Shichi Narabe


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Rating: 4.4/5 (59 votes)
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PsychotronicShichi Narabe[Warning: You may need to disable your browser's pop-up blocker to play Shichi Narabe.]

Shichi Narabe is the Japanese version of Sevens, a card game played all over the world with minor regional variations. This single-player Flash implementation of the game has no English translation, but the rules are very simple.

There are four players. At the beginning of a round, all the cards in a regular 52-card deck plus the joker are dealt out. The four 7s, whoever has them in hand, go immediately into the center of the table.

Your goal is to play all the cards in your hand. Taking turns, each player can lay a card on the table if it is in sequence with an already-played card of the same suit. The sequence can ascend or descend, and Aces are considered adjacent to Kings. If you can't make a play, you'll have to use one of your three passes and hope things have opened up by your next turn.

The joker can take the place of any card in the deck, so long as you can immediately play the next card in sequence. For example, if the 6 of spades is on the board, and you have the 4 of spades and the joker in hand, you can play the joker in the place of the 5, and then you will automatically play the 4 in the same turn. The joker is unplayable if it is your only remaining card.

Scoring is even simpler: you get more points the earlier you go out. Don't be the last player to shed your cards, though, because a giant claw will pick you up by the head and carry you away.

Analysis: Wait, claw? What? Yeah, no kidding. While my Japanese is rusty and non-existent, there seems to be a storyline, revolving around a room full of stone cactus-people locked in an endless Deer Hunter-esque card game death-match. You play a green cactus battling for its very survival. Your doom is certain, your only hope to prolong the sweet breath of life for a few more rounds of Sevens before The Claw hauls you off to the Great Gravel-Maker in the Sky.

Or something like that. A translation would be most welcome.

This implementation of Shichi Narabe leaves a few things to be desired. There's no visual cue when you're out of plays, so I spent many turns clicking through each one of my cards, in case I missed a possibility. I'm also not sure why my cards have to appear in my hand in random order. I wasted a lot of time scanning over my hand to make sure I don't have any more hearts, when they could just as easily have been grouped together.

The game itself depends partly on luck, which makes it an odd choice for this one-strike-and-you're-out bloodsport framework. You will pick up a few strategies, but sometimes everyone else will have the sevens and the joker, and you'll be stuck staring at a rainbow of kings and aces. You're claw food, buddy. Back to zero.

The addictive appeal comes from the same place as solitaire—maybe you'll get lucky the next time, and there are many ways to increase your chances. You may find yourself playing a lot more rounds of Shichi Narabe than you planned. Even if you're not into card games, it's worth playing at least once, to see the vacant, curious look the cacti give their loser friends as they are carried away to be mulched.

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24 Comments

Apparently, the story is that these cacti are in a cactus steak processing plant and the method used to determine who gets processed next is this game of sevens.
Given that there is a day counter, I wonder if there is an "end" to the game.

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Anonymous April 15, 2009 1:18 PM

Looks to me like the person with the least amount of 7's that goes last can only win if everyone else has to pass. It looks like more of a game of chance on the draw than skill in the play. BUT, I've only played through a few rounds.

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Little trick with the Joker. When it's played, whoever has the card it represents gets to instantly play it out of turn. So, if you have it, and have two in a row of normal cards, look for an opportunity to use the Joker to play as the card you already have. This means that you play the Joker and both of those cards in one hand. Three cards down instantly.

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waycooler Author Profile Page April 15, 2009 1:49 PM

I managed to last 10 days, 211 points. Woo...

What really kept me playing, besides the fun of the card game, was hoping that yellow would lose so that I could watch it knock over the gray one. Heheheh

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FYI, the rules of the game don't allow you to make a cool 3-card play using the Joker (that is, to play the Joker and the next card, and then also fill the Joker spot from your own hand).

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Re: Otto's post on the same topic -

I tried it out myself, and - upon clicking the Joker - the game highlighted the space that I would have ideally played it, but did not let me actually select that play.
Maybe I missed something?

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For the love of all that is holy, sort the stinking cards!

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Andy, it didn't work for me either.

I also encountered one bug, where after one player used all his passes, it wouldn't let me play any of my cards in the spaces next to where his hand went. Fortunately due to the nature of the bug this only resulted in my getting 3rd instead of 1st, but it was still annoying. I like to think that my high score (373 in 15 days) should have been 38 points higher.

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True, but you should be able to play a card if everything between it and the 7 has been played or given up by a player who lost. At least, the computer is able to do this. But in the round I was playing, the cards in my hand were the only ones not on the board and it wouldn't let me play them anyway.

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lev 11, 209. got the yellow one to knock over the gray one three times!

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I got to day 23 before I lost the will to live. Good game, infuriatingly addictive. There's undoubtedly an element of luck, but there are useful playing strategies too. :)

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Anonymous April 15, 2009 8:07 PM

What luck! I used to play this game quite a bit but then fell out of it and a week or two ago I was searching but failed to find it. Now it's like a magical sign that says "No, you can put off that essay. The cactus people need you once more."
Thanks! ^^

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461 points at day 13.

nice game!

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810 @ Day 26
I find myself laughing maniacally when the others get knocked off, especially if I can force them all to give up by passing after locking up a suit.

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coolpilot Author Profile Page April 16, 2009 11:40 AM

Good thing I'm good at Sevens.
Love it when yellow losses.

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Here's something I didn't realize until it happened to me: if you are dealt the Joker you *must* be sure to have an opportunity to play it, or else you lose. Don't hold onto it. In that sense it is more of a liability than an asset, because if you end up in a situation where you have no way to play it, it gets stuck in your hand until everyone else has played their cards.

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659 - day 24!

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flowerdoggie Author Profile Page June 6, 2009 7:23 PM

It's so funny when the yellow guy gets taken away and knocks the grey guy over!

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flowerdoggie Author Profile Page June 20, 2009 11:30 AM

Cool game! I mabye woulndn't have played so long if it wasn't for hopes of the yellow guy losing.

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76 days, 2657 points.

Only posted this because I didn't see a higher one.

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117 days, 4270 points ^_^

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