Kickstarter Tabletop Alert: ‘Seven7s’

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Seven7s

I mentioned Seven7s in my tabletop roundup earlier this week, but I wanted to take a closer look now that I’ve gotten a chance to play it. There’s only a day left in the Kickstarter campaign, so if you’re interested, you’ll need to act fast!

At a glance: Seven7s is for 2 to 4 players, ages 7 and up (of course), and takes about 20 minutes to play. The rules for the game are fairly simple but the strategy isn’t obvious. It’s on Kickstarter now, for a pledge level of $9 plus shipping. It’s designed by Jason Tagmire of Pixel Lincoln, Maximum Throwdown, and Storyteller Cards.

New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.

Components:

Very simple: 49 cards + 4 reference cards. There are 7 “suits,” each representing a famous set of sevens–Deadly Sins, Seas, Wonders, and so on. Each suit is numbered from 1 to 7, with one card of each color in the rainbow. (Note: each of the numbers is colored differently across the suits, so there are no two 4s of the same color.)

The copy I played with is a print-on-demand prototype, so it shows the final artwork but not the final component quality. However, it’s being published by Eagle and Gryphon Games as part of their small box “E-G-G” series, so it’ll be comparable to Eggs & Empires and comes in the same size box. (Eagle & Gryphon Games is cheating a little by making this #7 in the series and filling in a few numbers later…)

The artwork, by Fabrice Weiss, is nicely done. There are seven different portrait-style illustrations, one for each suit, done in the same style as on the cover illustration. The cards are easy to read, have the color names also printed on the left side of the card to assist color blind players or in low-light situations, and the card ability at the bottom.

How to Play

You can read the rules here, or watch the How to Play video on the Kickstarter page.

The goal of the game is to have the highest total card value when the game ends–but I’ll explain how that works.

To begin, shuffle the whole deck, deal 3 cards to each player, and flip over the top card of the deck. You’ll want to leave space on the table for up to 7 columns of cards, one per suit.

Here’s the quick summary: On your turn, you play one card from your hand into its appropriate column (by suit), take the action described on that card, and then draw back up to 3 cards. As soon as somebody plays the 7th card in a column, the game ends. (This last card does not trigger an ability.) Then, everyone adds up the values of the cards in their hands, and the highest number wins. (The last card played still counts as part of that player’s hand.)

Seven7s tableau
Here’s what the table might look like during a game.

Of course, that would be sort of boring if not for the powers that change things up. Each suit has its own power, and there are some that directly affect scoring:

  1. Ages of Man: Each card played in the Ages of Man column prevents a high card from scoring. Details below. Ages of Man cards can also be played in any other column simply to advance that column, without taking its effect.
  2. Color: The most recent Color card played in this column determines the Wild color. Wild cards may be played in any column, triggering the appropriate effect. Also, Wild cards in hand at the end of the game are worth the highest valid score.
  3. Deadly Sins: Take a card at random from an opponent’s hand and put it into its appropriate column. That player draws a card.
  4. Holy Virtues: Draw 1 card from the deck, then play 1 card.
  5. Lucky Gods: Name a color or number, and then reveal the top card of the deck. If it matches your guess, place that card in front of you–it’s worth 2 points at the end of the game.
  6. Seas: Take the top card (most recent) from any column and put it into your hand.
  7. Wonders: Peek at any combination of 3 cards from opponents’ hands or the top of the deck. Cards from the deck may be placed back in any order.

For each card played in the Ages of Man column, the highest score becomes invalid. For example, if there are three cards there, then 5s, 6s, and 7s are all worth nothing. The Wild color at the end of the game is still worth whatever the maximum valid score is. So if you had a blue 6 and blue was wild, but 5s, 6s, and 7s were all worth nothing, then your blue 6 is now worth 4 points.

Seven7s
Another game. This time, nobody played any Lucky Gods. The 1 Seas card is turned sideways to indicate it was the card that ended the game. (Prototype shown) Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The Verdict

I’ve only gotten to play Seven7s a few times so far because I didn’t get the prototype early enough, but it’s enough to tell that it’s a very cool game. It can feel quite random at first, but after the first couple plays you start realizing how certain cards can work together. For instance, you could use a Wonders card to peek at the top 3 cards of the deck, then put them in order so that you’ll be able to use a Lucky Gods later to “guess” the top card.

I like that you have some amount of control over how soon the game ends–if you think you’re ahead you can try to use the Ages of Man cards to fill up a column. On the other hand, if you want to buy more time, you can try to use the Seas card to pick up cards from the table. I also like the way that you have to decide which cards you’re going to try to keep. It’s pretty rare that a 7 will score, particularly if your opponents know you have one in your hand–they’ll certainly play an Ages of Man card to negate it. But if you have a game where the Ages of Man column has a lot of cards in it, it will be a very low-scoring game and you may need some Lucky Gods to get anything at all.

All in all, it’s a really nicely designed game. It looks sharp, plays quickly, and will be a nice addition to the E-G-G Series and my Dice Hate Me Games “Rabbit” series–small games that pack a big punch. The game is already funded, so it’s guaranteed to get printed. If you missed out on previous E-G-G Series games, you can pick them up here, too, either a la carte or in a bundle.

For more information, visit the Seven7s Kickstarter page. But be quick! It ends tomorrow.

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