Sevens everywhere! Red 7 on your mobile device.
Android & iOS
# of Players
1 - 4
Silver Bullet Games
Red 7 is a hand management card game in which the last player standing wins. One to four players take turns playing a card or two in order to take the lead and are able to change the rules of the game during their turn. A player must be able to win the current rule at the end of their turn, or they are eliminated. Play continues until only one player remains, a game usually lasts fewer than five minutes.
In Red 7 each player is dealt a hand of seven cards along with one starting card, played to their palette, to being a game. Cards are numbered one through seven and are, you guessed it, one of seven different colors. The starting rule is simply that the highest card wins, with ties being broken by a color power ranking chart, which is constantly available on the side of the screen. On their turn, a player can play one card to their palette and/or play a card to the canvas. A player’s palette is the group of cards which that player has played throughout the game, those cards are used to judge who is winning the current rule. If you play the highest card on the table and the current rule is “high card” then you can end your turn as you are the leader for that rule. If you can’t play a card to take the lead for the current rule, or just want to change the rule otherwise, you may play a card to the canvas which changes the rule based on the color of the card you played to the canvas. The rules are as follows: high card, same number, same color, even cards, different colors, cards in a row, cards below 4. As an example, if the yellow card’s same color rule is in effect, whichever player has the most cards in their palette of the same color (any color will do) is considered to be winning that rule. Ties are broken via high card as necessary. At the end of a player’s turn, if they cannot play the cards necessary to put themselves as the leader of the rule in effect or change the rule to one they would lead, they are forced to forfeit the game in defeat.
The description of Red 7 probably makes this game seem more complicated than it actually is. All of the rules are super simple and should be familiar tropes to anybody who has played standard card games. The genius of Red 7 is in the simplicity; if you aren’t winning at the end of your turn, you lose. Getting to change the rules is a great twist and allows for some tactical decision making. Games can crush you quickly if you get a bad draw and are left with no counters, but often the game will play out as a thrilling back-and-forth as players successfully counter each other.
Red 7 has a few variants which can be toggled on and off. Advanced mode allows players to draw an extra card if they put a card into the canvas which is of a number greater than the number of cards in their palette. With Points adds a scoring mechanism to the winner at the end of a game and the mode lasts a few games until one player reaches 40/35/30 points (depending on player count). With Actions adds an action to each odd numbered card, playing one to your palette will trigger the action. With Actions is the most game-changing of these modes, but each of the three add something to the base game and each are worth exploring, both on their own and combined with each other.
Barrier to Entry
Red 7 is a fairly simple game, and the basics can be picked up rather quickly. There is a quick tutorial which covers the basics and goes into detail on a couple of the rules, but leaves the rest for the player to figure out. As you turn on the additional game modes for the first time, you will be prompted to run through their accompanying tutorials, which aren’t much of tutorials, rather just some text explanations, but they still do the job. There is also a rulebook which covers everything, this can be a handy reference. There isn’t much to the Red 7 tutorial, but the simplicity of the game allows that, players should have a good handle on the rules a few minutes into the game.
Simple, clean menus
Playing a new rule
Look and Feel
The app shines with bright, vibrant colors to match the cards. There is nothing fancy here, but everything looks clean. Controls are what you would expect, drag-and-drop, highly intuitive. The app gets the job done and looks nice doing it, no complaints here.
Red 7 allows you to join a random game, invite a friend, or play “your classic tables.” I’d love to tell you more, but I’ve been unsuccessful in starting an online game thus far. Admittedly, I didn’t try for a long time after picking up the app, only attempting online games recently while putting together this review. There are usually one or two players in the online lobby when I join, but despite repeated attempts, the game was never able to pair me with an opponent. On one occasion I got past the “waiting for opponent” text and made it to “creating table” but it stalled there.
Challenging a friend is clunky as it gives you text to copy into a text/email/Tweet/whatever with a clickable link. If you don’t click the link on a device with Red 7 installed, it takes you to their app’s website. I’ve heard reports that these invites don’t always work properly, but it is another feature I was unable to test. The Your Classic Games option allows you to replay games you’ve played (my near-connection showed up there) or create new games with rules of your choosing.
The game does offer a local pass-and-play mode which does fine in hiding your cards from your opponents. Pass-and-play is the only multiplayer mode I’ve been able to try, it is a functional implementation for a local game, with a couple of visual annoyances, none of which are game-breakers.
Single player allows you to play with any subset of the game modes mentioned earlier against one to three AI opponents of three different difficulty settings; one, two, or three stars.. Easy AI is fairly simple and many players will likely outgrow it quickly, they often make non optimal moves which leave them hurting on later turns. Medium plays a decent game, I find myself winning these games when I get a decent deal, but still lose frequently when the cards don’t come my way. The most difficult AI has a knack for always seeming like they have the right card to counter you. It is frustrating, but they are essentially just playing the most optimal game they can (or at least very close to it). Counting cards to know what opponents might have can give a big advantage in knowing which cards to play to your palette or the canvas, and that seems like what the difficult AI is doing. You can defeat the difficult three star AI, but it takes a well played game with a decent hand. It is always nice to see such a challenging AI in a single player mode, but that becomes vital when the online scene is nearly empty.
Red 7 offers “New Game” and “Quick Game” as the options from the home screen for solo play. New Game allows you to choose the number of opponents, difficulty levels, and which modes/variants to turn on. Quick Game, in an elegant design choice, simply allows you to launch a new game with the last settings you used. Games can be saved and completed later.
All of the color rules
I don't want to, but I don't have a choice...
In such a quick playing game like this, it is always nice to see some sort of stat keeping so you can see how you are doing over the course of your many, many plays. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything of the sort in Red 7.
The Wrap Up
Red 7 is a fun card game. The constant rule changing and requirement that each play must match or counter the current game state provides a really fun play experience. The best compliment I can give the Red 7 app is that it encouraged me to purchase a copy of the physical game. The game is a nice bridge for non-gamers who are used to traditional card games, but provides a fun twist on those games which make for a fun game. That’s not to say the app is at all bad, it is certainly a solid implementation and remains a fun way to spend three minutes long after purchase. The big drawback is the lack of online players, but I’m not entirely sure how much I would take this game online given the AI provides such a stout challenge. All in all, there aren’t too many board game ports you can play in a minute or three, Red 7 does a solid job of filling that niche with a unique twist of a card game.