We’re suckers for board games that look old and interesting in some way. Don’t get me wrong, we also love finding the gems from our 80s childhood that everyone remembers, but sometimes it’s nice to just try something completely random. That’s exactly what we did with Seven League Boots.
About Seven League Boots
Picked up from a car boot sale, the aim of Seven League Boots is to travel all around the board, visiting each corner and collecting an appropriately coloured counter at each as proof.
To make each step of your journey, you need to have either the appropriate footwear, or a pair of magic boots. That’s where the Seven League Boots come in.
How to play Seven League Boots
Each player chooses a playing piece colour and places their piece at the centre of the board on the “home square”. They also place a counter of their colour in each of the four corners of the board.
The pile of playing cards (27 in total) are shuffled and four cards are dealt to each player. These are your footwear, which allow you to travel around the board. The remaining cards are placed face down in a pile on the table, next to the board.
Each leg of a journey has a picture of a piece of footwear on it. To be allowed to travel along a path you have to have the appropriate footwear. For your turn you can either play a card and move your playing piece one step around the board, or, if you don’t have appropriate footwear, you can use your turn to swap. When you play a card, or swap one, you place it face up on a discard pile, and then take a new card from the face down pile.
The twist in the game is if you have a card with the Seven League Boots on it. These cards mean that you can go along a path that has any footwear on it.
The winner of the game is the first person to return home after collecting all four of their coloured counters from the four corners of the board.
What are Seven League Boots?
Seven League Boots come from European folklore and were boots that allow the wearer to take strides of seven leagues per step, where a league is a unit of length. Boots are often presented to the main character in a story by someone magical to help them complete something significant in the story.
In this game’s case the Seven League Boots allow the player who has the card the “magical powers” to travel along any path in the game.
What we thought of Seven League Boots
We played Seven League Boots with Master C when he was off school sick one day. I’ve been on the look out for games to replace Snakes and Ladders and Ludo for someone like him who can’t yet read properly, but loves playing board games.
Once we’d explained the rules to him and how he needed the appropriate footwear to travel along each path he was well away. He thoroughly enjoyed the game, especially because he won. It was nice and simple enough for him to follow what going on and also for him to strategically plan ahead and retain cards that he could see would aid him in getting to where he wanted to go.
For the adults playing, the game had enough complexity to keep us entertained, whilst also being simple enough that my son didn’t need help. The design of the board and the playing cards have a very 70s feel about them, giving the game a retro charm befitting of its age.
I can definitely see it as a game that we will come back until Master C graduates on to the next level of board games.
Seven League Boots – the facts
Number of players: 2 – 4
Age range: 5+
Believed to have been first published by Condor under their Condor Playvalue name in 1974, the game is copyright Seven Towns Ltd.