Nicely, one step at a time. Every new floor gives me a better view. But that is not the only reward. Step by step the swamp level is rising and I can not stop to search for new ways to go up. Only like this can I finally escape and remain above the bubbling surface as long as possible. Maybe the rescue is on its way already.
Fear of being swallowed by everhungry swamp is waiting for all players, who will be interested in new game called 7 Steps. It was created by an unconventional duo Michael Kiesling (Abluxxen, Nauticus) and Reinhard Staupe (Qwixx). Their joint work was published by KOSMOS company. It rolled out of the printer in 2014 and illustrator was not needed for this one.
Everything in this entertainment will be ruled by differently colored circles. It is already clear, when we are looking at their pictures on otherwise white box, but also a moment later, when we look inside the box. But it is not immediately apparent, because everything is covered with a stack of cardboard sheets. These include components for player screens and number of smaller and larger tokens for noting higher score or special consolation prizes.
There is also one board for tracking points and mainly seven sided beehives, which combined together create a variegated game board. But the most important are wooden round stones – twenty copies in each of seven available colors. Along with these discs, also small cubes are hidden in a plastic bag.
At the beginning of the game, players choose one color and get one cube to mark it, which is immediately placed on the start of scoring track. And, of course, each of the participants must place a screen in front of him, behind which can right now be hidden seven stones randomly drawn from a canvas bag. In the middle of the table, it is necessary to create a foundation for the entire game – a game board. Players may choose side (one with colors spread and one with them being grouped), but no matter of their choice, board will always look a little different. Besides the board is created a supply in form of two large stacks of advantage tiles.
After that, players can alternate on turn. Each such turn can have different length, but always begins by placing one stones on field of the same color. And stairs must always start at the lowest level. But player may continue to place other stones, but new one must always be on neighbouring place with the previous (and also meet requirement of placing same color as the field). It must also be on the same level or one higher, than previous one.
Player can get rid of several stones in one turn, as he gradually creates a string of played colors. Only, when he has nothing else to play or does not want to continue, he receives in respect of all of his accomplishments reward in form of points. Each stone will bring its former owner as many points as the level, which it is located on. The one touching the board is for one point and with each ascending floor, number goes by one up.
End of turn means only, that player may discard any number of stones back into the bag and draw back to seven. But there is still an important moment in the event, that he did not score at least seven points during his turn. He can look forward to compensation in the form of a bonus tile. Game continues until the drawing bag is empty. All participants can check their points score and the one, who climbed the most points is the winner.
7 Steps is an abstract positional game, in which it turns mainly around the ability to create combos of your current stones. It’s not about finding the right place for it, but instead about optimal position for starting point of your chain. Series must always go from scratch up. Only in the event, that all fields are filled by one color, starting spot may be a bit higher.
When players manage to build a tower with seven floors, it is time to dismantle it and divide its stones equally between other pyramids. This means, that number of stones in the game does not change, but their height is slowly, but steadily increasing, as well as theoretical point gains.
To do this, players need to possess the right rocks. They must get at least a little bit lucky to get correct colors during the draw. Much more important, however, is their perception and ability to estimate, where to start building. Additionally, if you get bad colors, you can replace them at the end of each round for free. And that is further enhanced of control over the game development and we are really happy to see it.
Great influence on the game feeling has random color distribution on the tiles. One side is always uniform, having the same shade, giving more emphasis to luck. On the other side, colors are properly shuffled, so that each box has a multicolored neighbors and thus gives players a better chance to create combos. A simpler version is suitable for beginners, who will have a better overview of the game and it gradually develops nicely.
Two to four opponents can participate in this game. And because it is an abstract game, there is no significant influence on the experience and chance in different numbers. The only true difference is waiting between turns, because each round can stretch, when players create proper combos. The game requires a good overview and logic, making it suitable only for children older, than ten years.
Game is beautifully colored, but without any true graphics. Wooden tokens are good for constant moving and generally everything works exactly as it should. Even the screens seamlessly fold and opponents can not see, what stones theirs rivals have. We can thoroughly evaluate processing positively, including rules and examples in them.
7 Steps is a game, from which we originally did not expect too much. Boxes and content indicate, that it will probably be just another dry abstract game. Fortunately, that’s not quite true, because the need to cleverly find a position for your stones and be able to tie them into a long rising snake, demand for the proper insight and planning, makes it interesting. And these things will make you happy as well, if you try to make 7 Steps.
7 Steps is a smart and thoughtful game, in which players must combine colored stones into long combos. Their main goal is to make these counters rise floor by floor. Only like this can they maximize their profit. These combos can also stretch the individual turns, which then let the other players wait. Playing will be surprised, how small is influence of luck on the overal gameplay. 7 Steps is a great game for combo lovers.