“Seven Sisters” is the debut release from Wishing Tree Games. It is a game for 3 to 6 players, and it plays in about 60-75 minutes. The game’s theme involves the Seven Deadly Sins, a fresh theme that I have not seen before. (I don’t know if I could handle another zombie/pirate/space/deckbuilding game…)
The primary mechanics of “Seven Sisters” are area control/influence, action selection, and resource management. The game is played over four rounds, each lasting 10-15 minutes. The “board” is made up of seven oversized Sister tiles (The TILES are oversized, not the Sisters. 😛 ), each representing one Deadly Sin. On a player’s turn, he or she can choose from several actions, the most common being playing and resolving a card. Most cards show two Sisters, one in the foreground (Primary) and one in the background (Secondary). If I play a card with Envy and Wrath as the Primary and Secondary, I can do the following:
Play two Influence cubes onto the Primary Sister (Envy).
Play one Influence cube onto the Secondary Sister (Wrath).
Play one Influence cube onto either Sister.
The latter two steps are optional and require spending resources, and they a contingent upon the previous step being completed. In other words, before I can add a cube to the Sister of my choice, I must have played two on the Primary and one on the Secondary. So why do you want to play these cubes? At the end of each round, players look at the number of cubes on each Sister, and the player with the most cubes of their color wins that Sister’s favor and a victory point token with her picture on it. That player’s cubes are then removed and returned to them.
As players earn victory points from Sisters, they will receive special bonuses. For example, the player who has the most cubes on Greed gets 5 Gold, the player with the most cubes on Gluttony gets 5 Food, etc. These bonuses are not only thematic, but pretty well balanced, with none being exponentially better than another. Sloth’s bonus is my personal favorite: in the case of ties, both during and at the end of the game, the player with the most Sloth tokens wins.
As Influence cubes come and go from the board, players will need to spend resources to keep cubes available. Plays begin with only some of their Influence available, and may spend turns to purchase more. Here is an example of how resources are used:
At the end of a round, I have the most Influence on Gluttony. I take the rewards, and my cubes are then removed, to be placed back behind my player screen in my unavailable pool. If I have Gold handy, though, I can buy cubes immediately back to my available pool, perhaps saving me from needing to spend a future turn to do so.
The components are top notch, and the art is nicely stylized. Thanks to Kickstarter stretch rewards, Seven Sisters has very nice wood resourceeples (see pictures). This is a huge step up from the original cardboard tokens (which are also included). With a nice box, nice cardboard tiles, nice player screens, nice cards, and 180 nicely painted cubes, this game is, well, very nice!
Indeed, this is not an extensive review of the game. There are rules and Sister abilities I didn’t even touch on, but I cannot recommend this game highly enough. I’m honestly amazed its not ranked substantially higher than it is. It definitely has a Euro feel, but there is certainly a “screw you” element to the game. Seven Sisters is, all around, very fun and engaging. With high production quality, a manageable play time, and room for different strategies, Seven Sisters is definitely worth a try.
I cannot write a review of Seven Sisters without mentioning the excellent customer service and communication provided by Wishing Tree Games. About a year ago, I had done some prototype testing for WTG, and, when I was done, Brent Cunningham of WTG asked me to send the prototype back to its designer. He had said he would send me a check to cover the shipping. I did so, and never thought anything else of it.
Fast forward a year, to right now. I got an email from Brent, saying that, as WTG was balancing their budget for the previous year, they realized they hadn’t sent the check. I hadn’t even realized that I never got it, because I just kind of forgot. I emailed Brent back and said it was fine and that I was happy to have covered the shipping. He insisted on sending me not only a full reimbursement, but also a copy of Seven Sisters. Now THAT is good customer service.
PS: The prototype I was testing last year has since been picked up by WTG. Look out for it in the future. It’s called “Island Trader,” and it’s really fun!