Review: Gen7 – brave new worlds

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It is the year 142 of new human history. It has been that many years since the pilgrimage of our multi-generational ship began. We retreated into the darkness of the universe. One mission in an effort to save our entire race. But our prospects are not good at all. No one on board remembers, what it was like on Earth. And none of us, who are already overseeing its journey with our regular tasks will not feel with his feet mainland of the New World.

It was just such a destiny, that as the designer of prepared for us. The game carries a superbly simple name. It came out at the end of and comes to Europe thanks to .

On the lid, players can see a number of possible scenes from their adventures, that are they likely to meet in the infinite universe. They will be responsible for command of the entire ship. It introduces a number of boards representing all available ship systems, including three areas – computer, power and biosphere. Many of the boards also serve as card slots. This is, where cards of file, schema, crossroads, critical situations and operative tasks are placed.

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Before the first part of the story, players seem to have a seemingly simple task – naming their spacecraft. Then each participant gets one portrait, but above all board with some barracks. This large card also determines color, from which players receive a set of dice, that represent their team. But only some of the dice can they keep, while other are set aside, either into hibernation or on robotic section. Using a pointer in his color, player marks starting zero on the merit scale. Individual players will also receive cards of their secret goals and draw one by one cards of operative tasks. Even they are kept in secret. Only one scheme card is placed publicly on their board and it will provide a special skill.

The individual games are always first introduced by a story from a book in a ring tie. This one will always present players with a task and will determine the number of rounds, that the entire episode will take to complete. At the same time, token will also mark any twists, that may occur in some rounds and force the player to read new sheets in the storybook.

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At the beginning of each round, players are faced with new problems. They reveals a trouble cards, whose number is given by the number of team participants (three or four), but also by the current round number. Then all the players roll a set of dice, they have at their disposal to gain new values. It is these dice, that can then be sent to various places in the ship, to get raw materials, get reinforcements for player’s team, draw new cards or create numerical combinations to deal with incoming problems.

And it could be now easily said, that we have now described everything from the general rules. Yes, players also try to fulfill their card operatives, that require a certain set of raw materials. However, only a member of the team, who visits a specific place on a plan, can spend them and thus complete it. For these achievements, players get their personal merit points.

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But merit is all about player’s selfish pursuit to get more officer stars, while teamwork is the main thing for real success. Taking your personal carreer in first place might mean problems, that something goes wrong – the overall condition of the ship area could worsen and thereby block some action boxes for upcoming rounds. When multiple damage is done to some part of the ship, it becomes damaged. But none of this results in a loss, just the need to mark the deteriorated state of the systems for the upcoming games. The team, according to level of their success, finds a side in the story book, which leads them to the next scenario.

Gen7 is really an interesting cooperative game with a pinch of benevolence, where everyone tries to play at least a little for his own good. The survival of mankind, of course, remains more important than a one-man’s career, but it is all about team communication and how they defend their use of the dice. That is why players have some cards hidden from eyes of others.

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Everyone has a number of dice, that can increase during the game and thus improve player’s chances for the last round. A large part of the game is therefore dependent on the results of dice roll and the number of pips, although revenue is managed only exceptionally directly by the specific value. Usually, players can use any die to make an action. On the other hand, cards of problems require a set of dice with some relation. At the same time, players must place them together in one moment and it represents ability of the team to stand against threat together.

But Gen7 is also a „crossroads“ game. This means, that whenever one of the commanders (eight sided die) is placed into action on the board, player must reveal a crossroad card at the end of the round. If a player has fulfilled its conditions with his commander, he has to choose between two variants and accept the consequences of his choice. His comrade will read him some short story along with two options. We already know this mechanic from the previous game of the publisher – Dead of Winter. This time, however, the cards do not have such a strong emotional impact as in a zombie game. But they give another layer and a sense of choice.

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Another crucial element of Gen7 is the story book. It offers not only a description of the story, that is a bit lighter, but also important tasks for players and above all different branches. Here, usually, teams are split according to success and failure, where the story breaks.

Seven related stories tell a simple science fiction story, that has a very interesting final. Players are discovering new rules, opening mysterious envelopes, whether smaller or larger, and so the game grows in front of them. What is more important for many players is, that the entire campaign is completely resettable to its original state. So you will not destroy anything and the contents of the envelopes can always be sorted out and rolled back.

You can save your story only on a sheet of paper, that is separate and where the whole crew leads their history. You can see information across the  matches, that can affect the following games. At the same time, however, players can stars in the game for successes (secret goals in hand or common goals) and buy small cards of improvement for their characters.

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The game will probably surprise you by the fact, that the rules description takes up only a mere two pages. There are other pages with a description of components and index of concepts. So, it would seem like the game is really simple. But learning and taking away all the little details and rules for each area (they always have specific dice placement conditions or even a second – optional – action) need to be read and remembered. Therefore, learning the game takes up some time and its not easy to digest it all.

Fortunately, after learning, the stories are quite dynamic. Even in the later stages, you can count on ninety minutes as players evaluate and plan their dice together. The ideal number of participants is four, when there is no limit anywhere. The game can be enjoyed in three (with some blocked spaces). And if you’re interested in Gen7 in pair, you can play it in two. Participants then simply alternate in the control of the third team member, although some elements are slightly impoverished. This is not an official option, but the game is still very playable, which we have tried ourselves.

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Replayability is solid, as players will go in slightly different way in the story, and they are also faced with different development. As a result, it may seem too shallow to send dice and perform common tasks with raw materials. But we felt the space craft quite well in terms of the atmosphere.

The box contains a huge number of different components and their quality is excellent. Unfortunately, some parts of rulebook did not avoid bugs, that you should seek to fix online rather before you start playing.

Biggest problem is that players do not feel any threat or danger, because no matter what they do, their journey through the universe will continue. And then there’s the price of the box. This is really high and discourages easily many players. The value of the box does truly match it, but it’s just the digits on the shelf in the store too high and we’re used to seeing it in huge games with miniatures. Its even higher, than Mechs vs. Minions, would you believe that?

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Gen7 lets players fight for the common goal on interstellar path of mankind, but it puts them in the head of aircraft, while trying to get slice of the pie for themselves, trying to make a carreer. Everybody has their team of staff available, but no day is quiet. The game prepares a team of traps, which they need to work with. Gen7 is therefore a good entertainment, which is spoiled by the price and impossibility of losing.

DesignerSteve Nix
ArtistDavid Auden Nash, Jen Santos
PublisherPlaid Hat Games, Asmodee, CrowD Games, Edge Entertainment
Year Published2018
# of Players3 - 4
User Suggested # of Players Best with 4 players
Recommended with 3, 4 players
(9 voters)
Playing Time90
Mfg Suggested Ages14 and up
User Suggested Ages10 and up
(3 voters)
Language DependenceExtensive use of text - massive conversion needed to be playable
(4 voters)
CategoryScience Fiction
MechanicCard Drafting, Dice Rolling, Modular Board, Team-Based Game, Variable Player Powers, Voting, Worker Placement
ExpansionGen7: The Breaking Point
FamilyMechanism: Campaign Games, Series: Crossroads (Plaid Hat Games)
Primary NameGen7: A Crossroads Game
Alternate NamesGen7: À la Croisée des Chemins, Gen7: Ein Spiel mit dem Schicksal, Gen7: Un juego de encrucijadas, Седьмое поколение

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Gen7 – brave new worlds
Final word
Gen7 is a sci-fi game, where we wake up aboard a spaceship headed towards distant worlds. And we're going to get a lot of it under command, but it's going to be very different. It's not just about working like a team, because each player also has his career goals and desires. They are secret and do not need to be completed. Gameplay comes with the constant discovery of new things, a developing story, even in the context of individual scenarios. The game is quite difficult with a lot of small details. Much more trouble is the absence of any Damocles' sword. Even if the players fail in their trying, they will walk through all the seven stories all the way to the end. But they will also get an adequate ending as the adventure branches in its development. Gen7 is a great game from the point of view of the atmosphere, but a number of people will feel, that it has a too high price tag for what it offers.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
a bunch of things to discover
story and crossroads elements
re-playability
enhancement between games
personal goals
a range of options every turn
degrading ship condition
Cons
the overall experience is ultimately only about meeting common tasks
no threat of losing
lots of little rules to learn
bugs in rules (FAQ needs to be read)
price
4
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