So, apparently some prophecy has come true, and a big baddie has awoken to reign in terror over the free peoples of the land. Fortunately for those free peoples, the prophecy also tells of seven heroes who will join together to defeat this bad guy!
Today we're looking at Seventh Hero, from Alderac Entertainment Group and designer Kuro. Seventh Hero is a card game of set-collection, bluffing, and risk-management for 3-5 players. Players are attempting to gather six of the seven heroes in the game in order to win--the player becomes the seventh hero.
Should you jump in and save the world? Or is being ruled by some ancient evil not that bad? Let's jump in and find out!
- Cards! There are 77 cards in the deck, 11 copies of 7 different heroes
- Reference Cards - There are 5 included to help you know special powers, turn order, etc.
A quick word on the cards, as I just said, there are 7 different hero cards in the deck. Each one has a number, a name and a special ability on the top of the card. On the bottom of the card there is what is called a "Quest Requirement"... I'll explain that is just a minute!
Each player is dealt 2 cards face-up in front of them--this is their party--and then 5 cards that create their starting hand. The rest of the cards are placed in the center of the table to create a draw pile.
Each turn a player is required to send a hero from their hand on a quest. At the beginning of the turn the current player turns a card over from the draw pile into the discard pile and reads the the Quest Requirement. The Quest Requirement will have different requirements for the hero's number who will go on the quest. For instance, "3 or lower," or "Number of players or higher," or "odd number" or.. well you get it.
The current player then selects a hero from their hand that matches the criteria of the Quest Requirement, and then sends said hero "wandering." This is done by placing the hero face down--making sure that no one sees what it is--and passing it to the player on the left, that player has the option to employ the hero, or let it continue wandering to the next player who then has the same options to employ or keep it movin'...
If a player chooses to employ the wandering hero, they take the card and turn it face up. If the hero does NOT match a hero in their party, it's placed in their party and gets them one card closer to victory. If it DOES match a card they already have in their party, then it AND the card in their party are discarded. If all players pass on employing a card and it gets back to the current player, the current player MUST employ the card--taking the penalty if they already have it in their party.
Now, you may remember that I said something about special abilities on the top of the cards. Well, you can use the ability of any heroes that are in your party at any time, but you can only use a hero's power once per game. When you use the ability you turn the card sideways. If you lose a hero during the game after you've used its ability, and then regain the hero later on, you can use that ability again.
The End Game
The game ends immediately when a player employs their sixth card into their party.
Seventh Hero is a filler game that has the backstory of a big box board game. It's a nice touch that AEG wrapped lore and history for each of the heroes into this fast-playing little card game. If you're not into it, it doesn't break the game if you don't read it. But, like I said, it's a nice extra step that most publishers wouldn't have taken...
It seems obligatory for a card game, but the components are really nicely made--even if the box is about 4.5 times bigger than it needs to be for essentially an oversized deck of cards. The artwork is also top-notch. The Oracle is a shade on the creepy side with her weird antler-like thingies, but there are really no overtly dark or over-sexualized images in the set. Even the Shield Maiden with her golden breastplate is pretty proportionately drawn. Kudos!
I've played Seventh Hero with a pretty wide variety of players, from my kids, to gamers, to casual players, and it plays well with pretty much every group. Younger players might not get the bluffing aspect of the game play as well as older players, but my boys both had fun with it and still ask to play!
I've played with 3, 4, and 5 players, and it's my recommendation that you never play with 3 players. The game is short and quick, which is great for a filler game, but with 3 players it's nearly impossible to ever catch up to someone who has the lead, and it becomes way easy to read someone's bluff. With 4 or 5 players the game becomes very intriguing and creates a much more interesting experience. There are more cards in play, and more variables to track, and the game plays much more evenly with more players, in my opinion.
The special abilities are nicely balanced and add a nice amount of strategy to the game. They also keep all players engaged throughout the game. Certain abilities become important and more valuable at different times in the game--some are worth using at the beginning, while others become vital toward the end. Using them properly can swing the game just enough to keep you in it.
Seventh Hero is a very light-weight filler with just enough bluffing and intrigue to make the decisions interesting and not bog down gameplay. I love that there's practically no downtime, and several distinct aspects to the game that mesh seamlessly. Seventh Hero is a unique hybrid of set-collection, bluffing, and deduction that plays fast and has an even faster learning curve. It plays well with any group, but gamers will get the most out of the strategies, and timing of the abilities, as long as there are more than 3 players.
Title - Seventh Hero
Designer - Kuro
Publisher - Alderac Entertainment Group
Number of players - 3-5
Ages - 14 & uo (But seriously my 6 and 8 year olds did pretty well with this one, but I definitely glazed over the theme.)
Play time - 30 Min. -I found it to be a little shorter on average.
Category/Genre - Set Collection, Bluffing.
- Great artwork.
- Deep thematic elements.
- Little to no downtime.
- Plays quickly.
- Great intro to bluffing games.
- Unbalanced with 3 players.
- Reading the backstory might take longer than learning the game.
- Family? Yes, it's light enough for most to learn and enjoy.
- Youth Group? Maybe! Not a large group though.
- Gamers? Yes. It's a lightweight multifaceted filler!
- Nongamers? Yes! There might be some lost depth, but it's very learnable.
* Jeremiah: 7.7
A fun filler with litte to no downtime, a quick learning curve and plenty of decisions, bluffing, and deduction, it hits on all cylinders.
We'd like to thank AEG for providing Jeremiah with a review copy of Seventh Hero. This in no way influenced his opinion of the game!