Plaid Hat Games has announced the next game in the Crossroads board game format: Gen7. The new game will take place aboard a generation starship on a 130 year voyage, with players cast as the new command crew of the vessel as a mysterious threat to their mission rises. The vessel itself is the last hope for a doomed Earth.
Popularized by Dead of Winter, the Crossroads series features semi-cooperative games that emphasize moral choice. Dead of Winter, set in a bitterly cold zombie apocalypse, has been a popular game since its release in 2014. In it, players must work together and share resources to survive and win, but some among them can work toward solo victory as well.
Plaid Hat describes Gen7 as a “grand narrative game with a massive branching path” and says that the “choices players make as they play will alter the direction of the story.” Plaid Hat further emphasizes the elements that have made more than a few board gamers antsy for a new Crossroads game: Tough moral choices and situations that are intended to put stress on a player's values over mechanical optimization.
Looking over the Gen7 rules posted on Plaid Hat’s website, there’s a lot going on that’s new compared to Dead of Winter. First, there seem to be light legacy mechanics: The components list includes nine envelopes “stuffed with secrets.” The game itself is a campaign that occurs over seven “episodes,” and the rulebook says that the game is neither won nor lost until its conclusion. Despite that, Gen7 is fully repeatable, unlike a standard Legacy board game that’s practically over after the last play in a campaign. The game rules take special care to note that certain systems—presumably contained in those secret envelopes—may not even come up during any given campaign. Perhaps most notable in the rules is the absence of any traitor or separate victory conditions. Indeed, there are no victory conditions listed at all—those will be defined in the episodes as you play.
Gen7 is designed by Steve Nix, and is available for pre-order priced at $99.95, with a custom playmat priced at $29.95. You can read the announcement on Plaid Hat Games’ website.