Let’s talk about another great game that comes in a small package. Red7 snuck up on me. Shuck was talking about this game one day last year and I checked it out, not really expecting anything great. I picked it up because it was inexpensive and the concept was unique and we tried it out. Brian and Shuck bought it as soon as we were done playing and it has become one of my favorites to play when my wife and I have a quiet evening after the kids go to bed. What’s so great about this unassuming little gem?
Designers: Carl Chudyk | Chris Cieslik
Playtime: 10 min
COMPONENTS AND MECHANICS
We’re looking at a little game of 49 cards. Each card is uniquely numbered 1 to 7 in the seven colors of the rainbow (ROY-G-BIV style). But where the rainbow represents the premise of the game, paint is the theme.
Each player starts with 7 cards in their hand plus 1 card on their palette. Your individual palette cards (the cards played in front of you) are considered for winning conditions each turn. The current winning condition is based on the last card discarded to the canvas (which is just a common discard pile in the middle of the table). Each colored suit displays 1 of the 7 winning conditions for the cards played in front of each player.
Now here’s the catch: players have to end their turn as the current winner or they are eliminated from the round. They can do this by adding a card to their palette to meet the winning condition, changing the rule of the winning condition using one of their cards, or both. And that’s basically it.
“It plays very well as a 2 player game and scales seamlessly with 3 and 4 players”
ART AND GRAPHIC DESIGN
As a card game, there is really only one consideration for a component review and that’s the cards themselves. Primarily my thoughts for Red7 concern their design (the quality is noteworthy only in that I expect card-only games to have great cards and this one meets those expectations). Being a game that is locked into the colors of the rainbow, there is very little choice in designing the card colors around colorblind needs. This is an extremely important aspect to game design that we must always consider. While I am not colorblind, it is still very difficult to tell the difference between the indigo and violet cards. But the designers fixed this issue with something brilliant and non-invasive. They printed the name of the color (along with a reminder of the color’s rule) right there on the card. Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest ones. The similarity of colors have never stopped me from enjoying the game as I’m always able to check.
Try this game if you like:
- 12 Days
- Sushi Go
- Adorable Pandaring
- Classics like Uno, Phase10, and Golf
This is another one of those elimination games where the rounds are quick and eliminations are not a detractor for enjoying the game. Soon after the first player is eliminated the round tends to wrap up fairly quickly. I also mentioned this game is a staple with just me and my wife; it plays very well as a 2 player game and scales seamlessly with 3 and 4 players. As a one-off game or an in-between filler in our multi-game night sessions, I’m a Red7 believer.
Alternatively, there are advanced rules that add more value to repeated plays. There are rules for drawing new cards to stay in the game longer (in the basic game, players do not draw) as well as using the special icons on the cards as abilities during play. We tend to stay away from the latter, but almost always play with the draw rules. Both the basic rules and the draw rules are featured in different rounds on our Microbrew video.
THOUGHTS FROM THE PUB
When I first discovered this game one of the things that intrigued me most was the many different ways to play it. Normally I don’t care too much for a bunch of variants but for Red7 they make sense. It’s such a fast, little filler that repeated plays can start to feel a bit samey. The variants add just a smidgen of complexity for each one you add but add so much depth at the same time.
What’s great about Red7 for me is setting up for the long game. It’s kind of like playing chess with rainbows, except it has simpler rules. I prefer games that are really easy to explain while also adding deep strategic value as well. There’s just so many options when it comes to your turn and choosing the right one is half the fun.
There are few downsides to this game though. Like I said before, it can become a little boring if you overplay it. It’s best played as a filler between games or as a quick game if you have a bit of free time. It also lends itself to analysis paralysis as players try to choose what they believe is the best option. While I enjoy the fact that the rules are in constant flux, it can lock up my planning once play gets back around to me. Lastly, and what I like the least about Red7, is that sometimes you’re just left to the mercy of the cards. Many times you are able to make due with what you have but when you get a hand that doesn’t work for you it can be frustrating. Fortunately, games are very short so that feeling doesn’t last long.
That said, this is a must have for your collection. Even with it’s shortcomings it’s a fun little game with great decision making that comes at a great price. It can be played with your gaming buddies or with your family. You should highly consider adding it to your shelf.