Seasons is a drafting-style game from Asmodee, the company that brings you Eclipse and Dixit. The first thing to note about this game is that it is one of the prettiest games I’ve ever played. The art is consistently good, and the design is pleasing. I played with Ken Haggard, John Fansler, and Steven Ardary. Ken runs board games in our Greenwood store every other Tuesday, and he also runs the Indy Gamers board game group. John and Mr. Ardary are both Magic players who decided on a break from EDH night.
While the gameplay is simple, it’s not instantly understandable. It took us playing a round to understand what was going on. Ken already had the game set up for us, so we didn’t have to worry about that. The game has two distinct phases. First, there’s the drafting step. This is like a Magic Draft or a bit like 7 Wonders. There’s a stack of 9 cards for each player and he looks through them and picks the one he wants. Then, he passes the rest, and this continues until the cards are gone. This phase is extremely important, as these are the cards you use throughout the game. Your first time playing, I’d make sure you understand the second phase of the game before you draft. I ended up with some horrible cards! The second phase is the meat of the game. It becomes more of a traditional board game at this point. The centerpiece of the game is the season tracker. This is the game timer and also determines what season we are in. The game is played for 3 years, so that’s 3 times around the circular season counter. There’s 5 dice for each season. The active player rolls them and chooses one. Then the players choose their dice from the ones rolled in the same way as the draft. There are lots of symbols on the dice. They can do a few things: give you energy (what you use to play cards), give you crystals (victory points), give you cards, and allow you to have more cards in play. The dice also have an indicator for the speed of that turn. The speed determines how quickly you move through the seasons. Each season has only 2 types of energy available on the dice, so there needs to be a bit of planning going on.
The game took about 90 minutes to complete. We all had a great time. I’m not sure who actually won, but I know it wasn’t me. The game is a bit different, and from the outside looking in, it can seem confusing, but at it’s heart, it’s just a strategy game, a good strategy game. If someone forced me to give it a rating out of 5, I’d give it a 4/5.