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Subject: 20 Questions About 7 Wonders... rss

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The Compulsive Completist
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1) What kind of games do I like?
I love Dominion. I love everything about it. Most of my collection consists of light to medium weight games. Other favorites are Citadels, Cosmic Encounters, Memoir '44, Ricochet Robots and Dixit.

2) How would I describe 7 Wonders?
Elefun with Victory Points!

If you're not familiar with Elefun it is an elephant that you place in the middle of the floor with his trunk pointed upwards and he blows out butterflies that you are to catch with small butterfly nets. When my son was a toddler we amped up Elefun by adding in packing peanuts. I miss the look of my son as we crammed that poor elephant full of light-weight junk. Click the switch and hear the hum of the fan. There would be a slow trickle of butterflies and peanuts coming from his nose. A long wait while the blower tried to make sense of some unseen clog and then....BOOM! The room would be showered with flying litter as we dove around the room trying to catch the bounty. When finished, the floor would be smothered with the debris that had eluded us. Our nets would be mostly empty. Anything caught was unknowingly tossed overboard during the frenzy. Elefun was great fun!
7 Wonders has that feel. There are so many paths to victory, so many victory points that temporarily visit your hand. 7 Wonders is a game of grab what you can, when you can and hopefully you don't leave many behind. When the game is over there are cards all over the table. Points everywhere. Organized debris. 7 Wonders is also great fun!

3) What took so long for me to plunge into 7 Wonders?
Icons, icons, icons. I am not a fan of icons on cards. I understand the reason why publishers use them but I hate having to pass a book around the table just to know what you are looking at. Had I investigated 7 Wonders more deeply I would have realized earlier that the icons aren't too messy. They are clear and make sense after a couple of games but be prepared to pass the book in the beginning.

4) How are the directions?

Colorful, clear and concise. Very nice.

5) How accessible is it to non-gamers?

The drafting mechanism will probably be new? The introduction of icons may be off-putting. The game itself really isn't difficult and may be best learned by watching a game first. I have heard many times 7 Wonders will be liked by those that are fans of Dominion. They have the same flavor, game weight and feel to me but the fact that 7 Wonders relies on icons gives Dominion the friendly edge. That said, the icons are pretty self-explanatory and easy to remember after a few games. My concern is with future expansions and adding even more icons will just add to the learning curve. Although Dominion's expansions have gotten a bit more complex we are still dealing with text which is much more straight forward.

6) How is the card artwork?

Great. The artwork is gorgeous. They are bigger than your average game card coming in at 65mm x 100mm (Dominion is 59mm x 92mm). Because they are larger the card actually feels thinner. I don't know if they are thinner but they do feel more bendy.

7) Is 7 Wonders free of randomness?

One of 7 Wonders biggest knocks against it is the "randomness". Drawing from a card deck typically introduces a random element. So just how much randomness? I don't think there is quite as much as it seems. If you are passed six cards you get to choose one and pass five. So you should not only consider choosing your card but put some weight in considering which cards you are giving your opponents. This balance of offense and defense cuts down on the "randomness" of 7 Wonders.

8) How interactive is it?

7 Wonders is often considered multi-player solitaire and I couldn't disagree more. YOU decide what cards your neighbor gets. YOU decide how strong your military is. YOU often get to decide which neighbor to pay for resources. When I play 7 Wonders my heads seems on a swivel as I am constantly monitoring my neighbor's play. Instead of a game built on confrontation, 7 Wonders seems to have subtle conflict woven throughout the game. A player four seats from me can affect my game play in a very understated way.

9) How is the theme?

The civilization theme isn't really there (although much more than Dominion). You feel less like building a civilization and more like you need to widgets to buy one idget. Buying goods off your neighbors gives you a slight taste of having nearby civilizations. Building your military is the closest you'll probably feel with the theme. The Leaders expansion increases the theme experience a bit also.

10) How well does the game scale from 3-7 players?

Awesome! I have not played the two player rules yet but have played 4, 5 and 6 players. As the table gets bigger there will be those across from you that have very little interaction with you. You can only hope their neighbors are "keeping them honest" and not letting them run away with the game.

11) How long do the games take?
About 20-30 minutes. Set up time is minimal. Clean up time may seem like a chore at first glance (there are cards EVERYWHERE) but with everyone cleaning up their own play area it goes rather quickly.

12) Is it a main game or a filler game?
BOTH! This is a game that can be played over and over or you can squeeze it in between other games. The winner in our games usually is ready to move on the something else. Everyone else is ready to learn from past mistakes, implement new strategies and deal the cards. I’m not sure if there can be a bigger compliment for a game.

13) What is bad about 7 Wonders?
The backs of Leaders and the promos don't match the backs of like cards in the original set. The publisher is offering replacements for many of the problem cards but that often doesn't solve all of the issues. For the most part, even with the color differences, they aren't bad enough to truly effect game play. You'd really have to want get an unfriendly edge (and go out of your way) to work the card color problems to your advantage.

14) How is the Leaders expansion?

Leaders doesn't fix anything that is broken but does introduce an interesting dynamic. On the surface it seems to just add a new round before your standard three ages but it isn't quite so superficial. For better or worse, Leaders sets you up for the entire game. The different leaders have varying abilities and can really influence the direction of your game. Many may say that it is an unnecessary addition to the game but I like it and usually always play with Leaders. It adds another level of decision making and only adds maybe 10 minutes at most to the game. Leaders isn't necessary but 7 Wonders feels more complete with it. Oh yeah, you get an eighth Wonder board too. Can't go wrong there.

15) Should you rush out and find the Manneken Pis promo?

No, it is half silly (gain a beer from the winner) and I am not convinced that it was fully playtested. I am glad to have it because I am a completist but it is nothing crucial.

16) Are you missing anything not owning the Catan Island promo?

See: Mannequin Pis promo but take away the beer.

17) Is the Stevie Wonder Leaders promo necessary?

YES! If you are playing with the Leaders expansion this is a must. I love having this hidden in the deck waiting for rookies' reactions when this one pops up. It is easy to spot ol' Stevie as he makes his way around the table. The smiles, the chuckles, the glances.

18) Should you sleeve your 7 Wonders game?
Yes, I would for two reasons. Firstly, cards are added to the decks depending on the number of players. There are specific cards for 4+, 5+, etc. You may play with a regular group of 5 but who wants those pristine cards to stand out with your "regular" cards when a couple of extra players join in? Secondly, sleeves help tuck the cards that are already in play on the table. Sliding cards under others is routine and it doesn't take long before it becomes a bit of a nuisance. I used Mayday premium sleeves and have been very happy with them. They run about $4.00 for a pack of 80. They fit snugly but not too tight (a problem I had with Mayday's standard sleeves with Dominion) and I only had one sleeve unusable.

19) Do I recommend 7 Wonders?
Absolutely! It plays well with small and larger groups and plays quickly. It almost has a party game feel but lacks the interaction to truly be labeled as such. Serious gamers may consider it too light and possibly too random but it offers what very few other games do; low learning curve, quick play and its friendly to variable group sizes. The only thing missing is my 3 year old son with a fistful of packing peanuts, smiling up at me. He's eleven now. Damn.

20) Where does 7 Wonders rank in my collection?
http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/69970/644-questions-about-...
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Hobie
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21) How is the replayability? Without putting in an additional $20.00 into an expansion, how replayable is the base game? I've played twice and can envision the base game having a relatively short game life/strategy path. Perhaps this is too hasty of a judgement, but would like to hear others' thoughts on the matter. Thanks!
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Brian Mc Cabe
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It has great replayability. There are multiple paths to victory points, which will depend every game on which Wonder you are given (randomly), what your at-start cards are and, most importantly, which cards are passed to you by your neighbors.

The cards you can build, though, are also determined by what their resource costs are. If neither you nor your neighbors produce a certain resource, that building is out.

Our group seems to play a game three or four times and then move on, so this one doesn't hit the table any more; but, I'll play it any time.

Brian
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Kevin
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My daughter (aged 7) always plays with the Manneken Pis section.

My wife and I sit either side of her (with her brother opposite and also between the wife and I. We generally do not pick on her too much with our military, however she always does well and last time we played she won! No beer though although lashing of Ginger Beer .
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Martin Presley
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beardandglasses wrote:
21) How is the replayability? Without putting in an additional $20.00 into an expansion, how replayable is the base game? I've played twice and can envision the base game having a relatively short game life/strategy path. Perhaps this is too hasty of a judgement, but would like to hear others' thoughts on the matter. Thanks!


7 Wonders is really as deep as you want it to be; you can play it as a light game to play here and there, but if you delve into it there is a huge amount of nuance and different strategies to pursue, even in larger-player games.
 
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Ronnie
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beardandglasses wrote:
21) How is the replayability? Without putting in an additional $20.00 into an expansion, how replayable is the base game? I've played twice and can envision the base game having a relatively short game life/strategy path. Perhaps this is too hasty of a judgement, but would like to hear others' thoughts on the matter. Thanks!


I would say the replayability is only so so...
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Lance McMillan
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Hockey Mask wrote:

8) How interactive is it?

7 Wonders is often considered multi-player solitaire and I couldn't disagree more. YOU decide what cards your neighbor gets. YOU decide how strong your military is. YOU often get to decide which neighbor to pay for resources. When I play 7 Wonders my head seems on a swivel as I am constantly monitoring my neighbor's play. Instead of a game built on confrontation, 7 Wonders seems to have subtle conflict woven throughout the game. A player four seats from me can affect my game play in a very understated way.


Agree with every one of your comments but this. While the game is definitely NOT "multi-player solitaire," the level of actual interaction with other players is subdued. Most of what you're really "interacting" with is the game system itself which only incidentally happens to be because your opponents played certain cards.

Take warfare for example -- there's no real "control" over going to war, the system forces it upon you if you (or your neighbors) happen to play military cards. There's no negotiation; I've yet to play a single game where anyone deliberately approached a neighbor and said "if you don't play any military cards, then I won't either." There's no choice of an offensive or defensive stance -- somehow my 'Guard Tower' seems to be perfectly capable of marching over and smiting my neighbor's 'Stockade' (absurd visions of mobile buildings non-withstanding).

Another case in point would be trade. Yes, you do exchange money with your opponents to use their resources, but there's no haggling over the price, and he can't enforce an embargo to prevent you from buying his goods. The only real decision in trade is whether to buy from the neighbor to your east or west (assuming they both have the item you need) -- and then what's your most likely criteria for making that decision? The one who's behind is the one who'll get the money. No real interaction there either.

And yes, I do control which cards my neighbor gets to see, but for the most part that's incidental because typically my best play is my own VP gain rather than trying to mess his potential VP gains up. Sure, if I'm tossing a card for coins, or burying one to build a Wonder, I'll check out which one will hurt the other players the most, but aside from that I tend to concentrate mostly on what makes my tableau better.

Please understand, I'm not saying '7 Wonders' is a bad game (far from it -- it's one of my top 10). But interaction is definitely not one of its strong suits (and hence, your 3-star rating is appropriate, although I'd probably have gone with 2 or 2.5).

The good thing is that it looks like some of the cards in the upcoming "Cities" expansion will be raising the level of interaction up a notch (several "gotchya!" style cards in there). Things just keep getting better.
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Alessandro Maggi
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Lancer4321 wrote:
Agree with every one of your comments but this. While the game is definitely NOT "multi-player solitaire," the level of actual interaction with other players is subdued. Most of what you're really "interacting" with is the game system itself which only incidentally happens to be because your opponents played certain cards.

I totally second this. I've decided to get this game anyway, just because one of my most stable gaming groups - my family - does like the kind of games where this kind of indirect interaction is enforced by the mechanic.

Lancer4321 wrote:
somehow my 'Guard Tower' seems to be perfectly capable of marching over and smiting my neighbor's 'Stockade' (absurd visions of mobile buildings non-withstanding)

Yeah, that mobilized trench stuff was ripped off by Double Fine dudes! Good stuff!

Lancer4321 wrote:
The good thing is that it looks like some of the cards in the upcoming "Cities" expansion will be raising the level of interaction up a notch (several "gotchya!" style cards in there). Things just keep getting better.

Can't wait to see what's coming next! thumbsup
 
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nyn -
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I've only played this once, a 4 player session, but it was easily one of the more accessible euro style games that I've played. I call this euro because there is no "screw your neighbor" visciousness (hence the complaints about multi-player solitaire) and there is a lot of abstract resource management and kingdom building with a loosely pasted on theme.

That said, there's no dice! (yay!) I find the game infinately replayable if you like the mechanic (select & pass) since the variable cards along with the starting board both push you into pursuing completely different goals in order to stay competetive.

That the game moves so quickly and that it is so accessible (despite all the icons, as you pointed out) is why I went ahead and purchased the game myself. I think if you can figure out Dominion you're not going to have a problem figuring out 7 Wonders.

I disagree with the comment that the game is as deep as you want it to be. This is a light to medium game at its most complex. This is not a game of infinate layers and the random element is much, much higher than in other kingdom building games because of the card passing. Still, it is definately 3 demensional and a sharp player will have a definate edge over a shallow one.

As always, great review. Thanks for posting and keep them coming.
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ian o
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I really like your review format. I agree with you about the Leaders expansion. It really is great and deepens the game. its more than just an extra round.
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Paul S
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RedArmyIan wrote:
I really like your review format.


+1. Works really well, I enjoyed this review.
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Robert Masson
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Agree with everything in original post!

Don't get the mayday brown, blue, purple sleeves for this game! They stick together something fierce. I've resorted to baby powdering cards.
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