Seven! Game Review

The Basics:

  • For ages 7 and up
  • For 3 to 5 players
  • About 20 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Active Listening & Communication
  • Reading
  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Emotional Coping Skills
  • Memorization
  • Hand/Resource Management
  • Bluffing and Misdirection

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Moderate
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • None

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek rejected!
  • Parent Geek rejected!
  • Child Geek rejected!

Overview

Seven! is a set collecting game where the players race to collect as many of the 7 sets of 7 cards as possible. The players must listen to the other players carefully to deduce what cards they have so they can snatch them up and claim them as their own. But wit is not the only weapon you must use in this game. Included are special cards that, if played right, will keep the game going in your favor. Beware the bad cards and the Joker, as these can put the brakes on your winning streak and provide an opportunity for your opponents to take the lead!  Table talk is encouraged and a relevant game mechanic as it serves to misdirect and stay one step ahead of the competition.

Seven! is comprised of 70 cards, 49 of which are 7 sets of 7 cards. There are also 17 special cards and 4 Joker cards that complete the total number. The cards have humorous illustration and there is much “tongue-and-cheek” throughout the game. The cards are made of your typical card stock and will be as durable as your standard deck of cards.

The 7 sets are themed, colored differently than the other cards, and have a special icon that will make it very easy to quickly review your hand to determine how many of what set you currently have.The seven themes are Robber, Cake, House, Car, Body, Gross, and Rich.  The themes have no impact on the game play itself and are not worth anymore or any less than the other sets. However, in the case of a tie, the player with the Rich set breaks any ties.

The special cards come in two different types. These are Good and Bad. Good special cards allow you to interact with another player and bend the rules in a way that is not made available to anyone else at the table. Good special cards stay in the player’s hand until such time they feel it is right to play them. Bad special cards, on the other hand, are immediately played when they are drawn and the consequences suffered. An example of a good special card is “Queen’s Permission” which allows a player to ask up to 3 questions with negative answers before their turn ends. An example of a bad special card is “Prison” which forces the player to lose their turn.

The Joker card stays in the player’s hand and is played as a proxy for another card being asked for. Jokers are a double-edged sword as they allow the player to avoid loosing cards but playing it informs all the other players at the table that they have at least 1 card of the set being asked for. In the end, it buys the player only a little bit of time, but nothing more.

Game Set Up

To set up the game, shuffle the deck and deal each player 10 cards face-down. The players may look at their cards and should do all they can to avoid showing them to their opponents. The remaining cards go in the middle of the playing area, face-down, and become the draw pile.

Note: If a player is dealt bad special cards as part of their initial hand, they must play these immediately, even if it isn’t their turn.

You are now ready to play the Seven!

Playing the Game

The game starts with the player directly to the left of the dealer and continues in a clockwise direction until the game’s victory condition is met.

On a player’s turn, they may ask any of their opponent’s for a specific card from a specific set. The player must have at least one card from the set being asked for to be allowed to ask for it. There are three possible outcomes.

  • If the opponent has that card, they must give it to the player immediately. The player may now go again, but only if they did not complete a set, asking the same or another opponent for a specific card as long as they have at least one card from the set being asked for. If they completed a set, the set is placed in front of them and their turn is over.  The player now draws one card from the draw pile and the player to their left now goes.
  • If the opponent does not have the card, the player’s turn immediately ends.  The player now draws one card from the draw pile and the player to their left now goes.
  • If the opponent plays a Joker, the player’s turn immediately ends. The Joker is placed in front of the opponent who played it and the player’s turn ends. The player now draws one card from the draw pile and the player to their left now goes.

Good special cards can be played at anytime during the player’s turn. Simply place the good special card out in front and whatever action is described is taken. Playing a good special card does not end the player’s turn.

Bad special cards might be drawn when the player ends their turn. If the player does draw a bad special card, place the card immediately out in front like you would with a good special card and whatever action is described is taken. This happens before the next player takes their turn and only after the player draws a card from the draw pile at the end of their turn.

Note: The only exception to this rule is if the player was dealt bad special cards as part of their initial hand. In which case, these bad special cards are played immediately before the game starts.

In the event that a player has no cards in their hand, they can immediately take 3 cards from the draw pile. In the event that there are no more cards left in the draw pile, play continues but without the last action of drawing a card.

Winning the Game

As soon as the last set of 7 is collected and placed in front of the player who collected it, the game ends. The winner is the player who has the most sets. The player with the Rich set breaks any ties.

Prediction

Seven! appears to be very reminiscent of Go Fish. My little geeks liked playing Go Fish a great deal but have since put it aside for more complicated and challenging games. Seven! adds special cards that allow you to mess with other players and bend the rules. This usually appeals to my little geeks as they enjoy that level of player interaction (but mostly only when it goes in their favor).

This game has a great deal of reading in it and will be too complicated for my 4-year-old to play solo. As such, I thought he’d like to play shotgun with me but he opted to avoid the game altogether to play a game where he could play as a “player” versus a “partner”. I was strangely proud by this decision.

After explaining the rules, demoing some of the special cards, making certain he understood how to use the Joker and the bad special cards, I shuffled the deck and dealt the 10 cards for a three player game. While doing so, I asked my son his thoughts on Seven! so far.

“So, this is Go Fish but we get to attack each other? Cool!” ~ Liam (age 7)

Funny how everyone keeps comparing Seven! to Go Fish. I’m afraid this game will be forever slightly eclipsed by its much lighter and easier predecessor. But this could also work to its advantage as Go Fish has been played and loved by many little geeks for generations! Time will tell, of course, but I can’t help but think that Seven! already has one foot in the door because it is already familiar and easy to pick up and play. Of course, this proverbial foot could be slammed by said door if Go Fish is perceived as a bad game.

For the Parent and Gamer Geeks though, I’m thinking this won’t be a big hit. Way too light and, again, reminiscent of Go Fish. I don’t know any parents or gamer geeks who would willing sit down at a table with their peers to play a kids game.

But this is all speculation and predictions based on past experiences and observations that are somewhat based on assumptions. In other words, hardly legit facts. Let’s play the game and see what comes of it.

Final Word

Let’s put all our cards on the table here, so to speak. Seven! is Go Fish. To suggest otherwise is silly. All the Go Fish mechanics are here as is the game play. What Seven! does differently is themeing the sets that need to be collected and adding a light level of more complex player interaction. The complexity comes from having to ask for specific cards, not just asking players for card sets. The good and bad special cards throw some serious curves in the game if played correctly or showing up at the wrong time. This makes the game slightly more chaotic but also provides control back to the player. The end result is a more complicated game without really being all that more complicated.

My oldest little geek enjoyed it and played it through, but didn’t think it was all that entertaining. The game lasted a bit too long and the good special cards didn’t make as big an impact on his game experience. As for me, I found the game to be slightly taxing. In Go Fish, you ask for numbers of which there are only four in total per set. This makes the game go by at a pretty fast clip. Seven! takes longer because there are more cards to choose from and you have to ask for them specifically. This would be the equivalent of asking “do you have the 6 of Diamonds” in Go Fish. It works, but adds an additional conditional statement that must be met before the card is awarded. Not a bad thing whatsoever, but it does add time to the game and possible frustration.

This is also one of those games that are going to kick you in the emotional teeth. It doesn’t matter how long or how hard you have been trying to complete a set, all it takes is one person to ask for a specific card and all your hard work is for not. My little geek felt this and became exceedingly frustrated. Here is another fork in the road between Go Fish and Seven! In Go Fish, the speed of the game is matched only by the ease of asking for cards. The game is designed to ramp up and become easier to ask for cards as more and more cards are added to the mix. The same can be said for Seven!, but there is a great deal more work needed by the players to collect the sets. Therefore, when you lose a solid hold of a set that is soon to be completed, you feel the disappointment much more acutely then you would in Go Fish. For some, this is excellent and makes the game more visceral and meaningful. For others, it is simply an announce and troublesome.

I was firmly in the middle between the two.

He enjoyed it, but it became clear he was losing interest as the game went on...

Gamer Geeks are going to be terribly underwhelmed by Seven! The game is way too close to Go Fish with lack of true game depth, strategy, and tactics to make it enjoyable. The elitists will smell Seven! a mile away and avoid it at all costs. The more open-minded and lighter Gamer Geeks, however, will identify this game for exactly what it is: a light, party-ish card game that would be a good filler or before/after game. It is simple and very easy to pick up and play. There are elements of the game that will be enjoyed from a social aspect, but a gamer’s game Seven! is not.

Parent Geeks will enjoy playing this game with their little geeks or with non-gamers, and that’s about it. Non-gamers will have no problem picking this up and playing as well as any other player in no time. This is perhaps one of the real strengths of Seven! that also is a weakness. Seven! is not a hard game. It is very easy and accessible. This makes it easy to teach and even easier to play, but it lacks substance that will make it stay at the table, hearts, and minds of the players for long. As an occasional game, Seven! will be well received by the Parent Geeks, but there are more complicated, deeper, and challenging games that are just as light available to them that will get more of the love.

Child Geeks will enjoy the game as much as they currently enjoy Go Fish. My little geek liked it, but only to a point. In fact, his level of endorsement was just shy of approval. Believe me, I wrestled with this as my son can be fickle and his mood can shift with the breeze. I talked to him at different times in hopes of catching him in a different mind-set so he could provide me with more insight, but he never once wavered on his opinion. To that end, I can only come the conclusion that the Seven! will be enjoyed as frequently as it will be enjoyed by the Parent Geeks and shares the same level of endorsement.

So who is Seven! good for? All three of our groups, Gamer, Parent, and Child Geek have given this game a pass. But this game does have value. I can see it in the game play and in the passion the game designers put into it. I believe the perfect group for this game is one we often times forget or simply choose not to include. I speak of the high school students, college students, and young 20 somethings who are not yet parents and are not big game players. I don’t even know how to classify this group other than to say “other”, but even that doesn’t do it justice. But within this group, Seven! was a tremendous success.

I also believe this would be a great camping game or just a simple card game you have access to whenever you want to scratch that light card game itch. This is not a terribly difficult game with tremendous depth and demanding game play, but to be fair, it never claimed to be. Take Seven! for what it is and you won’t be disappointed. Just don’t sit down at the game table before playing and expect to be blown away. Bringing such gross assumption will only disappoint you and soil a fun time even before you start.

Seven! is a game you are either going to love, hate, or simply not think about one way or the other. This is no different from anything else in your life and I encourage you to give it a try to find out for yourself if this is the game for you. Like I always tell my little geeks, try it before you make up your mind. Be open to the possibility that this might be the greatest game in the world or the very next thing on your garage sale bargain table. You can learn more about Seven! by visiting the publisher’s web site.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

 

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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