Announcing 7th Sea: The City of Five Sails

Announcing 7th Sea: The City of Five Sails

An Evolving Tabletop Game set in Theah’s Most Interesting City

Cover Art, by Charles Urbach

Pine Box Entertainment is proud to announce the development of a new experience for 7th Sea fans in the form of a hybrid card game/board. Folks familiar with our Doomtown game will find familiar concepts in area control and a player driven storyline. Players will choose a Faction vying for control of the City of Five Sails. Their Leader and Crew, along with hired mercenaries will battle and duel over three Locations with the city. Throughout the game, they must use Influence, Brawn, and Finesse to outmaneuver and defeat their opponent. Five Sails is a port city with five districts representing the five countries surrounding its border. But most importantly, it is itself a free city, operating independently from any of those outside influences. As such, it is a frequent destination for travelers, explorers, pirates, people wishing to hide, and those who are looking for them. Not only are there inhabitants from the five border countries, but the city is a hub of activity for traders and pirates from all over Théah. This makes Five Sails’ population as diverse and random as its interpretation of laws.

Five Sails is a game of swashbuckling, sorcery, piracy, adventure, political intrigue, and skullduggery within the city. This is not a game of naval combat. While we did not go back to the format of the original 7th Sea CCG, we believe that Five Sails retains the heart and soul of the original game at its core. We will feature key elements from the 7th Sea roleplaying game, incorporated into a rich, storyline driven tabletop experience. Players engage in combat duels that go back and forth with impending damage. Parry, riposte, and thrust at your opponent with the assistance of plot cards and attachments to damage and eliminate opposing crew members and mercenaries. Each Leader has their own unique playstyle with additional ways to obtain Hero Points, and forge a path towards victory. Alternatively, controlling the locations or assassinating the enemy leader will lead to domination over the city.

 


Iron Reply, Eisen specific faction card. Art by Mirco Paganessi

Each Day players will reveal a Scheme card that helps determine their goal for the turn. A communal mercenary deck will reveal Events, Artifacts, and Characters at the locations that players can Recruit to aid their cause. Setting the game in the City of Five Sails gives us the freedom to build a solid ongoing story and depiction of various nationalities and secret societies that bring more of the flavor of the world into the game.

We anticipate the first interactive, player driven storyline experience as a key part of our inaugural world championship at GenCon 2022. At this tournament and through local organized play, players will be able to determine the direction of the storyline fiction. Players will also be able to alter the communal mercenary deck for future expansions, as the city and storyline evolve with an expanding card pool and additional factions. The key thing about the mercenary deck is that each card bears a unique number. As the story progresses, characters may permanently join a Leader or new events disrupt the City of Five Sails. When this happens, a new card with that number will be printed to update this communal deck, replacing the one that is going away. This way we can keep the ebb and flow of the bustling, dynamic port city alive over time and keep you on your toes along the way. The cards used for the current pool will be noted and provided at organized play gatherings.


Maya del Rioja, Loyal Crew member of the Castile faction, led by Soline el Gato. Art by Waclaw Wysocki

The initial box set, containing everything you need to play 7th Sea:The City of Five Sails, will follow the story of Five Sails as initially presented in the 7th Sea Roleplaying Game:

The history of Five Sails goes back six hundred years before the First Prophet. When the Numanari came conquering across this land, they found a fort built by a now-unknown warlord. They took the fort for its strategic location, erecting their own wooden walls and port. The fort eventually became a town with a castle. Stone walls ran over 5 kilometers all the way around, protecting the people from invaders. Those walls still stand, and you can see them dividing the “inner city” from the “outer city.”

Five Sails has seen its share of battles, each conflict wounding some part of the city, calling for rebuilding and restructuring. In addition to the battles, the city has suffered fires and plagues, further erasing older parts of the city for newer structures. This has made the city’s interior a bit of a maze with older buildings eclipsed by newer, tight alleyways that twist and turn and sometimes end in walls, stairways leading to nowhere and other architectural oddities.

In the 1400’s, a Vodacce prince named Dalmatia claimed the city as his own and his family held it for nearly two hundred years. However, the War of the Cross rolled over the city, and within those thirty years, Five Sails changed hands hundreds of times. As the war raged on, Five Sails became a kind of home for mercenaries and pirates looking for coin and trying to find refuge from the war.

When the Nations finally declared peace and the War of the Cross ended, the city was in shambles. Five different Nations claimed ownership of the city. Anastasia Russo, the appointed mayor, found opportunity in the chaos and declared Five Sails an independent city, free of any national hand. She gathered a handful of war-weary veterans to enforce her claim. A bold move for certain, but thanks to her army of mercenaries and a fleet of pirates, she was able to maintain her claim. Five Sails was a free city.

Since then, the city has remained both united and divided. Five Sails is divided into five districts, each maintained by a “governor” (the titles are different for each district). Every three years, the governors elect a mayor who runs the city’s bureaucracy and infrastructure. Because the mayor must win the favor of the governors, many outside the city see her as a kind of puppet holding a rubber stamp, but that is further from the truth than such scholars know. The governor assigns commanders for the city’s watch, army and navy, giving her considerable power. Those who fall under her disfavor can find life very difficult in Five Sails, regardless of their status. In other words, the relationship between the governors and the mayor is a delicate balance.

 


Iron and Velvet, Ussura specific faction card. Art by Manuel Castanon

 

The featured cover art by Charles Urbach depicts the four musketeers available for play with the Montaigne faction, led by Odette de Dubois. Throughout the coming months we will continue to preview elements of this game as new art, fiction, and card templating become available. We are excited for this project and will be continuing to work closely with Chaosium on being part of the future of 7th Sea.

Designers Case Lopez and Robert Croy have recently been joined by Legend of the Five Rings CCG designer Chris Medico and Transformers TCG designer Case Kiyonaga as the game has evolved from the initial presentation in the The Jade Throne Podcast and version of the game shown to 7th Sea fans last year.

Those not familiar with the 7th Sea property can check it out here.

Stay up to date with news on all our projects by following the various Pine Box Entertainment social media outlets listed here.

Folks looking to join playtest can do so by emailing us at pineboxentertainment@gmail.com.

 

Moods of the Mad King: Revised Design Diary

Moods of the Mad King: Revised Design Diary

by Designer Jessey Wright

When I was asked to develop an updated version of Moods of the Mad King, Alan gave me a lot of creative freedom. So much so, that what was originally planned to be a little bit of polishing turned into a near ground up redesign. The spirit of the game has remained the same from the original to the new version. The core mechanics of playing cards for effects and collecting a trio of play cards to form the three acts of your play remained the same. Almost everything else was tweaked or adjusted in order to create a more thematic experience.

The biggest change to the game, which helped make it feel more thematically consistent and brought something novel to the tabletop, was the change to the win conditions. In the original version of the game, there was one winner. In the new version, any number of players can win (and that means it’s possible for everyone to lose! The King is just that mad!). Having to balance your Patron’s desires with the (unknown) desires of the Mad King is exactly what the theme of the game calls for! This also creates a unique style of game play. The open-ended victory conditions mean that your own mood will set the tone of each game! Any given game you play could be a cutthroat race to please the Mad King, a co-operative effort to keep everyone alive and well funded, or something in between.

The next major change I made was to the basic action flow. Each player has some information about the king’s play preference, and I wanted to make sure that the behavior of the other players could provide clues about what they know (or don’t know). This lead to the main action system: on your turn you get a play card and either keep it or give it away. If you give it away you are able to play one of the unique action cards from your hand. If you keep the play card, well, it gets added to your play (hopefully it’s a type you needed!).

I’m really proud of what we achieved with this little game!

Learn more here.

How to Design a Legend…or Three

How to Design a Legend…or Three

Introduction to the Legends of the Weird West
by David Lapp

In August 2017, the Pine Box Entertainment playtest team analyzed the four Servitors in the following write-ups: Grimme, Raven, Stone, and Hellstromme. These cards were introduced as a brand new card type, Legend, that debuted in There Comes A Reckoning. During playtest for this first expansion that would continue Doomtown, the team discussed the possibility of hero Legends. Players were given the opportunity to name the first one via an event at GenCon 50, which resulted in Doc Holliday being released in Out for Blood. Inspired by the Twilight Protocol Trilogy storyline events last year, three additional heroes from the Deadlands universe were planned for inclusion in Hell’s Comin With Me. The following details the Design Diary for these cards. Over the next few weeks, members of the playtest team will in turn present each new legend in detail. We hope you enjoy these new additions to Doomtown.

How to Design a Legend…or Three

by Richard Carter

It will be, … wait for it, … Legendary

Very early in the process of working on Hell’s Comin’ With Me (a set that will be ripe for another tale), I was tasked with coming up with more Legends. Doc Holliday had already been designed, and the Pine Box Team wanted an additional trio of heroes to oppose the efforts of the four Servitors from There Comes a Reckoning (TCAR).

Unfortunately for me, I had not been involved with the design or the playtest of the TCAR Servitors. I had heard from veteran playtesters that those four cards were major pains and that they went through several major revisions and rewrites. The upside is that my only exposure to the Legends card type was the five that worked out, so I had a good conceptual template to work with.

I was given the option of doing some of the three in this set and the rest in the set to follow. I made the bold decision to do all three in one go, in an effort to put the opposition to the Servitors in place in time for Tombstone (alas production timelines would defeat this goal). This also created three instant casualties among the cards that had already been selected to be in Hell’s Comin’ With Me.

Hank Ketchum, Andrew Lane, and Lacy O’Malley were to be the rest of the Twilight Legion to assist Doc Holliday in saving the day. I hit the fiction. Since Andrew Lane was the operational head of The Agency in the West, and Hank Ketchum was the leader of the Texas Rangers, I papered my mental sweat lodge with Classic Doomtown Texas Rangers and Agency cards. Somewhere in my vision quest I decided that I would have the Twilight Legion be bright contrasts to the Servitors. Doc Holiday was already out there as the spellcaster parallel for Grimme. “One Riot, One Ranger” lead to Hank Ketchum to take the mantle of the ‘one big bad dude’ concept like Jasper Stone. Hellstromme’s gadget centric concept could be well opposed by the Agency’s gadget trickery. This left Lacy O’Malley to contrast and contest with Raven for the duty of board control / chess tactics.

In the fiction, Hank Ketchum has survived more deadly encounters than he should and has the scars to show for it. I wanted an idea that would promote and endorse fighting solo. Early ideas included bullet bonuses based on the size of the opposing posse or reduction of casualties, but they caused more problems than they solved. In the end, having the static penalty of who to select as the shooter can force some dudes out of the conflict that might have otherwise participated (Henry Moran / Jaqueline Isham), or create some interesting repercussions when hitting targets with shootout penalties. The initial plan was to put the “make your solo dude Harrowed” as a Shootout action, but there were too many options to bring other dudes into the shootout after triggering. Even worse was that you could trigger Hank and then win the shootout (how is that worse?), and have wasted your save ability. As a Resolution action, it can be taken when it will best serve you to save your dude in a tied shootout.

One of the themes of the Agency in the Classic Doomtown CCG was gadgets, and this is where I started. Playtesters were quite resistant to initial ideas that allowed the building of a gadget without having a mad scientist (shipping the gadget operational from back East). I conceived their “Men in Black Dusters” forcing shootouts, but that was too strong. I also created ideas to boot gadgets to do things, but those were unsatisfactory. In the end, I decided not to tie Andrew Lane down to gadgets, as that route lopsidedly and innately supports only two factions (Law Dogs and Entrepreneurs). Being able to deploy a weapon during a shootout can change the course of the fight, or serve to mitigate the damage your opponent does first with something like a Pistol Whip.

Lacy O’Malley was the biggest challenge. Finding something to parallel the complexity of Raven was a daunting goal, and more so to tie into the theme of an intrepid reporter for the Epitaph. I had a handful of ideas involving Headlines, but they hinged too heavily on the strength of those particular cards. During the course of designing Lacy I stumbled on the idea of “no old news” – and this ended up being the path to take. Restricting access to your discard pile needed to come as part of the package, as Kung Fu, Maggie Harris, and Hired Guns would turn the higher card cycling into too much strength. I wanted to come up with some sort of Noon action to take, but in the end I could not come up with anything that we liked. (I have since come up with ideas, but too late). What ended up happening is that I set out to contrast Raven (ostensibly the most complicated Legend) and ended up with the most simple Legend.

A fine tip of the hat to all the playtesters who challenged my ideas, reminded me of card interactions that slipped my mind, and called out my crazy for what it was. Making sure that new Legends are both playable and comparable to the existing ones continues to be tricky, as well as ensuring that they don’t work too well with some outfits. We shall see what the future of Legends holds.

Hell’s Comin’ With Me is currently available for preorder for consumers and retailers and will be shipping March 2020.

Introduction to Doomtown’s Starter Decks

Introduction to Doomtown’s Starter Decks

by Rich Carter, Lead Designer – Doomtown


Doomtown
, the customizable card game set in the Weird West Deadlands universe, features players assembling a gang of dudes to represent a faction, and attempt to gain control of the town. The game features a combination of board game like movement, economic development, and poker as the underlying combat mechanic. Unfortunately, the most complicated (and arguably most important) part of the game happens before the game even starts – deckbuilding. This continues to deter new players from taking up the game.

More players is just simply better for any game. As such, we here at Pine Box Entertainment want to make it easier to at least get a taste for the game, confident that the quality of the experience will leave new players eager for more. We have partnered with DriveThruCards to make playable decks available for order (one for each faction), with additional “flex packs” for each to introduce a degree of customization to our prospective new players.

“So Rich, what is in these decks?”

We came up with several deck-building parameters for these decks, so that they should be approximately evenly matched against one another. We then turned the actual deck designs over to the fanatic volunteers of our playtest team. Each deck is built on a 15-13-11 value structure (fifteen cards of one value, thirteen of another, and eleven of a third) to give a good default for shootouts. Each deck also features about 10 cards scattered across each of the four suits to demonstrate the interplay of dudes, deeds, actions, and attachments. Starting posses should not have more than one upkeep while leaving each player with 2-4 ghost rock in their stash. The goal is to start five dudes, four influence, a stud, and a bullet catcher (1 cost dude to absorb first early incidental casualty). To promote variety, each deck was not to have more than 2 copies of any particular card, and have 3-5 Cheatin’ Resolutions to highlight that mechanic. Finally, each faction deck was assigned two values to feature (as their 15 and 13 values), again to spark variety in deck design and a broader spectrum of cards for players acquiring all six decks.

As an added bonus to both our loyal fans and completionists, we used as many promo versions of cards as we could get away with, as well as cards from the Pine Box era (There Comes a Reckoning and Too Tough To Die). Finally, for the rest of the cards, we went in and made new flavor text, that reflect ongoing storyline results.

These decks, and their strategies can be found here.

The Mad Science of Making Cards pt 1

The Mad Science of Making Cards pt 1

by David Lapp

Howdy Doomtown players! As Pine Box Entertainment makes the transition to Deadwood and prepares for our big shebang in Tombstone this October, we’ve also just submitted the final expansion in the Tombstone Trilogy, Hell’s Comin’ With Me! We also wanted to give you a behind the scenes look at how PBE went about continuing Doomtown after There Comes A Reckoning.

One of the main design goals of TCaR was to introduce the Servitors into Doomtown. Each subsequent set, however, fleshed out the existing factions and their themes while creating more tools for new and veteran players alike to vary and enhance their deckbuilding options. Today we’re going to take a look at the main pieces and themes of each of the Tombstone-centric sets.

Too Tough to Die emphasized boosting influence among the First Peoples and Outlaws, along with including some powerful anti-cheatin’ cards as well. Also, Wendy XP reflected player/tourney decisions that not only emphasize the Law Dogs, but also set the story arc in Tombstone. Luckily Wendy was already in playtest from what we now call SB13-15, the unreleased AEG Doomtown sets that Pine Box continues to reference at times. The Design Team otherwise created cards they believe best advanced the game. Next, the story team formally named each card and selected art from a variety of sources. Working hand in hand with Pinnacle Entertainment Group, the art came from coloring original Deadlands role-playing books black & white pieces, Deadlands: Reloaded, classic Doomtown card art, unused Doomtown art, and newly commissioned art. This variation allowed for diversity amongst the cards and the players can take in over 20 years worth of Deadlands lore. While we focused on Tombstone, several cards featured other locations, dudes, and themes from the Weird West. These choices were generally made after all the cards were playtested and finalized, a bit of a different process from other card games and previous Doomtown expansions in which the art and names came first. Some card names and themes were set by the story team and the player base as a result of organized play choices. It is for this reason you will see an experienced versions of Willa Mae MacGowan, John “Aces” Radcliffe, and Clint Ramsey, along with other cards decreed by voting in our global storyline events.

Out for Blood, added Tombstone themed new outfits that further expanded the arsenal of player choices for each faction. Doc Holliday, arrived as a result of the Evil Is A Choice GenCon event where the winner decided the next Legend to appear in Doomtown. Following the lore in the Deadlands supplement, Stone And A Hard Place, there were several requests for specific characters. Thus the harrowed Curly Bill Brocious and legendary lawman Wyatt Earp made it into this expansion. Like Too Tough to Die, Out for Blood also contained story-driven elements, with cards featured in the WildCards Fiction event at GenghisCon, Twilight Protocol Act I. This fiction set in May 1882 runs separate from our main October 1881 storyline following the law dogs in Tombstone. We also continued to honor player victories with Name A Card and Design A Card prizes, resulting in cards for Byron Decker and Carter Richardson. Both storylines will reach their climaxs with outcomes influenced by the players this October at the Doomtown Worlds Destination Event in Tombstone, Arizona.

So what can you expect in Hell’s Comin’ With Me? One of the things we wanted to do when we developed the original 4 Servitors was ensuring that these forces of evil would be complemented by 4 Hero Legends. This set will feature 3 new Legends that along with Doc Holliday (see above) round out the Heroes. You will see additional Tombstone themed characters and deeds that help complete this arc. This set also initiates Doomtown’s shift to Deadwood and the exploits of the Outlaw Jonah Essex. There will be a few more surprises as well, including the Quaterman Prime, a card created as a directly result of votes cast by players during the Servitor Series to corrupt mad scientist Drew Beauman. More importantly, many of the cards in this set were designed and presented by the playtest team themselves as sincere thanks for all their hard work and dedication to our beloved game. We look forward to introducing some of these cards at Tombstone’s main event.