After trying some games of the 7th Continent from Serious Poulp I am even more into it as before. As I wrote somewhere else I stumbled upon the game when they offered the Game Expansion “What Goes Up, Must Come Down” on Kickstarter in October 2017 and I learned that the game was to expensive to produce so it would only be available per Pre-Order on Kickstarter. Since the game got good reviews and even was playable in Single User mode I opted in and bought both the main game as well as all the expansions being offered.
Fast forward to the delivery of the game (Wave One, only the Main Game)… I was impressed by the huge amount of cards in the Box and tried the a very limited game with a Curse that I had to print out, but it worked well and after two games I got the hold of it, but the game eventually was put back into the gaming shelf waiting for… it’s time.
Fast forward some more to the delivery of Wave Two with all the additional stuff… and I was even more impressed by a second box full of cards and after I had sleeved all of them I had to got for a real gaming session or two.
So what is “The 7th Continent” all about?
Quote from the game and webpage:
1907 – You, a famous explorer, have just returned from the first expedition to the seventh continent, a mysterious land that was recently discovered off the coast of Antarctica and probably the very last terra incognita in the world.
You are recovering from your adventure when, whilst reading the day’s newspaper, you realise that several other members of the expedition have disappeared suddenly, for unknown reasons. Coincidentally, you have been lethargic for a few days, feeling feverish and finding it very hard to manage even simple tasks. You must face the facts: an evil is consuming you from within. Your body is wracked with convulsions as you contemplate what mysterious ailment is overtaking you.
At nightfall, you fall into a restless sleep without knowing that, for you, another adventure is about to begin…
The involved characters are not unknown to most players, so you can play the young H.P. Lovecraft, Viktor Frankenstein and several others and up to four players can go on the adventure and fight the curse fully cooperatively.
How does it work?
The game consists of so called terrain cards that have numbers on their back comparable to the adventure books where you learn to which page you have to go depending on your decision. In 7th Continent it is just the same. All characters start on one such terrain tile and all possible exists to that terrain are marked on the cards. In addition the cards shows the available actions that can be taken, too. Maybe there is some special place to see or interact with and you have to choose to invest your time and resources to take a closer look.
If you should want to leave the current terrain tile you can explore what is around you. Before you can unveil an adjacent location you have to inspect the exploration card as a kind of random encounter. You might find an item on the way, encounter an animal for good or bad or you might stumble into a trap. Only after you have deal with whatever comes your way you can put the next terrain into play and choose to go to the new location.
Every time you have to expend time or resources you will need to draw cards from the action deck to see if you can overcome the difficulty of the action at hand. Yes, you only need action cards, there are no dice you need to roll. Each action card may have stars or half stars printed onto them and each action has a set difficulty measured in stars. If you have the right amount of stars on your cards you succeed.
Luckily, you can improve your odds with action cards you can keep in your hand with special actions and you can get or construct items to help you on your journey.
The bad news is that the Action Deck will not be shuffled when it is empty, you will need to find ways to get cards from the discard back to the action deck. Eating is such an example, you just need to find food…
So is the 7th Continent a good game?
I have played only four games so far, three of them in solo mode – and I lost three of them. Nevertheless those games were very exiting, I had a lot of fun exploring the continent and traps and other riddles that I just did not expect from this game. Sometimes I did take to much time to explore specific area of the continent that, according to the map on the clue card for my curse wasn’t relevant for my curse. Sometimes I wasn’t fully prepared and well fed when I went to seemingly easy new areas and was cut of from my safe hunting areas. And sometimes I just was too confident I could handle what was coming to me. And then you get injured, full of blood, are freezing and afraid – just some of the states you can be in in this game.
So to sum it up: Yes, “The 7th Continent” is a good game as far as I can judge it by now. I only played one of the curse that come with the game and one of the Kickstarter Strechgoal Curses, so I just have enough others to deal with. And after that I can explore underground areas, partly on a raft or the areas above the continent in a balloon. There is still a lot of exploring to do.
So this seems to be a loooong game, right?
Absolutely, this IS a long game. I played hours on my last curse and got approximately 2/3 of the way to get to the area where I might lift the curse, maybe… But I played on several days, because the game has a very good possibility to “save” the game: You store your terrain card together with the action deck as well as the discard deck behind a special in the game box as well as all explorers, their hand cards and all the items they have crafted/played with their current number of uses left. This is a very fast process and the only requirement is that all explorers must be on one terrain card to save the game. When you resume the game you start on you terrain card and the other areas unfold anew, with new explorations cards as you took a break and life goes on on the continents. So you can break the game down into chunks of playing time that you can spare.
Summing it up
As I already said this is a good, very atmospheric game of exploration and mystery. It plays fast enough and has a lot of very nice features how you learn about the continent, it’s flora and fauna. It certainly has enough replayability to let several of the curses, even though you might know some of the areas already from earlier games, but some areas will only be reachable due to special “card modifiers” on you curse clue card.
I will play this game on my own when there is no other player around for another boardgame on those look weekday evenings as I have now enough routine to play, save and restore the game.
If exploration is your thing you should really take a look at “The 7th Continent” if you can find it or someone who owns it!