30 July 2018
Out of this world
Four years after Dead of Winter heralded the beginning of Plaid Hat’s Crossroads series, the studio has revealed its next ambitious title in the run of survival games.
Gen7 follows in the vein of the hit zombie apocalypse dice-roller by featuring its signature deck of Crossroads cards, which players draw at the end of a round to inject extra drama and tricky decisions into the Crossroads’ series focus on co-operative endurance.
Unlike Dead of Winter, however, Gen7 features a distinct campaign made up of seven connected playthroughs – known as episodes – with branching paths and a legacy-like introduction of extra gameplay elements and outcomes.
A single episode is said to take around half an hour to 45 minutes, making an entire campaign around five hours – but, unlike some one-and-done legacy games, it seems that Gen7 will be fully replayable, with the potential for new narrative twists and gameplay variations each time.
The game takes place a literal galaxy away from Dead of Winter’s zombie-infested Earth, being set on a colony ship in the far future that has left the planet in search of a new home in a distant solar system. The ship has been travelling for 142 years, resulting in six generations of inhabitants piloting the vessel, but the seventh generation that players represent is threatened by a mysterious danger that puts the mission at risk.
The theme of 'Lost in Space' was voted by players as the most popular choice for the setting of the next Crossroads game following Dead of Winter's release in 2014 – beating 'Feudal Japan', 'Deep Underground' and 'Summer Camp', which may or may not hint at Plaid Hat's future plans for the series.
There’s no explicit traitor mechanic – as in Dead of Winter – mentioned in Gen7's rulebook, but the collaboration required to keep the ship running will be given a competitive edge by players’ independent motives to earn officer stars and earn bonus perks.
Gameplay involves deploying crew to various locations to obtain resources and deal with various other events – the varying skill levels of the crew are reflected in different forms of dice, from d6 colonists to d12 robots, that are rolled to determine successes.
Responsible for the design is Steve Nix, who previously developed video games at EA – Gen7 is his second tabletop creation, after 2014’s nautical bluffing card game Scalawag!
Plaid Hat is yet to confirm a release date for Gen7, although a launch later this year following a full reveal at Gen Con this weekend seems likely. We do know the box will cost $100 (£76) in the US.