Dwar7s Fall or 7 Dwarves Fall is a game by Luis Brüeh, published by Vesuvius Media. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of the leader of a clan of dwarves. They will be doing their best to collect gems, build castles and stock up food for the coming winter. They’ll have to be careful as fire dragons and winter giants can disrupt their carefully laid plans, as can ogres hired by their opponents dwarves. In the end the player that can work the hardest by completing goals and scoring the most points will be declared the winner.
To begin, the trading goal cards are shuffled together and then placed face down in the play area. The top 3 cards are then laid out in a line beside the deck. The secret goal cards are also shuffled. Each player is then dealt 1 of these cards. The remaining deck is placed at the end of the line of trading goal cards. The 4 different colored gem cards are sorted by type into separate stacks and placed face up below the trading goal deck and the 3 face up trading goal cards. The ogre deck is then shuffled and placed at the end of this line of gem cards face down. Each player chooses a color and receives the corresponding deck of kingdom tiles and dwarf meeples. It’s noted that there should be plenty of extra space open to place kingdom tiles during the game. Play now begins.
The game is played over a series of rounds. Each round players take their turn. On a player’s turn they are allowed to take 3 actions. If their castle is in play, they can take 4 actions. The actions that are available are place a kingdom tile card, place a dwarf, move a dwarf or play an ogre card. The same action is able to be taken multiple times. The first action that can be taken is to place a kingdom tile card. There are 5 different types of kingdom tile cards that can be placed. These cards must be placed either adjacent to another tile or may be placed on top of another tile of the same type. In the latter case, the tile must not have any dwarves on it and there is also a height limit of 3 stacked cards. The 5 types of kingdom tile cards are kingdom buildings, monsters, tavern, mines and general store. Let me explain these each just a bit. The Kingdom Building is basically the player’s castle. This allows the player to dig. Digging places the top card of a stack of tiles under the other ones without rotating it, as long as there are no dwarves on the tile. It also grants an extra action each turn. Once the castle is placed, any tiles that are within the walls of the player’s castle add victory points at the end of the game. Monster tiles are stacked on other cards of the same type. These prevent tasks from being fulfilled in the same type tile and they prevent new cards from being stacked on top of them until they’re defeated. They also block any kingdom victory points of the same tile type. It takes 5 dwarves of the same color to be placed on the tile to defeat the monster. Once defeated it gives the player 3 extra victory points at the end of the game. Taverns allow the player to gain an ogre card when the requirements are fulfilled. Mines allow the player to gain gems of a particular color when the requirements are fulfilled. These gems are used to fulfill trading goals. Any leftover gems grant victory points at the end of the game. The General Store allows the player to execute a trade and complete a trading goal when the requirements are fulfilled. These trading goals grant victory points and end the game once a player gains 3 of them.
Another action that a player can perform is to place a dwarf. When I discussed the different tile types, I mentioned that the requirements had to be fulfilled to grant the ability. Those requirements are to have a set amount of dwarves of the player’s color on a tile. This action of placing dwarves allows the player to place one of their dwarf meeples on a tile of their choosing. At the end of the player’s turn, any dwarves that fulfill a task are returned to the player’s pile. If it didn’t complete a task, then the dwarf remains on the tile. It should be noted however that if dwarves are placed on a tile in the amount required to complete the task and for some reason the task cannot be completed due to monsters, no more gem cards of that type, or whatever other reason, then the dwarves return to the player’s pile empty handed.
Yet another action that a player can take is to move a dwarf. This is done by simply moving the dwarf meeple to an adjacent tile. It should be noted however that the adjacent tile must not be separated by a wall, otherwise the dwarf can’t move to the new tile. Also of note is that a dwarf on a mine without any dragons in the same kingdom can move to any other mine of the same kingdom. Of course moving requires there to be an empty space for the dwarf to move into.
Finally the last action available is to play an ogre card. Ogre cards take up space in a player’s hand, as do gem cards. Trading goals, secret goals and monsters do not count against the player’s hand size of 9 cards. It should be noted that although playing an ogre card is technically an action, it’s a free action. That means that the player is allowed to play as many as they would like during their turn before the resolution of any tasks without it costing them an action.
At the end of the player’s turn, tasks are resolved by removing any relevant dwarves and then performing the tile’s action. The player must then discard down to 9 cards. Kingdom tiles however can not be discarded.
The game continues until a player has completed 3 goals. Once this happens any players that have not taken a turn during the round are allowed to take their last turn. The game then ends. Players add up their victory points from completed goals both secret and trading goals, along with any defeated monsters and any gem cards remaining in their hand. The player with the most points is the winner.
The game comes with some really great looking pieces. To start off, there a wooden dwarf meeples in 4 different colors. These match with the kingdom tile cards of the same color. I love these. They are so cute and the colors are really bright. The only other components are the cards. I realize that in the overview I called these tiles a lot of times. Let me clarify, they are cards and only cards. I get why they are cards and how that they are used along with the gems and ogre cards in a player’s hand. That said, I kind of wish that the actual kingdom tile cards had been kingdom TILES made of thicker cardboard and not cards. Not that the cards are bad, they’re not. It’s just that the finish on the cards are kind of slick and so they don’t exactly separate that great. They tend to cling to each other which I didn’t like. Again, that’s not to say they’re bad. I love the artwork. This is some of the most fun and friendly artwork that I’ve seen. I absolutely love the different designs, especially on the ogre and secret goal cards. Like I said, I just wish the tiles were tiles. Not sure exactly how that would have worked out with the game, it probably wouldn’t have. I guess I’m just a spoiled gamer. In any event, the game looks great and I’m very pleased with the overall look and feel.
8 out of 10
The rulebook for this game looks really great. There are lots of great pictures and examples throughout the book. It’s fairly short and quick to read through. There’s a great setup picture with instructions so that you can quickly get to the game. That said, there is a bit of a problem with the rules. They seem to be a bit all over the place. When you open the book, you start off with the setup that I was just bragging on. Then you move to the goals and how the game ends. The next 3 pages discuss the various kingdom tiles and the specifics of each one. It’s not till the next to last page that you get the layout of a player’s turn and the actions that they can take. There does tend to be a bit of vagueness on what you can and can’t do. I have noticed in some BGG threads that the publishers have mentioned that if it’s not in the rules saying that you can’t do something, then you can do it. Still a bit of clarification and some more thought out explanations would have been nice. I will say that I’m thankful and happy to see a great reference guide on the back of the book. That was a nice addition. Look, I’m not saying that the rule book is bad, it’s not. It just could have been better designed than it was. Much like some of the bad layouts from games like Carrotia and The Cohort, this one winds up in that category. Looks great, mediocre design.
7 out of 10
This is a game that is as fun as it is cute. I’ve already mentioned the great looking artwork that just fits the theme really well. In a lot of ways this game mixes some worker placement with a bit of kingdom building and some tile laying. As I played the game I started off just trying to build my walls to score a kingdom and to complete 3 goals as fast as I could. Needless to say, my kingdom building was rather rough as I couldn’t get tiles turned just the right way to make an enclosure. I got my 3 goals without any problem. The problem was that my opponent had went for the high value goals and had even blocked my castle off with a winter giant, so I ended up scoring no points for the kingdom. Meanwhile they had a smaller kingdom that scored along with their higher value goals. As you can see, my first play through didn’t go so well. Man I hate losing to a 6 year old. Not really, she’s a great player. My daughter really enjoyed the game as do I. I really like sending out my dwarves to collect gems, recruit ogres and complete goals for me. I didn’t like how that a player can simply sacrifice one of their dwarves to basically make it impossible for you to defeat a monster and get it out of your kingdom. That was a major pain as it happened to me more than on one occasion. At least in that sense along with the ogre cards, the game throws in a little of the take that mechanic. This is not a difficult game to play but it has plenty of strategy for even veteran gamers. I really like the game and find it to be quite fun.
8 out of 10
Dwar7s Fall or 7 Dwarves Fall is a worker placement game that mixes in aspects of tile laying, set collection and take that with a super cute design. The game isn’t that long. Most game sessions last around 25-45 minutes. The artwork is super cute and is really fun. I love the wooden dwarf meeples and the look of the cards. I really wish that the kingdom tiles had been actual thick tiles but I understand why they’re not. The rulebook is a bit of a bounce around but it’s really short so it doesn’t take long to read and it’s fairly easily understood once you’ve read through it completely. The game is lots of fun and mixes several mechanics together quite nicely. There’s plenty of strategy to the game yet it’s not a hard game to play. It’s actually pretty easy to learn. My daughter and I both really enjoyed this one. She loved collecting gems as did I. Fans of worker placement games or tile laying games like Carcasonne might enjoy this one. It’s a really fun game that the whole family can enjoy. I would definitely recommend it. It’s Snow White approved.
8 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Vesuvius Media at their site.