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In Gen7, you are part of the crew of a multigenerational colony ship en route to a distant planet. Generations have already lived and died on the ship, and it will take generations more before the ship reaches its destination. But these things never go that smoothly. There have been strange malfunctions on the ship and something is clearly awry...

Gen7 is a fully co-operative 3 or 4 player game from Plaid Hat where a story unfolds as you progress from one play to the next. The decisions you take collectively directly affect the way in which the narrative branches, so the story and the end-game outcomes will vary depending on how you play. It's very much a campaign game: similar to a legacy game in that you'll be opening up some previously sealed envelopes and seeing the game change with each play but Gen7 isn't a game where you'll be destroying or defacing any cards or components. When you're done, you can reset the game and replay it, and maybe explore the different plot lines you didn't take on your first campaign.

Plaid Hat's best known game is Dead of Winter, which pioneered the use of 'crossroads cards' that offered choices and imposed an effect but only if a specific character was in play. In Steve Nix, Gen7 has a different designer to Dead of Winter but it invites comparisons because it is billed as another 'crossroads game' and it too makes use of crossroads cards. However, to us, these didn't feel as if they came to the fore as strongly as in Dead of Winter. We found that fewer than 1 in 3 of the cards triggered and some of those that did felt a bit 'meh'. However, you will notice that the decisions players make have the effect of seeding cards into the game's draw deck and that's a mechanism that feels cool.

Don't expect minis or even standees: much of the artwork in this game (from David Auden Nash and Jen Santos) is in the substantial plot book rather than on the cards or boards. In Gen7, it's dice you'll be placing out as workers, including at the different ship locations where they will collect resources or take particular actions. You'll have a series of cascading crises to collectively cope with, each of which will need players to spend specific dice and resources to resolve. This is perhaps the weakest aspect of the game, in that these crises may begin to feel as repetitive as they are unrelenting. Players will have personal objectives each game, and achieving these will give their character an individual boost, but none of the objectives involve sabotaging other players - there's no traitor mechanic at play here as there is in Dead of Winter.

There is character development and you'll be able to level up your skills and capabilities over the course of the campaign but it's primarily the unfolding narrative that will keep you coming back to Gen7 and help drive you to see it through to its climax. In our group of four, playing the campaign through from start to finish, some of us found the story more compelling than others but we obviously found it sufficiently engaging to all want to see the game through to at least one of the endings: there are apparently eight possible endings depending on players' choices, so you can replay the game, make different choices and follow a different plot line. We won't say any more about the story tho' as we don't want to give away any spoilers...

Gen7 was priced quite high in 2018 when it first came out but you can now pick it up at retail for a third of its original selling price. At its current price it's a bargain. There's a lot in the box and just playing it through the once will give more than half a dozen games, each of around a hour, so you'll certainly get your money's worth.

#Gen7 #PlaidHat #crossroads #cooperative #space #workerplacement #diceplacement #campaigngame #legacy #DeadofWinter #narrative

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