Kickstarter Alert: The 7th Guest: The Board Game

The 7th Guest Kickstarter, Image: Trilobyte Games
The 7th Guest Kickstarter, Image: Trilobyte Games

Recently, it has become increasingly commonplace for board game manufacturers to produce app and video game versions of their titles. Less common has been the opposite—especially when it comes to older games. Now, however, this too is changing with more and more classic video game titles being released as board games including Resident Evil, Doom, and Street Fighter. The latest to take this step is one of my all-time favorite video games, The 7th Guest.

If you never played The 7th Guest back when it was released in the early 1990s, then let me explain what you’ve been missing out on.

“Old Man Stauf built a house and filled it with his toys,
Six Guests were invited one night, their screams the only noise.
Blood inside the library, blood right up the hall,
Dripping down the attic stairs, ‘Hey Guests! Try not to fall…’.
Nobody came out that night, not one was ever seen,
But Old Man Stauf is waiting there, crazy, sick, and mean!”

In The 7th Guest board game, you play as Ego, a disembodied spirit trapped in the mansion of Henry Stauf, a vagrant turned toy maker who created wonderful toys he saw in his visions until the children who purchased them began dying. One night, Stauf invited six people to his home—none of whom were ever seen again. Your task is to uncover the secrets of Henry Stauf and his creepy mansion, investigating the rooms and solving the puzzles within in order to discover the identity of the seventh guest, someone else who was in the house that night. The original game was notoriously difficult and disturbing. It was also the first to incorporate live action video clips in its cut scenes—flashbacks of the night everyone vanished—giving the game a more cinematic experience than anything that had come before.

The 7th Guest Board Game, Image Trilobyte Games
The 7th Guest Board Game, Image Trilobyte Games

Components:

  • 106 Destination Cards
  • 300 Puzzle Cards (Additional 300 is stretch goal is reached)
  • 36 Mystery Spell Cards
  • Magic Die
  • Seven Character Miniatures

How to Play:
The 7th Guest board game takes the same premise as the original game and translates it to the tabletop, reproducing Stauf’s mansion as a board that must be explored in order to win the game. You can select how long a game you want to play by choosing which tour you wish to take. The Nickel Tour will send you to five rooms, the Dime Tour to ten, while the Grand Tour requires you to visit all eighteen.

Players take on the role of one of the six guests from the original game. Rolling the Magic Die assigns destination rooms to which players must travel and solve the puzzles within. The first player to finish their tour of the mansion, reach the “Little Room at the Top,” and solve the final puzzle there is the winner. There is a wide range of puzzles across the cards including logic puzzles, spatial problems, riddles, cryptic clues, and trivia—all of which span a wide range of difficulties. Over 300 puzzles are included with the base game, so there should be plenty of replay value—if the expansion goal is reached, an additional 300 will be included as well. If you get stuck, you can use up to three hints during some puzzles but, naturally, these come at a price. If you fail to solve the puzzle, the other guests can attempt to steal it from you and advance their own progress.

The game also includes a number of Mystery Spells, tricks played on the guests by Henry Stauf to hinder your progress through the game. Landing on a Mystery space could see you sent to a part of the house you don’t want to be, given extra rooms to unlock, or having a puzzle answer stolen away from you.

A Sample Puzzle Card Based on The Cake Puzzle in the Original Game, Image: Trilobyte Games
A Sample Puzzle Card Based on The Cake Puzzle in the Original Game, Image: Trilobyte Games

Verdict:
There is currently no prototype of The 7th Guest available, so my opinions come to you without having played the game myself. Personally, I am very excited at the prospect of playing a 7th Guest board game, but I fully acknowledge that I come to it with the benefit of a lot of nostalgia for the original.

The 7th Guest should translate very well to a board game format in terms of gameplay, so my primary concern is regarding the puzzles, as these will make or break the entire project. With well thought out puzzles, this promises to be a fantastic game, but should they be either too easy, too hard, or too repetitive, the game could easily fail to inspire. There is definitely going to be a Goldilocks requirement here. Hopefully, 300 puzzle cards will allow for plenty of replay value before repetition becomes a problem, but only time will tell and I find myself hoping the expansion goal is reached to double the number just in case.

I hope that The 7th Guest board game can match the creeping horror of the original game, even if it finds itself at a disadvantage through not having Stauf’s voice taunting you every time a mistake is made or screaming “COME BACK!” when you exit the game. I might need to make some recordings I can keep on my phone for just this purpose and play my copy of the soundtrack during the game to add to the ambience. If The 7th Guest board game can be even half as good as the original was, then we’re in for a treat.

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