Always. Be. Winning. That’s how it goes in Red7. You may not always be playing the same game at the start and the end of your turn, but whatever the active game is on the canvas, you’d better be winning it, or you’re out! For now, anyway. There’s always a chance to earn points next round! Let’s check this one out.
What Is It?
Hand Management – Each turn a player can do 1 of 4 things. 1) Play a card to their palette, 2) Discard a card to the canvas to change the game, 3) Play a card to their palette and then discard one to the canvas, or 4) Do nothing and accept defeat. The player must be winning whatever the active game is after any of the first 3 options in order to do them. Otherwise, they must do option 4 and lose the round. If they have no cards in hand to play, they are also out. Players want to choose their plays as carefully a they can in order to keep their options open
Set Collection – Depending on the active game, players may want to have sets of cards in their palette (i.e. cards of 1 number, 1 color, different colors, et cetera).
Player Elimination – Last one standing in a round wins/scores
Who Is It For?
- 2 to 4 Players – Scales well, good at any count
- Ages 10 & Up / Lighter Card Gamers – The basic game is very simple, good for a wide range of players. The advanced rules add a little strategy which might be harder for the younger end, but it just adds a bit more strategy and scoring
- Fans of light card games, fluctuating rules/win conditions, and set collection
- Fans of Fluxx who are looking for a twist on that
Advanced – Adds 2 rules: 1) Draw a card if you discard to the canvas and the number on the discarded card is higher than the number of cards in your palette. 2) The winner of the round scores all the cards in their palette that match the current game rule and play to 20/35/30 for 2/3/4 players. I definitely like this because of the opportunity to get more cards and keep your options open, and the scoring is much more fulfilling than just doing one round and being done.
Action Rules – Odd numbered cards have action icons on them which players can optionally use with basic or advanced games. You must perform the action if possible if the card is played to your palette (i.e. remove a card from your palette, draw a card, and more). It definitely adds a little bit of strategy for when/how to play certain cards, but it can also be frustrating if some players don’t get dealt any odd cards and can’t do the actions. An okay variant, but I probably wouldn’t play with it every time.
The game is definitely too short at only one round, so scoring makes it more enjoyable and helps you not feel as frustrated if you get dealt a bad hand. I really like the opportunity to draw more cards to keep you in the round longer, and just increase your options. I also think it’s interesting that the cards the winner scored with are removed from the rest of the game (as they go to a score pile) so players have to take the missing cards into consideration when going for certain strategies
- Love a good rainbow color scheme
- Quick turns & smooth gameplay
- Great reference cards
- Rules – Small, well-written ruleset, easy to learn and teach
- Small and portable; doesn’t need much table space
- Decent variability with the fluctuating win conditions, plus options for advanced rules/actions
- Cards are labeled with their color names, which is nice in case you have trouble telling the colors apart (indigo and violet are very close, in my opinion), plus it is also labeled with that color’s win condition which is convenient
- Advanced rules don’t add a ton of difficulty which is great
- Luck – A bad hand can lead to a bad time, especially in basic where you aren’t able to draw. If you often have to play to both your palette and canvas, you will run out of cards quickly. Scoring does help mitigate that luck a lot since there’s always another chance
- Player Elimination – Never great, but luckily rounds are not very long
- Can sometimes run a bit long, depending on how scoring goes
- Themeless and not much for art on the cards
The cards might not look like much, but the gameplay is pretty solid. Sure, you might get dealt a bad hand sometimes, but rounds are quick so it’s not like you will be out on turn 1 and still have to watch others play for an hour. Plus, if you’re playing with scoring (which I recommend) it is always anyone’s game; I have definitely seen some good comebacks.
Even with the obvious luck factors, there’s still a little room for strategy, which is nice to see in a simple card game. You always have to be winning, but sometimes you have multiple options to put yourself in that position, so it’s all about trying to figure out what is the worst option for your opponents that still keeps you ahead.
The basic game is good for younger/less experienced players, but once you know the game, the advanced play and action option really helps to keep the game fresh.
My Final Rating – 7/10
Designers -Carl Chudyk, Chris Cieslik
Artist – Alanna Cervenak
Publisher – Asmadi Games
MSRP – $10
*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review*
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