The Art and Story of  7th Sea: The City of Five Sails

The Art and Story of 7th Sea: The City of Five Sails


Cover Art by Charles Urbach

 

My name is Case Lopez, Designer and Creative Director for Pine Box Entertainment’s new original card game, 7th Sea: The City of Five Sails. My job focuses on themes that bring the writing, design, and art into one cohesive vision. Past articles for this project have shown the game’s card types, as well as a introducing the communal City Deck. Today I am going to pull back the curtain a little and show off some of the amazing art that we have commissioned this project. I will also discuss the story that we have set to go forward, and hopefully provide a taste of what is to come. 

 

Art by Sally Grew

 

So why Five Sails?  Like many of you, I played the original CCG produced by AEG that coincided with the 1st edition of the 7th Sea Role Playing Game. But while that game was enjoyable, I felt it only represented a fraction of what the world of 7th Sea was. By focusing the story and interaction to a single location, we can keep the interaction between the factions going without the downtime of roaming the vast open seas. The City of Five Sails, named in the 7th Sea RPG books as “Théah’s most interesting city,” is the perfect location for our story moving forward. It serves as a major trade hub, a place where heroes and villains congregate and has laws that defer wildly depending on interpretation. It is said that within Five Sails, a dishonest man can earn an honest coin, and the opposite is true as well. Setting our story within the city of Five Sails allows us to still keep the pirates, privateers, and explorers of the original CCG. At the same time, we can bring in politicians, merchants, musketeers and more to truly represent the 7th Sea world of adventure and intrigue all within a constantly changing, high-pressure environment. The fact that Five Sails is a port city also gives us the advantage of having the vast world of 7th Sea come to us. You never know who will show up, or what they will bring with them.

 

Art by Kou Yang

 

The City itself is surrounded by the borders of five different nations, and while they do have some influence over the city, they do not control her. Instead, the city is a melting pot of different districts and customs from all over Théah. This gives us a lot of freedom to feature different cultures. In fact, diversity has been one of our priorities from inception moving forward. Having the location of our game set in a free and bustling port city gives us a lot of leeway to bring in different aspects of Théah. Expect characters from every corner of this world including the new lands of Khitai. Our story begins with five factions that operate from different districts. Each faction has their own goals, methods, and style with how to cultivate and expand their influence. Odette, a Montainge courtier new to he city, has a group of loyal musketeers that make up with steel with what she lacks in connections. Kaspar from Eisen is a surviving general from the War of the Cross, looking to expand the ranks of his new army to fight creatures plaguing the lands. Soline grew up on the streets and canals of the Castile district of Five Sails, and with her crew of tricksters and thieves seek out any advantage afforded to them. Don Constanzo is a well known diplomat and politician from the Vodacce distict who has an army of henchmen at his call. Finally there is Yevgeni, a giant of a man from Ussura, with no known past who seems to answer to the whims of the world itself.

 

Art by Sergio Villa-Isaza

 

Now I’ll discuss something I am extremely excited about, the art! While we are using many fantastic existing art pieces from the 7th Sea 2nd Edition books, we have brought in a number of amazing artists to help to start to tell our story and help to bring the city of Five Sails to life. Artists such as Charles Urbach, Jason Behnke, Kou Yang, Sally Grew, Greg Bobrowski, Terry Pavlet, and many more help introduce the characters and vibrantly bring the game to life. Some of these pieces I chose to showcase here, but this is just a random assortment of the fantastic art that is being created.

 

Art by Fabian Parente

 

One thing that I desired from the very beginning, was a large, expanding, and interactive story. At launch, we have five factions who are vying to expand their influence throughout the city, each one with their own desires, reasons and goals that they strive to achieve. The story will be heavily influenced by the actions of the players. Organized play events, major tournaments, side competitions, online votes, will have says in whether your favorite faction will make forward progression on their goals or lose footing within the city. The ebb and flow of control within the city is truly up to you.

 

Art by Jason Behnke

 

Be on the look out for more news and information for 7th Sea: The City of Five Sails, including insight into our combat system and upcoming announcements of our launch. From all of us at Pine Box Entertainment, welcome to the City of Five Sails!

7th Sea: City of 5 Sails Playtest Preview

7th Sea: City of 5 Sails Playtest Preview

We are Ketal and Hastur, two French playtesters for 7th Sea: City of Five Sails and we are honored to discuss this upcoming expandable card game from Pine Box Entertainment. Here we present the City Deck, one of the core mechanics of 7th Sea: CIty of Five Sails. As previously noted, in this game, players will deploy characters whose goal is to control the City of Five Sails. To do so they’ll try to take control of the 3 main city locations which are the Forum, Docks, and Bazaar.

The locations, by themselves, do not have a lot of differences between them. At the beginning of each turn, however, a card drawn from the City Deck will come into play for each of those 3 locations. This bit of randomness means that each game will be truly unique, and players need to be aware of how the revealed cards can benefit them or their opponent. Cards can be one of the three following types: Mercenaries, Attachments, or Events.

 MERCENARIES 

 The first type of card that can appear at the locations are characters which either already live in the City of Five Sails or have just docked for a short stay. They may be pirates, robbers, or local celebrities. Recruit Mercenaries by Exhausting or turning sideways one of your own characters at the same location. Note that Exhausted characters cannot perform further actions that require Exhausting, such as Claiming a Location or initiating combat. In exchange, however, the newly recruited Mercenary will join your crew and will even be able to act this turn.

At the same time, Mercenaries aren’t totally free. The Mercenary will ask you to pay a cost which is visible at the top-left of the card. Hopefully, your characters have a high Influence value, which allows you to reduce the cost of the Mercenary they are Recruiting. You will need to plan carefully, since your influential characters are good at taking control of Locations and preventing your opponent from doing so for your victory. Will you send them to risk their lives to hire some fresh blood, and by doing so, maybe let control of the city slip between your fingers?

 



The character we can introduce is Takama Siad, a Healer originating from the Maghreb region of Théah in the 7th Sea universe. With a cost of 3, she’s not too difficult to hire on for your crew, but with a 0 for Combat and Finesse values, she’s not much of a fighter. Her 2 Influence value, however, makes her an interesting character that can take control of locations, or even Recruit other Mercenaries. What makes her special is her ability: every time a Duel takes place in her location, Takama Siad can heal a wound from your participating character. This ability can occur only once per turn, but in the long run it can help you keep your character alive longer so you can keep your grasp over the City of Five Sails!

 ATTACHMENTS

 The second card type able to appear at your locations represents all the goods passing through the City of Five Sails. Weapons, armor, even magical artifacts are some of the items we can find at these locations. With sufficient funds, everything is obtainable. It’ll be about making the correct purchases to equip and empower your characters or to prevent your opponent having access to these coveted goods!

A character can have only one weapon, one armor, and one attire. Characters can, however, possess as many Attachments as you want to multiply their abilities and let you have access to more possible Actions. Attachments can give you direct stat bonuses, grant you new Techniques to use in Duels, or even grant powerful actions to take during your turn! Obtain Attachments the same way you Recruit Mercenaries, by Exhausting your Character to Recruit the item to that Character, paying Cost minus Influence. Attachments remain with a character until they leave the game. Attachments are a way to boost your characters for the long haul. Since there are not many easy ways to destroy them, attachments are reliable investments to tilt the game’s balance in your favour!

 

 

For a low cost of 3, this versatile Attachment lets you increase the Influence value of the buying character. As previously stated, Influence lets you reduce the cost of recruitments and help gain control of Locations. That’s already a huge advantage. But furthermore, Smuggled Item possesses an incredible action. Destroy it, and you can buy another Attachment on any Location for free, or even play without cost an Attachment from your hand! Yes, you need to be clever and shrewd to survive in the City of Five Sails. Keeping an ace in your sleeve to play with perfect timing can be THE turning point of your game.

 EVENTS

 The last type of card that can appear at the Locations, and often the most devastating, are Events. Even if you are here to contest the control of the City, the city was here long before your struggle for control and will exist long after. An array of colorful figures run the city despite any and all attempts to challenge the established order. Event cards depict… Events (the name is on point isn’t it?) that occur in the city at the same time you are jostling for a position of power within the City of Five Sails. Events can be linked to monstrous creatures, mob uprisings, or even just to a specific character from the City itself. In any case, these revealed Events will greatly influence what happens within the game.


Mechanically, Events can give a particular action for the first player who triggers it, or simply cards that will change the game’s rules for their particular location. You will need to adapt and adjust to emerge victorious in a city where everything can change each turn.

 

In the 7th Sea universe, sirens are real and their melody is still confusing and deadly, able to drive mad even the toughest or the smartest sailor. To reflect this, Siren’s Scream is an Event that lets you Exhaust one of your characters at this Location to Exhaust all of your opponent characters at the same Location. But since it self-destructs this way, you’ll have to use it first! Even if exhausting your character to do the same to a single opponent can be useful, wouldn’t it be better if you waited to see if another opponent character moves to this Location? But what if your opponent triggers it first? Siren’s Scream poses huge dilemmas and serious headaches for the players with the luck (or not?) to see this Event appear during their games.

 Conclusion

The City Deck is a real plus for 7th Sea: City of Five Sails. It’s a simple way to give more value to your character movements, to the three different Locations, but especially it’ll make each game a unique experience. Randomness is already present in our decks along with drawing cards from shuffled decks. Each turn, the vagaries of the City Deck will potentially enhance or disrupt each player’s plans for that and subsequent turns. An all-mighty weapon? A fearsome mercenary? Or a game changing event? Everything can happen and you’ll need to adapt each turn to all the new arrivals because even if you don’t need all of them, you’ll sometimes need to fight to get them because you can’t let your opponent lay hands on them!

Another good thing about it is the fact that the City Deck will change over time! Through player decisions at online or in person Organized Play events, new cards will go in, some others will go out. Thus the City Deck provides an effective means to give more lore and especially more life to the game. Since this deck will never stay the same, your games will also change over time.

 We are really eager to help the development team polish the game into the evolving tabletop experience that everyone will enjoy playing. For now, we’ll simply say Au Revoir, as we still need to play our 654th match-up between us. We hope we’ll quickly meet you around a game table!

 

 

The Aesthetics of 7th Sea: City of Five Sails

The Aesthetics of 7th Sea: City of Five Sails

 

By David Lapp and Rhiannon McCullough

From the Weird West to Théah, adding a new card game to Pine Box Entertainment’s lineup has been quite the adventure. When we continued Doomtown, we already had an established game to move forward on. Creating one from scratch has been a whole different beast, and quite a rewarding challenge at that. 7th Sea: City of Five Sails is currently still in development as design and playtest continue to work hard to bring you this amazing swashbuckling game. At the same time, we are also working on card layout and art and we wanted to give you a first look at one of the card types, Risks.

What are Risks?

In the 7th Sea roleplaying game, Risks are defined as important actions that could impact the story:

“When you’re playing 7th Sea, you’ll find that your Hero is put in all kinds of tough situations, moments in which real danger or disastrous consequences lay just around the corner. Your Hero takes actions in response to those threats and consequences—Risks—in the hopes of saving the day, warding off fate, or just plain staying alive!”

The Risks in 7th Sea: City of Five Sails represent actions taken in both the main phase and ‘Maneuvers’ that occur during combat. They affect the outcome of the turn and what you can do with your crew.

Nation Specific and Neutral

During deck construction, players will be able to field cards specific to their own Nation, along with those of a pool of Neutral cards to form a 35-40 card play deck. While the actual rules of play remain a work in progress, we hope you are as excited as we are about the layout and graphic design itself.

The following layouts are from some Risk cards that share certain characteristics. The name and cost appear at the top. The symbol for the Nation is in the middle of the card, towards the right. This Nation symbol and the ‘RPT’ combat values at the lower left are a nod to the original 7th Sea card game actions. The Riposte, Parry, and Thrust values are signified by symbols and occur in the same top to bottom order on every card. The card’s main abilities appear in a text box to the right of the RPT values. As in Doomtown, the flavor text listed below the text box help tell the story accompanying the written fiction you will find in card set releases and online. Please note that some terms are subject to change. For instance, the word ‘Character’ may be replaced with ‘Crew’ as we continue to develop and assign terms that are flavorful and appropriate, but also clear and concise to our players.


The Iron Reply (Eisen Nation) is only used in Combat, due to its Maneuver text.


Valiant Spirit (Montaigne Nation) is useful both outside of Combat for its Action, or in Combat for its Maneuver. ‘En Garde’ refers to the act of a straightening a card, thus once again making it ready for use.

Lastly, we have Bleed Out, a Neutral card available only to Villain Leaders. This card adds Wounds to a Character. Characters will be able to take Wounds up to their Resolve rating. That’s right, there will be an opportunity to play the bad guys.😊

Complementing the art, the new card templates have been designed to capture the sense of swashbuckling adventure and feel of the original CCG design. At the same time, we hope that the cards for 7th Sea: City of Five Sails are both readable and aesthetically modern.

Besides developing 7th Sea: City of Five Sails, David is also currently the Lead Developer for Doomtown. Rhiannon is an illustrator and gamer from the Northeast and a graduate of The University of Hawai’i Mānoa. She has previously worked with Dark Steel Games as an illustrator.

What to Expect from 7th Sea: City of Five Sails

What to Expect from 7th Sea: City of Five Sails

A 7th Sea: City of Five Sails Playtest Article

I’m Max, one of the playtesters on the new 7th Sea: City of Five Sails card game under development from Pine Box Entertainment. Today I’ll provide a partial overview of what you can expect from the upcoming game. 

But first, let me introduce myself, a game player from a rainy ol’ island known to you all as England. I’ve been playing card games for the last 12 years – I started, like most, with Magic: The Gathering and did my time travelling around for Grand Prix and Pro Tour Qualifiers. In 2012, I discovered Android: Netrunner, and the whole game changed, as I discovered LCGs in a big way. Since then, I have played almost all of them in some way, shape, or form. I’ve also done my time with some non-LCG games throughout the years, primarily Pokémon and AEG era L5R. So, don’t be surprised when, for context, I reference various other card games. So, with the boring introductions done and dusted, let’s talk 7th Sea: City of Five Sails, and some of the features you can expect. Please note all mechanics are still in development and you may find changes in the final product.

Approaches

Approach cards are fundamental to 7th Sea: City of Five Sails for determining initiative for the turn. They also set your starting Panache – the stat that determines how many cards you will draw at the start of the turn. If you are familiar with the Game of Thrones LCG, this is similar to the Plot Deck. Although the effects are less dramatic, Approaches tend to enhance your game plan for the turn rather than define it. 

You’ll be coming to your games armed with 7 of these Approaches selected, forming their own mini-deck. You choose one Approach each turn, and then you’re off to the races (or a deadly back-alley brawl, at the very least)!

Locations

You won’t face off against your opponent in some imaginary, theoretical battlefield. Oh no, you’ll duel it out at three locations across the City of Five Sails. These are less like the Deeds in Doomtown, and more like planets in the old Warhammer 40,000 Conquest LCG. 

At each of these locations (The Docks, The Forum, and The Grand Bazaar) you will deal Neutral Cards from the Search Deck (more on that below). Control these locations to earn “Hero Points,” and also use them as the base to launch your noble (or nefarious) plans. 

“Search Deck” (Playtest Term)

The Search Deck really sets 7th Sea: City of Five Sails apart from other games. Between you and your opponent sits a Neutral Search Deck. This deck is fixed, it will be the same for everyone playing the game around the world. During the game you’ll be dealing one card per Location each turn. 

The Search Deck contains events, characters, and attachments for players to lay claim to. Some decks rely on the Search Deck to get their game plan going, whilst some for the most part operate independent of it. All players, however, will need to be aware of what is coming out of it each turn, as it really is full of treasures. Even if you don’t want a particular revealed card, you might just want to stop your opponent from getting their hands on it.   

Skulking and Scheming

The heart and soul of the game takes place in the Skulking and Scheming phase. Here you will tussle with your opponent at each location, with you and your opponent alternating taking actions.

These actions form the core of the game, ranging from challenging your opponent’s characters, playing Risks (action card), and moving your characters around Five Sails in an attempt to dominate the city! The alternating action taking (I go, U go in classic gaming parlance) is core to the game. To reference the short lived Star Wars Destiny game, sequential flow makes the game feel fast and engaging to play. 

Riposte, Parry, Thrust

Combat in 7th Sea is, dare I say it, flippin’ fantastic. You see, every card in your deck has a Riposte, Parry, and Thrust value (RPT from here on out). 

Once you and your opponent are locked in combat, you’ll alternate playing these cards in a deadly, swashbuckling duel. Play a card with 1 Riposte? Deflect a damage, and send it back to your opponent. Parry? Get that damage away from me! Thrust? I’ll take the hit, but I’m slinging some of my own damage back at you. Combat only ends when there is no more damage ‘incoming’ at either player, and some of these combats become epic battles of back-and-forth card play.

Just like the Poker Hand mechanic in Doomtown, this combat system drips with theme. You feel like a Musketeer or a swashbuckler every time. It also makes deckbuilding both fun and challenging. Maybe there is a really powerful card, but its RPT values aren’t great, or there’s a lower powered card but when you’re in combat, its high RPT values allow you to dominate and win the battle. Oh, and yes, some cards have points in each RPT stat, and you get to use all of them when you play them into a duel. 

Concluding Thoughts

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into the game as it currently stands. I’ve not delved too deep into the details, as we’re still thrashing some of them out during playtesting. Hopefully this has let you know some of the things you can expect. At some point, I hope to share with you all more insights about 7th Sea: City of Five Sails’ Factions, along with tips about deckbuilding and general game play strategy. 

 

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.