Gen 7: Won't put you to Cryogen
I’ll be honest in saying that I don’t have a lot of experience with many types of campaign games. I’ve played a few that I really like and some that I am happy to see slowly gathering dust on the shelf for a little while. But nothing really prepared me for how I (and my fellow crew) took to Gen 7.
Gen 7 is a co-op campaign game where you and 2-3 friends are working together to avoid and/or solve disasters, minor or major, while fulfilling your roles as crew on a ship headed to a new destination. You’re (you guessed it) the seventh generation of crew in a ten-generation long mission and you soon find out that not everything on the ship is as it seems.
Gen 7 is a Crossroads game developed by Plaid Hat Games and has striking similarities to Dead of Winter, their other premiere Crossroads-style game. First, dice play a central role in determining your possible actions for each turn. Second, each round features immediate problems by which the collective group has to solve or face the consequences of failing ship systems. Third, crossroads cards can trigger important story elements which may (or may not) have long-lasting consequences for you and the crew.
Yet the game plays differently (and, to the eyes of some, better) than Dead of Winter. First, the nature of individual goals aren’t as detrimental to group maneuvers necessary to complete certain plot elements. While I would love to rake in the merit points by completing various personal objectives, these objectives (generally speaking) optional. Sure, more merit points gives your character more benefits long-term, but the group consequences for a few personal moves pales in comparison to the difficulty of hoarding resources or figures necessary for individual victory while tanking the overall objective.
Second, I loved the revisions on the crossroads cards. Cards are only drawn when a player uses their officer die (d8) instead of each turn. While possibly less exciting than Dead of Winter’s rules regarding crossroads cards, I found that enough cards were drawn and used that they added enough to the storyline without taking players away from the story experience; an absolute must when playing a story-based game.
However, I was sad that the game only plays 3-4 players. While it keeps each episode tight in terms of game-time, I would love to see an expansion on the way with extra player spots. Further, much like Dead of Winter, die rolls can really hurt your chances at avoiding system shutdowns or other major events. While a minor issue on my part (I roll bad; just ask the group I DM!), there were some points where the few avenues we had to avoid disaster were quickly wiped due to dice.
All in all, I really liked Gen 7. I find that I fall in love with games that do a great job of theming/storytelling, not overly complicated gameplay, and enough action to keep you on your toes. This game fits the bill to a T.
Game Mechanics: 8.5/10
Replay ability: 7/10
Final Score: 8.75/10