When it comes to PAX South, or any PAX, it’s easy to describe them as video game game conventions. That being said, there is a wide range of table top games at the convention. From the free to play area to new releases from studios, it’s a good place to go to pick up the latest. At PAX South 2020, our team got the chance to check out a preview copy of Sea of Legends from Guildhall Studios.
A pirate adventure RPG set in a narrative-driven sandbox, Sea of Legends accommodates 2-4 players and a single match can run from 90 minutes to two hours. In this game, players are pirates in a reimagined Caribbean bursting with magic based in Aztec and other pre-colonial myths. As you adventure, completing individual narrative quests and interacting with other players, you’ll also have to face hordes of the undead, Merfolk, and ancient gods that begin to reawaken.
Each player is a captain, and each captain has a love interest and a nemesis. As a captain you not only manage relationships with both by completing adventure quests, but you must also manage your crew, tapping members to use their abilities which affect dice rolls and more. Each decision you make shapes the board for the other players at the table.
Using an app to manage the over 200 branching narratives, there are multiple paths to victory. Collecting relics, overwhelming the board, or helping who your opponents believe to be “enemies” to win so you can as well, thee are so many ways to play. Additionally, the base game includes 38 miniatures and over 200 cards allowing for new playthroughs each time.
Check out what our team has to say below as they go into more detail about their hands-on experience with Seas of Legends.
What separates Sea of Legends from other table top RPG’s out?
Adrian: Sea of Legends is a really great balance of various game mechanics. Often times when I am trying to find a table top game, you are usually locked into one type. Sea of Legends looks to be an outlier in that regard. The game has battle simulations with miniatures like Warhammer 40,000, role-playing/storytelling telling like Dungeons and Dragons, dice throw mechanics like Dice Throne, resource management like Settlers of Catan, deck building mechanics like Magic the Gathering, and even the ability to sabotage your friends just like an old fashioned game of Monopoly. Further, Sea of Legends also introduces thing that aren’t common with table top games like the use a of dedicated app.
Matt: This was a hard question for me as I am not a tabletop RPG player so this was really my first true experience with that genre. I love pirate games and the high seas so I was interested and decided to check it out. I am so glad I did as this was my favorite game of PAX South 2020 and I really look forward to this game coming out.
Kate: The amount of mechanics, the intricacy of them, but also the way Guildhall Studios has integrated technology into it in order to ease narrative tracking which allows for more immersion. Initially, I though that the integration of the app would remove immersion of reading from books at the table but it doesn’t! In fact it makes it easier. It’s the balance between long turns with multiple options for actions and the ease of maintaining pace and story is what makes Sea of Legends stand out in the crowd.
What is your favorite story element of Sea of Legends?
Adrian: I am really excited to see all of the different stories that play out. Each player has a lover and a nemesis. Both of the characters provide unique quest lines where your decisions has an actual ramifications for the rest of the players. Even better, the lover and nemesis can change making each game different from the last. Since runs the quest through the an accompanying app and not just a book to flip through, there are so many stories the game is able to tell. The replay ability is so important for table top games and the lover/nemesis quests solidify that for Sea of Legends.
Matt: I love the lover and nemesis stories you can do and the ability to level them up. I also enjoy the possibility of getting two lovers or two nemesis along how they intertwine with the other player’s lovers and/or nemesis. You story may end up leveling up another characters nemesis and causing trouble. This just give so many options and variables to fact into the game.
Kate: The setting. Sea of Legends uses pre-Columbian myth to create a world with names inspired by Nahuatl, and a story that unequivocally leaves the Spaniards as the bad guys, there is a lot we haven’t seen in other stories that this one explores. Specifically, the Merfolk really hit me. The islands in the game were their original homes, but they were driven from them, now, you can help them reclaim it and fight colonialism (my words) with a relic which allows you to win if they do, or you can work against them. It’s a fun story that I most definitely haven’t seen before.
What is your favorite mechanic in the game?
Adrian: The way that the NPCs interact with the board is something that I haven’t seen before in other table top games. All three of the NPC factions have their own goals and move accordingly. However, giving the players the ability to control the NPCs on their turn adds a level of strategy that can turn the NPC goals in your favor but may leave you as a target when other players get their turn. Do I move the undead to attack the Spanish galleons reduce the threats on the board? Or do I move the undead and the Spanish galleons to attack another player who is amassing notoriety and closer to victory? Decisions, decisions.
Matt: The NPCs and their interaction with the board. The NPCs have their own goals they want to fulfill and that constant need to balance focus on the other players along with the NPCs is so much fun. The ability for the NPCs to win the game and for players to be able to join forces with the NPCs is a great mechanic that I enjoy as this forces players to pay attention to the NPC factions and if they are ignored things can turn quickly.
Kate: With the undead and the Merfolk existing as potential foes, the best mechanic in the game is the ability to draw a card which allows you to align your interests with the “enemies.” Now, this is dictated by your varying adventure quests but this mechanic allows the game’s focus to shift. At the start, the Captains are all against the Spanish, the undead, and the Merfolk. It’s easy to use those pieces during the NPC turn to ruin each others’ plans. But, when one person can win if an “enemy” does, then it forces some cooperative play. The shifting tides of the game keep the gameplay from going stagnant.
What was the most exciting thing about the game?
Adrian: I am definitely most excited to see all the way the game ends. There are so many different ways for players to win or lose that I doubt that any two games will ever be the same in the way they reach their end. The way that you play can change an instant depending on how the game plays out. One minute you are acting in your own self interests and then the next you are trying to team up with other players to stop one of the NPC factions from achieving their goals. Now you have to work together with the person that you just attacked last turn. Will they trust you or will they let the NPCs win just to see you lose? Just thinking about it makes me want March 24th to be here already!
Matt: Outside of this being a pirate game. I really enjoy the way the game feels as with so many possibilities between all the story elements, NPCs, other player interactions I don’t believe any two games will ever be the same. This game also gives me a video game type feel with all the moving parts and way the game progresses. I also want to say the app integration is also lends to this feel as being able to save time and not have to do the busy work of flipping pages, tracking every thing that has happened, and other things really streamlines the game. This to me is one of the biggest reasons I am not fan of complex tabletop games because there always seems to come a time within a game where it just feels every turn becomes a chore. I can say after playing this game multiple times for multiple hours I never got that feeling.
Kate: The figures! Ultimately, the figurines help the game feel like a turn-based tactical game, and adds a tactile piece that allows for more immersion. Plus, the models are gorgeous, and that was just with the prototype we were playing with.
Sea of Legends currently has a targeted release date of March 24, 2020. The accompanying app for the game is supported on both iOS and Android.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.