Since this site went live I have had the privilege to communicate with wonderful people all over the planet. With site visitors from dozens of countries many of these people are kind enough to send me notes and information I otherwise would never know or be able to share.
One Hungarian 7th Sea fan, Edmond "Eddy" Hosszu, took it upon himself to not only let me know that the game was printed in his native language and send pictures, but to reach out to the company that printed it (more than a decade ago) to learn about its origins in the country! Quite an effort and one that I know all deeply appreciate.
A Hungarian company printed the No Quarter and Strange Vista sets starting in 2003, which would mean 7th Sea lived on at least two years longer in Hungary than anywhere else. They were released under the titles "No Mercy" and "Strange Horizons" respectively. These included Starter Decks and Boosters just like in the AEG release. Unfortunately, the game did not live past the first expansion.
In the early 2000's, in the golden age of CCGs, a Hungarian company decided to widen its selection of games and it seemed a good route to offer existing English games in the countries language. Taking it to action soon it also started printing several popular CCGs like 7th Sea, Guardians and Game of Thrones in addition to publishing novels and RPGs. Essentially the company launched all the products nearly at the same time and let the customers decide which survived. Although the 7th Sea CCG was supported by the 7th Sea RPG, it did not break through, so a few months after publishing the first expansion, Strange Horizons (Strange Vistas), the company decided to suspend this game. This was also the fate of Guardians CCG and a year or two later the Game of Thrones CCG. This latter turned into an LCG, but only available in English.
The idea of publishing a card game in Hungarian was a good one in my opinion, as many people do not speak English and a game in Hungarian is much more accessible to them. The other fact is the Hungarian CCG market was very dense, even without these games. The elder gamers played Magic or Legend of the Five Rings, the younger ones (10-12 years old) played "Hatalom Kártyái" (Cards of Power) that is a Hungarian copy of Magic. That latter game is very popular among younger gamers, as it is easy to play, a bit cheaper than the others and can be purchased many places. But many give up at a certain age and in most cases leave the CCGs or turn to other, more complex CCGs. It is also worth mentioning that during the 7th Sea run the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were building the popularity of pirates in the entertainment industry. Besides the CCGs, a Pirates miniature game also sailed in these waters.
As a whole 7th Sea CCG was supported for a year-year and a half, but that short window was very eventful for us, the players.
The Boarding (The Events of 7th Sea in Hungary)
There was a game shop called Szellemlovas (URL: http://www.szellemlovas.hu/) that sold every kind of games from board games to CCG accessories. This served as a club where someone could drop in and play a few games. As a student we mostly visited it on Fridays, which was the day when all the fans met for a few rounds of pirating. Myself and 3 other students (playing with 2 Crimson Rogers, Castille and Montaigne factions) regularly joined two more experienced guys (with Montaigne and Gosse) and a younger 10-12 year-old playing Corsairs. As a whole we formed the regular playgroup most of the times. Occasionally we met with another pair of Corsairs and once even a Sea Dog braved into our waters. As the game was published after the original edition ceased, there was no tournament that shaped the future of the 7th Seas.
However, when enough players assembled (this meant 8 players in fortunate cases) we held an ad-hoc tourney. Everyone paid the price of a booster and at the end of the gaming session the prizes were distributed among the top half. At that time internet access in Hungary was not common, neither the mobile phones, so this was the only viable method for playing regularly. Despite few in numbers, the battles were mostly fierce and everyone enjoyed playing the game.
The First Battles
As I recall in the first tournament everyone was full of hopes and baring the Explorers all factions were present. At that time nobody knew exactly the best strategy, which resulted in a wide variety of pirate crews. There were the all-out cannoning Crimson Rogers and the General also presented himself with a similar deck, while the Castillian Armada chose to fill its ship and poke the other with its 1-2-hit cannon attacks until it gained the number advantage. These proved to be the better decks, but other concepts were also introduced like the Gosse boarding deck with a well-equipped ship, the boarding Castille with lots of crew, the cannoning Corsairs with Imshi firing the Artifact cannon, the Speedy Sea Dogs with cannon adventures and a speed-boarding Brotherhood played by me.
In the first round a promising start ended with a duel between Orduno and Allende, but the Castille captain had the better technique and did not stop until he claimed the final victory of the tourney. Given our limited exposure to 7th Sea strategies no one knew the other decks in the competition well, which made it very intense and full of surprises for everyone.
Later tourneys formed around Cannon attacks as everyone discovered its advantage over Boarding. I do not remember the exact numbers, but maybe 5-6 other sessions were organized as tourneys, e.i. when enough people were there to hold one.
Back from the Sunk Pile (The End and the Restart)
After finding out the game was discontinued, the players turned to other games or other tasks robbed their time. With other players out of the game we mostly went to the club to play board games or life took a turn as we went to university. Eventually that break seems not to be the death of the game, just a longer pause. The old shop where we bought the cards still exists and there still can be found customers who buy a booster or two every now and then. Returning there and playing a few games is just as thrilling as it was when we played it for the first time.
We (because I think I can speak on behalf of other Hungarian players) only wish to express our gratitude to Stuart and 7thsea.info for reviving the site and making tremendous effort of keeping alive this fantastic game!" - Edmond Hosszu 2015
Many thanks again to Eddy for contributing to the site and providing a very interesting article. Eddy has also submitted a fan card idea for the Jolly Roger set, which is well into development.
If you would like to contribute an article to the site please do not hesitate to reach out.