Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
 
7th Continent - Non-Spoiler Hints

As I mentioned before, some people consider the 7th Continent to be a very hard game. After playing some more and watching on Youtube how other people play, I think I know why. Basically the 7th Continent is Sid Meier’s definition of a good game: A series of interesting decisions. Which means that there is a very real possibility of making the wrong decisions. Now of course I can’t tell you which one is the good decision for each of the thousand cards in the game. But I can tell you how to avoid making systematically the wrong decisions in general gameplay.

1) The first easy systematic error is regarding your hand size. Every action in the game involves drawing cards (although sometimes you can draw zero of them); and whenever you draw cards, you can keep one of them. But at the end of the action you need to discard down to your hand size, which is just 5 in solo, 3 with two players, and even less with more players.

If you want to do well in the 7th Continent you need to first use the cards in your hand to get below your maximum hand size before you choose any action on a tile. That also means that when choosing cards to keep, the cards you can play quickly are better than those you might only need in certain situations. Think of it that way: Playing a card or discarding a card due to full hand size both end you with the card on the discard pile. But if you played it, you got some useful effect out of it, which is obviously better.

2) Look at the terrain tiles carefully. In the 7th Continent the artwork on the terrain tile is part of the gameplay and not just decoration. Most importantly look out for hidden numbers, which allow you to replace your current tile with one with more options. But other elements like plants can also become important, provided you found the information what that plant is good for. On some of the event cards the artwork is actually the clue to what is the right decision.

3) Hunt as much as possible. If a terrain card has animal tracks and a spot/observe action next to them, that frequently means a hunting ground. Unless your discard pile is empty, you’ll always want to hunt first, explore other stuff later. And of course you should cook the meat you find if at all possible.

These tips should get you started on a successful adventure full of exploration. If you still find the game too hard, you have two options: One is replaying from the start and using previous knowledge to concentrate on the essential stuff (my wife and me did much better on the starting isle the second time around). The other is to modify the rules. You can use the 777 card. Or you can create a save checkpoint, which is not foreseen in the rules: When you reach a card that feels like a major decision point in the game, e.g. a non-terrain card that asks you whether you want to go north, east, or west, you can simply take a notepad and write down the number of that card, as well as list the cards from your satchel/journal. Then if you die, you can restart from there instead of from the beginning, especially if you already did the beginning several times and don’t want to repeat it.

Comments:
Another hint
4) Some cards exist in several versions, for example several green cards with the same number or green cards followed by a golden one. Several green cards with the same number means a random outcome of the action that leads to that card. But in some cases the card you draw gets discarded without the action being made impossible. Which means that if you got a random bad event the first time around, you might want to repeat the action, if the game allows it, and get the good result the next time, guaranteed! Note this only works if your first draw was discarded, not when it was returned to the box.
 
This sounds like a very interesting game. Just backed the current kickstarter for the base game and expansion. I'm not sure about all the add ons, have you had a chance to check out any of the 3 extra curses that came with the first kickstarter? Ice maze, sanctuary, or swamp of madness?

Sounds like I will have dozens of hours of content with the 2 big boxes and I can pick up the extras in the inevitable 3rd kickstarter if I end up really enjoying the game.
 
I haven’t unpacked my expamsions yet, but I read somewhere that two of them are good, and one a bit tedious.
 
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