If you’re a lover of fantasy or card games, then look no further. Seasons is a unique tactical game of deck building and the risk of dice rolling created by designer Regis Bonnessee.
The most powerful sorcerers from the kingdom of Xidit have assembled in the forest of Argos where the tournament of 12 seasons takes place. Use your most powerful magic items and faithful familiars across the three-year long contest to earn the title of Archmage of Xidit.
What is Seasons?
Seasons is a competitive two to four player game, taking roughly 60 minutes to play. The game is split into the following two phases:
The Drafting Phase
This phase acts as the prelude to the game, which establishes each player’s nine-card deck. Avid card game players will be familiar with the process of choosing one card from your hand then passing around the card piles to the other players. Once drafting is complete, it is time to separate your cards into three packs of three, which you then receive at the beginning of each year.
The Tournament Phase
The tournament phase is the most exciting part of Seasons. Although the drafting phase is essential and adds an extra dimension to the game, the tournament is where you can finally test out your strategy and play your luck of the dice.
At the beginning of each round a player rolls the dice of seasons. The outcome of the dice may allow the player to: increase their gauge (maximum number of summons you can have in play), harvest resources (water, earth, air and fire are the costs of your summons), exchange resources for victory points, draw cards or just gain straight up victory points.
The dice differ depending on the season, therefore different resources appear throughout the year, making your resource reserve important as well as the fluctuation of exchange rates between resources and victory points.
Seasons is not a complex game, although there are many different mechanics to engage with, after one game, most players will have gotten to grips with the gameplay and the various strategic possibilities.
Other than the two initial card differences between magical items and familiars, cards can be split into three main categories: resource production, card drawing and point scoring. Of course, there are some overlaps, however most cards align within these groups (with the exception of some miscellaneous cards) which also represent the three basic techniques needed in Seasons.
To accomplish these, you learn which cards are the best, and which combination of cards grant the best synergy.
However, on another, more brain challenging note, for those who desire to delve deeper into the mechanics of the game, there are advanced strategies which include: information control, risk management, understanding your opponent and tempo.
Controlling the pace of the game, understanding your opponents and knowledge of their decks or assessing the risks taken when considering dice, decks, seasons and the tableau are all additional factors that can be experimented with.
Overall, Seasons is very aesthetically pleasing, with charming art and attention to detail throughout the components. There is a clear sense that a lot of thought has gone into the design of the game. If you have a soft-spot for pretty games then you will not be disappointed.
Components include the four sets of chunky colourful dice, which are so satisfying to roll. You have wooden sorcerer cubes to track points and effects, which add an extra physical dimension to the game.
There is a 100-card deck, with two copies of each of the 50 individual power cards. The cards consist of good quality material with unique and attractive art which often aligns with the different seasonal elements, adding a flavour to the world of Xidit.
The circular game board is a nice central piece which adds a fun interactive element to the game, as well as allowing easy access to important information like the season, the year, resource chances and exchange rates.
The individual player boards add a pleasant personal touch to the experience. This also features the bonus track which allows the player to gain advantages whilst getting around the potential clunky mechanics of the game. With a penalty of losing victory points, do you choose to play a risk with the bonus track?
Even the generic cardboard resource tokens slot satisfyingly within the reserve of the individual player boards, showing great attention to detail.
The victory point tracker is made up of higher quality cardboard material, reducing the chance of losing score mid game to a table nudge (which has come in handy once or twice in my games). The fonts and colours make the numbers very clear. However, each row of the victory point tracker isn’t the same length, meaning that sometimes it goes up in 10's and sometimes in 5’s,7’s or 9’s. This means that you have to pay a lot of attention to points, especially with strategies that siphon other player’s points each turn. For those numerically challenged players, like myself, this can be a tad confusing. The pay off for this irregular shape however is a very satisfying fit into the box’s insert.
Final Thoughts on Seasons
Seasons brings unique gameplay and a spin on fantasy and strategy card games. For a game of this price, you get a vast amount of replay-ability with all the strategies/combinations of power cards to try and high-quality components that will last. There is a strong sense that a lot of thought has been dedicated to the flavour and aesthetics of the game, whilst also maintaining a fair price.
Overall, Seasons is a great game that I would recommend to any board or card game player who is looking to refresh their collection!