TGDRT #56: SeaFall, with Rob Daviau

TGDRT

Episode #56 is live!

Jon and Dirk are paid a return visit by first-ever TGDRT guest Rob Daviau to talk about ‘SeaFall’, his new exploration legacy tabletop game, Rob’s company ‘IronWall Games’, and his hopes for further innovation in the genre he helped create.

Whether the red light is blinking or offline, conversations with Rob are always highly entertaining and this was no exception. This was the first time Rob really talked about SeaFall, and I have no doubt it’ll be just as unique and groundbreaking as Risk: Legacy. Hopefully Dirk and I can get him to sneak us one of those test kits in the mail…

The only discussion point that made me raise my eyebrows is that Rob seems to be specifically targeting consistent, long-term playgroups. It’s great when you have a few friends who can meet up regularly, but most of my tabletop gaming is characterized by people coming and going, around some weeks and gone others (a sin I’m guilty of as well!). The legacy elements in Rob’s Risk adaptation are important without being dominating, but it seems SeaFall taking this road quite a bit further.

Rob noted he isn’t leaving these folks completely out in the cold, but at the end of the day you have to decide what your focus is and lean one way or the other. Perhaps that’s the luxury of being in the ‘hobby’ space rather than mainstream. Don’t get me wrong, I have no qualms at all with the direction – hell, the more unique the game the better! It’s just an interesting decision that caught my attention and thought was worth commenting on further.

So how about you? What do your tabletop groups usually look like? Does Rob’s approach offer exactly what you’re looking for, or have your experiences been more like my own?

- Jon

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2 Comments

  1. Jon–That’s a really interesting observation. I agree with Rob that many gamers probably play with the same group over and over (I definitely do), and legacy games are great for those groups. However, the downside is that trying to bring a new player into one of those games when you’re 5 or so games in can be pretty tough. It’s neat to share the story with them, but at that point the game has significantly evolved to the point where it’s hard to catch on or explain.

    That said, part of the brilliance of Risk Legacy is that it’s really easy to exclude segments of the game while you try to bring in someone new. I recently played games 10-12 on my set with 2 people who had played on that board and 2 people who had hardly ever even played Risk (they had never played Risk Legacy). For the first game, I left out several of the unlocked components, and then I added one or two of them in for game 2, then the rest for game 3. I don’t know if Rob would approve of that method, but it seemed to work really well. Perhaps there will be an equivalent in SeaFall.

    Reply
  2. Nikolas Crisci

     /  December 16, 2013

    Rob Daviau, i wanted to suggest something you maybe did not think about. If i understood you correctly you wanted the game to add more rules / complexity over time and you did have problems with the zero game experience. I would suggest that you maybe take a look into Platformers level 0 experiences and maybe try to add it to your game. They just take 1 mechanic out of the game and showcase it in a very short level. So maybe instead of the usual manual you could deliver a series of “Mini Mechanic Games” to introduce new players to the game and letting them expereience each mechanic(or maybe a couple of mechanics at a time) before playing the first “Real Game”.
    Of course this will not work with every design, but i thought it is an interesting idea, not only to solve your problem but also to be able to get real complex games without people noticing it.

    Regards KeySam

    Reply

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