork on the card front, with the cost necessary to play the card, and with the text explaining the card's abilities. I find this aesthetically to be too much information on any given card, and specifically found myself wishing that the art was simpler and more minimalistic. The card text and symbols are not overwhelming on their own, but combined with the art on each card feel a bit crowded.
The scoring track is crowded and a bit odd in its shape, though this wasn't important to us I can see how the structure of the tracker could throw people off aesthetically.
The dice are best in class - they are chunky and weighty and well structured. It is a shame that the cards don't have a similar overall quality to them. They just feel like they need to be weightier.
Review of Gameplay
There were a few surprises for me in this game.
I anticipated that this would be a game where a lot of cards are drawn through the game, and this isn't the case.
Your initial cards, and the way you portion them out by year ends up being a huge part of how the game plays out. Make no mistake about it, this is a programmable game. The dice add a bit of a surprise element, but only in how many elements are available and what actions are available at a given time. In addition, since all players are choosing actions from the same dice roll there is not much randomness to it. If there is a "bad" roll of the dice, it affects every at the table equally.
In addition, there are cards that are more powerful than other cards. The outcome of the game is going to be determined in part by some random card draws. Each player is trying to play their hand the best they can, but there is a certain element of luck to the game.
A third surprise to me was how important the initial planning ends up being. This is essentially a game about planning what you can do on any given year from before the gameplay actually starts.
Luck in Seasons
Oddly, the dice aren't as tied to the luck factor in this game since all players are using the same dice. In addition, luck is mitigated a bit from the way cards are drafted by being passed around the table. Where there is a surprising amount of luck is in any card draws that happen during the game. If you are able to draw one card, and you draw a great card your whole game could shift. If you draw a card that doesn't help you in your strategy then the benefit of being able to draw a card is mitigated.
Pros and Cons and Pros and Cons
- Seasons plays great as a two-player game
- Luck is mitigated in part by the structure of card drafting and dice rolling.
- Though Seasons is a robust game with a few moving parts, the game itself is intuitive and was extremely easy to learn. The symbols are consistent, and the gameplay is easy to understand.
- This game is fun. It doesn't take itself too seriously, and mainly features rolling big colorful dice and playing cards with vibrant art.
- The theme feels pasted-on. I expected that this game would be saturated with theme, and instead the theme feels like an afterthought. Technically this is a game about battling mages, but if I hadn't read that in the rulebook I wouldn't have known.
-Seasons most likely will slow down as players are added. I have only played this as a two-player game, but it isn't a game I'm rushing to the table to play with 3 or 4 people.
- Card draws are completely random during the course of the game. This can make or break a close game.
- Artwork on cards is busy, and the cards feel thin.
Overall, there are a few things to know about Seasons.
1) it is fun to play, and easy to learn
2) it is programmable. you plan your game, and then you work your plan.
3) dice rolling features prominently, though the game makes everyone play by the same dice roll.
Seasons is a pretty game, and the gameplay is intuitive and easy to learn. I wish the component quality was more consistent, and the theme was better executed, but I'm happy to have it as part of my collection.
There is a lot of interesting strategy involved but it seems that most of the games outcome is heavily determined by the original card draft. When starting a game, players draft a hand of 9 cards that they will use in the game. In many cases those cards may end up being the only cards you get during the entire game so planning ahead at the draft as a major impact on the rest of the game. The down side here is that some games can end up feeling a little flat after the draft because one players selection may clearly beat the others making the rest of the game rather moot.
Biggest complaint is that there are few interaction cards that affect other players. Most of the cards are meant to help you individually while others are meant to harm your opponents in various ways such as stealing victory points. Unfortunately the individual cards heavily outweigh the interaction cards and those that do come into the play can often be countered with an opposing card.
I'd give it a 4 / 5 as a 2 player game. I feel as though more players could potentially bump it to a 5.
The negative exception to the graphic design choices is the designer's decision to use yellow for Summer/Fire, and red for Fall/Wind. There are quite a few instances where I reach for a red token when I'm being awarded fire energy, either associated with the white symbol on a dice that does not relate to the color of the energy token, or when I'm consciously aware that I'm receiving fire, and instinctively associate it with red.
It's a minor issue, and a choice I'd consider reasonable looking at the seasons progression on the season track (much more aesthetically pleasing to go blue, green, yellow, red, than blue, green, red, yellow for instance). Still, I feel like that instinctive association should have been accounted for, especially since most of the US and Europe associate red with heat and fire (yes, in spite of fire only being in or close to the red color family, and not actually red).
Also, the player track slides very easily, throwing the cube markers off their spot. It's a good looking component, but not the best in terms of functionality. A more stable tracker would have been appreciated, since all you really need from the player board is the Summoning Gauge.
Where this game lacks the most is the gameplay itself. You're suppose to be a sorcerer, but "summoning" a magical item is about as satisfying as pulling a candy bar out of your backpack, with a chance you forgot which pocket it's in. "Summoning" a familiar is about as satisfying as whistling for your pet cat, with the chance it won't come because you didn't buy the right treats last week.
That's the game. You summon magical items and familiars. As the depths of magical ability go, calling other creatures and items to do cool stuff, instead of doing cool stuff, is not very enjoyable. But the items and familiars don't really do cool stuff, either. You can gain victory points (VP), gain energy (required to play cards), or gain cards. That's pretty much it, except where cards allow you to screw over your opponents (by costing them cards, crystals, or energy).
The game also claims it's tactical. I don't see much of that. You start out with three cards, and all you're really trying to do is put out those cards, or get more cards. You're not allowed to just play them when you can afford to, though (aka, have the appropriate energy/VP). There is a limit on how many cards you can have out at a time (the "Summoning Gauge"). So, you also have to boost that gauge in order to have cards out. There's not much of a tactic there, if you don't boost your card-in-play limit, you can't play more cards. If you don't have the energy/VP to play cards, you can't play cards.
The random factor also negates the notion of tactics. You start the game by randomly choosing which of 6 dice you will use, based on # of players +1. Then you roll those randomly chosen dice at the start of each turn, for random results. If your tactic was to gain new cards, but only energy showed up, the game will be closer to the end and you will be no closer to your goal. If you needed x amount and type of energy to play cards, but it didn't show up, you're not playing cards. If you do draw cards, it is from a randomly shuffled deck, so you don't know what will come up.
Even cards that allow you to draw more than one new card can be less beneficial than intended, because there are duplicates of every card, and you rarely get to choose more than one card. If most of your decisions are mostly made for you, the game doesn't feel very tactical. The "prelude" of each player drafting a deck at random is not my favorite. Yes, you get choice about the cards you choose, but only from a limited supply of randomly chosen cards. I will concede there is a tactical element to choosing during drafting, but it would be far more rewarding to start out on equal footing with my opponents. Each round of drafting means each player steadily loses more control over their tactics, and potentially loses an advantage that was just granted to an opponent by luck of the draw (and age, since youngest player starts).
The only mechanics that are mostly consistent and reliable are the changing of the seasons/years over your 3 year tournament period, and the bonus track. There are very few ways to force the season change out of turn, and you will usually know how far the track will progress at the beginning of the turn. As far as tactics and decision making, this is basically it. Everything else will be randomly determined by available cards and dice rolls (with a little extra degree of rapidly fading tactics in the draft phase).
The bonus track will not add significant decision making throughout the game, but it's good to be aware of. Truthfully, it might be best to ignore the bonus track for the first year of the game. In practice, the cost of using the track has not usually proved to be worth the additional actions/options, unless you can really maximize. That means only two of the four bonuses are worth using at all, and the other two are a waste of space. The first time you use a bonus, it's -5 VP, then -7 more VP, then -8 more. You can only use it 3 times, and I didn't see any card effects that increase that, so you could lose up to 20 VP. If it's year 3 and you're card limit is one short of letting you play a 30 VP card out of your hand, that's probably worth a 5/7/8 penalty. If it's year 3 and you have 5 unspent energy that can be traded for 3 VP each, that's probably worth a 5/7/8 penalty. As I said, this is only going to happen up to 3 times over the whole game, so as a rewarding tactical element in a game awarding hundreds of points, I say it falls a little short.
It's a beautiful game, and it doesn't take too long with only 2 players. I also found that creating identical starting decks in a 2 player game (instead of drafting) makes for a better game experience. I don't feel the game settles properly into it's theme. I engage with the passing of the seasons, but I never for a moment feel like I'm a sorcerer, let alone participating in any kind of tournament. Learning the game could be more fluid, but the rule book does provide a reference for terms, cards, and symbols to help you understand what's going on while you play. There are a lot of random factors detaching players from the tactical elements of the game, and I experience many turns in a game that are incredibly uneventful, with no options to play cards, transmute, or gain crystals. It's wonderful that the game is pleasing to look at, but that seems irrelevant if the gameplay doesn't encourage you to take it off the shelf. At $40, I don't feel it's a particularly good value.