I’ve played many games. Many many games. Some good, some not so much… And we gamers see games as being weighed as good on the enjoyment had throughout the time they’re on the table. Common sense right? Well, very rarely is their worth determined by how relaxed they are, but Seven Bridges is a game that I would entirely weigh on how relaxing it is! Solo, group, intense competition or just a casual game, nothing about this game screams stress! And it’s a beautiful thing to behold. I’m pretty competitive, and I like my competition intense. Seven Bridges is competitive in nature, but is by no means stressful!
How it plays…
All players receive their own sheet/map, which they have complete control to lay their drafted dice on, so player’s scores are entirely based on their own decision making and tactical play. The game is based on the Historic town of Königsberg, a town known for having Seven Bridges (coincidence I know). Throughout play, it allows players to tell the story of their own journey through the town, aiming to visit as many landmarks and cross every bridge. The more a player visits, the higher their score.
Like most roll and writes, players take turns rolling dice to form rounds, and take turns choosing the dice available within these rounds. Each die has symbols on that correspond to their travels through the town and allow them to add on to their existing route. Players all start in the same location (agreed as a group or generated through a D6 generated coordinate). Beyond that, all dice chosen should be placeable within some respect; it may not aid them but every laid bit of road will enable them to score points at the end of the game. It’s advised you use a different colour to everyone else for drawing on your route, it’ll become clear why during the scoring.
The scoring elements available at the end are dependent on how many bridges you cross. Seven ways to score linking to the seven available bridges; luckily for those who don’t manage to be as travelled, the lowest scores are discarded first. Every game is played over 5 rounds, where each player will be able to roll the dice once. When a player rolls, they get first dibs on their choice of die, following around clockwise. It’s surprisingly easy to make your route fit, but if you’re waiting for that one die result you might be waiting a long while! No matter what happens, every player will draft 30 dice; playing with 2, 3, or 6 players means there will equal distribution every round (due to 2, 3, and 6 being factors of 30 – every day’s a school day) whereas playing with 4 or 5 will mean some players will get multiple dice from one draft. Once players have selected the dice and all dice have been taken, players lay them onto their route. This must be done in the order they were drafted! There’s no point choosing to go left to then change that decision, it adds to the tactics and makes your choices matter more!
True to its relaxing nature, the game’s true mindfulness-ness is entirely within the scoring. You colour. And my days is it therapeutic! By rotating pens around the table for each scoring count, you create a very pretty and attractive final game piece which is easy to track and makes sense to the eye! The scores are then tallied in the scoring section of the play sheet and all players would do well to do it altogether to ensure no one is confused and to make sure your final piece has as many colours on it as possible.
The good stuff!
The components are awesomely thought out. Even though we played the print and play version, we thoroughly enjoyed looking at the map. The designer is an actual cartographer, so you’d already be expecting great things.. and he delivers! The routes are easily chosen, the landmarks are placed fantastically along the routes (respective to realism), and the other scoring elements are far enough apart to force you to need to travel that extra bit of distance. On top of that, the map is downright gorgeous when fully scored!
The stuff that might put off…
Player interaction. You don’t actually need to talk to the other players at all. So long as you know the rules and have a battle plan, you won’t even need to acknowledge the people in the room. On the flip-side, if this game is up your street then you’ll find the game is engaging enough to remove the want to talk to other players. You’ll want to have 100% focus on the game and will need to focus entirely on how you can reach all 7 bridges over trash talking or shooting the breeze. That coupled with the mindful scoring you’ll be mesmerised until the end of the game!
Seven Bridges is the sort of game you’d come home after a stressful day and open up to unwind. Its unique scoring system and elements are only complimented by how accurate the map is to historic Königsberg. It’s a game that forces you to relax, so I wouldn’t advise it as a warm-up game as more a nice game to play with friends. Our group loved it and it’s one we frequently choose when looking for a quicker, more relaxed game!