7th Sea: City of Five Sails had its debut at Gen Con 2023, where a boat-load of backers embarked on swashbuckling adventures and spell-casting escapades during the inaugural world championship festival.
The Pine Box team was thrilled to have the game available for this Gen Con and we are counting down the days until the rest of our backers have the game in-hand. Originally released in1998 as a collectible card game, 7th Sea has been a beloved card game and role-playing game setting for over two decades. Fifty-two convention attendees participated in the very first world championship, witnessing the universe’s revival on the tabletop as an expandable card game.
The event was notable for its widespread faction representation, with Montaigne boasting the highest number of players (13), while Vodacce and Eisen shared the distinction of having the fewest participants (9 each). The weekend schedule included five Swiss rounds on Saturday, followed by a top sixteen cut on Sunday.
However, this championship wasn’t solely focused on competitive gameplay; it also placed significant emphasis on the living, community-driven narrative that is an integral part of the experience we aim to cultivate. Like its predecessor, one of this game’s most defining features is its commitment to a player-driven storyline that gives its community the agency to shape the future of the City of Five Sails and its larger-than-life heroes, villains, and scoundrels. We believed that every player should have the opportunity to impact the story at Gen Con 2023. To that end, we introduced a special three act structure within the first ever world championship festival, taking place between rounds three, four, and five on Saturday.
This three act structure came in the form of special story cards that were put in play at different city locations at the start of those games. You can check out the An Eye for an Eye story cards in our previous article here.
The An Eye for an Eye Gen Con storyline sought to answer three important questions:
“Which faction (if any) would break Kaspar’s occupation of the Forums?”
“Which faction would obtain the Crystal Eye?”
“Which faction would be blamed for the murder of that poor, honorable fool, Dufort?”
The results of these story events were directly influenced by the gameplay decisions made by participants. Our team was delighted to observe that in some cases, players chose to impact the story over taking steps towards their own victory. Some players even chose to take a loss in order to complete the story objective for their faction. When the dust settled and the Saturday rounds were over, the community had their answers.
By usurping Eisen, Castille has firmly established its seat of power within Five Sails, positioning itself for a prolonged conflict with Kaspar and his mercenaries. Adding to their challenges, they find themselves accused of the murder of Montaigne’s fifth musketeer, Francois Dufort, raising their chances of starting a war with Montaigne as well as Eisen. Meanwhile, Ussura has come into possession of the enigmatic Crystal Eye—an ancient artifact bestowing the power of foresight upon its possessor. The PBE team is ecstatic over Castille players’ unwavering commitment to the community-driven storyline as they snagged two of the three story impacts in An Eye for a Eye.
At the end of the Swiss rounds on Saturday, the top player of each faction was named their faction’s District Captain. District Captain is an esteemed and coveted position in Five Sails. Each District Captain shall serve as the distinguished leader of their faction until a new District Captain takes on the mantle at the next Five Sails Festival event.
Each District Captain met together with Creative Director, Carmel Rechnitzer, to serve as their faction’s representative in a storyline vote. At each festival, the District Captains will meet to speak for their district in Five Sails regarding a pressing issue.
For this Gen Con’s District Captain story decision, each District Captain voted for which character would next be elected the mayor of Five Sails. In the running were the city deck characters Gustavo and Claude de la Roche. At the PAX Unplugged 2022 championship last December, the tournament’s District Captains voted for Gustavo to receive the Villain trait, which is reflected on his card in the core set. Now, at Gen Con 2023, this villain may claim his opportunity to seize power.
Creative Director Carmel Rechnitzer meets with the District Captains to discuss their story decision.
A man as devious and cunning as Gustavo being elected mayor would certainly have consequences for the city and its major players. Alternatively, Claude de la Roche, a charismatic but incompetent man known for his debaucherous extravagences could drive the city into crippling mismanagement. It seems that the city is doomed no matter what.
After a conversation with Carmel and a short debate, the votes were in! The Vodacce and Castille District Captains threw in their vote for the villainous Gustavo. The Montaigne, Ussura, and Eisen District Captains cast their vote for the debaucherous Claude, leaving Claude to be sworn into office very soon!
Our top 16 cut kicked off on Sunday and saw five Montaigne, four Vodacce, three Castille, three Ussura, and one Eisen player. With so many Vodacce players, a matchup between two of them was inevitable, but our Vodacce community has a code: the Family doesn’t fight.
Vodacce’s leader, the Don Constanzo Scarpa, is a family man. He cannot prevail alone and his beloved daughters and unappreciated son are critical personnel in his criminal empire. Our Vodacce players have formed a family whose unyielding loyalty to one another rivals that of the Scarpa family’s, and that means fighting one another is off the table.
Vodacce players were matched together twice in the top 16, and each time, the players had a discussion and decided between themselves which of them would move to the next round and continue the fight for the family.
Vodacce players Nick Pruitt and Jake Laird flip a coin to determine which family member will advance, and which will bow out. Facilitated by Dan “the Don” Dineen.
At the culmination of our Festival events, the champion, known as the Grand Admiral of Five Sails, is granted a unique narrative prize, offering substantial influence over the unfolding conflicts within Five Sails. This year’s narrative choice was the following:
“What lies ahead for your faction? How will your faction react to the recent unfolding events, and what path will they forge in the times to come?”
As the finalists, Jake Laird (Vodacce) and Andrew Verhagen (Castille), sat down to begin their livestreamed championship match, they paused to hold a brief conference where they chose to do something perfectly in alignment with their faction identities… They cut a deal. Castille, renowned for its cunning pirates and wily scoundrels, struck a pact with Vodacce, a thriving patriarchal criminal empire. This accord stipulated that Jake Laird of Vodacce would secure the championship victory for his faction and claim the title of Grand Admiral of Five Sails, while Andrew Verhagen of Castille would claim the championship narrative decision for his faction.
Jake Laird lead Vodacce to victory in the first ever 7th Sea: City of Five Sails world championship!
Although Vodacce traded their storyline prize to cement their triumph, the championship victory itself will shape the unfolding story. As a result of their victory, Vodacce has earned the exclusive right to confront and murder Francois Dufort, the fifth Musketeer. This climactic event will be unveiled in the upcoming fiction, “…And One for All.” Keep an eye out this week for this tenth and final chapter “With Good Intentions” pre-release storyline.
You can enjoy the previous
chapters on our Chanteys page.
Jake Laird is the very first player to earn the title of Grand Admiral of Five Sails, and he will hold his office for Vodacce until the next Festival event, where the next champion shall become the Grand Admiral.
Grand Admiral Jake Laird (Vodacce) and runner-up Amdrew Verhagen (Castille) shake hands to celebrate their pact and the Vodacce victory.
f you would like to view pairings and final standings for the Gen Con 2023 An Eye for an Eye Festival, you can access them here.
If you are interested in seeing some top-level gameplay from the festival, check out our twitch stream here.
If you are ready to join our Discord community to play games of Five Sails online and nerd-out about the 7th Sea universe, you can meet us here.
Want to know more about the meta and the state of the game? In the coming weeks, we will release our tournament data so you can analyze the game for yourself! Check back with us soon!