The Others: 7 Sins is a dark, grim, game in which the world has been overrun by the 7 sins made flesh, in all their gruesomely contorted forms. Never have they been more deadly. Fortunately, one light shines in the darkness, a band of heroes with the power to fight back and maybe even defeat the encroaching corruption, but only if they can resist that corruption themselves.
Battle is joined over multiple different scenarios with one player controlling the forces of darkness, including your preference of sins (it’s just Pride and Sloth in the base game but don’t worry, there are expansions, this is a CMON game after all) and a collection of corrupted humans, with the others – everyone else that is – taking 1 hero a piece. Across a modular devastated city scape you’ll be battling, with the heroes attempting to complete some series of objectives, while the Others attempt to stop them. Generally by killing them. Killing them’s good.
Intriguingly, a defeated hero isn’t entirely out of the game. New characters get brought in from the reserve and given to that player. They continue playing, and only when there are no more heroes left in the reserve do the bad guys win. This is an interesting approach to player elimination: the threat is there, but no player gets taken out of the game immediately, while the Others need to target multiple heroes, they can’t just gang up on the weakest player as a few too many 1 vs many dungeon crawl style games end up as.
As this is a CMON game, the models are undeniably gorgeous (in a terrifyingly creepy way) and the corrupted city is a great setting, perfectly reflecting a twisted world we recognise and yet don’t. The implication is always there that this is just our world viewed in a light where corruption has a physical property, rather than a literal invasion of gribbly stuff, which I rather like.
By far the most interesting prospect for me was in how the corruption affects your heroes. It acts as a second damage track, so that taking too much corruption will kill, or at least make them unrecoverable. But unlike simple damage, the players can choose to gain corruption, because doing so makes you more powerful. It’s a great idea, tempting players to push themselves mechanically closer to defeat, and thematically closer to that which they fight, but it didn’t work as I hoped.
Rather than being a case of desperate measures to be avoided whenever possible, the game seemed balanced in such a way that heroes are encouraged to throw themselves into impossible situations with reckless abandon. The supply of spare heroes means every game you’ll see a few heroic sacrifices, often performed tactically so that you can bring in a more aggressive character you’ve been saving for the boss. It diminishes the act. You almost immediately drive up your corruption to the mid point, and then the Others player drives it up to the max with their units or the environment. The compelling decisions of when to succumb to corruption or not just didn’t arise in my game. It left The Others as a generic hack and slash miniatures fest. Which is fine if you like that and like the theme, but it had promised so much more.