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Subject: Be bold, be bold… but not too bold! – Seventh Hero, a quick review rss

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Stéphane Desjardins
Canada
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Ever since the hit release of Love Letter, AEG has been publishing a wave of minimalistic games. My favorite ones have been Love Letter and Agent Hunter. The first for multiplayer, the second for two players. The general appeal of these games, beside their short and easy rules, and quick and addictive gameplay, is the mind games they allow between players. Bluff, intuition, plain simple luck and other kinds of mind read make these games great.

Seventh Hero falls in the same category. I would even call it an hybrid of Love Letter and Agent Hunter. Its design is ingenious, simple and very effective. It creates light and entertaining games, in around 15 minutes.

Like its counterparts, the components here are very limited: 7 different cards, 11 copies of each. That’s it. But that’s well enough to create all kinds of memorable moments.

Each card has a number (from 1 to 7), an effect (once per game per card, played as an interrupt), and a condition that determine which hero can be chosen as a “wandering hero” for the turn (an card that will go from player to player, until someone claims it or it returns to his owner).

Each player starts the game with 2 different heroes. The goal of the game is to assemble 6 of them in front of you. Sound simple? Not quite. It’s in fact very tricky, and takes careful planning, guts and some luck.

At the start of a player’s turn, he discards the top card of the deck, and reads to “wandering hero” section. For example, “an even number”, or “5 or higher”. He then takes a card from his hand, and passes it face down to the next player. If he can’t find a card in his hand to match the condition, he must take a card from his own heroes. And if still can’t, he must take a random card from the top of the deck. The next player then has the option the claim the card (flipping it face up), or pass it to the next player. If the card goes all the way around the table, and return to the first player, then he must accept it. When you claim a card, two things can happen: 1. You do not already have the hero in play: Yay! You keep the card. 2. You already have the hero in play: Uh oh! Both copies fight to the death, and you place both of them in your “eliminated heroes” pile (used for tie breaker at the end of the game). Then, at the end of your turn, you draw a card.

Heroes in play can help you with your choices to keep or pass the wandering heroes, and some can work against other players attempt to assemble their winning party. For example, the Oracle (5), can let you peak the wandering hero, while the Wyrm slayer (2) can discard the wandering hero altogether (both a defensive and offensive tool). Each hero needs to tap to use his ability, so unless they get killed and then replaced, these are all once per game abilities. So use them well.

Another way to help you decide is to ask for “extra hints”. The mechanic is simple: you simply show a card to the current player, and ask him if the wandering hero matches this card, and he answers by yes or no. You can perform this as many times as you want, as long as you don’t use the last card in your hand. The cards used are then discarded, but only revealed once the wandering hero has been revealed (so only you have this additional piece of information).

So this keeps going until someone has assembled 6 heroes in his party, or until the deck runs out. In this case, the player who has the most heroes wins (3 sets of tie breakers included).

And… that’s pretty much it! This games will make you very attentive to the decisions of all your opponents, will make you bluff your way to either getting rid of your opponents heroes, or getting the heroes you need, and will make you test your luck or more than one occasion. Fortune favor the bold, they say… well, fortune also like to be cruel and to torture you from time to time! You’ll soon find out things gets more and more complicated as your party grows, and that while getting your 3rd hero might be easy, getting the 6th one is quite a challenge.

Overall, a great game to add to a gamer’s collection!
9/10
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Hugh Wyeth
United Kingdom
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Great review! I got this last week and played 4 games of it this weekend. I played it with 3 other people who have all played Love letter before and we found it as a much more interesting alternative. It takes a couple of games to really understand the depth and the use of powers of each character. The terminology (Recruited vs wandering for face down vs face up) is important to keep in mind as people will sometimes try to use a power at the wrong time (use a power that targets a wandering hero after someone's just recruited a hero).
 
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Rob Gould
United Kingdom
Mansfield
Nottinghamshire
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hughwyeth wrote:
people will sometimes try to use a power at the wrong time


Agreed. I picked this up last week and played it for the first time at the weekend. Players need to be aware that they have to leave a bit of time before declaring if they are recruiting or passing.

But yeah, I love this game.
 
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Rob White
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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Thinking about picking this up at Gencon. How big is the box?
 
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Brian Current
United States
Carmel
IN - Indiana
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Are you gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie? - Outlaw Josey Wales
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Rob in Richmond wrote:
Thinking about picking this up at Gencon. How big is the box?

Rob, I am sure you are strong enough to pick it up.
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Mark Gerrits
Belgium
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Rob in Richmond wrote:
Thinking about picking this up at Gencon. How big is the box?

Way too big for what's inside. Twice the size of their small games line.
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Max Pfennighaus
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Croton-On-Hudson
New York
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Any thoughts on the best number of players?
 
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