Home > Board Games > 7 Summits: A Mountaineering Challenge

7 Summits: A Mountaineering Challenge

September 4th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

Have you ever wondered why Captain Kirk is climbing a mountain, or why Sylvester Stallone didn’t catch hypothermia in “Cliffhanger”?  Well, you’ll have to keep wondering, because “7 Summits: A Mountaineering Challenge” (thankfully) doesn’t touch on these one bit…you’re welcome.  Rather, you’re a simple mountaineer with the rather imposing task of climbing huge mountains on each of the seven continents.  I suppose you could solve world hunger and the general public’s obsession with celebrity wardrobe mishaps afterwards, but we’ll leave the hard stuff till later.  Before we begin, I’d like to quickly thank Kevin Fowler from Summit Games, LLC for reaching out and providing me with a press copy for review purposes.


7 Summits: A Mountaineering Challenge

7 Summits: A Mountaineering Challenge – 1-4 Players, Ages 12+, Average Play Time = 30-60 Minutes



The game includes 1 game board, 32 climber cards (8 of each of the four colors), 32 maximum climber cards, 40 mountain cards (10 of each of the four colors), 42 experience tokens, 40 character sheets, 3 black summit markers, 28 summit markers (7 of each of the four colors), 16 gear markers (4 of each of the four colors), 4 reference cards, 2 six-sided dice, and 1 rulebook.

Setup & Gameplay

Game setup is half a page long in the manual, so I’ll opt to cover the highlights in order to keep the review moving.  Firstly, the XP tokens are placed on the game board in the “Experience Bank” space.  The maximum climber deck is seeded, shuffled, and placed face-up on the appropriate board space (the number of cards used in this deck all depends on the number of players).  Each player chooses a color and gets a set of climber cards, mountain cards, summit markers, and gear markers of that color along with a character sheet and reference card.  Players shuffle their climber cards and place this deck face-down.  After that, they all agree on one of the four preset challenge lists (each list contains seven mountains).  Finally, players roll the dice to see who goes first.


7 Summits: A Mountaineering Challenge



A player’s turn is broken up into six phases and again, I’m going to opt to streamline things a bit to keep the review at a respectable length.

1. Select Mountain Phase – The player will choose a mountain card and place it in the player area on the board, assuming they don’t have one already (a player can only climb one mountain at a time).  They also can’t choose a mountain if there’s no space left on the time/progress area of their character sheet.

2. Adjust Gear Phase – The player may move any already purchased gear from one gear piece / hazard type to any other on the board.

3. Roll Phase – The player rolls two dice, the results of which will trigger different events like bad weather, hazards, acclimation checks, and mountain favor.

4. Draw Phase – The player draws two cards from their climber deck (if they run out, they shuffle their discard pile and use it as the new deck).  Using these cards, the player must meet or beat the movement requirement listed on their mountain card.  Successfully climbing mountains will earn players good bit of experience points.

5. Upgrade Phase – The player can spend XP in order to upgrade their mountaineering skills, like climber cards, acclimation, carrying new gear, and restoring health.

6. End of Turn Phase – The player discards both climber cards and “discards” down to a maximum of ten XP.

The general flow of the game involves players starting their climbs on the easier mountains, gaining XP, spending said XP to upgrade, and then tackling the more challenging mountains. If a player’s health drops below one, they die and are removed from the game.  A player can win by being the last one standing OR by being the first player to complete the chosen challenge list.  It’s worth noting that players can climb ANY mountain they’d like (except for those which are black listed), not just the seven chosen for the challenge.  Players can still add up /calculate their victory points however if they’d like to see their “title” as defined in the rulebook.

Editor’s Note: The above doesn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but should give you an idea as to how the game is played.


7 Summits: A Mountaineering Challenge

Upgrade your climber cards in order to tackle the more difficult mountains.


The Review

Firstly, I have to get the developer credit for releasing a game about climbing mountains…I mean, how many games do YOU know of that revolve around that particular sport / activity? The idea isn’t exactly a new one, for games like “K2” and “Disaster on Everest” already exist, but it’s nice to see that more games are being developed that revolve around a theme that is rarely touched upon.  I’m not a mountain climber myself, but I do enjoy being active and exercising…meaning I can appreciate the feeling one may get for successfully finishing your walk/run/hike/mountain climb/etc.  This game does give you that feeling, as some of those mountains are quite treacherous.  The permadeath system adds to the tension, though it would have been nice if players could “respawn” either as a new character or their existing ones after so many turns…just so that they don’t have to twiddle their thumbs while waiting for the game to end.

I think my favorite aspect of the gameplay lies with its XP system. I’ve always been a fan of games that allow you to “level up” as they make me feel like I have something to shoot for. You don’t play “Dragon Warrior” or “Final Fantasy”, for example, so that you can remain a weak toilet scrubber who can only take on green slimes and goblins, do you?  In this case, the bulk of your upgrades revolve around getting better climber cards, raising your acclimatization, and acquiring new gear (you can restore health as well, but I don’t consider this an upgrade).  The climber cards give the most sense of progression, I feel, as they help players to beat the movement requirements listed on the mountain cards.  The more you upgrade your climber cards, the easier it’ll be to meet this skill check when facing the tougher mountains.

What turned me off was the $49.99 retail price.  It seems as though that every game I cover from “The Game Crafter” is usually overpriced…at least, in my opinion.  A few developers have gotten back to me and informed me that their prices need to be that way in order to offset the production costs and see a return.  I can understand their point of view, being a reviewer and having indirect exposure to that side of things.  With that said, the average consumer only looks at the price tag and if they see something both similar and cheaper, they’ll more than likely buy it instead.  This game’s saving grace with regards to the price is the lack of competition surrounding the mountain climbing theme…in short, the consumer doesn’t have as many options.  Costs and development woes aside, I do think the game is overpriced for what it offers.  I expected something along the lines of $30, though this is just an estimate based on personal experience having owned and reviewed hundreds of games.

From a gameplay perspective, the game is both family-friendly and fun to boot.  “7 Summits: A Mountaineering Challenge” will give you the feeling that you’re actually climbing a mountain and accomplishing something…unless of course you decide to climb Everest right out fo the gate (let me know how that works out for you).  The price is indeed a concern of mine, though the lack of games available for this particular sub-genre keeps me from knocking off as many points as I normally would.  It also helps that the components are both numerous & colorful, though don’t forget to copy/scan a player sheet so that you don’t run out.  All things considered, I think that this game would be a great addition to any household!

Final Verdict: 8/10

You can learn more about and purchase “7 Summits: A Mountaineering Challenge” by visiting its store page, here:


  1. No comments yet.