This week’s Monday Night Gaming: 7 Wonders
# of Players: 2-7 players
Best with: 4 players
Playing Time: 1st time through, maybe 45-60 minutes. After that, 30-45 minutes.
# of Expansions: Five, plus lots of promo cards
# of Parts: 157 cards + 46 conflict tokens, 7 wonder boards, score booklet, and rule book.
Before now, we’d only played 7 Wonders in two-player mode, so I held off on reviewing it until we could play it with at least three players. (In two-player mode, you play with three characters, but one the players take turns controlling the third wheel. It’s a bit odd.)
In 7 Wonders, players race to better build their cities and develop a fabulous wonder before another city (player). You represent the leader of your ancient city and gather resources, develop your military, and establish trade routes as you build.
General Mechanics: The game plays for three ages. In each age, players begin with a hand of seven cards from that age’s deck. Each age’s cards become more elaborate and complex. The number of players will also influence the complexity of these cards.
A player will choose one card from their hand and pass the rest to an adjacent player. The players then reveal their hands simultaneously. If the chosen card requires resources to build/use, the player pays those resources. If necessary, they can purchase those resources from other players. After all cards are paid for or resolved, the players choose a card from their new hand and pass the rest again. Cards are dealt with, and the process continues until all players have six cards in play from the age. After three ages, the game is done.
Some cards provide resources such as clay, glass, linen, and wood. Other cards build a structure such as a theater or tower. (The perk to these is that if you build a theater, in the next age, you can often build other theater-based structures for free, which can gain you victory points.) Some cards give you military might, which can give you victory tokens each round, and others yet are scientific advancements, that if collected, can gain you stacking victory points at the end of the game.
Because each card gets played immediately, players can track what their neighboring “cities” are doing. It’s beneficial to snipe cards that your neighbor might need and prevent them from building their wonder or collecting all the scientific cards.
Building your wonder can gain you in play perks (such as a building for free) and victory points.
How to Win/Lose: The player with the most victory points wins.
What I Liked: The theme of this is neat, and the game feels like a board game variation of the simulation video games Pharaoh and Civilization, both of which are huge favorites of mine. I also like how quick game play goes once you have it down. Makes for a nice, short game. (Sometimes, I don’t want a 6 hour quest, ya know?)
What I Didn’t Like: I can see that replay value on this will go down the number of times we play it. I love it now, but 30-40 plays from now, I worry that it will grow stale. There are only so many cards in the decks and only so many ways to focus your strategy. However, with the expansions, that may address my concern.
Overall Rating/Impression: 8.0/10.0 Fun game, fun theme.