Unlike the David Fincher movie of the same name, Seven! by the New Zealanders Julian Stewart and Jarn La Rooij is a peppy, witty, feel-good game that is a great way to kill time (unlike the rather gruesome killing throughout David Fincher’s movie). Julian and Jarn are going out on their own to produce and distribute their labor of love. It takes a lot of work and dedication to bring a game out of the circle of friends who can fit around your dining room table and offer it to the gaming masses—many of whom live on the other side of the world (in this case, quite literally). For that they have my respect.

But Major Fun is not here to traffic in respect!! We want the fun.

And Seven! impressed us by cracking open an old chestnut and making it fun. At it’s heart, Seven! is a variation of Go Fish! Yes, you read correctly. Go Fish: the joy of young children and the scourge of their parents. But Major Fun wouldn’t hang you out to dry on that line. Jarn and Julian have tweaked the inner workings a bit and the result is a game that provides a competitive test of a player’s memory as well as a bit of chaotic strategy.

There are seven suits. Each suit has seven cards. Players try to collect all seven cards of a suit in order to make a set. The player with the most sets at the end of the game is the winner. As I mentioned above, the Go Fish! mechanic drives much of the game. On your turn you may ask any other player if they have a SPECIFIC card. You may only ask for a card that fits one of the suits in your hand. In this way, your opponents will know what suits are present in your hand when it is their time to choose. If you choose successfully, you may ask again. If you ask for a card that your opponent does not have, you draw from the deck and your turn is over.

The memory and set collecting work very well but the game really comes alive because of the 17 special cards and 4 Jokers. 14 of the cards are beneficial to you. 3 hurt you. The Jokers allow you to refuse to answer someone’s question. The 3 cards that harm you must be played as soon as you receive them (either in the initial deal or when you draw at the end of your turn). The 14 beneficial cards may be played AT ANY TIME! Choosing the right time is a blast (especially when it wipes the I-know-what-you-have-and-I’m-going-to-take-it look off your opponent’s face). Beneficial cards allow you to do things like steal cards from other players or draw extra cards. The harmful cards make you read all your cards aloud or miss a turn or lose cards.

The illustrations are funny and the special cards increase the strategic choices for each player rather than just making the game more random. This isn’t just a wackier Go Fish! This is Seven! This is Major Fun!

3-5 players. Ages 7+  

by Julian Stewart and Jarn La Rooij. © 2010 Greenstone Games.

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