Thursday, April 18, 2024

Board Game Top 100 (2024) Part Three (95-94)

#95 World's Fair 1893

World's Fair 1893 is a great little area control and set collection game with a rondel (a round action selection track) shaped like a Ferris Wheel! 

Players place workers at locations that are based on various themed categories around the wheel to claim different events to sell tickets to their attractions in order to gain points to win the game. 

You score for having a majority in a given category and for having sets of different kinds of events as well. It's a bit of a push and pull that keeps the game play interesting and challenging and this is all enhanced by the game's theme. 

The cards all have art and flavor text that is based on real attractions that were present at the World's Fair in 1893. This is so awesome and is yet another reason the World's Fair 1893 is my 95th favorite game of all time.

#94 Red7

Red7 is a simple card game. Cards come in 7 suits numbered 1-7. The core rule of Red7 is that you must have the high card to be winning and you must be winning at the end of your turn or you will be eliminated. I normally don't like player elimination in games, I think Red7 might be the only one that I own. But, Red7 plays really well at 2 players (where player elimination doesn't matter) and it plays really fast (so no one is eliminated for long.)

Suits have a hierarchy and this is used to break ties. So a 4 always beats a 3 regardless of its suit, but a red 3 is better than a green 3. The suits are the 7 colors of the rainbow and if you are familiar with the anagram Roy G. Biv, then you already have the hierarchy memorized. That is the colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. Red is the strongest color in the suit hierarchy and violet is the weakest. So the highest valued card in the deck is the Red7 and the lowest valued card is the Violet1.

But Red7 isn't just a game of "high card wins." Each suit also has a power that changes the rules of the game. One suit changes the rule to "most cards of one color wins." Another suit changes the rule to "most cards below four wins." And the Red suit changes the rule back to "high card wins." In the case of a tie, the highest numbered card in a set will decide the winner. When this is a tie, the tied high card of the highest suit in the color hierarchy wins.

On your turn you must change the conditions of the game so that you are winning. If the current rule is "high card wins" and your opponent is winning with a blue 7 in front of them, (The only card in front of you is an orange 3.) you might play the yellow 7 from your hand down in front of you so that you are winning. Now it's your opponent's turn.

Your opponent can't beat a yellow 7. They have a red 6 in their hand, and red is stronger than yellow, but you always rank the cards by number first and then by suit. Your 7 is higher than their 6, and your yellow 7 is higher than the blue 7 that they have on the table. They can't win following the rule "high card wins." However, your opponent does have an Indigo 4 in their hand. Remember that I said that the card suits carry a special ability to change the rules. They do, but not if they are played in front of you. They must be played to the discard pile to change the rules. The top card of the discard pile dictates the current rule for winning.

On a player's turn they may play a card in front of themselves to satisfy a win condition, or play a card to the discard pile to change the win conditions, or both. Your opponent plays the Indigo 4 to the discard pile changing the win condition to "most cards in a row." Then they play the red 6 down in front of themselves to satisfy the new win condition. They now have a blue 7 and a red 6 down in front of them. They have 2 cards in a row. This is more than you have. You have an orange 3 and a yellow 7 in front of you. That's only 1 card in a row. Your opponent is now winning. 

One final thing. Because the card your opponent played has a number value greater than the total number of cards in front of them (they played a 4 and only have 2 cards in front of them) they get to draw a card. This is the only way that you can draw a new card into your hand. Your opponent draws a new card adding it to their hand. It's now your turn.

I have spent way too much time on this one game, but Red7's game play is so smooth and so clever that I just felt the need to go over it in detail. This is a great game for anyone who enjoys card games. For a long time Red7 held a spot in my top 10 games of all time. It has fallen quite a bit only because Julie and I have played it sooooo much. Still, I am happy to report that Red7 is my 94th favorite game of all time!

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