Red7 by Asmadi Games

In keeping with my recent love of card games, last week I picked up today’s review Red7, a game designed by Carl Chudyk and Chris Cieslik of Asmadi Games.

Red7 is a 2-4 player card game that I would say is a little like a mash up of Fluxx and Uno. Everyone starts with a set number of cards in their hand, and they are trying to be the last one standing at the end of the round. The way you knock out other players is by playing cards from your hand that either satisfies the current rule AND makes you be winning the game, or you change the rule to make it so you are winning the game.

The packaging for Red7 is simple enough. Sleek box with a cardboard insert to hold the cards in place. This is definitely a game for sleeving, but if you want to keep the original box, you’re going to find that to be a little difficult. If you take the insert out, you could fit the cards sleeved by stack height, though it’s such a snug fit that you might bend the cards.

Players play until they reach 40, 35, or 30 points for a 2, 3, or 4 player game, respectively. Each game (I’d prefer to call them rounds, because the game actually ends when a player has reached the appropriate amount of points) begins with the same rule card, which is the red card in the photo. Everyone starts with a hand of seven cards kept secret, and one card played face up. Whoever has the lowest number begins the game.

The game begins with the starting player playing one card either in their play area, or onto the rule card, changing the win condition. The round starts with the rule that whoever has the highest numbered card played is the winner of the round. So if you’re opponents have played a card with a higher number than yours, you must either play a card that’s higher than your opponent’s, or change the rule so you are winning the game.

 If your opponent has played a seven, which is the highest number you can play, and you also have a seven but it’s of a higher valued color, you will be winning the round if you play it. The value of the colors are in order of the color spectrum, ROYGBIV. Highest color is red, and then orange, and then yellow, all the way to violet being the lowest color.

Each color has a rule written on the side of the card in case you want to use the card to change the win condition. For example, if you played a yellow card to change the win condition, then the new win condition would be whoever has the most cards of one color. If Player A has three green cards played, and Player B has three yellow cards played, then whoever has the highest numbered card in their set of three would be winning the round at that moment.

If both players are equal in their amount of cards of one color AND their highest numbered card in that set is the same, then Player B would be winning, because yellow is of higher value than green (remember, ROYGBIV).

Some of the other rules that change the win condition are most cards played in a row (indigo), most cards of different colors (blue), and most cards below the number 4 (violet).

I have played this game with two and four players, and no matter how many players there are, you still seem to have a good time. The game lasts a little longer with more players, stretching it out to about a 30 minute game, while two players can last about 15 minutes. Once you’ve played the game once over, you definitely get the hang of the rules. 

You can pick up Red7 from your FLGS for $12.99 MSRP.

VivaJava The Coffee Game: The Dice Game by Dice Hate Me Games

Two nights ago I finally got the chance to play this weirdly titled game, VivaJava The Coffee Game: The Dice Game, at Dark Side Comics and Games in Sarasota Florida. Before I picked up the game, I had not heard anything about it from friends. I chose the game because the theme of coffee caught my eye, and boy do I love coffee.

This game is produced by Dice Hate Me Games, and I had never played a game by this company before. It took me about two weeks to finally play this game because I needed a friend’s help in figuring out the rulebook. I thought it was me, but apparently it wasn’t, because two other friends read this book and found it extremely difficult to follow.

The insert of the box was really awkward and unnecessary, so I removed it from the box. It was a white folded piece of cardboard that was supposed to be used to separate the game pieces, but it just was in the way, and was also left with grease stains from the burlap bag, so I decided to just toss it.

The game comes with white dice, black dice, tokens for each player, score sheets, and a ton of different coasters that are used in the game, dependent upon if you play with multiple players or just yourself.

How the game works:

On your turn, you will roll five white dice.

Your goal is to roll the best sets of same colors. Each color has a value, and the better valued dice beat the lower values, and more dice of the same color beat fewer amounts of dice with the same color.

For example: Green is a higher valued color than red. If Player A rolls three green ones and Player B rolls three red ones, Player A’s roll will beat Player B’s.

If Player A rolls three green ones but Player B rolls four red ones, Player B’s roll will beat Player A’s roll.

Whoever rolls the best combination of dice will gain one point, and if they can hold the best combination until the beginning of their next turn, they will gain an additional three points.

If the player who had the best combination of dice (also known in the game as the “featured blend”) is able to hold the best featured blend until the beginning of their next turn, they gain the three points, then they must remove a die from their featured blend.

Each time they maintain the best featured blend, they must remove a die. Eventually they will not have the best blend, or they will reduce their blend to one die, at which point they will relinquish the title of the featured blend.

While this is the easiest way to gain points, if a player cannot role a combination of the same colored dice and ends up rolling each die with a different color, they will win the rainbow blend, gain a point, and will gain an additional two points if the hold the only rainbow blend until the beginning of their next turn. Unlike the featured blend, you don’t remove any dice from the rainbow blend each round, but it’s easier to lose the rainbow blend, because there are no rankings of dice rolls for the rainbow blend.

A player can only score points for one type of blend at a time. If a player rolls the dice and can’t satisfy either a rainbow blend of five different colors, or beat the current best featured blend, they may choose to use their dice to gain research points, which allow them to gain extra abilities, dependent upon the color of the dice they rolled.

When a player rolls dice, they may choose which color facing up they would like to research. If two more more dice are the same color, the player may research that color multiple times. When a color has been researched 2, 5, and lastly 8 times, they gain abilities. The abilities gained correspond with the color researched.

When a color has been researched twice, they gain the ability. When it’s been researched five times, they gain the ability twice, and when the color has been researched a final eighth time, they gain points equal to the number listed on the coaster for that researched color.

IE in the above photo of the “lite” coaster, Field Testing, the brown color, gives 3 points when completed. The yellow Improve Bean color gives 4 points.

Note the black color is not listed on the “lite” coaster. This is because if someone chooses to research a black color, instead of gaining an ability, they gain black dice equal to the amount of black beans rolled. These dice in the game are called Flavor dice.

Flavor dice can be used to add to dice rolls to attempt to roll the best featured blend, or they can be used to assist another player’s dice roll. While doing this allows your opponent to gain points, by assisting your opponent, you would also gain a point for every die you assisted with.

The game ends when one player has reached 21 points.

I enjoyed this game once we got into the swing of things. The instruction booklet really made it difficult to figure out the game, but once we got the game rolling (pun intended), I found the game to be really enjoyable.

 

The dice are very nice quality, and the coasters are also very nice. The score sheets are double-sided paper sheets you write on, so I plan on getting four of them laminated and using dry erase markers, because you will eventually run out of score sheets.

The game also has a single player version to it, where the game plays against you as an evil corporation. I have not played this version yet.

I would give this game a 7/10. I think if I had been taught the game by someone who had played it a few times already I would’ve enjoyed it more, but the difficult instructions made the game difficult to get into at first. It’s also very coffee themed, so if you’re not into the theme that much, you may have a lack of interest in this game.

If you like to roll dice and enjoy a game with a bit of strategy, a bit of chance, you will really enjoy this game. While the dice rolling is all chance, what you do with your dice is where the strategy comes in.

I will be bringing this game with me to International Table Top Day on April 11, 2015, at the Dark Side Comics and Games in Sarasota, Florida if you’re interested in learning to play this game and giving it a go.

Hope to see you there!

Just Desserts by Looney Labs

My local comic shop, the Dark Side Comics and Games in Sarasota Florida, received in the mail this week the demo copy of Just Desserts by Looney Labs.

Because Looney Labs seems to produce a lot of the same game with slight variations (IE all the Fluxx versions, Seven Dragons, etc.), I expected this game to be really similar to many of their other games. I was happy to learn that this game has a different style of game play.

The box is a standard sized small box with a cardboard insert to hold the entirety of the cards.

It’s hard to tell, but the instruction insert on the left of the photo is larger than the box size, so it came a little crumpled and ripped. I don’t know if it was packaged this way because it’s a demo copy, but if not, I don’t know why they wouldn’t just fold the insert to fit in the box properly and prevent destruction to it.

Anyway, the game begins with two decks, one for desserts and one for guests.

All players start with a hand of three dessert cards, and there are three starting guests out on the table. The dessert cards have icons on them, indicating what type of cravings they will satisfy.

IE the “ice cream cake” card satisfies the “ice cream” craving and the “cake” craving.

The guest cards will also have those same types of icons on them, indicating what cravings they desire to satisfy in order to be won.

 

IE the “Boston Boy” card is craving cake, pudding, pie, and chocolate icon cards.

On a player’s turn, the first draw a dessert card from the dessert deck, flip a guest card face up on the table, and then do one of the following three actions: Win over up to two guests, draw one more dessert card, or discard their hand of dessert cards and draw up to the same amount as discarded.

If a player chooses to win over a guest, they must play as many cards as they’d like to satisfy the guest’s craving, avoiding disliked flavors.

 For the “Lumberjack” guest, these two cards, while having additional flavors, satisfy the cravings of ice cream and cookie. However, if you notice on the “Lumberjack” card, she has a craving of Ice Cream Cone. If a player has this dessert card and can match it to the guest’s craving, they will also get to draw a card in addition to winning a guest.

The game ends when one player has either won three guests of the same color, or five guests of all different colors.

This is a light game, plays 2-5 players, and can play anywhere between 10-40 minutes, depending upon how many players there are.

This game is scheduled to be released April 10, 2015.

This demo copy will be available at the Dark Side Comics and Games to try out before the release date, and you can come learn to play it on April 11 at the Dark Side for the event International Table Top Day.

Friday the 13th by Iello

If you’re familiar with Parade or Coloretto, you’ll figure out this game quickly. Friday the 13th is an adorable game where everyone starts out with about an equal hand of four types of cards: walking under a ladder, breaking a mirror, seeing a black cat, or Friday the 13th. There are equal number amounts of the first three types of cards, and a handful of Friday the 13th cards, all shuffled out to everyone. The first player plays a card of any of those types, and then it goes to the next player. The players can only have three piles of cards, one of each main type (not Friday the 13th). When a pile reaches a total of 13th points or higher, whichever player caused this pile to go over must take all the cards from the pile, and they will count negatively against this player at the end of the round. You play until you have no more cards. Friday the 13th cards can be played in any pile, but MUST NOT HAVE A PILE OF THEIR OWN. For some reason Iello was hella adamant about this rule, and I quote:

“Each round begins with no card on the table. Friday the 13th cards may be played in any pile. There is no Friday the 13th pile: Do not start a fourth pile for these cards.”

Alright, I got it, Iello. Anyway, you play three rounds of this, and then whoever *basically*  grabbed the fewest amount of cards wins. It’s a little more complicated than that, but the scoring isn’t difficult. My friends and I really enjoyed this game, we played a good two or three rounds of it (we didn’t keep score, that was my fault, sorry :3 ), and had a good time.

Overall
I’ve got to give Friday the 13th a good 8/10. I hope they come out with expansions, eventually, with variations of bad omens, or if they did variation games that are bad omens from different cultures and countries. Cute game, I would recommend to beginners and advanced board gamers.