Whenever I visited my grandfather during the winter, there was one thing we always did, watch a western movie. He was a big John Wayne fan and subjected me to most, if not all, of his films. It’s not something I regretted doing, in fact, it made me explore the genre more and find my own favorite, Clint Eastwood. Through my journey of old westerns, I noticed a common scene, the bar fight. The saloon was always a place where a quick insult or if empty bottle was thrown would typically create an all out brawl between patrons. If you can imagine that scene, then you have a good idea what the game 7-Card Slugfest is all about. In this game, players are trying to deliver the knockout blow to their opponents in seven bars around the world. But just like in a bar-room brawl, every fight in this game happens simultaneously and with plenty of chaos. Is this game a knockout or will it just leave you with a black eye? Read on.
7-Card Slugfest is a simultaneous card playing game that plays in about 30 minutes. The game is for 3-8 players but plays best with 3-6 players.
7-Card Slugfest is set in the World of Indines universe from Level 99 Games. In this game, players are trying to win a powerful artifact, the Belt of Beatdown. This item is currently in the hands of Wardlaw O’Brien. He plans to set up a worldwide tournament of the greatest fist-fighters and use the belt to absorb their power. You take on the role of one of these fighters. Players will have a deck of seven cards to rapidly play in each fight. Each round, players take their cards and place them onto another player’s board to inflict that damage on the character. There are no set player turns in 7 Card Slugfest, it lasts as fast as you can play your cards. If a player happens to land the KO blow, they earn knockout points that can turn into gold at the end of the round. Players must use fast reflexes and effectively use their character’s special abilities to come out on top.
With is being a game of speed, the components have to be able to withstand the abuse they will receive. The cards are of high quality and should last many games. If you are going to play the game often, I would suggest using card sleeves. This will go a long way in protecting the cards from the mayhem of the battle. All of the other components are made of thick cardboard that so far have shown no sign of wear. The artwork on the cards is reminiscent of other Level 99 games which strikes a chord between Disney animated cartoons and anime. This won’t appease everyone, but I like the art and it fits in well with the theme of the game. The artwork on the cards, tugging on my nostalgic heartstrings, shows each character throwing a punch like they were a character from Street Fighter. Overall I have no complaints about with the components in 7-Card Slugfest.
How to Play:
In this battle game, players have 11 characters to choose from. Each character has special abilities that will help them in a fight by adding more damage to their attack, moving cards around, or causing opponent attacks to miss entirely. After getting your character’s set of attack cards, players will place their character boards around the bartender Boris for all of seven rounds. A set of drink tokens, ranging from -3 to +3, are placed next to Boris and the game play can begin.
As soon as all players have shuffled their deck of cards and placed them on the table, the fight can begin. Players can draw one card at a time and play it face down on any of the boards on the table, except their own character’s. Once a player has played their entire deck of cards, they must grab a drink token. Each character can take ten hits before they get knocked out of the round. These tokens modify your character hit points for the round making them either more difficult or easier to KO. Some fighters just can’t hold their booze. After all the attack cards are played, players will take the stack of cards on their character board and flip the entire deck over. They then start totaling the hits to see which character landed the KO punch. That person will earn a KO point for each character they KO and players will gain KO points if they managed to not have their character knocked out. After all the KO points have been assigned, players will look to the stage card for that round to see the gold payouts for players.
After the round, players will get all their cards back and next stage card will be flipped over. After the first round, each stage card will have special rules for that round. These rules range from you play all your cards face up, to you can’t attack the same target twice in a row, to you are not able to attack your neighbors. All drink tokens are placed next to Boris and a new round begins. After seven rounds of play, the person with the most gold wins the game.
Before I even started playing this game I knew it would be chaotic. My previous positive experience with some simultaneous game like Speed and Nertz were flooding my head as I read the rule book. I know those games were filled with turmoil and complete upheaval but were still fun to play. I’m glad 7-Card Slugfest didn’t disappoint my expectations.
The game does have a deeper strategy then I expected. This comes from both the character’s special abilities and the stage cards. Each character’s abilities play very differently than others and require different strategies. I do find some of them more useful than others, but that is because of my preferences. There is one deck in particular that I don’t enjoy playing that another person loves to bring to the fight. With the eleven different characters it will be difficult for you to not find a character that you enjoy. This adds to the replay value of the game because you want to try out the different decks of cards. In my opinion, this game would be incredibly boring without the different special abilities for the characters. Unfortunately, you don’t always get to implement that strategy because you are still subject to the shuffling of the deck and the speed of the game. Players need to have a basic idea of what they want to do and adjust to the quickly changing conditions. The stage cards are a great addition to the game. Each game you will choose 6 of the 16 stage cards and this allows for each game to be unique. The special rules are varied and provide some challenging rounds that might force you to adjust your attack plan.
7-Card Slugfest is easy to teach new players but it also can be very intimidating. Because of the speed, new players will be tentative the first few rounds until they adjust to the speed of the game. I do suggest playing a few practice rounds so people can get used to the speed, and to learn how to use their characters abilities. I found 3-6 players to be the sweet spot for this game. With more the 6 players the game is too chaotic for me. You can’t reach all of the player’s character boards, the game time drags, and the game area turns into a mess, rather than the organized chaos, as with the lower player counts.
Overall, this game is just fun to play. Because of the chaotic game play, there are a ton of funny moments where players bump into each other, cards are played just before you can, and you not getting a KO point because of another player’s special ability. It is those moments that will stick with you after the game is over. If you come to the game with a light-hearted attitude, you will have fun. The theme is centered around the unfortunate barkeep, Boris, getting KO’d every round, the drink tokens, and the game play. The fighting rounds go so quickly that it’s almost a blur. Due to my lack of experience in bar-room brawls, I can only assume this is as close to the feel of one I ever want to get.
I think the best way I can describe a game of 7-Card Slugfest is that it feels like a fight that you have no idea who wins until the dust settles. This chaotic nature of the game will turn off some gamers, but if you go into a 7-Card Slugfest knowing game is full on pandemonium you should have a good time. This game simulates what a bar fight would be like without the risk of a concussion. 7-Card Slugfest is a light party game that will add some life to your game nights. If you are looking for a fast pace game, I would recommend 7-Card Slugfest for you.
If you are interested in getting a copy for yourself, it’s about $23
Final Score: 3 Stars – A fun fast paced party game that makes you feel like you are in the middle of a bar fight.
• Chaotic and randomness of the game will annoy some
• Intimidating game play for new players