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Gen7: A Crossroads Game Preview

Gen7 A Crossroads Game Preview

Welcome to the future. Humankind has been forced to leave Earth in an enormous, international colony ship bound for a distant star system and a new planet. But there are no convenient hyper-drives to get us there quickly. This journey is going to be long. Thirteen generations long, in fact. The fate of humanity rests in the abilities of multiple successive generations living on the colony ship to keep our hopes and dreams alive.

Countless people will live and die before the epic voyage is complete. For one generation, however, events are particularly trying. Generation 7 is the one generation to live on the ship at the time when no one alive remembers earth, and no one will live to see their destination. All anyone will ever know is the cold darkness of space.

This is the setting for Gen7: A Crossroads Game: a brand new campaign game from Plaid Hat Games for 3-4 players. Designed by Steve Nix and brought to life with art from Gunship Revolution, David A. Nash and Jen Santos, players must work together to navigate and survive a crisis that unfolds over the course of a seven-game campaign.

Gen7 - A Narrative-Driven Campaign Game

If you like to be able to replay your games, don't worry! This is not a legacy game. Though the full experience of Gen7 will take seven episodes to unfold, the campaign can be replayed again and again, with different story elements each time.

This is possible because Gen7 is a narrative-driven campaign game with different events unfolding based on the decisions of the players. We will not be mere passengers watching the story unfold; we will be active participants whose in-game choices affect the twists and turns of the story.

I have to say, the interaction between the players in this game seems fascinating. While Gen7 is a co-operative game with no hidden traitors, players do still have their own objectives to complete. How well they do with their own hidden objectives then impacts the influence they are able to exert over everyone else, even as all players work towards a common goal. I'm fascinated to see how this plays out in practice. Will players ignore their personal goals for the ultimate prize, or will the personal rewards be too tempting to pass up?

On a smaller scale, the game also makes use of the Crossroads mechanic that debuted in Plaid Hat's earlier title, Dead of Winter. At certain points in each episode, a player will be presented with a crossroads card, filling in some of the game's backstory and giving them an interesting moral dilemma to work through.

Other Mechanics

In addition to the high-level dilemmas and decision making, Gen7 has some recognisable board game mechanics. The core mechanic is dice placement. Players roll an assortment of D12s, D8s and D6s that respectively represent robot workers, human officers and regular human colonists. They can assign these dice to different areas of the ship in order to gain various rewards and complete objectives. Through this dice placement mechanic, players can work together to keep the ship in good repair and work individually to achieve their personal goals.

In addition, there's a bit of asymmetry that is always nice to see in co-op games. Each player has a certain role on the ship, which gives them different abilities and responsibility for different areas. Everyone will naturally be doing slightly different things and going about their work in different ways, which should mean that each player is able to grow into their role and in-game identity.

Being able to identify with your character is particularly important in a narrative game like Gen7, so this aspect makes me think that the experience will be highly immersive.

A New Implementation of a Successful Mechanic

Dead of Winter was and is still a highly regarded game, winning many people over with its innovative mechanics. Gen7 is not a direct sequel to that game, but it looks to me like Plaid Hat has done a great job of capturing some of what made Dead of Winter such a hit and has re-implemented it into a compelling, narrative campaign game with that promises a completely new experience.

If, like me, you're not a big fan of zombies, then it will be nice to see the Crossroads mechanic in a sci-fi setting. I think the backstory looks excellent and, from what I've heard, the storytelling within the game is really, really good.

There is a lot to be excited about in Gen7 and I, along with many others, will be eagerly awaiting its release this winter.