Games Gazette Logo

The 7th Dwarf is a dice rolling and decision making game for 1 - 7 Seven year olds and upwards (see
my thoughts on this towards the end of this review).

It is published by the excellent Pegasus Spiele games company and designed by one of the top names in
German game designers, Peter Neugebauer.

It seems that the 7 Dwarves are rather chaotic and this is a game designed to make them more uniform
of thought, in this case by height, Highest to Lowest or Lowest to Highest.

The components are 7 dice, one for each dwarf, 14 dwarven hats (2 for each dwarf), and a board that slots
together with one part of the three being double-sided. A nice, comfortable and pretty design that shows
the dwarves standing next to each other in a height associated line. You will need pencil and paper for
scoring.

 

Choose a start player and give them the dice. They then select one of the dice and roll it, placing it result
side up on one of the 9 dice-shaped spaces. Then they roll a second die and do the same with it. At this point
the player now decides which side of the double-sided board they wish to use, dwarves in ascending or in
descending order, having placed the dice according to the numbers showing. A third die is rolled and placed
and then the other players take up their two dwarf hats and choose one of them, placing it face down on the
picture of the dwarves on the board. This is their bet. They are deciding whether the player rolling the dice
will complete a full ascension by betting the hat with a tick on its back, or descension, the hat with a cross.

Then the remainder of the dice are rolled, always one at a time and placed accordingly. It is actually, from
our experiences quite rare that the player rolling the dice is unsuccessful. This is because there are a couple
of options that assist their decision making.

The first of these is that dice with the same result can be placed together without breaking the chain. So if,
for example, the player rolls a 4 and places the die somewhere near the middle of the track the spaces next
to it can be taken up with a die result of 4, 5, even 6 going one way and 4, 3, 2 or 1 going the other. Careful
dice placement means you have to be very unlucky not to create a chain.

The second advantage is that at either end of the track there is an additional space where a die can be laid.
The die still has to be part of the chain but the chain is now extended to nine rather than seven panels. Of
course there is a -2 penalty for using these additional spaces but generally this is a chance worth taking.

To throw a mini spanner in the works the designer has added an touch of greed to the game by having the
seven dice colours printed under the seven track spaces. If the die roller can match the die with the colour
for the space where they place the die (ie they put the die directly over the same colour spot) then they get
bonus points. If you cannot place a die legally then you have to put the die in the Dragon's Lair. Then you
can still score points for colour matching if the dice are legally placed, but obviously you will not score the
7 points for completing the chain. The -2 loss of points only counts against you if you complete the chain.

Players who bet correctly get 3 points, incorrect bets score zero. Therefore each player gets a chance to roll
the dice and thus a chance at making a good score for themselves while every other player has the chance to
add to their personal toll by betting correctly and gaining 3 points out of (their) turn. The die roller doesn't
bet plus the die roller only scores if they make the chain complete. If it is partially complete they only score
for the dice above the correct colours and then only if the partial chain is in running order.

This is a simple little nonsense of a game. The dwarven theme has no consistency to the die rolling, it is an
old fashioned colours and numbers game. For players above 10 it offers little in the way of a challenge or of
excitement but for families it is a great way for younger players to learn colours and numbers and how to
place dice in ascending or descending order, thus it is more of a learning tool.

For added chrome the designer has named the dwarves, Bubi, Cloudy, Cooky, Ralphy, Speedy, Sunny and
Tschakko which are the names of the 7 dwarves in a German language animated comedy movie. In general
the production quality is high, but under regular house lighting the shading on the hats, that looks so cool on
the illustrations in the rules booklet, is lost and the betting pieces take on a weird sort of horse-head look.

Personally instead of saying it was for 7 year olds upwards I would have preferred to see the box stating
quite clearly that this is a family game aimed at mums & dads with kids from 6 or 7 to 9 maybe 10 years old.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015