Published on November 19th, 2014 | by Nicole Jekich2
A Dice Game For All Seasons
I’ve recently wondered if there were a seasonal game that I would recommend for this time of year. I’m most inspired by the changing leaves, warm sweaters and keeping warm during the upcoming snowstorms across the country. If you’re looking for a game to snuggle up to at home I recommend Seasons by Asmodee. It is a colorful market strategy and competitive magical tournament game that is sure to charm those winter blues away.
You have probably seen Seasons and its expansions on store shelves for a while now. It released in 2012 from Asmodee, designed by Régis Bonnessée and drawn by Xavier Gueniffey Durin. One of the most alluring aspects of Seasons is its vibrant art and design. As someone who has been playing a lot of grim-dark and dungeon delving games lately, the bright dice, cards and energetic characters are a nice change of pace. If you like chibi art, exaggerated anime art similar to Krosmaster Area franchise, Seasons is full of it. Each game piece is a treat with cute critters, magical totems, energy tokens, curses and a giant rondel season tracker in the center of the table.
Seasons doesn’t use iconography that is normally found in most euro game, like meeples, and instead relies on its own iconography of the different elements. While most element icons are easy to infer it takes a bit more time to remember what the other symbols on the dice mean. Also many of the game cards have really small text. As you can see in the images, we played Seasons in a low-light setting which is not ideal when text and icons are small.
Players take on the role of a great sorcerer competing in the 12 Seasons tournament. This competition lasts a grueling three years. At the end of the tournament a new archmage of the kingdom of Xidit will be chosen from among the competitors.
The game begins with a prelude where players draft the cards they will use in the game. This hand of cards will reflect the various upgrades that a player can purchase throughout the game to help aid their strategy. These upgrade cards help increase your victory points for the end of the game and assist you in “breaking” the game rules along the way where a player can gain extra resources or use special abilities or gain more cystals for victory points. There are also curse cards which negatively affect players which you must quickly get rid of it.
After the prelude, the tournament phases begins. Each turn players roll the set of dice that correspond to the season that you’re currently in. On their turn a player will draft one die and gain the resources listed on the card and actions listed on the die. During their turns of the tournament, players will be collecting energy from the respective season, trading the energy in for crystals, the victory points in this game, and placing cards from the prelude draft like artifacts, weapons and familiars to aid you as the tournament continues. At the end of the game, the player with the most crystals as shown on the victory point tracker, is the winner and can claim their title of Archmage of the kingdom of Xidit.
Seasons is much more than just a fancy cover. It features a hefty gaming experience and much replayability due to the variety of choices in the prelude draft. There are around 60 power cards in the starting deck alone and since most players will only ever use 9 in a game there are lots of strategies to try out in future games. There is a bit of a learning curve at the start of the game and being able to quickly remember all the custom iconography may take a couple play throughs. I enjoyed Seasons as it was a competitve tournament game that wasn’t about brawling. Players are trying to show their affinity of magic and ability to create crystals from the seasonal energy they collect. The competition is indirect (unless there are curses) and players are just trying to adjust to the changing market.