Review – Seven Swords from Gen-X Games
Design – Oscar Arevalo
Art – Victor Perez Corbella
The Magnificent Seven is one of my favourite films and its based on Kurosawa’s classic Seven Samurai which is great. So along comes Seven Swords from Gen-X Games, and I am SO interested. It was number one on my Essen wants list I have to say.
Seven Swords is a 2-player game with one player controlling the Seven Samurai and the other controlling the bandits trying to steal supplies and tools from a village.
The production quality of Seven Swords is very nice. AND you get a different village on each side of the game board – SCORE!
1 Reversible game board (with a different village on each side)
6 Six sided dice
7 Samurai cards
7 Samurai cardboard stands
7 Action area cards (Bandit player)
5 Samurai action tiles
7 Combat action tokens
7 Leadership action tokens
7 Movement action tokens
6 Palisade tokens
1 Turn counter
14 Bow tokens
8 Bandit tokens
4 Veteran bandit tokens
6 Archer bandit tokens
3 Veteran archer bandit tokens
6 Mounted bandit tokens
3 Veteran mounted bandit tokens
5 Supply tokens
5 Equipment Storehouse tokens
5 Villager’s houses tokens
1 Action counter (Bandit player)
The standard of the cardboard components to very good. The various shaped tokens – Houses, Supply tokens, store houses, etc are brill. You get a lot for your money I think. My sense is that this production is a labour of love. Gen-X Games are clearly fans of the Seven Samurai film.
The art is very nice and evocative, cards are good quality. Even the cardboard characters are nicely done although it would have been amazing to have pre-painted minis but of course this would have increased the price significantly.
Overall, a very nice production without over-producing on an FFG level.
The game board has a village on each side that has spaces that regulate movement and serve different purposes such as bandit deployment, villager houses, equipment storehouses, supply areas, Bows squares, village spaces and palisades squares. Its really cool and gives the sense of the village being fought over.
The game board also shows the cost that must be paid to bring bandits into play, an action track and a turn track. All compact but nicely done.
The character pieces show the Defence, Leadership, Movement and Combat skill. The character cards show the same plus area of actions per turn.
Action Area Cards show number of bandit actions on one side and the bandit deployment area on the other which is cool as the bandit player has knowledge of his deployment that he keeps hidden from the Samurai player to keep them guessing.
There are 5 different Samurai Action tiles with different actions that can be taken.
Bandit tokens provide bandits, mounted bandits and archers with veteran versions on the flip sides.
You get other tokens and bits which are clearly explained in the rules. There are a lot of bits but they all make sense and are used easily as you play through the game.
Essentially, The Samurai player has Seven Samurai who are trying to fend of bandits from attacking a village and making off with supplies. The bandits can attack from any direction and are trying to get through the defences. The rules give you instructions to set everything up. Its very straightforward.
The game lasts for 18 turns. (Except if all samurais are killed beforehand). Seems a lot doesn’t it? But the turns play quickly so its not a problem at all. Each turn has two phases: the bandit phase and the samurai phase.
Bandit player phase
The bandit player discards an action area card from his hand and he gets as many actions as indicated by the number of the discarded card. He places that card in a visible but apart area with the A side up so the samurai player cannot see the area of that card. Actions available are deploying bandits, movement, combat and taking control of a supply token.Bandits can attack Samurai, an equipment storehouse, a supply token, or a palisade. In the 6th, 11th, 15th and 18th turns the bandit player chooses and discards an Action Area card. To see if one of the Samurai is randomly killed. Seems unfair but actually this puts pressure on the Samurai player and also balances things between the 2 players.
Samurai player phase
At the beginning of the samurai player phase, he chooses a samurai action tile to get as many actions for his turn as the number on the tile, and turns it over. If the action tile has a combat, movement or leadership icon on it, the samurai player removes all the action tokens of that icon from his samurai cards and gets so many actions as the number on the tile as usual. Samurai actions include attack, movement, and using Leadership. Samurai’s use their leadership to get the villagers to attack bandits from the palisades or villager houses.
Its pretty much that straight forward. There are choices to make and there are limitations as to how much you can do.
End of the game and victory points
The game ends if all samurais are killed or at the end of the 18th turn. If all samurai are killed, even if it is before the end of the 18th turn, The winner is the bandit player. If at the end of the 18th turn, the samurai player has at least 1 samurai alive, players must count their victory points.
Overall, the game system works very well. It takes a bit of effort but once you are a couple of turns in, its pretty smooth.
Did I enjoy Seven Swords?
I LOVE SEVEN SWORDS!!!! There, I said it. This is easily the best game that I’ve played from Gen-X Games.
Oscar Arevalo has done an outstanding job of bringing the Seven Samurai film to life. The look and feel of the game really suits the theme. Nice touches like the different buildings and supply pieces, the abstracting of the villagers in combat, the upgrading of standard to veteran bandits, the palisades… I could go on, all come together very nicely. turns play fast, there is a good level of tension for both players and a number of choices in terms of your strategy. The art is lovely, the Samurai each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Very nice.
There is good replayability, especially as there are 2 villages to contest. The theme is very strong with this one without going into meticulous detail that would drag the game down. The pace is good, the theme is just enough to feel for the Samurai. Very much an American style design with Euro type components and relative simplicity. The rules are thorough enough and give you what you need in some detail but after a few turns you won’t have to keep looking up rules as the system works well. The combat works well, the choices as to how to gain victory points via combat and defending/stealing supplies is really cool. SEVEN SWORDS IS LOADS OF FUN!
Easily my choice for the game of Essen 2013! If you like Samurai, lots of interaction, American style games, this may very well be the game for you.
BRAVO! to Oscar Arevalo and Gen-X Games! You couldn’t do a companion game based on the Magnificent Seven could you?
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