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Reviews - Giants
 
by Demian Katz


7 Ate 9

7 Ate 9

Published by Out of the Box Publishing (2009)
Designed by Maureen Hiron
Contents: 73 cards, rule booklet, travel tin
2-4 players
$9.99

Super CirclesSuper Circles
Published by Out of the Box Publishing (2009)
Designed by Maureen Hiron, Ron Badkin and Carol Badkin
Contents: 73 cards, rule booklet, travel tin
2-4 players
$9.99

Super Circles was featured in OgreCave's Christmas Gift Guide 2009.
 

While I normally feel that every game deserves its own separate review, that would be difficult in this case, as both 7 Ate 9 and Super Circles are essentially the same game played with slightly different decks. In both games, the entire deck is dealt out evenly between the players except for one card, which starts the pile in the center of the table. The goal of the game is to run out of cards first, and players race to play cards that match the top of the pile. This is a real-time game, so there is no turn-taking – players draw from their pile and play to the table as fast as they can, occasionally having to pick cards back up because others got there first. The danger of injury is not as great as in Spoons or Jungle Speed, but it's the sort of game for which you should choose your opponents carefully!

The key difference between the two games has to do with when a card may be legally placed on the table. In 7 Ate 9, each card features a number between 1 and 10 and a +/- value between 1 and 3. The next card played must match the value of the card on the top of the pile, plus or minus the +/- value; for example, a "5 +/- 3" card may be followed by either a 2 or an 8. The numbers wrap at the top and bottom of the scale, such that "10 +/- 3" could be followed by either a 7 or a 3.

In Super Circles, cards show four concentric circles of various colors. You play a card by matching the color of one of the four circles on the top of the pile, and call out the number of whichever circle you are matching. However, you have to mix things up a bit: you are never allowed to use the same circle to form a match twice in a row.

Conclusions
These two separate products are so similar, and even without internal similarity, the real-time card game has been done many times before – you can get much the same experience with a standard deck of playing cards. As such, these games may not appeal to everyone. Still, when I actually played the games, I had more fun than I expected. The slight difference in rules makes a significant difference in gameplay, and when you get caught up in a real-time competition, you don't have time to worry too much about the originality of the mechanics. Even if these don't make a lasting impression on adult gamers, they're likely to entertain children for even longer, and 7 Ate 9 in particular seems like a good way to encourage math skills in an enjoyable way. While certainly not the most interesting thing Out of the Box has offered, these little games are worth a look for at least some people.

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