“All the table’s a stage”
In this write up, I’m going to explain the background to, and reasons behind, our 7TV game. This applies both to the first and second editions of the game, but the second edition is also mentioned specifically at points. If you ever wanted to know just what 7TV is (and isn’t), or indeed what 7TV stands for, read on…
It’s a Wargame
You’ll need an opponent, miniatures, dice, rules and somewhere to play on. You choose your cast and set up your miniatures, your opponent will do the same. While games can have strong narrative thread, it’s not a roleplaying game. In the second edition you don’t have to choose options for your models weapons or abilities like you have to do in a role playing game. There’s no gamesmaster or referee. You pick your models and grab the cards you need and get playing. It’s quick and simple and a lot of fun.
It’s a Metagame
7TV is a game about making a TV programme or a film. Your models are your cast, you have a ratings number to allow you to choose your models. Who are all either stars, co-stars or extras. The games you play are called episodes, your cast doesn’t get killed if you lose, they get axed. There’s a countdown until the credits roll and all the random events are TV themed. Special effects, star qualities. We could go on.
Does this make a great difference? No and yes. No because you can just play the game like any other wargame – choose your models and fight battles. Yes, because it’s quite tongue-in-cheek and doesn’t take itself too seriously. The fact the game is buried inside a TV show gives it a whole different feel, and we love it, it plays right into the genre we’re recreating. If this bothers you ignore it, or play something dark involving space empires and lots of skulls.
It’s a love of Cult TV
At Crooked Dice we love Cult TV – the shows you sometimes see on BBC2, or Dave during the day. Shows like The Prisoner, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), The Avengers, Adam Adamant, The Saint, The Champions, and there were a lot more. Add to this various Anderson productions including Captain Scarlet, U.F.O., Space: 1999 and we’re getting there. We can add to this famous TV like Doctor Who and recent Cult TV like Archer and Danger 5. It’s a heady mix.
Budgets were often low, and props and actors kept reappearing across various shows if you take the time to look. Despite their meager production values, these shows have a look and a feel all to their own, and manage to show us what looked like a simpler, more dashing time to live in. Nostalgia? Oh yes.
What is Spy-Fi? It’s a mixture of the spy genres and science fiction, it’s typically far more glamourous and over the top than John Le Carre, or spying in the real world would have been (or still is). Spy-Fi is encapsulated by The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and most especially James Bond and Austin Powers, and that’s only a fraction of the Spy-Fi out there. Spy-Fi brings us undersea and volcanic villainous bases, outrageous ransom demands and evil plans and lots of gadgets and seduction of enemy agents. All of which were too good not to include in 7TV.
But what is 7TV?
To tie all these elements together we needed a single unifying point, so we created a fictional TV studio, now defunct, who brought the world an epic list of Cult TV in the 1960s and 1970s – 7TV Studios. The background to 7TV Studios is given at length in the game rulebooks, but is summarised here for convenience:
Sidney Barron grew from managing wartime acts on the then fledgling TV service in Britain. He became an independent TV producer in the 1950s and by the 60s had formed his own production company, 7TV Studios. His early shows such as The Village Doctor were fairly pedestrian, but before long he had hit on a formula to both shock and entertain at the same time.
Although never terribly well known, his shows such as The Man From 2000, Department X, The Beat and The Daredevils were classics of their time. Episodic 45 minutes of action, adventure and suspense they kept a whole generation on the edge of their seats. The shows belied their tiny budgets to give us time travel, incredible science and a whole host of alien and robot monsters. This was gripping stuff.
Tragically Barron mysteriously disappeared from his Monaco yacht when his studios fell on harder times, and much of his television (and indeed film) was forgotten. Luckily, here at Crooked Dice, we have “rediscovered” much of 7TV Studios output, and have used it as the background to our game.
7TV 2nd Edition
The 7TV 2nd Edition rules allow you to create casts from almost any kind of TV show you can imagine – what’s in your head is the only limit. The core rules have a multitude of generic star, co-star and extra options to choose from, so if you’ve seen it on TV or have woken up at 4am with a brilliant idea, you can do it. From alien invaders or a hospital full of crazies, to secret ninja commandos or psychic spy children, you can do it.
Future releases will expand massively on the previous Programme Guides to give you full options to recreate classic 7TV casts such as Department X, S.H.I.V.A, The Argonauts and Children of the Fields. If you already have any Programme Guides from the first edition we’ll give you updated second edition cards free for all the profiles on those books. 5 years of time has passed for these casts, just like it has in the real world. So expect some characters to have moved on, got promoted, or have been changed by their experiences since we last passed their way.
And that… is 7TV. We’re massively excited to have the second edition available as a free beta test edition, for comments and feedback. Grab some models, download the rules, put on your best velvet trousers and get playing!