Board Game Guru Presents: 7 Wonders
Hello and welcome to the latest installment in this series of board game reviews.
This week’s game is 7 Wonders, the civilization-building, war-fighting, and science-developing wonderment!
Age: 10 and up
Time: 30-45 minutes
You are the leader of one of the 7 great cities of the Ancient World. Gather resources, develop commercial routes, and affirm your military supremacy. Build your city and erect an architectural wonder, which will transcend future times.
7 Wonders lasts three ages. In each age, players receive seven cards from a particular deck, choose one of those cards, then pass the remainder to an adjacent player. Players reveal their cards simultaneously, paying resources if needed or collecting resources or interacting with other players in various ways. (Players have individual boards with special powers on which to organize their cards, and the boards are double-sided). Each player then chooses another card from the deck they were passed, and the process repeats until players have six cards in play from that age. After three ages, the game ends.
So what does all this mean for gameplay? 7 Wonders is a card development game. Some cards have immediate effects, others activate later in the game, and some provide discounts on future purchases. Each type of card contributes to your strategy for building up as many victory points as possible. Cards are passed left-right-left over the three ages, so you need to keep an eye on the neighbors in both directions. Cards are revealed on every round, so you can get an idea of what your neighbors are planning, too. The player who has the most victory points at the end of the third age is the winner.
Special note: It is not necessary to complete your civilization’s “wonder” in order to win the game, but it certainly helps.
The other gurus and I had a lot of fun with this one, especially since the cards you choose (or not choose) will affect what your neighbors receives. You have to choose cards that will benefit you while not passing cards that will give your neighbor a huge advantage. It involves a lot of strategy. I ended up going heavy on military and resource cards since my neighbors weren’t (which gave me an advantage). Science cards are also very helpful, and those players who don’t go for a military strategy tend to go for the science cards.
I’ll admit, this was a roller coaster ride for me. I was blocked completely from building my civilization’s wonder, and it was very frustrating. But, despite my anger (and a few choice outbursts) I ended up in second place out of seven. Not too shabby!
All in all, this game earns 9 out of 10 resources. Why? Because it’s a tough game to learn at first, and even tougher once you realize how important it is to strategize. But it’s a downright beautifully conceived and operated board game. I enjoyed it and recommend it to nearly everyone (as long as you have at least a little gaming experience . . . or a really great teacher). Now that you know about 7 Wonders, it’s time to go out and play it with your friends!
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