Seastead Board Game Review

So far, from tabletop games, I have played mostly card games. Those games use some cardboards or even a board which doesn’t play an important role in the game.

The reason why I prefer card games than just what we can consider as board games, is mostly because of the size. Card games usually are smaller, portable, therefore cheaper and can be played anywhere.

While board games usually require more players, tablespace, and even shelf space to store. But that is not always the case nowadays.

Board games can also use just a small board or several smaller boards. That way they are cheaper, can be setup easier in small footprint but don’t sacrifice the gameplay.

Such is the case with this next board game, Seastead. It is one of the game intended just for 2 player in a relatively small box.

So, what is this Seastead board game? How do we play the game? Can it be played solo?

Those are probably just a few questions that came to mind after hearing about the game. Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you my Seastead board game review, based on my experience on playing the game and what I can find from the internet.

Hope this helps. Is Seastead going to be one of the best board game for 2 players out there?

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Overview

Game’s Title: Seastead
Genre: City Building Theme, Nautical Theme, Card/Tile Drafting, 2 Player Only, Solo Mode (Official), Resource Management, Competitive.
Designer: Ian Cooper, Jan Gonzales
Artist: Bartexk Fedyczak, Jennifer Tatti, Gong Studios
Publisher: WizKids
Number of Players: 1 – 2
Playtime: 30 minutes
Official Website: Seastead (wizkids.com)

Release Year: 2020
Initial Price: $29.99

Contents:
2 Player Boards

20 Dive Cards (44 x 63 mm):
Shallow Cards (4)
Shelf Cards (12)
Depth Cards (4)

34 Standard Size Cards (63.5 x 89 mm):
Player Aids Cards (2)
Decree Cards (16)
Specialist Cards (16)

40 Resource Tokens
4 Demand Tokens
20 Cleanup Tokens
4 Flotilla Tiles
12 Dock Tiles
1 Scorepad
24 Building Tokens
8 Ship Tokens

About Seastead Board Game

Seastead itself is a concept to create a permanent dwellings at the international sea, outside any territory claimed by any government.

The setting of this game takes place in the same world as Flotilla, another bigger board game from the same publisher. In this post apocalyptic world, mankind no longer have the option to live on land as the water level has risen.

Instead, they have to live on Flotillas or artificial floating islands and transport using ships. They have to build buildings, ports and shipyards to support their new way of living.

Sea and ocean are the only way to get resources. They have to dive to catch some fishes and kelps or seaweed, find artifact and metal. Sometimes they also have to do some cleanup from the leftover radioactive wastes.

With limited way to live, some people still trying to take control of the civilization. In the game of Seastead, we will be competing against another player trying to manage resources and see how fast we can fill the four Flotillas with our buildings to create the most prestigious home.

With limited resources, sometimes players have to work together, share the resources they get after diving into the sea. The buildings we build and the ship we create can also give benefit to the other player, probably more than to ourselves if we do it carelessly. But sometimes we will have no choice.

Building a Port can define the direction of how the Flotilla will be developed. If we have more shipyards they can makes things cheaper.

Aside from building ports and shipyards, we can also build academy center. From there, we can turn a resident to a specialist and help us to be more productive.

The game comes with a more complex variant by introducing a decree. In this world with no governing entity, each player has a chance to add and change temporary rules for how they live in Flotilla.

This rules can just give extra benefit to the player or sometimes sabotage their opponent’s progress. In the end, players will score points based on the leftover resources they have, every building they have built, specialist that they have recruited,  and from cleaning up some radioactive waste.

However score the most wins the game. Seastead also comes with an official solo variant where we will be competing against the BOSS, a virtual player.

This is a preview video from BoardGameGeek YouTube channel about the game with the publisher.

Components

Seastead board game comes in a standard size box for two player only game from either Kosmos, Lookout or What’s Your Game publisher. The size of the box is about 20 x 20 cm for footprint with 4.3 cm thick.

When we get the game in shrink wrap, the lit will be lifted a bit. That is because all of the cardboard sheets that we will throw away later.

After we see the rulebook, we can find 4 sheets of 2mm cardboard, then other components of the game. Each cardboard sheet will have an ID at the bottom right corner to make sure we get 4 different sheets.

The ID will say A:1, A:2, A:3 and B:1. Notice that all of the A sheets have similar patterns but we can tell which one is the B sheet easily.

At the bottom there is a black insert that has specific slots for all of the cardboard tokens, including the Flotilla.

So, the box uses the perfect size for the game and the insert does a great job for storing them. I think for some components maybe a bit too tight.

For example, they do offer a hole for each slot where we can put our finger to take out the components. However, sometimes I need to use some tools like a pen to lift the component out of their slot.

I do wish there is also an extra room for the cards. The game uses two sizes of cards where we put the small one at the bottom and the bigger one on top of it within a slot for each.

The insert has some extra thickness for the bigger card so we can sleeve them. However, we cannot do that for the small cards, not even using the penny sleeve.

The card sizes are 63.5 x 89 mm for the big cards and 44 x 63 mm for the small ones. For the small one, I think if we use non premium sleeve, Mini Chimera can fit but we still need to cut the length a bit.

The number of cards are 34 for the bigger one and 20 for the smaller one.

If we still want to sleeve the small cards, I think we can use the slot for the wooden tokens. With the exception for Player Aid cards, we shuffle these cards everytime we setup the game. So, we probably want to use sleeve for most of them.

Also, that perfect box size is assuming that there will be no expansion for Seastead. Unless the expansion will have the same box size with a lot of modules, not just some mini expansion.

 

Rulebook

We can find the digital English version of the rulebook from the publisher’s page. They also posted the file on BGG. Up to this point, there is no translation to other language.

The rulebook has 16 pages and the size is a bit smaller than the footprint of the box. Usually, games in this size will have a rulebook that will cover the inside of the box.

Here is the table of content of the rulebook.

Cover and Objective (Page 1). Here we can also find the playtime and the minimum recommended age.

Components (Page 2). This part displays all of the components we can find from the game. They also displays if the card or token has different design at the back side but not all of them.

Setup (Page 3 – 5). This part has a step by step guide to setup the game for 2 player mode. Each step will have illustrations or further explanations of how to set side something.

Notice that there is a note to setup the first game with easier variant. This suggests using A side of Flotilla and A type card of Specialist.

Game Sequence (Page 6 – 7). This explains the overall gameplay sequence, followed the two actions we can do each turn. Each action, Dive or Build will have 5 steps.

Dive Card Icon Keys (Page 6). This explains further the icons we can find from the Dive Card, specifically for the Depth Dive Cards.

Building Types (Page 8 – 9). This explains not just the building types but also how the bonus works. So, we can find explanation for Dock Tiles, Specialist and Ship.

Each section of the building type also explains the Row Bonus we can get after clearing the entire row.

Column Bonuses (Page 10). This explains the bonus we get for clearing the entire column of the player board. The bonus to swap demand token is optional.

Supply Limits (Page 10). This explains that all of the resources are considered as limited. The cleanup tokens are not limited but the last one will trigger the end of the game.

Location Discounts (Page 10). This explains how the cost to build can be lowered. The cost can be reduced to zero but never below.

Decree Cards (Page 11). Additional module that will be used if we play the B side of the Flotilla. Remember to draw 2 cards and choose 1 Decree Cards to replace the existing one.

End of the Game (Page 11). Here we can find 4 ways to trigger the end game. A reminder is that we still need to play one more round after any of them happens.

Final Scoring (Page 12 – 13). This explains the 5 categories of scoring and the tie breaker. The second page will have an example and how to use the scorepad. There is also a reminder that we can download more score pad from the publisher’s website.

Advanced Rules (Page 12). This tells us how we can use the B side of each Flotilla or mix and match between both sides. Another variant is to choose the initial Decree Card instead of pick it randomly.

Solo Mode (Page 14 – 15). This will tell us how to play the solo mode from setup to scoring. Some features in the game will not be used in this mode.

Location Effects Reference (Page 16). We can look on the last page to remind us the meaning of each symbol from Location Effects.

Credits (Page 16). Usually we can find some contact info here like their website if we have some missing components. That is not the case here but their website has a section for Product Support.

At least, they use this chance with limited space to give credits to the play testers.

For this rulebook, I actually like where the page for components and the setup is side by side. So, we can easily find what they mean when they mention certain components in setup.

However, the setup part itself already has enough illustrations. So, it feels a bit too much and I think some page can be used to explain the components further.

For example, they can reveal that the demand tokens has different shape than resources and the lock icon at the back. Some people have been asking about the purpose of this lock mechanism.

Or, they can talk more about the detail of Specialist cards. They have explained the icon at the top right corner but not between A and B type.

I also like these notes from the characters where they give a bit of hint about the trick to play the game or what it means thematically.

I think overall, the rulebook does a great job covering almost everything. Maybe there are some minor details needs further explanations.

On the forum, people have been asking clarification about the timing to resolve certain aspect from the game. This is because one action can affect the other player or other part of the game.

Hopefully I can fully cover everything that they missed or check out this forum page to ask the questions. It seems that the designer is actively answering those questions.

Scorepad

After 4 sheets of cardboard tokens, the first thing we can find is the Scorepad. It is the white one at the bottom right corner of the box in its own slot from the insert.

The Scorepad has 50 sheets, each from the same copy. It has only one side while the other side of each sheet is blank.

The size is 10 x 13 cm. We can easily just take a picture or scan it and print them again if we ever run out of it.

The developer says on the rulebook that we can find the link on their page to download the file for this scorepad. Sadly, I cannot find exactly the link.

The scorepad has three columns, two for each player and the categories of scoring. In this game there are 5 categories of how the player can gain points.

Scoring 1: Resources Matching Docks

In this game, we will be collecting some resources that we can spend to build buildings. At the end of the game, the leftover resources can give us points but only if we have the docks that match these resources.

So, we need both the resources and build the Port and get dock tiles that match the resources. It is possible to have a lot of resources but we don’t get any points because we have built no docks for that resources.

Also, we can build multiple docks but all of them have the same resources. We can only get points from one of them.

Each resource is worth 1 point. All of the dock tiles have the same scoring criteria, with a single type resource, get 1 point per resource up to 3 points.

It really doesn’t give benefit for having multiple docks with the same resources. However, we may have no choice but still get points from other criteria using those docks.

I don’t think it is possible but from this scoring category, we can get up to 12 points.

Scoring 2: Building Matching Docks

As I said earlier that we can still get points from the dock tiles even if it has the same resources. Each dock tiles will determine the type of buildings adjacent to that dock or Port.

If we can build the same type of building in that location as indicated by the docks, we will get points. The scorepad has rows for scoring 8 dock tiles while the game comes with 12 different dock tiles.

That is because each player can only build up to 4 Ports and get 4 Docks. So it is not even a guarantee to get 8 from both players.

Unlike the first category, this one will benefit all of the players even if the player didn’t build that dock. While the first category only give points to the owner of the dock.

Scoring 3: Locations

The third category for scoring is the Locations. We will be competing against another player to fill 6 building spots or Locations from each Flotilla.

Each of these spots or Locations can give us 0 point up to 3 Points as indicated on that spot. So, for this category, we can simply check the Flotilla and see if the building is either Blue or Orange on that spot and give the points to the owner accordingly.

The Scorepad only has 4 rows one for each Flotilla. Each Flotilla can give up to 9 Points so the total for both players should be 36 points or less. That is if all of the spots were built. The game may end sooner than that.

Scoring 4: Specialist

In this game, everytime we build an Academy building, we can recruit a Specialist. Each of Specialists can give us 1 point at the end of the game if we don’t activate their one time ability.

Players can have up to 4 Academy Buildings and recruit 4 Specialists for a chance to score 4 points. There is a chance that by activating their ability, we can score more than 1 point.

So, players have to consider carefully so it can be a good trade off. There is some way in the game to reactivate them so we can still get the point.

Scoring 5: Cleanup Tokens

The last scoring category is from the Cleanup Tokens. If we flip the token, each of them has a single Star icon, which is worth 1 Point.

There are several ways to earn these tokens. However, during the game we can spend or trade them usually into resources or vice versa.

Like the Specialists, if we can plan carefully, each Cleanup Tokens we spend can worth more than 1 point.

The game comes with 20 or so tokens but they are not considered as limited amount. It is very unlikely for both players to score a lot of these.

Player’s Building and Ship Tokens

Each player will have a set of building and ship tokens, either as blue or orange player made of wood. These wooden tokens come within its own plastic zip lock bag and in the box, the insert has 2 slots for these that will take half of the box.

The set consists of 4 of each Ship Tokens, Port Building Tokens, Academy Building Tokens, and Shipyard tokens. At the start of the game, we will be placing these on the Player Board, except for the Ship Tokens.

The double layered Player Board will have 12 slots that can fit them if we put the tokens standing. During the game each time we build any type of these 3 buildings, we take the corresponding token from the Player Board and place them on the Flotilla.

I think we can easily tell which tokens are which building or the ship ones. All of them have about 1 cm in width.

The Ship tokens are the longest one, about 3 cm long that will not fit in any slot and 1.4 cm in height. I guess it is meant to have a shape of a ship with a rising smoke from its engine?

I’m not quite sure about the shape of Shipyard Tokens. It is like the bigger size of the smoke portion from the Ship tokens. The length and the height is about 1.3 cm.

Both the Academy and Port tokens are a bit similar. They both have a triangular shape that, I guess, represent the roof.

The difference is the base. The Academy has flat base, wider than its roof with 1.4 cm, while Port has more of a footing with 1.3 cm for the width of the roof. They both share the same height.

I guess how accurate the shape and what it represent is not really that matter. It is just to help us tell the difference especially during scoring from the second category, based on the dock tiles.

But that means they could have come with another shape between Port and Academy. I guess we can just flip the Port upside down when placing on the Flotilla?

One thing that I recently notice is that none of the dock tiles will give extra points from another adjacent Port. Still, that doesn’t solve the confusion that can happen between the shape of those two.

The wooden tokens is not that bad. However, I think there are other board games that use thicker wood or so, especially the ones made in Germany.

I think the base part of Shipyard tokens could get stuck between hole from the Ship token. I guess that is not very likely to happen but it could in the plastic bag. Hopefully it will not break one of them.

Player Board

In the box, we can find two Player Boards at the bottom left part of the box. The board will cover the slots for dock tiles, cleanup tokens, demand and resources tokens.

There is no different between the two, except for the color, blue or orange. The overall size is about 11.5 x 8 cm.

Each has 4 x 3 grid slots where we can place the set of 12 building tokens with each type of buildings has its own row. The double layer board  will keep the tokens in place.

The first row is for Shipyard, Academy for second and Port for the last. Each slot has an icon that will remind us the bonus we will get from building that corresponding building type.

Building Type Bonuses

Right after we build a building, we take the token from the Player Board and put them on the right Flotilla. We will then immediately get the bonus.

The Shipyard will allow us to deploy a Ship. What it means is we place our Ship to any locations of the Flotilla with the currently cheapest cost.

Any Location with a Ship will have the cost reduced by 1. Any player can take advantage of that even though they are not the owner of the Ship.

However, if the one who build on that Location is not the owner of the Ship, the owner of the Ship will get 1 Resource from the supply. So, at least, the owner still get something.

Once the location has been built, we have to move the ship to the next cheapest location on any Flotilla. At the end, if there is no more free locations, we can return the Ship to the game box and the owner will get 1 Cleanup Token.

The Academy part has an icon that will remind us to draw one of the Specialist. We can draw one of the three face up cards of Specialist and put it in front of us.

While the bottom part for Port tokens have an icon for Dock Tiles, so we can draw that one after building it. More about Dock Tiles later.

Column and Row Bonuses

The way it works is that anytime, we can build any building type but for each row or building type, we have to start from the left most column.  As we can see at the right end of the row and bottom and of the column, there are yellow icons.

These indicate that when we have deployed or clear out the entire row or column, we can trigger a bonus. The bonus for clearing any column are the same but the row bonus will be different for each row or building type.

The column bonus allow us to switch the demand tokens between Flotilla. One of the two will be the new locked demand resource. More about this later.

Resources Tokens

There are 4 type of resources in Seastead board game, Fish (Blue), Artifact (Purple), Kelp (Green) and Metal (Gray). We will be spending these resources in order to pay the cost to build any buildings. Each token has the same design for both sides.

We can say that they are very important to win the game. There are several ways of how we can get these resources but we can only actively get them using the DIVE action.

Even then, there is no guarantee that we will get what we want or need at the time. This way, the resources are very tight and we have to manage them carefully.

As components, the resources are represented by cardboard circular tokens. The diameter is about 2.5 cm. For each type of resources, we will get exactly 10 resources in the box, which makes the total resources tokens as 40.

These tokens are considered as limited. If the general supply ever runs out of any of the resources type, we will not get any compensation.

With that in mind, we also need to consider our opponent’s situation, considering sometimes we have to decide as well which of the resources the opponent is going to get. Also, there is no limit as how many tokens any player can have at a time.

In the game box, the insert has a dedicated slot for these tokens which will be under the place where we put the Player Boards. Instead of 4 separate slot, we have to put all of them into this long slot which will also be shared for the DEMAND TOKENS. More about this later.

I guess 10 resources for each type is not a lot. In the game, the cost can be up to 6 and equally, each player can get 5 of them.

If we ever lose any of them we can always just use other game pieces for replacement, or even just a paper. The only important thing is probably the color or how we can tell the difference between resources.

Instead of color we can just write a letter like A for Artifact, F for Fish, K for Kelp and M for Metal for the handmade replacement. Also, the shape of the icon is very easy to distinguish, so people with blind color will not have any problem playing the game.

Demand Tokens

Demand tokens are the 4 tokens similar to the resource tokens, each represent a type of resources, using the same icon and color scheme. The difference is that instead of circular token, they have hexagonal shape.

If we look at each of them, one of the side will have a LOCK icon in the middle that doesn’t appear on Resources Tokens.

In this game, Demand Tokens will be placed one on each Flotilla. This indicates the resources we need to spend to pay the cost to build on that Flotilla

So, at a time, each Flotilla will have different DEMAND. The way we can always put different combination of Flotilla and demand adds some setup variability.

So what is the purpose of lock symbol?

During the game, there is a way to switch the Demand between 2 Flotillas. At the start of the game, one of 4 Flotillas will have the Demand token as locked. If the Demand tokens is on the Locked side, that means we cannot switch it and choose other pair.

Switching demand can introduce some opportunity for one player but at the same time probably screw the other. Maybe we already have a plan and enough resources to build on specific location of a Flotilla.

Then, suddenly, the Demand tokens get switched, and we can no longer spend those resources. This makes the game very interactive.

The size of the tokens is a bit smaller than the Resources Tokens as it use the inner size of the circle. We can definitely put these 4 tokens into the same part of the insert as the Resources tokens.

Cleanup Tokens

Cleanup Tokens are those with uneven pentagon shape with a green color and radioactive sign at the front and a star sign with blue color at the back. The size of each sides is about 1 cm.

Thematically, the radioactive sign means the nuclear thing that cause the setting of Seastead game. The story is these are radioactive wastes and we are trying to clean them up from the sea. As a result, we get a victory point by flipping it at the end of the game.

There is no actual gameplay that specifically represent doing the cleaning in Seastead. We just get them as a bonus after doing some actions.

Generally, we should try to trade resources into these. Some resources may not worth any point depending on how we play the game.

However, there are also some ways in the game where we can trade Cleanup Tokens during the game to get more resources. Hopefully this can allow us to do more action which is worth more than one point.

In other games they are simply victory point tokens. The radioactive sign is just a thematic touch.

I thought with the flipping idea, there is a chance that we may not get any star sign which will be worth a single point. However, that is not the case. All of them have it.

The rulebook says that we will get 20 tokens of these. However, from my copy I got 22 of them from the four sheets of cardboard.

The B cardboard sheet, specifically marks 2 SPARE cleanup tokens. In the insert of the box, we will be placing these tokens also at the bottom left corner part under the Player Boards.

There is another long slot between the slot for Resource Tokens and Dock Tiles. Like the resources tokens we will be placing the Cleanup Tokens standing.

Cleanup Tokens also serve another purpose in the game. We will be using only 20 of them and when they run out from the supply, it will trigger the end of the game.

The rule will tell us to when to return these tokens to the box instead of the supply area for this purpose. That means, there is a way to make the game ends faster.

Dock Tiles

The last small components we can get from the cardboard sheets are the DOCK TILES. There are 12 unique Dock Tiles, each has a trapezoid shape with half circle shape on the shorter parallels side.

The way it works in the game is that each time we build a Port, we will take one of these and attach the dock tiles so that the longest side of the dock tiles meet the side of Flotilla’s hexagon shape where we build the port.

Each time we play Seastead, we will be using all of these 12 Dock Tiles in a single pile face down. Then as a start we draw three of them face up.

Each player can only build or use up tp 4 of them. So, we will not see every single Dock Tiles and the different order of how they come out will be another setup variable and replay value.

WizKids as the publisher has acknowledged that there was an issue with the printing of the back side of these dock tiles. Three of them will have slightly mirrored design.

It will not affect any gameplay but for those with a good memory, they can figure out which of them has the wrong back side. The publisher has been offering replacement of these tiles.

They said that we can submit a request via this link or send email to wkreplacements@necaonline.com and they will reply with step by step guide.

NOTE: I got mine after about a month since I submitted the request. So,  kudos to WizKids to actually sent it even to South East Asian country.

Building Type Points

What each Dock Tile does is it will tell us that if we develop the Flotilla with a matching building type as indicated by the Dock Tiles, we will get extra points at the end of the game.

We can see that on each front side of Dock tiles, there is a hexagon shape, which represent the Flotilla with all 6 fractions. Each fractions will tell us the building type we should build in order to get the extra points.

Except for the location where we build the port and thus attach the dock tiles. These part will instead tell us which type of leftover resources that we can convert to victory points at the end of the game for just the owner of the Port or Dock.

So, each attached Dock Tiles will define the direction of how we build the Flotilla. Both players can get the benefit for complying to the active dock tiles even though they are not the owner of the Port.

We may try to build the Port first and the other player can take advantage of it. Alternatively, we can let the Flotilla get built first, and try to make sure that when we build a Port, it will give better benefit to us more than to the opponents.

As mentioned before, there is no Dock Tiles that will give bonus by building another Dock Tiles adjacent to the existing one. However, this doesn’t prevent the other players to attach a new one which can possible give more benefit.

From all of the Dock Tiles, they can give extra points 22 times for both adjacent Shipyard and Academy between 1 up to 3 points each. There are 4 Dock Tile with no benefit at all to one of the fractions.

The Total Points that each Dock Tiles can generate from the matching Building Type is always 6 points.  So, as example, the combination of points can be 0 – 1 – 2 – 3 points, or 1 – 2 – 2 – 1 points.

Other than the 4 Dock Tiles with an empty fraction, we can see a rotating pattern between the 2 Shipyards and 2 Academy Buildings. Each has 2 copies with different combinations of scoring. Maybe we can try to take advantage of that.

Leftover Resources Points

From 12 Dock Tiles, for each resource type, there are 3 tiles that allow us to convert the leftover resources into points at the end of the game. Each leftover resource is worth 1 Point that can be traded on the Dock tiles that have the matching resource type.

Each dock tile can only convert up to 3 resources. If we have more than 3 leftover resources of the same type, then we need to have more than one docks for that one type.

Players can try to build multiple docks with the same resources or diversify them. Assuming that the display can provide them and the opponent doesn’t take them.

That means this will give another consideration when we try to draw one of the three available docks to a Flotilla. We probably want to build that dock tile with specific type of resources first before the opponent gets it.

So far, I haven’t found that idea to diversify to be very useful because we really don’t know which of the resources we will have leftover at the end. Maybe trying to match the dock tiles to get points from matching building types can be a better plan.

It is also possible that Dock tiles with specific resources may not come at all because they are at the bottom of the pile.

These 12 Dock Tiles will fit in the corner of bottom left portion of the insert alongside the other cardboard tokens. The depth of the dedicated sloth is the perfect fit if we lay all of the dock tiles on top of each other.

Flotilla Tiles

These are the 4 biggest components of Seastead, each came in from a single cardboard sheet. Each Flotilla is unique with a number from 1 to 4. They also have double sides between A and B side.

A side is considered as the simpler setup while the complete game requires at least to use one of the B side. As the setup, we can always mix and match the combination of both sides.

That means we can get 8 different combinations as setup just from this aspect. There will be no flipping sides of Flotilla during the game.

As we can see, each of these hexagon tiles has 6 fractions which represent a LOCATIONS where we can build just one building. In the game the middle hexagon is where we will be placing one of the DEMAND TOKENS.

The Demand Token will then tell us the resource type we need to pay in order to pay the cost to build specifically for that Flotilla. So, the combination between Demand Tokens and Flotilla  will be another setup variability.

Each Locations or fraction has several elements that we can find. First, is the cost, starting from 2 resources up to 6. The cost is the number on another hexagon usually placed at the left side of the Location.

The next thing is the Victory Points, represented by the Star icons. The points we can get usually aligns with how much the cost, from 0 point up to 3 points.

The right side of each Location will have the LOCATION EFFECT. This is the bonus any player can get for building on that specific Location.

The location effect can be about getting Cleanup Tokens, Resources, or a Decree Card. In my opinion, the Location Effect doesn’t necessarily get any better with higher cost to build. So, we cannot just build anywhere or just the cheapest one.

Since resources in this game is very tight, getting more resources so in the next turn we can immediately do BUILD action again can lead us to victory. The better way would be to plan a couple turns ahead.

Between the three elements, there is a space where we will be placing our tokens to indicates our building. Usually, the space is empty but the cheapest location of the Flotilla will have a tag that indicate DISCOUNT.

The tag has purple color, a specific building type an a number 1. That tells us if we build that specific building type on that location, the cost is reduced by one.

From the overall design of the Flotilla, I thought a Flotilla is an artificial island. Based on the artwork that we can see on the Flotilla, the illustration seems to represent just floating area of junk.

If that was the idea, they could have gone even further by instead of a big hexagon, they can just come up with fractions tiles where we can mix and match as well. That would be more appropriate to the theme.

But, I get it, it will make more complicated just to set up the game and storing those components.

Between the A side and B side of the Flotilla, we definitely can see that the B side is much complex as it introduce the element of Decree Cards and some more Location Effects.

However, between A1 and A2, B1 and B2, A3 and A4, B3 and B4, they are almost identical. We definitely want to use just one of them.

I guess the setup variability is not that great from this Flotilla Tiles.

Details of Flotillas

Flotilla A1 & A2

1st Spot
Cost: 2
Discount: PORT
VP: NONE
Effect: Take 1 resource from the supply that does not match this Flotilla’s Demand Token.

2nd Spot
Cost: 2
Discount: NONE
VP: 1
Effect: Spend 1 resource to take any 1 resource from the supply. Repeat this effect once.

3rd Spot
Cost: 3
Discount: NONE
VP: 1
Effect: Resolve the effect of a different location that has one of your buildings. Treat the effect as if the new building had been built on that location instead.

4th Spot
Cost: 4
Discount: NONE
VP: 2
Effect: Take resources from the supply as indicated by your half of the revealed dive card. Ignore any conditional arrow related to the other half of the card.

5th Spot
Cost: 5
Discount: NONE
VP: 2
Effect: Take 2 resources from the supply of types that does not match this Flotilla’s Demand Token.

6th Spot
Cost: 6
Discount: NONE
VP: 3
Effect: Take  all of the resources indicated by the revealed dive card from the supply.

Flotilla A3

1st Spot
Cost: 2
Discount: ACADEMY
VP: NONE
Effect: NONE

2nd Spot
Cost: 2
Discount: NONE
VP: 1
Effect: Take 1 resource from the supply that does not match this Flotilla’s Demand Token.

3rd Spot
Cost: 3
Discount: NONE
VP: 1
Effect: Spend any 1 resources to take 1 cleanup token from the supply. Repeat this effect once.

4th Spot
Cost: 4
Discount: NONE
VP: 2
Effect: Spend any 1 resource to take any 2 resources from the supply.

5th Spot
Cost: 5
Discount: NONE
VP: 2
Effect: Take 2 cleanup Tokens from the supply.

6th Spot
Cost: 6
Discount: NONE
VP: 3
Effect: Take 2 resources from the supply of types that does not match this Flotilla’s Demand Token.

Flotilla A4

1st Spot
Cost: 2
Discount: SHIPYARD
VP: NONE
Effect: Spend 1 resource to take 1 Cleanup Token from the supply.

2nd Spot
Cost: 2
Discount: NONE
VP: 1
Effect: Take 1 resource from the supply that does not match this Flotilla’s Demand Token.

3rd Spot
Cost: 3
Discount: NONE
VP: 1
Effect: Spend any 1 resources to take 1 cleanup token from the supply. Repeat this effect once.

4th Spot
Cost: 4
Discount: NONE
VP: 2
Effect: Spend any 1 resource to take any 2 resources from the supply.

5th Spot
Cost: 5
Discount: NONE
VP: 2
Effect: Take 2 cleanup Tokens from the supply.

6th Spot
Cost: 6
Discount: NONE
VP: 3
Effect: Take 2 resources from the supply of types that does not match this Flotilla’s Demand Token.

Flotilla B1

1st Spot
Cost: 2
Discount: PORT
VP: NONE
Effect: Take 1 resource from the supply that does not match this Flotilla’s Demand Token.

2nd Spot
Cost: 2
Discount: NONE
VP: 1
Effect: Take 1 resource from the supply that does not match this Flotilla’s Demand Token for each Academy located on this Flotilla Tile.

3rd Spot
Cost: 3
Discount: NONE
VP: 1
Effect: Take resources from the supply as indicated by your half of the revealed dive card. Ignore any conditional arrow related to the other half of the card.

4th Spot
Cost: 4
Discount: NONE
VP: 2
Effect: Each Player must discard resources of their choice until they have no more than 4 resources left in their reserves.

5th Spot
Cost: 5
Discount: NONE
VP: 2
Effect: Draw 2 decree cards from the deck. Put 1 card into the play and return the other card to the bottom of the deck. Spend any 1 resources to take any 3 resources from the supply.

6th Spot
Cost: 6
Discount: NONE
VP: 3
Effect: Take 1 Cleanup Token from the supply for each Academy located on this Flotilla Tile.

Flotilla B2

1st Spot
Cost: 2
Discount: PORT
VP: NONE
Effect: Take 1 resource from the supply that does not match this Flotilla’s Demand Token.

2nd Spot
Cost: 2
Discount: NONE
VP: 1
Effect: Take 1 resource from the supply that does not match this Flotilla’s Demand Token for each Shipyard located on this Flotilla Tile.

3rd Spot
Cost: 3
Discount: NONE
VP: 1
Effect: Take resources from the supply as indicated by your half of the revealed dive card. Ignore any conditional arrow related to the other half of the card.

4th Spot
Cost: 4
Discount: NONE
VP: 2
Effect: Each Player must discard resources of their choice until they have no more than 4 resources left in their reserves.

5th Spot
Cost: 5
Discount: NONE
VP: 2
Effect: Draw 2 decree cards from the deck. Put 1 card into the play and return the other card to the bottom of the deck. Spend any 1 resources to take any 3 resources from the supply.

6th Spot
Cost: 6
Discount: NONE
VP: 3
Effect: Take 1 Cleanup Token from the supply for each Shipyard located on this Flotilla Tile.

Flotilla B3 & B4

1st Spot
Cost: 2
Discount: PORT
VP: NONE
Effect: Take 1 resource from the supply that does not match this Flotilla’s Demand Token.

2nd Spot
Cost: 2
Discount: NONE
VP: 1
Effect: Exhaust 1 of the faceup specialist cards to take any 2 resources from the supply.

3rd Spot
Cost: 3
Discount: NONE
VP: 1
Effect: Take 1 resource from the supply that does not match this Flotilla’s Demand Token for each Port located on this Flotilla Tile.

4th Spot
Cost: 4
Discount: NONE
VP: 2
Effect: Draw 2 decree cards from the deck. Put 1 card into the play and return the other card to the bottom of the deck. Take 2 Cleanup Tokens from the supply.

5th Spot
Cost: 5
Discount: NONE
VP: 2
Effect: Take 1 Cleanup Token from the supply for each Port located on this Flotilla Tile.

6th Spot
Cost: 6
Discount: NONE
VP: 3
Effect: Take  all of the resources indicated by the revealed dive card from the supply.

Player Aid Cards

Each player will get one Player Aid card. These can help to remind us the action we can take each turn, the end game triggers and how the scoring works.

Even though the cards are identical, but at the bottom right corner of the card, they use different code for each player, PA1 and PA2. Not that it really matters.

I always think that for a 2 Player only game, we really don’t need more than one aid card. It is because we can easily share the info or just hand the card to the other player. Even we have to share the rulebook to check the Location Effects.

I mean, if we do want to use 2 cards, we can use both to display 2 different information. With how they do it right now, I feel like they cut some of the details.

For example, they can use one card for Solo mode. Another information that I still need to check is the bonus from clearing up Column or Rows, especially the Row bonus for Port.

I think the game is rather elegant that we will do just 2 type of actions. We can easily learn by watching the other player do their actions if talking about it is not an option.

After first couple of turns, we will already get used to it. What it really needs the most is explaining the depth of each action. Like we have to build from the left most buildings and the possibility to trigger the row and column bonus.

Since they offer scorepad, maybe they can add another layer, like the cover of scorepad to remind us how the scoring works. That way, we have another room on the Player Aid cards.

Specialist Cards

There are 16 Specialist Cards which all of them are unique. These are the characters that we can see from this game’s setting.

Each card has some information like the job title, the ability that we can activate, ability type, the illustration, victory points, an either an A or B card. They also have a code for the card at the bottom right corner, starting with a letter S and the card’s number from 1 to 16.

9 of the characters are female characters and there is only 1 character that represent a Caucasian ethnic. Not that it really matters to the gameplay.

In the game, in order to recruit them, we first have to build an Academy building. As the bonus, we get to draw one card from the three face up Specialist card.

They are randomly revealed from a face down deck. So, even if we use all of them every game, the order of how the card come out will be different from time to time.

Some cards may encourage players to try to get them as early as possible or before the other player.

When we do have some Specialist, we can activate them anytime during our turn. In general we can only activate them once, which the card will be exhausted and we have to flip the card.

At the end, if we can keep those cards facing up, we will get 1 victory point per card. They are all worth the same.

So, if we can activate their action and get us more than 1 point, it can be a good trade.

Depending on the relation of their ability to the action we can take in the game, Specialist can be put into three different categories. We can find the icon that represent the type of action at the top right corner of each card.

If the icon has a Scuba helmet icon, it means the ability is related to DIVE action. There are 4 Specialists that fit into this category.

For BUILD action, the icon is a Wrench. There are 6 Specialists that fit into this category.

The last type is neither fit any action and it will have a Blitz icon, which I guess represent an immediate activation.  There are 6 Specialist for this one.

Not all of the abilities are active. Some of them can be activated if the opponent do something.

Because we really need to figure out the best timing to activate the actions, it is very easy to forget that we have the Specialist in the first place. We can only get 4 of them and we have to make sure that they can either give more than 1 point or help us build faster.

I think it is a good idea to check all 16 Specialists and try to figure out which are worth to keep or to activate their ability or just to ignore.

Details about Specialists

Card Number: S01
Job: FOUNDER
Action Type: DIVE
Card Type: A
Ability: After you complete a dive action, take a build action immediately.

Well, this one is a good one, assuming we can build up enough resources before activating them. Dive action only allow us to get up to 3 resources and usually they are from different type of resources or get 2 of a kind.

I guess as alternative, we can go early and try to build the cheapest locations available.

Card Number: S02
Job: SALVAGER
Action Type: NONE
Card Type: A
Ability: Take 2 cleanup tokens from the supply. You may return on of your ships from any location to the game box. If you do, take +1 cleanup token.

This is definitely a must have. We can trade 1 point for 2 if we return one of the ship at the end of the game.

If it is just to get 2 cleanup tokens, we only get 1 extra point. However, maybe some of the decree where they allow us to spend the cleanup tokens for resources are in play.

Card Number: S03
Job: WRECKER
Action Type: BUILD
Card Type: A
Ability: When you take a build action, instead move one of your built academies or shipyards to an available location on the same flotilla tile. If the new location has higher cost, pay the difference. Resolve the effect of the new location.

This is also a powerful one depending on how we use the ability. We can simply just try to get the most expensive location as soon as possible. Just need to make sure that they can indeed give us additional point.

It could be zero point to 3 points, which we need to pay 5 resources. That means we only get 2 extra points for spending the Specialist.

Another way is just to match the building type with the Dock Tiles. Hopefully there is an empty location and the most point we can get is from zero up to 3 points.

Since we also resolve the effect of the new location, if we get cleanup tokens, we already in profit because we already resolve the effect of the previous location. If we do get resources, make sure we already have the correct dock tiles or another turn to build.

Card Number: S04
Job: DEALER
Action Type: BUILD
Card Type: B
Ability: When building at a 4+ cost location, you may use a resource type that does not match the flotilla’s demand. Resources used must be of the same type.

I assume this one means 4+ building cost, before the discount from ship. This ability could mitigate the swapping so that we cannot spend the resources we have been building up for.

Which is why, we need to check the opponent’s progress, and see how likely are they going to activate that column bonus. Another use of this ability is after we resolve a location effect where we have to get resources that doesn’t match with the demand tokens of the Flotilla.

Usually after building on a Flotilla, we have to spend different type of resources and choose different Flotilla. With this ability, we can build another one, possibly the more expensive spot right away. Or make sure that we first build the one that give us resources, which we can spend on the next turn to build another one.

Card Number: S05
Job: PROPRIETOR
Action Type: DIVE
Card Type: A
Ability: When you take a dive action, take 1 cleanup token and 1 extra resource of any type.

If we don’t use this ability, we get 1 point. So, by activating, we still get 1 point and an extra resource. This can be used at the end of the game to get the point from Resource Matching Dock.

During the game, this can be used to get the pay the cost faster. Maybe just to make sure that the opponent doesn’t build there first.

Card Number: S06
Job: TRAWLER
Action Type: BUILD
Card Type: B
Ability: After you complete a build action, if you have no resources left in your reserves, take 1 resource of each type from the supply.

This seems rather simple but I guess not really in the game. Usually we will still have any resources left like one or 2 after the Build action. Especially after a couple of turns.

Maybe this should be used rather early in the game. Getting 4 resources sounds like a lot but one resource of any type is usually not enough to build anything.

We already lose 1 point for activating this ability so we have to make sure that at least 1 of the resources will give us a Cleanup Tokens at least.

There is a location that allow us to trade resources of one type to another. We might want to be able to build there after activating the ability.

Card Number: S07
Job: BOATSWAIN
Action Type: NONE
Card Type: A
Ability: Choose a location that has one of your ships and resolve the location effect.

Obviously, we would want to activate this one after we have built 4 Shipyards, so we can have multiple options. Also, we can still activate the row bonus first which allow us to move ships before this ability.

It is very likely then that the ships will be at the more expensive locations. Most of the locations with higher cost, allow us to either get Cleanup  Tokens or more resources.

For resources, we just need to make sure we get at least 2 points.

Card Number: S08
Job: BROKER
Action Type: NONE
Card Type: A
Ability: Take any 1 resource from the supply for each port you have built. You cannot take more than 1 resource of each type this way.

That means, at most, we can get 4 resources, one of each type for losing 1 point. Also, that is if we have built 4 Port buildings.

If that is the case, we might want to diversify the type of resources we can trade on docks. Otherwise, we have to find a way to turn them into at least 2 Points.

Card Number: S09
Job: DIPLOMAT
Action Type: NONE
Card Type: B
Ability: Take 1 cleanup token from the supply for each ship located at the flotilla tile with the locked demand token.

So, at most, we can get up to 4 Points. That is almost impossible to happen. It is very unlikely for us to have all of the ships at one Flotilla.

Moreover, the requirement where we can only get the bonus if the demand token on that Flotilla is locked makes it even harder. For that, we have to activate this ability after we have activate a column bonus then swap and lock accordingly.

However, this will be dangerous if the opponent has the Agent Specialist. They can prevent or decide which demand tokens to swap.

Alternatively, it is probably easier to activate the ability after we get the row bonus for shipyards. We can then move ships to the Flotilla where the demand token is locked.

Even then, there is no guarantee that it will have an empty location. In fact, the opponent can take advantage of that.

I guess it is not a good idea to take this Specialist.

Card Number: S10
Job: GENIUS
Action Type: NONE
Card Type: B
Ability: Choose a specialist card in the display and use its ability as if you owned that card. This does not exhaust that card.

This means we have a choice between 3 Specialists. We don’t know for sure if the right one will even come out.

This has to come first and getting this is a big gamble. Not only because the good Specialist may not come out but because they don’t stay in the display that long or at the right time.

We probably have to track down which other Specialist has or hasn’t come out. The best possible way to use this ability is if we go for the least complex Specialist to get 2 points like Salvager.

Card Number: S11
Job: SPY
Action Type: NONE
Card Type: A
Ability: Choose a location that has one of your opponent’s buildings and resolve the location effect as if you had just built that building there.

This depends on the location. We can either get one or more resources, one or more cleanup tokens, trade resources, get a decree, or make both players lose resources.

To make it worth, I think we need at least get 2 cleanup tokens, which can be done from location like A4-5. This is also assuming that the opponent has a building there.

If it is ours, we probably need to activate the refresh effect like on A1/2  level 3. But then it requires to have buildings on both.

Card Number: S12
Job: SCRAPPER
Action Type: BUILD
Card Type: B
Ability: When you take the build action, substitute cleanup tokens for any portion of the build cost. Return all cleanup tokens spent this way to the game box.

For this, not only we lose the point from using the Scrapper ability but we will lose more points to pay the build cost. Unless the location can give us 3 points where we only lose 1 cleanup token, I don’t think it is worth the trade.

My issue is that we don’t get a lot of cleanup tokens early in the game. Some cheap locations allow us to trade resources for cleanup tokens but then what is the point?

So, this ability can still be handy for probably at the endgame. Or if it allows us to build before the opponent.

Card Number: S13
Job: ARCHITECT
Action Type: BUILD
Card Type: B
Ability: Before you take an build action, move one of your built academies or shipyards to an available location with an equal or lower cost on any flotilla tile. Do not resolve the effect of that new location.

I assume we can only move the existing building to an empty location. We also need to build anything afterwards which I assume doesn’t have to be on that first location.

I think the idea is of this ability is to match the building type with the dock tiles so we can get extra point. If we do it right, we can get up to 3 points.

Another way to look at it is that we can just simply reserve a spot without trying to match the building type with the dock.

We may not get to resolve the effect of the new location. However, we can prevent the opponent to get them and still get the point from location.

So, we can build that has a cost of 6, and move it to a different Flotilla with the same cost. If we don’t want to lose another point for moving a building to a lower value one, we need to be prepared to build on that same location.

Card Number: S14
Job: CAPTAIN
Action Type: DIVE
Card Type: B
Ability: After you complete a dive action, resolve up to 2 ship movements. You may move 1 ship twice or up to 2 ships once. You may only move your own ship this way.

This is a bit confusing. The card uses the word ship MOVEMENTS instead of ship PLACEMENTS.

If we have to follow the placement rules, that means we can only get to place the ship at different cheapest spot of the Flotilla. But based on the reply from the designer on this page, he implies that we can indeed MOVE ships differently than the rules of ship placement.

From what I understand, we can use this ability to place the ship not at the cheapest location only. Moving one spot higher is considered as one move.

So, for moving 1 ship twice, we can go 2 spots higher. The designer also implies that if we move to a different Flotilla, it takes one MOVE.

I assume we still need to follow the rules about empty location where the location has no building or ship already.

As for the ability itself, this can be handy or backfired at us. We need to either have the resources ready to build or make sure that the opponent doesn’t have the resources to build on the new Location.

Moving the ship itself will give us no direct points. It is just to help us build the more expensive one faster and race to be the first to get the effect.

It can be a good combo if the resulting location will give us a lot of resources which we can spend to build next turn. We can then combine this with Boatswain and get double the effect.

Diplomat can be a good combination as well but we will be spending 2 points just to get another 2 points.

Card Number: S15
Job: INVESTOR
Action Type: DIVE
Card Type: B
Ability: After your opponent completes a dive action, if they have 6+ resources in their reserves, take any 2 resources from the supply.

Six or more resources is actually a lot in this game. Unless the opponent is managing their resources poorly, it is very unlikely for them to have that many resources and still do the Dive action.

If we wait until almost the end of the game, we have to make sure that the opponent will still do more Dive action. Probably we should activate after the endgame has been triggered.

If that is the case, we have to rely on matching the resources we get with the dock tiles that we have. At most activating this ability is worth 1 extra point.

Card Number: S16
Job: AGENT
Action Type: BUILD
Card Type: A
Ability: When your opponent would swap demand tokens, you get to perform the swap instead or prevent the swap entirely.

As mentioned on other Specialist, this can prevent the other player to use the Diplomat. Taking control of the Swapping is mostly just to prevent the opponent for doing their action, specifically the Build action.

I guess this one can be very mean. If the opponent has this Specialist, we have to make sure that our next plan is to build on the previously locked Flotilla after the swap.

If we plan to build the one that get swapped, we probably lose the chance there.

This of course can also give benefit to the owner by keeping the placement of demand token as it is.  So, if we do have this, we need to be aware when our opponent is going to do swapping.

This does not give extra points but prevent us from losing even more by failing to build.

Decree Cards

These are the last components of the bigger size cards for Seastead. We will get 16 Decree cards with an icon of written document at the back side of the cards. Each of them are unique cards.

Like the Specialist Cards, Decree cards have codes to indicate which cards are which at the bottom right corner of the card. The code starts with “D” followed by a number from 1 to 16.

Each card has a title, icons to represent the decree, and the explanation of the decree.

Depending on the setup, we will be only using these cards if one of the Flotilla has the B side in play. The game suggests to use the A side of all Flotillas for our first game to make the game simpler.

Decree cards will give additional temporary rules that will alter the standard rules of the game. Temporary because at any given time, there will be only one active Decree card in play.

The next time we get to draw another one, the new one will replace the existing one. Also, each time we get to draw a new one, we will be drawing 2 and choose one of them and return the other to the bottom of the deck.

That means, the timing of taking advantage of the decree can be trickier. It also encourage players to interact with each other more as we need to be aware if the opponent can suddenly replace the decree.

In the game, we will be using all 16 cards, shuffled. That way, the random order of the card will be another setup variability.

Each Flotilla only has one Location with the effect to change the Decree. So, if we use all B side of 4 Flotillas, at most, we will change the Decree four times, while at the same time discard another 4.

The additional rules can be a game changer, even if they are temporarily. However, it is not that often to change the Decree, considering there is so limited way to change it.

As far as I know, changing the decree as a result of resolving the location effect is a must. This can either give benefit or backfire to the active player.,

On the rulebook, the game also suggests an advanced variant where both players can agree on which the starting Decree would be instead of draw them randomly.

Overall, I think the decree can either one of three things.  One, they just alter the regular rule without giving immediate rewards (like D02, D04, D09).

Two, they can give alternative rewards from the action (like D06, D07, D08). Or, Three, they give additional reward from the regular rule (like D03, D,11, D15).

Here are the details.

Details of Decree Cards

Card Number: D01
Title: FORM TRADE PACT
Decree: When you Pay a build cost, you may spend 2 identical resources to substitute for any 1 demanded resource, up to 3 times.

This could be handy if our opponent suddenly swap the demand tokens right after we have collected the resources and we cannot spend them now. We can trade 3 pair of resources to get the new 3.

Sadly this cannot be used to just trade resources. We have to spend them afterwards to build. That means, this is not to get the resources where we can trade at the Docks.

Card Number: D02
Title: TRANSFER CREW
Decree: Exhaust one of your faceup specialist cards to exchange up to 3 resources from your reserve with resources from the supply.

This is just to exchange the resources not to take 3 new ones. For that, we will be spending 1 victory point.

At least, if we do get the Specialist that is not very useful, this can be an alternative. However, the timing will be tricky. We have to make sure that the opponents will have no chance to replace the decree.

Card Number: D03
Title: STOCKPILE GOODS
Decree: When your opponent builds on a location that has one of your ships, you may take any 2 resources from the supply (instead of 1).

This encourages players to build Shipyard first as soon as possible. The sooner they can take advantage, the higher the reward they can get. Or at least, try to move the ship to a location where the opponent is more likely to build.

If we build ourselves, the discount is just one. We can get 2 if the opponent build there. The question we need to check is, is the Location effect worth it?

Card Number: D04
Title: UPGRADE ENGINES
Decree: When you move one of your own ships, you may move it to any location that does not have a building or ship, regardless of the location’s build cost.

This also encourages players to build Shipyards and deploy their ship as soon as possible. However, this does not give immediate bonus as we have to wait for the opponent to actually build there. The discount remains the same unless the decree get changed to STOCKPILE GOODS.

I assume that if we do place the ship non at the cheapest location, after we build on that location, we still need to move to the original rule. That is if somehow the decree get changed.

This is probably the best way to activate the DIPLOMAT’s ability. Because we can freely move the ships anywhere.

Card Number: D05
Title: SCUTTLE FLEET
Decree: When a building is placed on a location that has one of your ships, you may return that ship to the game box. If you do, take any 2 resources from the supply.

So, with this, we lose the function of the ship but we get 1 extra resource, but one time only. If this is at the end of the game, that can be useful.

Otherwise, the multiple discount along the way can be wasteful. I assume we cannot combine this with the ability from SALVAGER.

Trade one ship for extra cleanup token is a better choice, considering that we can activate this ability anytime.

Card Number: D06
Title: OPEN BARTERING
Decree: When you take a build action, you may take any 1 resource from the supply instead of resolving the effect of the location where you just built.

This one can be handy since the effect from some of the cheapest locations only allow us to trade resources. If we don’t have any resources, this decree allows a better alternative.

I assume we can also combine this with the ability from WRECKER. Of course this will be useless if we move the existing building to a more expensive location as they usually can give more than 1 resource.

Card Number: D07
Title: SCOUR SEAFLOOR
Decree: When you take a dive action, you may choose the top card of the discard pile instead of the top card of the dive deck. If you do, discard the top card of the dive deck afterward.

That means, we cannot keep using the same dive card over and over again as we still need to replace the revealed one. That is my interpretation for discarding the top card of the dive deck. This is not going to prolong the game.

At most, the same dive card can be used twice. This decree allows us not to gamble with the next face down card.

I assume that we can still orient the card in different way than before.

In my opinion, players can try to exploit this decree. After a player do the dive action as the regular way, if it benefit a lot for the other player, then the other player will just reactivate it again.

Let’s say the card let us choose between 2 of a kind or 3 different resources. One of the player has the chance to get 4 of a kind and the other get 3 pairs.

I think the designer need to explain further if we want to activate the effect of A1-4. We didn’t necessarily choose side of the revealed dive cards because of this decree. Or I misunderstand it.

Card Number: D08
Title: ESTABLISH COVENANT
Decree: When you take a build action, you may resolve the effect of an adjacent location instead of the location where you just build.

This can also be very powerful. We can just build at cost 5 to get the effect of cost 6 or such. At least we have more options of which effect to activate.

I assume we don’t need to care if the adjacent location has the opponent’s building.

Card Number: D09
Title: USE OLD-WORLD TECH
Decree: Once on each of your turns, you may spend 2 cleanup tokens or 2 identical resources to refresh one of your exhausted specialist cards. Return all cleanup tokens spent this way to the game box.

Clearly the idea is to reactivate the ability of the Specialist. Otherwise, we will be losing 1 point from spending 2 cleanup tokens just to get 1 point from the Specialist.

The best way is of course if we have too many resources of one type which we cannot trade on docks.

Card Number: D10
Title: PRACTICE SUSTAINABILITY
Decree: When you pay a build cost of 4+ identical resources, you may take 1 cleanup token from the supply.

I assume that paying 4 or more is after the discount. At most we have up to 4 x 3 locations or get 12 extra cleanup tokens generator.

This definitely can make the game ends faster and possibly more competitive as we will get more points. It will be more interesting if another decree like D09 can come out after this one or other way where we can spend cleanup tokens.

Card Number: D11
Title: MOBILIZE FILTER TEAM
Decree: When you build on a location that has one of your opponent’s ships, you may take 1 cleanup token from the supply.

With this, we don’t have to worry about the opponent getting extra resource if we build on a location with their ship. We will get 1 Cleanup token which is another immediate victory point while we need at least 2 resources probably to build and get 1 point.

That means, we will have to be careful if our strategy is to launch ships as soon as possible. Or at least, where we should be placing those ships next.

Card Number: D12
Title: ANCHOR FLEET
Decree: When you build on a location that has one of your ships, you may return that ship to the game box. If you do, reduce the build cost by 2 (instead of 1).

So, this is only if we are the one building on that location. We will get extra discount one time but we have to return the ship to the game box.

If that is the last time we can ever build, that would be very handy. However, if this come out early in the game, we have more chance to get multiple discounts.

Another thing is, will this card still available during the end of the game. Also, I assume we will lose the chance on getting the cleanup token for not returning the ship to the game box because no other available location.

Card Number: D13
Title: SCOUT RECRUITS
Decree: When you build an academy, you may discard the Specialist cards from the display and reveal 3 new cards before choosing 1. Return the discarded cards to the bottom of the deck.

This introduces more interaction between players. Discarding all 3 Specialists can be looked as trying to prevent the other player to get the other 2, in the case where all three or 2 of them is very good.

That also means some kind of push your luck element. We give up the chance to get a good Specialist card and end up getting 3 choices of bad Specialists.

This will also allow us to see more Specialists in a single game. If both players do twice of this, we will see all of them already.

Card Number: D14
Title: BRIBE CREW
Decree: When you build on a location that has one of your opponent’s ships, you may resolve the ship movement instead of your opponent.

This also add more interaction between players. I think it will be more interesting if this decree is active early in the game as we will have more choice of where to put the ship.

However, I don’t think in practice the idea is really that interesting. Because the ship placement rules will prevent us to place on any location as we want.

We will always go for the cheapest location. It is just a matter of which Flotilla.

Maybe this can be a way to force other player to activate their Captain. Or to screw their plan on using Diplomat.

Card Number: D15
Title: DECLARE STATEHOOD
Decree: When you would swap demand tokens, you may prevent the swap entirely. If you do, take 1 cleanup token or any 1 resource form the supply.

My understanding is that we are allowed to prevent the swap entirely as per the regular rule. This decree just add a bonus for doing so.

We can say that with this decree, the column bonus can now either take 1 cleanup token or 1 resources.

I assume that if the other player use AGENT to prevent the swapping, we will not get the extra tokens.

Card Number: D16
Title: GREEN PARTICLES
Decree: When your opponent builds on a location that has one of your ships, you may take 2 cleanup tokens from the supply instead of any 1 resource.

So, this will improve the regular rule by adding alternatives. In my opinion the additional rule is a better alternative where we get 2 victory points immediately.

This will definitely make the game more interesting. Maybe it is a bit too powerful?

Dive Cards

This is the last component of Seastead. All of the small cards are considered as the Dive Cards.

In the game, these cards will form a face down deck. When we do Dive Action, we will reveal the top card of the deck.

On that, we will see two halves of resources, which each half will be given to each player. The active player who do the action will decide which half that they are going to take and give the other half to the other player.

Some may consider this like I-Cut/Split-You-Choose mechanism, but instead the game already cut it and we only choose. Or another way to look at it is we draw 2 resources cards and decide which to pick and which to give.

Thematically, I guess the diving is too expensive effort that they have to work together. As a result, they have to split what they can find from the sea.

Based on the back of the cards, there are three type of Dive cards. From 20 cards, 4 of them are called SHALLOW CARDS, 20 of them are SHELF CARDS and another 4 are DEPTH CARDS.

Each of these Dive cards has a code that starts with an “R” followed by a number from 1 to 20. We can find this on the front side, at the middle bottom of the card.

Each card also have a title at the middle top of their front side which is unique as well. The designer took another step to come up with different name for each which I don’t think it gives enough thematic touch.

I mean, I’m not sure if we say the name of the card, we can tell which pair of resources.

Sometimes, the game allow us to generate more resources from the revealed Dive cards instead of flipping the new one from the deck. In that case, it is also possible that we can only generate from the same half of the card that we got earlier.

Shallow Cards

Shallow cards are Dive Cards where at the back side of the card, there are 2 arrows, one with blue and the other with orange color. The purpose of this card is to decide the starting resources for each player and who will be the starting player.

The blue or the orange, which the reason why the arrows are there. Another thing that the card will tell us is which of the 4 Demand Tokens will be locked as another setup variability.

In the middle of the resources icon, we can see a small lock icon and not full color for the background.

Each player always starts with 2 different resources different to the other player as well. From 4 cards, we will be using only one of them each session, drawn randomly.

On the front side of the card, we will see a single arrow either the blue or orange arrow. This will tell us who will be the starting player and the resources on that side is the resources for the starting player. Each player will get 50% chance.

So, unlike the other type of Dive cards, players don’t really choose which resources that they are going to take. These Shallow cards will decide that.

There are not much variety for the starting setup based on these cards that will significantly affect the gameplay.

Shelf Cards

If we want to distinguish these Shelf Cards with Depth Cards, aside from the number of cards, the back side of Shelf Cards will have no white background. These cards also have two halves that will be shared between players.

The difference compared to Shallow cards, is that the active player who does the Dive Action can still choose which half and give the other half to the other player.

The combinations are either 2-3 or 1-2 or 2-2. There are 4 unique cards for each combination.

For those who has a good memory, we can definitely track down which card that has not come out yet. We will be using all of these Shallow Cards in any game session.

For a 2-3 card, the 2 will always have the same type of resources and the three will have 1 resource of each type that doesn’t match the other half. With 4 cards, each resource type will have a card with 2 identical resources.

For the 1-2 combination, the single resource is a wild one where the active player can choose freely. The other half will have 2 identical resources and each type of resources will have 1 card of this.

For the 2-2 combination,  each half will share one resource of the same type with another resource that are different from each half. From this type of combination, each card will be missing one type of resources.

With all of that, if we do Dive Actions from this 20 cards, we will get  a total of 48 resources. One player can have more number resources than the others.

Any type of resources can come out at least 11 times from these part of the Dive cards. Four wild resources can be all of one type or distributed evenly but very unlikely anybody will try to do that.

Depth Cards

Aside from just another dive cards to tell us the resources we can get, Depth Cards serves another function. The Depth Cards will be placed at the bottom of the Dive Deck.

As soon as we see the back of the cards of these Depth Cards, it will trigger the end of the game. Players will be completing the current round and play another complete round before the game ends.

Depending on how the players play the game in those final rounds, they may not use all of the depth cards. It is even possible not to use depth cards at all if no player do the dive actions.

Like the shelf dive cards, we will be using all of the depth cards in every game. The order of how the cards come out will be different.

Unlike the previous dive cards, these 4 depth cards will tell us no specific type of resources. Both players will always get at least 2 but the card will only tell us that both resources should or shouldn’t be identical.

The cards can even say that each half can or cannot be identical to each other. The active players will be the one to decide but still follow the instruction from the card.

So, I guess this gives a lot of flexibility for the player who take dive actions during this time of the game. We can take this chance try to get the resources that can be traded at docks or just to build probably the last building.

Those are all of the components to play Seastead board game. We can now learn how to play.

How to Play

Seastead is intended to be a two only player game. Currently there is no way to add more players to the game.

The game does have an official solo variant which will be discussed in later section of this article. So, here is how to play the game in the regular mode for 2 players.

The rule suggests several variants from the easier version to a more complex game, or rather the complete game. Mostly, the main difference is the use of Decree Cards.

Other than that, the setup remains the same. The next video is from Gaming Rules! channel by Paul Grogan displaying tutorial and playthrough.

 Setup

First, each player takes the PLAYER BOARD, 12 BUILDING TOKENS and 4 SHIP TOKENS of the chosen color.

Place each building tokens on the matching spot of the board. The first row is for SHIPYARDS, second is ACADEMIES and PORTS for the third.

We place all of them on the table, in front of us. Ships should be placed in front of the player board.

Second, we separate all 20 DIVE CARDS into 3 set, Shallow, Shelf and Depths and shuffle them separately. We will create a deck of these 3 by placing the Depth cards at the bottom, Shelf cards in the middle and the Shallow cards at the top.

All of them are face down. We then, remove 3 cards from the top of the deck and return them to the game box. That means, the deck will only have 1 Shallow card each time.

We place this deck on the table where both players can reach.

Third, we place all 4 FLOTILLA TILES on the table between players. We need to make sure to have some space around each tiles a few inches.

For the first game, the game suggests using A side for all tiles. After that, we need to use at least 2 Flotilla with B sides.

Fourth, we assign 1 DEMAND TOKEN randomly to each Flotilla tile. We place the token on the hexagonal space in the center of the tile.

At this point, all of the Demand Tokens should have the resource side face up.

Fifth, we shuffle all 16 SPECIALIST CARDS together to create a facedown deck. We then place the deck on the table between the reach of each player.

The game also suggests to use only A cards of the Specialist cards for the first game.  That means only half of the cards will be used.

From the Specialist deck, we reveal three cards face up as the display next to the deck.

Sixth, we shuffle all 16 DECREE CARDS together to create a single deck. We place the deck face down on table between the reach of each player.

From this deck, we draw 1 card from the top and reveal it by placing the card right next to the deck. This will be the active Decree.

NOTE: Skip this step if we don’t use any B side of the Flotilla tiles.

Seventh, we shuffle all 12 DOCK TILES into a single pile. We place the pile face down on the table between each player’s reach.

Then, we reveal the three Dock Tiles from the top and put them next to the pile face up as the display.

Eighth, we place 20 CLEANUP TOKENS to form a general supply within the reach of both players. This really doesn’t matter but we keep the radiation side face up.

We will not be using the extra 2 tokens in the game. When the game tell us to return the token to the game box, we should not return it to the supply. So we need to have separate pile.

Ninth, we place all 40 RESOURCES TOKENS, sorted by type, to form a general supply within the reach of both players.

This will be considered as limited supply. We don’t take more than what is available but we will always return the token from our reserve to this supply.

Tenth, we reveal the top card of the DIVE DECK and place it face up next to the deck as the start of the discard pile.

Orient the card so that the colored arrow on the card points toward the player with the matching color. Each player then takes starting resources from the supply as indicated by their half of the card.

Eleventh, based on the revealed Dive card, we flip 1 of the 4 DEMAND TOKENS so their locked side is facing up.

That is it with the setup.

Gameplay

The game of Seastead will be played over several rounds. Each round, players will take turns, doing one action.

Start with the first player, which is decided in the setup from revealing the first Dive Card. With the current rule of the game, there is no way to change the order of player’s turn in game.

The game continues like this until the end of the game is triggered. After that players will do one more complete round before the proceed to scoring to see who will win the game.

Before any player do any action, it is recommended to always check the active DECREE in play. The decree may alter the rule of how to resolve things in the game.

Every turn, players can choose to do one of two possible action, DIVE or BUILD. If we cannot legally build, then we have no choice but to dive.

When a player has any Specialist, they can activate their ability anytime during the turn in any order.

After a player do a BUILD action, they may have to resolve BUILDING EFFECTS, LOCATION EFFECTS, ROW BONUS or COLUMN BONUS.

Dive Action

Taking DIVE ACTION means, we reveal the top card of the Dive deck. From that card, the active player will choose which half of the resources that they are going to take and give the other half to the opponent.

After that, each player can take the resources tokens as indicated by their half part of the dive card and put them into their own reserve. This can be spent later to do the BUILD action.

We then, place the revealed Dive Card to the discard pile of Dive Deck, face up.

DECREE for DIVE ACTION: Check D07. Also, check SUPPLY LIMIT.

Then it is the next player’s turn.

Build Action

Build action is more complicated than the dive action. Each time we take BUILD action, we do the followings.

1st. Choose the available building token from the Player Board. This should start in any row but from the left most column.

2nd. Choose the available location from any Flotilla. Available location means that the Flotilla’s fraction doesn’t have any buildings from either players.

We then place the building token on that location.

3rd. Pay the build cost. We have to pay with the resources from our reserve with the type that match the demand token of that Flotilla.

The cost can be found at the left side in the location. If there is a DISCOUNT TAG on the location or if the location has a ship, the Build Cost is lowered by 1 of each.

If the Ship belongs to the opponent, the opponent can take 1 resource from the supply of their choice.

As the payment, we put back the resources from our reserve to the general supply.

DECREE related to BUILD COST: Check if any of D01, D03, D10, D11, D16,  is in play.

4th. Resolve the Building Effect. This depends on the type of building we build during step 1.

If we build PORT, we take one of the face up DOCK TILES from the display. We then attach the dock to the location we just built the Port on so that the long side of the dock tile meets that location side.

Then, we reveal a new dock tile for the display, so we always have 3 face up tiles.

If we build ACADEMIES, we take one of the face up SPECIALIST CARDS from the display. We then place the card into our reserve face up.

Then, we reveal a new Specialist card from the deck for the display so we always have 3 cards.

DECREE for SPECIALIST: D13.

If we build SHIPYARDS, we need to resolve the SHIP PLACEMENT using one of our ship from the Player Board. The rule for ship placement is we have to place the ship on the cheapest empty location of any Flotilla.

We can choose one if the Flotilla has multiple cheapest locations. If there is no other location with these criteria, we have to return the ship to the game box and TAKE 1 CLEANUP TOKEN from the supply.

DECREE for SHIP PLACEMENT: Check if any of D04, D05, D12, D13 is in play.

5th. Resolve the Column or Row Bonus. This only happens IMMEDIATELY after we have cleared out an entire column or row from the Player Board.

Port Row Bonus. This allows us to choose one of our dock tiles and take 1 cleanup token from the supply for each of our resources that matches that tile’s resource scoring condition, to a maximum of 3.

Academies Row Bonus. This allows us to refresh one of the exhausted Specialist by flipping that card face up again. If we have not activated any Specialist at this point, we will not get the bonus later.

Shipyard Row Bonus. This allows us to rearrange freely any number of ships in play. We can move them one at a time, from the current location to any other empty locations on any Flotilla tiles.

Column Bonus. This allows us to swap the position of two non locked demand tokens. After the swapping flip 1 of 2 demand tokens tit’s locked side and flip the demand tokens that was previously locked back over to its resource side.

DECREE for COLUMN Bonus: D15.

6th. Resolve Location Effect of the location where we just built. The icon for location effect can be found at the right side of that Location.

We can find the explanation of each effect on the last page of the rulebook. The effects can be one of the followings.

1st. Get Cleanup Tokens.
2nd. Trade resources for Cleanup Tokens
3rd. Trade Resources for other Resources
4th. Get Resources that is different than the Demand Tokens
5th. Discard Resources until each player only has 4 in their reserve.
6th. Resolve effects of other Location.
7th. Take Resources based on Revealed Dive Card
8th. Get new Decree Card + get Cleanup Token / resources
9th. Exhaust Specialist to get Resources.

Only the 5th one and the Decree part of 8th are mandatory to be resolved. The others are optional.

DECREE for LOCATION EFFECT: D06 or D08.

Exhaust Specialist

This is an extra action that we can do once we have any of the Specialist in our reserve. Each Specialist has one specific ability that can be activated just once.

After that they are considered as exhausted and the card should be flipped and face down. At the end of the game, each faceup Specialist card is worth 1 point.

There are several ways in the game that allows us to refresh them back. However, there are also some ways to exhaust the Specialist, not to activate their ability but to get more Resources.

Activating the ability can be done during the turn any number in any order even if we just acquired the card. With the exception for AGENT and INVESTORS, their abilities are triggered by the opponent’s actions.

DECREE for SPECIALIST: D02 or D09.

End of the Game

The end of the game of Seastead is triggered when at least one of these conditions occurs:

One. All Locations on any 1 Flotilla Tile have building on them. Even though all other Flotilla tiles still have a lot of empty locations, the end game is triggered.

Two. A player has only 1 building left on their player board. It doesn’t matter if the opponent still have a lot of buildings to be built.

Three. The back of the Depth Card is visible. Or when the last Shelf card is drawn from the Dive deck. It doesn’t matter if players do or do not take Dive Actions in remaining turns.

Four. The Cleanup Tokens in the supply runs out. That means all 20 tokens in the supply have been taken by the players or returned to the game box.

These will only trigger the end of the game. When this happens, we finish the current round and PLAY ONE MORE ROUND after that.

Then we proceeds to tally final score for both players.

Final Scoring

Each player tallies their final score on the score sheet. To tally the final score, we count the pointe that we get from these 5 categories.

1st. RESOURCE MATCHING DOCKS. Each player check their remaining resources in their reserve and check the resources type of their Dock Tiles.

Each remaining resource can be traded at dock tiles that match the resource, not the demand tokens of the Flotilla for 1 point each up to 3 per dock.

From the example on the rulebook, if we have 5 Fish Resources and 2 Docks for Fish, we can score 5 points. Each player can have up to 4 Dock Tiles and get up to 12 points from this category.

RETURN RESOURCES TO THE SUPPLY AS THEY ARE USED THIS WAY.

2nd. BUILDING MATCHING DOCKS. We evaluate all of the buildings that we have built on every Flotilla and check if the building type is matched with the sections of the dock tiles that are attached to the same Flotilla.

It doesn’t matter who has the dock tiles. Players can both get the benefit.

Each player can have up to 4 Dock Tiles and each dock tiles can give extra points for 4 sections of the Flotilla. The extra bonus per section is between 1 up to 3 points.

Players will only get extra points from their Academies and Shipyards. That means each player just need to check up to their 8 buildings.

REMOVE DOCK TILES FROM PLAY AS THEY ARE SCORED THIS WAY.

3rd. LOCATIONS. Players score points for the locations where their own buildings are.

The point value of each location is printed above it in a blue bar on the flotilla tile. Each location is worth from 0 point up to 3 points.

REMOVE BUILDINGS FROM PLAY AS THEIR LOCATIONS ARE SCORED.

4th. SPECIALIST. Player score points for the faceup specialist cards in their own player area.

The point value is always 1 point per Specialist as printed on the card. Facedown Specialist cards are not worth any points.

5th. CLEANUP TOKENS. Players should flip their cleanup tokens so the point side is faceup.

Each player scores 1 point for each cleanup token they still have in their reserve. We don’t get any points from cleanup tokens that were spent and returned to the game box.

The Player with the higher final score WINS.

If there is a tie, the victory goes to the player with more buildings left on their player board. In case there is still a tie, the victory goes to the player with more cleanup tokens.

Otherwise, both players share the victory.

Advanced Rules

For veteran players these two rules changes, which can be implemented individually or in combination, will alter the dynamics of play.

One. Instead of using all “A” sides or all “B” sides of the Flotilla tiles, use a combination of “A” sides and “B” sides, provided that we use no less than 2 “B” sides.

Two. Instead of selecting the initial decree card randomly, pick a decree card that both players agree. Then we shuffle the rest to form a decree deck.

That is it with how to play Seastead board game for the 2 players variant.

My Experience & Thoughts

This is my thoughts about the regular 2 player only mode of Seastead board game. My first impression was that the best strategy is to first do enough diving until we have enough resources to do combos.

Then, we just have to make sure that each time we build, we have a lot of resources in return so that we can do another build action right away. That is a better way than just build as fast as we can from the cheapest location.

I think that is mostly true but only when we play the A side of all Flotillas. Because of that, I thought the game doesn’t have enough replay value.

When I tried to used the B side, things then become more interesting. Now I understand why the meanest location’s effect is there where both players have to discard resources down to 4. This is to prevent that strategy.

I also realized that that location can be activated over and over again with the use of Decree or Specialists. From my one play, I still used that strategy and won but very close score to the other player.

The other player who tried to just build as fast as they can turned out to get enough resources from the Diving as well. Because of that that second player manage to immediately secure that meanest location forcing me to discard all of the resources that I have gathered so far.

In the end, the second player managed to build all of their buildings first and trigger the end game. Even if the second player didn’t win, it was a very interesting game.

So, the mechanism of the Dive card can still eventually give unexpected chances for the other player. At the same time, using the strategy to hoard first, it doesn’t mean we will get the resources that we need right away.

The order of the Dive cards, however predictable the limited cards are, can still offer different experience when combined with other setup variable. In this case, the Flotilla side. Still, I’d wish they can come up with totally unique flotillas so it can introduce more variety.

On its own, each setup variable can only do so little but in the game they can do better. At least for those two.

I still think that the Decree cards is very situational in the terms of offering different gameplay. Some of the cards can definitely offer some differences but there is no guarantee that it will ever come out.

By the time it happens, it is not uncommon that we tend to forget that the card is even there.

The similar things also true for bonus, especially Shipyard row bonus and column bonus. When it is a choice, we probably think that we don’t need to activate them at all.

I think the column bonus that allows us to swap demand tokens is a bit difficult to execute. Or, at least, to find the right timing.

One of the reason is, by the time we have the chance to swap, we probably have invested on our own the resources of the current setup. Even if we can try to block the other players from building something, we are opening the risk to lose our progress as well.

So, it feels very situational as well. If the chance is right, sure. But most of the time, I eventually ignore it. Unless, the game suggests that swapping is mandatory and doesn’t call it a bonus.

There is also an issue about how to resolve some overlapping effect or bonuses. The game can become very deep or complex but not in what we do in the game but what will happen after we do the action.

Like when we build something on a location with an opponent’s  ship and trigger column bonus. We have to resolve the payment where we can use substitutes, thanks to the Specialists.

Then, we need to resolve paying the opponent and ship movement, which again, can be different by Specialist. After that, we resolve building effect and location effect, which again, can be different based on the decree or Specialist.

When its time to resolve the swapping from column bonus, it feels like either we have to plan several steps ahead or just ignore it. That is just considering how to execute our plan.

It is possible that turns out, our plan give a good benefit to the opponent. Things like that can really happen in the game. It is possible to overlook or forget to resolve something and just try to move on.

So, I’m thinking about maybe the game can use some action tracking that can help to remind us to resolve things one by one. Those player aid cards should be redesigned to be used for this purpose.

For DECREE CARDS, I think they can be used not just because we use 2 Flotillas with B sides. The location on B sides with an effect specifically related to Decree cards just introduce a way to replace the current active decree.

That means, both players can just agree which card to be used for the initial and don’t need to worry about replacing it later. That way, even with all A sides, the decree cards can offer a very good replay value.

We can even make things more interesting like using a couple of decree cards right away. Draw 3 and let them change the rule for the one game session.

Another idea would be, instead of creating a face down deck of Decree cards, we can just split them between 2 players. Then those cards become their hand and they get more control to decide which Decree to be played next.

Even if we use all of the B sides, we mostly will use just half of the decree cards which from that, half will be discarded right away. This is probably the most interesting components and yet with the current rule, they don’t get played enough.

Overall, the game does offer a good amount of player interaction that is mostly not confrontational. Because of the dive action, we will constantly check the opponent’s reserve and what they are going for.

With the way the designer set the combination of splitting on each Dive cards, most of the time players will not be chasing on the same resources. But there will be time when we suddenly accumulated the same type of resources and the game will become more interesting.

I think, like other games that are intended just for 2 players, some of the excitement comes from the opponent. This game will definitely become more interesting if both players have the same level of experience with the game.

What we do in the game is simple but the depth that can happen requires more playtime to discover. Especially when we have to spend victory points like from using Specialist. At a glance they might not be very useful but at the right time activating them and losing 1 point can give us 3 more.

Getting more points from resource matching docks is definitely one of the complex thing to achieve. We can only slowly build up but we can only know for sure almost at the end of the game. That one extra round after the end game is triggered can make a difference.

This can be a fast game but I do recommend taking time assessing each possible extra action we can do like from Specialist or the decree.

I’d still say that the replay value of this game is very little, considering with how they use the decree cards. But with a single play, with the right player to play against, Seastead can offer a great gameplay experience like a bigger board game.

Solo Mode: The Rebel Seastead

This is how to play the official solo variant for Seastead board game. In this mode, we will be competing against a wealthy, powerful BOSS.

In general, the way we play is the same as the regular 2 player variant. However, how the BOSS or the virtual player works and the interaction that can happen are different.

The game suggests to get familiar with the regular game rules first before trying this variant. Here is the video by Paul Grogan from Gaming Rules! channel, displaying the solo play for Seastead.

Setup

For the setup, we prepare the game as normal with a couple of changes.

First, we will  be playing as the BLUE PLAYER and the virtual player will take the other. It really doesn’t matter but it will be easier this way if we want to follow the rulebook.

We don’t need to setup the player board and their building tokens for the BOSS. This mode will still use the building tokens but the type don’t matter.

Second, we will be removing several things to the game box. DEPTH CARDS should be removed so we will only use 1 Shallow and 12 Shelf Cards. DECREE CARDS will be removed as use no B side of Flotilla.

From the Specialist, we remove FOUNDER, TRAWLER, INVESTOR, and AGENT. Finally, we also remove ship tokens of the opponent’s.

Third, we use all A sides of the Flotilla Tiles. As mentioned before, no Decree cards will be used.

Fourth, when we reveal the top card of the dive deck, ignore the arrow that indicates the starting player and orient the card however we wish. We are the only player here and the BOSS operates differently.

Fifth, when we take the starting resources, from the supply, we take 1 additional resource of any type. So, we start with 3 resources.

Sixth, we place the BOSS’s starting resources on Flotilla with matching demand tokens, at the cheapest location with a discount tag. That means, there will be two locations with a single resource token.

That is it with the setup.

Gameplay

As mentioned before, we are the only active player in this mode while the BOSS operates by different set of rules. Player will be taking consecutive turns, choosing whether to DIVE or BUILD until the game end is triggered.

Here are how things work in the Solo mode of Seastead.

Drafting SPECIALIST and DOCK TILES.

When we take a Specialist and Dock tiles as the building type effects, we will also have to discard one of the remaining cards or tiles from the display before we refill it.

That means, it doesn’t matter which of the 2 that we choose to remove. We can keep that one tile or card while removing the new ones that come out after.

DIVE ACTION

When we do Dive Action, we still take the resources from the supply as normal. However, we cannot choose which half as freely we please.

If the dive card allows us to take 1 resource as one half, we have to take that side and the BOSS will take the two indicated resources. For 2-2 or 2-3 combination, we play as regular rule, where we choose and take one half and give the other to the BOSS.

For BOSS, we take the resources from the supply and put the resources a the Flotilla tile with the matching demand token, at the cheapest location that does not have any building.

Everytime the location takes the second resources from the BOSS, we return all of the resources from that location to the supply. Then, we place one the the BOSS’s building token on that location. The building type doesn’t matter.

That is how the BOSS does build action. The actual cost to build from the location doesn’t matter for the BOSS.

SHIP DISCOUNT

The BOSS will still get benefit from our ship. When a location with a ship gets its first resource, the BOSS immediately build.

However, we will not get the free resource from it. We still need to proceed with ship placement as normal.

That means, we have to be very careful with placing our ship because it can help the opponent greatly without getting anything in return. We still get a discount if we build it there.

BUILD ACTION

When we do build action, we can still build on a location with BOSS’s resource token on it. If we build it there, we will remove the opponent’s progress by returning the resource to the supply.

This is another consideration we should take, rather than just focus on our own plan. Considering how easy it is for the BOSS to build, this is the way to make it slow down a bit.

LOCATION DISCOUNT

The location discount as indicated from the purple tag no longer functional in this mode. It doesn’t matter if we build with the same building type as indicated.

We can only rely on SHIPS to get our discount.

ROW & COLUMN BONUS

Since BOSS doesn’t care about their building type, the BOSS will get no ROW BONUS. The same goes with COLUMN BONUS.

However, when we do swap tokens because of the COLUMN BONUS, we will be removing the resources on those 2 Flotilla tiles. This is a great way to also the opponent’s progress.

I guess the key is to activate the COLUMN bonus at the right time. We probably should keep them until we get to the location with higher cost, considering that the BOSS will still build with just 2 resources.

End of the Game

The game is over at the end f the turn when at least one of these conditions occurs.

One. All location on any 1 Flotilla tile have buildings on them.

Two. There are no buildings left on 1 Player Board. This could either be the player or the BOSS.

Three. Dive deck is empty. That means, after we draw the last card, the BOSS can still build something while we can only rely on Resource matching Docks to get points.

So, unlike the regular rule, we don’t play one more round in solo mode.

Final Scoring

We will tally the score using the same rule as the regular game.

The BOSS scores 20 POINTS PLUS 3 POINTS FOR EACH BUILDING they managed to construct, regardless of the location.

So, if we can finish the game before the Boss builds everything, we probably have better chance to win. The highest possible score for the BOSS would be 20 + 3 x 12 = 56 POINTS.

If our score is higher than the BOSS’s score, we win the game.

That is it with how to play the solo mode for Seastead board game. The rulebook doesn’t have any suggestion for different variant or setup.

Comment and Suggestion

I could be wrong about this but in my opinion, with the rule for solo mode as it is, I feel like the solo mode is more of a puzzle game. What I mean is like once we figure it out how to defeat the AI, that is it.

The reason is mostly because there is no setup variability other than the order of the Dive Cards. This is also true for the regular 2 player mode if we use the same setup with all A side of Flotillas and we play with the same person over and over again.

The player interaction is where the game excels at and the Decree card is what can significantly change the game. The BOSS is pretty much predictable and we use no decree card.

Moreover, the BOSS takes points pretty high. I suspect that we really have not much room to play differently which is not that fun.

Maybe they need a bit of randomizer to make the virtual player less predictable. Setting the AI to get very high score is probably not always a good idea.

I get it that we always want the AI that can be run with a rule as simple as possible so that we don’t have to like running another player. But I think they need to simplify the scoring.

I also don’t know why we cannot get the bonus if the BOSS build on location with our ship. That is probably one of the interesting aspect of the game and they choose to turn it off.

Trying to build Shipyards as soon as possible in order to deploy ships is probably not a good plan to win this mode. However we can still get the benefit from the discount.

Like the regular mode, it is probably a better plan to let the BOSS build the cheapest locations first while we collect enough resources and try to do combos. We should try to build on location that allows us to keep getting resources to build again.

That way, we don’t have to worry about deploying a ship as long as we can move it not at the cheapest one. So, we probably should try to get the Shipyard row bonus immediately so we can freely move the ships.

For that purpose, having CAPTAIN is also going to be useful here.

The BOSS also doesn’t take any Dock Tile, so we cannot really take advantage from the building type that match the dock. On the other hand, our docks will also give no benefit to the BOSS.

Try to deny the progress is probably also the key. Whether by building on a location where there is already a resource or activating the column bonus at the right time. So, we should always leave one building, from every column just so we can deny the progress at two locations by swapping the demand tokens.

For the BOSS, the cost to build is always two. We might as well let them get the lower value location.

For that purpose, I assume that Wrecker and Architect can actually be very useful in this mode. By losing 1 point, we kind of hold the opponent to get 3 points.

If we include the row bonus that allow us to refresh one of them, we have 3 chance on doing so. We can even make things more interesting if we have the Genius early in the game to replicate any of those 2.

SPY can also be useful considering how easy and fast the opponent can build.

The question is, can we actually get any of these Specialists? We also need to consider which of them to get rid so we have better chance on finding the one that we actually need. Maybe those that allow us to get more cleanup tokens are the firsts to go.

The end game trigger is another one we should consider. The game will end once 1 Flotilla has six building on them.

Considering how easy for the BOSS to build even in expensive location, maybe we can just let them do it. The question is, do we have more points at that point?

The goal is so that the BOSS will not have the chance to build theirs. That means we need to keep track of both scores while creating the opportunity to end the game early.

I’m not saying the solo mode is bad. It is just it may not have that many replay value. There is still enough tension from making sure that we can always get one more consecutive turn to keep building.

The problem comes from the resources type. We will tend to get the other while focusing on one. The shifting our focus between Flotillas, is when the issue comes.

If we only play this once in a while, it is still a good exercise for brain. But the more we get familiar with it, the less interesting it will become.

I think, like the regular mode, we can still use Decree Cards as another setup variability. We don’t have to worry about changing the card during the game.

Just pick one card and consider it as a new rule for the entire session. By doing so, the decree card will become the replay value. It will not change the strategic play but at some point will change the tactical play.

Maybe we can even choose several per session. As far as I know there are only two cards where the decree requires the opponent’s ship, and those cards are D11 and D14.

Conclusion

Seastead board game is one of the  2 player only game. We will be trying to do a city building with being Seasteaders as the theme or setting.

In general, this is a race game with point system with many ways to trigger the end game. Mostly, players will try to build their 12 buildings as fast as they can on 24 different locations within 4 Flotilla tiles, or something like artificial Floating islands.

The game can be considered as elegant, where all we will be doing each turn is doing either of 2 actions, DIVE or BUILD. The action is rather simple but the effect after the action is what makes this game a deep one.

Diving is the main way to get some resources which we can spend to build. When a player choose to Dive, they will have to share the loot they get between players.

Which of the indicated resources will be beneficial for the active player? While at the same time, we have to make sure that the opponent will not get a lot from the other half of the card.

Resources is very tight in this game. Managing resources carefully is another aspect of the game.

Building, as the other possible action is simply just pay the cost to build using resources and place the build token on the available locations. However, there are several considerations that we should take that makes this game rather deep.

Each of the three building types will trigger some bonus after they get built which can also be beneficial to the other player. Shipyards allows us to deploy ships which can give discount for future building to the location where the ship is on.

Port will increase the value of not just the location we build the Port on but also the locations adjacent to that port. That is if any player can match the building type as indicated by the dock tile  of the Port.

These two building types will definitely give a lot of interaction between players. The player that can take advantage of both players’ effort will have more chance on winning the game. They cannot just focus on theirs.

Building academies, as the last type may not be as interesting as the other two because it only allow us to recruit some Specialists. With 16 different Specialists that will come out randomly, they have unique ability that can only be activated once and mostly for the benefit of the recruiter.

The location we build our buildings on will also have an effect that we can resolve after we build the building. These allow us to get victory points or resources that we can use to build again right away next turn.

Trying to get those combos is probably the best strategy to play Seastead. Another element of the game that can generate more player interaction is the drafting element for either the Specialist cards, dock tiles or decree cards.

Denying the other player to get specific tile or cards can be a better option rather than getting the one that can give benefit to us.

So, Seastead is a very interesting game if we are looking for games with a lot of player interaction. The problem is probably the replay value, or at least with the current official rule.

There are a lot of setup variables that can make the game different from one play to another but most of them are not that significant. Some of them will work to make the game a bit different but only in specific condition.

The 16 Decree cards are the ones that can change the rule of the game not in strategic or long term play but more in tactical way.

Seastead also have an official solo variant but with even worse setup variability. They introduced a virtual player with a very simple way to run it.

The problem is that they even turn off most of the interesting part that we can get from the regular 2 player mode. It becomes a puzzle that once we solve it, we probably need no reason to play it again even if the tension is still there.

I feel like with a very simple house rule of how to use the decree card can definitely become a replay value for both the regular and solo mode.

With the rule as it is, if we are looking for a game for 2 player with a lot of player interactions that can be played once in a while, we should try Seastead board game.

More Games

If this is not  game for you, there are still a lot of these great tabletop games whether card games or board games. We can find more alternatives from the forum like Board Game Geek or other websites about tabletop games.

Here are some that I think are similar to Seastead that I have played so far. Check the links to my review to find out more.

For a game that is designed specifically for 2 players, Mandala is another one that I have tried before. However, it is more an abstract game while Seastead has a deeper theme.

The mechanism is also very different though where in Mandala is more of an area control mechanism. But we can have enough player interaction from both games where the action of one player can affect the decision of the other.

Circle the Wagons is another one that is intended for 2 players. It is also a city building game with Western as the theme but each player will be building their own tableau unlike Seastead with communal city.

This is more of a card drafting with time tracker element and set collection. The interaction is also there but I guess this one is considered as micro game. So, it is a bit smaller in size and playtime.

I feel like Walking in Burano can offer similar experience in the way of drafting compared to how the Dive action in Seastead. We don’t necessarily decide what the opponent is going to get but we open the possibility because of our drafting.

This one is also a city building but each player will build their own tableau. However, both shares the same scoring conditions that only one player can get it first. I guess we can say the racing element is there.

If we just want some good player interactions, even if they come from different mechanisms, we can try Villages of Valeria (action following), Peloponnes Card Game (auction), Fleet (Auction) or Tybor the Builder (card drafting).  For games with much deeper in resource management, we can try Imperial Setters, Oh My Goods!, Café or The Castles of Burgundy Card Game.

The rest of my list can be found below. Most of them come in a small box.

Adventure of D, 2nd Ed. (Fantasy Adventure Card Game, Multi Game Modes)
The Big Book of Madness (Cooperative, Deck Building, Wizarding Theme)
Hero Realms
 (Competitive, Card Game, Fantasy Theme, Deck Building)
Finished! (Solo only, Puzzle, Card Game)
Goblins vs Zombies (Tower Defense, Card Game, Fantasy Theme, Card Game)
One Deck Dungeon: Forest of Shadows (Dice Rolling, Fantasy Theme, Cooperative)

I will keep updating my website with more games. Find out the latest update from this Complete List.

Final Words

That is all I can share with you about Seastead board game. This is probably my first tabletop game that is actually not mostly card. We can probably say my first board game review.

I probably have missed something. Please don’t hesitate to point that out and share what you know related to this game and I will update this article.

I keep saying that these tabletop games can be a good way to spend some time without looking at the screen of our gadget.  If we do have someone close, that we can play with, there are other games where we can play cooperatively or competitively but with more player interaction.

The game can be very fast or like a filler type or it can take hours to play.

So, what is your experience on playing this game? If you know other games similar or even better than this, please do share via the comment section below. I would love to learn and play that game, assuming I can get a copy.

This article is just my notes about what I can find from the internet. Hopefully this can help anybody who reads it.

Thanks for reading.

 

Mark M.

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