I had seen the game in passing and overheard the rule “Play a card or you lose,” and thought that sounds harsh and possibly difficult. Later I had a chance to play. Red7 is a fast abstract card game for two to four players that will last 5-30 minutes (depending what you are dealt). It comes in a narrow box containing 49 cards, seven of each colour of the rainbow and numbers 1-7.
Red7, published by Asmadi Games, is the highest value and bet ranked colour card you can have for the “highest value” rule card. However if the rule was “most even numbers,” for this rule, the card is useless (you might have to hope a better rule like “most of the same number” comes up as highest value then best colour breaks ties).
The game starts with every player being dealt seven cards and each colour has a different rule. Red is the strongest colour.
The player left of the dealer starts, imagine they have a five green. The next player has to play a higher number (or the same number but higher in the colour ranking – chart available). If they cannot they play a card as a discard and that card changes the rule, for example, most odd cards, then they play a single five from their hand. The next player has to play a seven or a five (if the five is higher in colour ranking).
The game continues until you cannot follow the rule. You then play (waste) a card, to change the rule and then play a card to win with that rule. As an example, highest colour (Red). Another would be most cards in a row (four, five beats two, three).
If you can’t play a red card or didn’t have one already (and do not have the most, or the highest value Red) you lose and are eliminated. Once a player is eliminated, play continues until a winner emerges.
I liked the components in Red7. The box has some space each size, so could have been smaller, but it fits into (slim) jacket pockets, making it a great portable game. The replay-ability is there, we played it three times consecutively and we were engaged, knowing we had to focus given that the rules and the strength of played hands change every turn (sometimes combining with prior cards, for example, having the most different colours).
Final Thoughts on Red7
The first thought of hearing about this game would be the similarity to Fluxx, the game where you change rules and have to get sets. The game can last 40 minutes, or can be won on the opening hand. Red7 isn’t quite so luck-based, however I felt those with sevens in their hand were in a better position.
It’s a swift game, a small package, a small playing area, even a lap could work. Your strategy will change throughout the game, however with your starting hand you can see what your best options could be, and whether you could play them or have to break them apart to meet an existing rule.
Despite the player elimination, it is only a couple of turns before a winner emerges and it’s interesting to see what is played - perhaps your cards could have won it with the final rule? Drafting cards would be a good idea and playing over multiple rounds.
I prefer it to Fluxx and as a breezy filler which is small, easy to teach and carry I can recommend it, and if you don’t like the colour red, there is a black box version of Red7 as well.