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Subject: My first Review. Is it good with 2-7 players? rss

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James Jones
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So this is my 1st review here on the geek. So why did I pick this game to review first when there is already plenty of reviews on here? Simple answer I own and have played it many times. I find reviews where the person has played a game many time more helpful. Also I am planning on doing a series of reviews that I find to be good for couples or claimed to be good for couples. This will not go in to the rules because there are many excellent resources on the geek for that. So let's get started.

Basic Game Play:
Each player has his own Wonder board and when sections of it are built it gives you victory points or resources or a special ability. At the start of the game each player has 7 cards and you select one and play it then pass the remaining cards clockwise until everyone has played 6 cards and then discards the last card. This goes on for 3 ages or rounds, on the 2nd round you pass cards counterclockwise.
The cards you play can be:
Raw Materials (brown) produce resources.
Manufactured Goods (gray) produce resources.
Civilian Structures (blue) score victory points.
Scientific Structures (green) score victory points depending on your progress in the 3 scientific fields.
Commercial Structures (yellow) earn coins, produce resource, change commerce rules and may earn victory points.
Military Structures (red) increase your military might which are used to conquer your neighboring players and score points at the end of each round or if you are defeated you lose points .
Guilds (purple) score points according to specific criteria.
Your over all goal is to score the most victory points in the course of 3 rounds.

This shows the early stage of the game. This game can take up allot of room especially if you have 7 playing.

The Components:
For me this is a big deal it may sound crazy but a good looking and feeling game just adds to the experience. 7 Wonders has good components the chits and player boards are thick the cards are of good card stock and an extra plus is that the box insert is great. The artwork is also very nice.

This is a picture of the 1st edition so the coins are wood and in more recent editions they are cardboard chits still very nice.

The Theme:
This is said to be a civilization building game the art work follows that theme but I never really get that feel when playing. So in this category I would say the theme is on the weaker side but in this game I also don't feel this detracts from the game.

Availability and price:
This can easily be found online and at most local game stores this is nice. The suggested price is $49.00 I think that is a fair price since I think it would get lots of play. Although you can find it readily online in the low to mid $30s and I feel this is a very good price for this game.

Is it easy to learn/teach?
I know many consider this a gateway game I would say yes and no. Compared to games like Ticket to Ride this is harder manly due to the icons and the many ways there are to score points. I will say I have taught many people this game gamers and non-gamers after explaining the rules I find it best to teach while playing people catch on real fast and by there 2nd or 3rd game they got it. I will say though Ticket to Ride I could pull it out with my Grandparents or young Nieces and have a good time but with 7 Wonders the stated 10+ age range I feel is accurate and teaching my Grandparents not so much fun.

Replay Value?
When I started playing I felt this was just luck if you win I never thought Military was worth playing and that Science was the only way to go. Also in the beginning there where very high point differences. Now I enjoy the game even more, a lot of this game is watching what your neighbor is doing what weakness does their Wonder have so you can exploit that. The more I have played I have seen there is no 1 way that is best to score points it really depends on what you have this really adds to the replay value. Also the games we play now are normally very close in points.

3-7 players really?
I have played this game with all player ranges and several times each and I would say yes it is good with all. This game is great because I can play 7 people and if everyone has played before I can set up play and put it away in an hour or less. Even though there are 7 players you really are just playing against the people next to you since military and the cards you pass and buying resources all happens with those 2 people (The Cities Expansion does change this). This can be a negative in the sense that you have no control over those at the end of the table. But for a quick light and fun game I don't mind this that much. Having said that though I do find 4 or fewer players more strategic.

How about 2 player?
The Rules come with a 2 player variant but also suggest that you play this with more player before trying this variant. I agree with that. My wife and I had played many time with 3+ players and thought one night let's try the 2 player variant and we both disliked it. You play with the 3 player set up and the 3rd player is a ghost player where you take turn controlling on each age. The ghost player was always very low scoring it seemed a little unbalanced in that the starting player had a slight advantage because you control the ghost player twice. I know some say this is very strategic and really like playing it this way but we did not like it. So after that we didn't play 2 player for a long time then we were told to try it just like a 4 player game where each player is controlling 2 boards and the best overall score is the winner. So we reluctantly tried it this way and wow sooooo much better. It added a lot of strategy some times you might give your opponent a card they need so they don't burn the card you really need for your other board. It is more fiddly just trying to remember which way you pass and which board did I just play but not bad but can add some confusion.

Would i buy this game just for the 2 player experience?
No there are other games that I feel are better for just two players. But the fact that it is fun with 2-7 players makes this a keeper in my book.

Comments on how to improve my reviews would be great.
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Runcible Spoon
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mazda74rx4 wrote:
You play with the 3 player set up and the 3rd player is a ghost player where you take turn controlling on each age. The ghost player was always very low scoring it seemed a little unbalanced in that the starting player had a slight advantage because you control the ghost player twice.


This sounds like you are playing it wrong (the emphasis is mine).

Play for the free city (3rd player) passes between the players each turn (each draft of a card). It sounds like, based on the way you have written this, you are passing control of the free city between players in each age which is not correct.

7 Wonders 3rd Printing Rules page 7 wrote:
Once all three cards are played, the players take the stack of cards on the other side of the border. During the next turn, it's the other player who'll play for the Free city, and so on until the end of the game.


Each player will control the free city 9 times (see post below regarding correction to my mental math).

I can see why you like the 2-Free-Cities variant (to emulate 4p) more than a single free city because it evened out the rules mistake.

Maybe another couple of plays with the correct rules might change your opinion.

One other insight I can offer is that the free city should be used as a ping pong ball bouncing between each player and basically used against the opponent. Therefore the fact that it is "low scoring" is a non-issue because you are not really trying to turn it into a a viable third player.

Quote:
I know some say this is very strategic and really like playing it this way but we did not like it.


Yes, it is much more strategic (i.e. longer term planning matters more) as a 2p game. That said, you don't have to like it because of that fact as you are entitled to your own opinion.

Quote:
Comments on how to improve my reviews would be great.


You have a pretty good review here and I like the fact that you have played with all of the base games player counts (cities goes to 8 with the team variant)

The bold tag [ b ] [ / b ] would help with the headings.


A final thought of my own, I bought it for the 2-player experience, and would recommend it to others as a 2p game, as my wife and I really enjoy it, and people in my game group like it as a 2p experience as well. This just shows that tastes vary depending on what people are looking for in a game.
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James Jones
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Dont get me wrong we do like this game as a 2 player game and we still do play it often as such. I just would not make this 1st on my list if I only play 2 player games. But if your group varies in size I feel this is a great game to own. And it has been awhile since we played it 2 player with the rules variant and we may have played wrong. I will give it another shot and give a update. Thanks
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Runcible Spoon
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mazda74rx4 wrote:
And it has been awhile since we played it 2 player with the rules variant and we may have played wrong. I will give it another shot and give a update. Thanks


No problem. The updated review looks nicer, the bold headings really pop off the page.
 
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Carl Garber
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Vauxhall
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Nice review James! I like how you plan to review guys you have played alot! I also greatly appreciate reviews like this and so for my own reviews I like to log at least 10 plays before I review it!

For ways that could improve your review:

Images! It is so nice to be able to see pictures of a game reviews so you can get a better feel for it, especially if a reader is not all to familiar with the game. Also it spices up the review and makes it not so "wall of textish". It is a bit more work but quite worth it in my opinion!

Secondly, I would love to hear your thoughts on replayability and growth in strategy over your many games. Obviously it has replayability in that you have played it so much but are you still discovering new strategies and tactics in your more recent plays? Or do you simply enjoy going through the familiar motions and strategies that you discovered after the first couple of plays? Has your enjoyment of this game increased, decreased, or stayed the same over time?

Look forward to reading future reviews!

Happy Gaming!
 
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mumu shanshi
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Runcible Spoon wrote:
There is a very slight imbalance, but it is different than what you have stated. One player will control it 10 times and the other 11 times.

Erm, sounds like you may have been playing it wrong too. Without the expansions, each player will control the Free City 9 times.

6 builds per age x 3 ages / 2 players = 9 free city turns per player
 
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Runcible Spoon
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mumushanshi wrote:
Runcible Spoon wrote:
There is a very slight imbalance, but it is different than what you have stated. One player will control it 10 times and the other 11 times.

Erm, sounds like you may have been playing it wrong too. Without the expansions, each player will control the Free City 9 times.

6 builds per age x 3 ages / 2 players = 9 free city turns per player


Whoops. You are incorrect about us playing it wrong.

Rather, we have been playing it right all along, I just did the mental math wrong as I was posting as I forgot to factor in the discard at the end of each age. Thanks for the correction. Post above has been corrected.
 
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Wesley Swingley
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mazda74rx4 wrote:
Comments on how to improve my reviews would be great.


Generally a good review and useful for me since my game group isn't super-regular yet so my wife and I play a lot.

One comment, the grammar and spelling issues drove me a little crazy as I was reading the review. Even though it is a good review, the "there/their/they're", split words ("artwork", "replayability", "cardboard"...), and lack of any commas except that series in the intro detract from what could be a great review series (for my gaming situation, at least).
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FYI: Online spell checkers will clean it up for you, for starters. there are also grammar checkers as well.

The internets are pretty cool.
 
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