Quatorze: Seven7s Plus Seven More
Seven is a meaningful number in many cultures and settings. There are seven days in the week, seven colors in the rainbow, and seven wonders in the ancient world.
Quatorze is the game Seven7s by Jason Tagmire, now repackaged as an expanded game with seven more decks. It plays 2-4 players in about 20 minutes and is published by Eagle-Gryphon Games.
How to Play
There are fourteen decks of seven cards each; pick seven decks to use in a game.
Shuffle the selected cards together (shuffle well!) and deal out three to each player. Flip the top card from the deck to start the first column on the table.
On your turn, play a single card from your hand onto the table. Then draw back up to three cards in hand.
Sounds easy so far, right?
Each card type must be played into its matching column (usually – there are exceptions). And this is where things get interesting; cards played into specific columns have specific effects.
The effect depends on the column – which is determined by the seven decks of cards chosen for this game. Some decks, like the Holy Virtues, allow the player to draw and play an additional card immediately. Other decks, like Colors, make the color of the card played a wild color. Every one of the fourteen decks has a special ability.
The game immediately ends when a player puts a seventh card into a column. All players score the three cards in their hand – the player who ends the game scores their two in hand, plus the game-ending card that’s on the table. By default, each card scores its face value, but many types of cards can change that.
Can you build the most valuable hand and end the game at just the right time?
Quatorze seems like a short filler game, but it’s deeply strategic. It will probably take longer to learn it than to play it the first time.
Not only do you need to understand the seven types of cards in use, you’ll also need to figure out quickly how to turn them to your advantage. Some card types make obvious combinations but others leave us scratching our heads.
Your goal when playing Quatorze is to maximize your hand’s value. But you have a very limited set of options to do this; everything depends on the cards in the game, specifically the cards in your hand.
If you have the good luck to get two 7s into your hand, you’ll want to end the game quickly – but hanging on to two cards reduces your options to whatever card you happen to draw.
If your cards are all low, you’ll want to extend the game. Find ways to increase your points: Peaks, Queens, and Notes all give bonus points in specific situations. Or, maybe you can decrease your neighbors’ points instead, playing Ages of Man (makes high numbers worth zero) or Deadly Sins (forcing a random discard).
And of course, you can sow chaos with cards that re-arrange columns, force players to drop cards, or change the wild color/number.
The more you play, the more combinations you’ll discover.
The box for Quatorze suggests it’s suitable for ages 7+. However, I wouldn’t recommend it unless your kid has played complex games in the past – and enjoyed them. There’s a lot of reading and a lot to keep in your head, even with only three cards in your hand.
Playing with two players is a tight back-and-forth. Every card you play might give an advantage to your opponent, but you have to play something, and they’ll likely play things that affect you as you play cards that affect them.
At three or four players the mechanics are the same but it feels less controlled. The column layout can change significantly before your next turn, making it difficult to plan ahead.
All of this adds up to a game that wasn’t very satisfying for our family as a whole. However, my game-obsessed 10 year old loves it (at two players), so it will definitely be sticking around in our collection.
Quatorze is best for a small group that really enjoys digging into games and discovering all the possibilities. It also works as a filler-length game for heavy gamers. There’s a ton to explore and learn, even though each game is only 15-20 minutes long.
You can buy Quatorze directly from the Eagle-Gryphon website, or ask for it at your friendly local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Quatorze from Eagle-Gryphon Games for this review.
Quatorze including Seven7s
Number of Players: 2-4
Age Range: 7+ (we say 12+)
Playtime: 15-20 minutes