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Subject: Best wonder: some stats rss

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noce
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The debate on the best wonder is always open and ever dynamic.

This contribution will steer clear of any theoretical discussion (though there's plenty of that in our gaming group ) and sticks to strictly statistical data that we obtained by playing and archiving our results.

The following ranking is based on about sixty matches (actual games, not online matches) with 3 to 7 players each. 35% of these are 5-player matches, 60% have either 4 or 5 players, more than 80% have 4 to 6 players. Only 10% of these matches included less than skilled players; almost all of them were played consistently by the same group. Almost all matches were played randomizing A and B sides. Only a few matches (less than 5%) were played with the Leaders expansion, and none with the Cities expansion, therefore we didn't include any of the expansions' wonders.

This is the ranking, obtained through rankade ranking system (and therefore including the relative strength of the players using each wonder, which we're not listing here):

01 / 2137 / Giza A
02 / 2074 / Rodhos B
03 / 2072 / Halikarnassus B
04 / 2020 / Olympia B
05 / 2008 / Alexandria B
06 / 2004 / Babylon A
07 / 1995 / Babylon B
08 / 1991 / Giza B
09 / 1985 / Ephesos B
10 / 1984 / Olympia A
11 / 1973 / Alexandria A
12 / 1958 / Rodhos A
13 / 1929 / Halikarnassus A
14 / 1875 / Ephesos A

This is what we can derive from the data:
- All in all, wonders are well balanced, since the ranking spans over a limited point range
- A sides are inferior (pretty much consistently, with the exception of Giza and Babylon) to their respective B sides
- The only wonder scoring significantly better is Giza A, with Rodhos B and Halikarnassus B in the next lower tier
- The only wonder scoring significantly worse is Ephesos A, with Halikarnassus A in the next higher tier
- The most asymmetric wonder is Halikarnassus
- The actual players, within a rather balanced gaming group, are more decisive than wonders (besides Giza and Ephesos) in determining the final results. The better players are consistently above the mid-area wonders and the others are a little below
- It's possible to win a game with any wonder, none of them has zero chances of victory. Even the worst ranked wonders have led to victories; on the other hand, even Giza A came up last in at least one game

I might be updating the list when we hit the 100 games mark. At our current rate, it'll take more or less a year and a half.
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Gastel Etswane
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Any correlation to neighbouring Wonders? And since you listed points only, did every Wonder get the same number of plays? Were there runaway games that won or tight races with a loss? Points doesn't matter as much as wins.
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Greg Gresik
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sthrjo wrote:
Your results correlate poorly with other similar links I have collected.


Which is likely why the OP's opening comment is true:

Quote:
The debate on the best wonder is always open and ever dynamic.
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Fernando Robert Yu
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Besides, there are so many wonders now from the expansions that these should be included for the rankings to be more relevant. For example, I feel that the Great Wall wonder from 7 Wonders: Wonder Pack is particularly strong...
 
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noce
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Quote:
Points doesn't matter as much as wins.

Sure.
Points listed above are ree points from rankade ranking system, from our matches' results, not the result of an addition of points scored in all matches.
So, in this ranking, wins matter (and final standings too), points scored do not.

Quote:
Besides, there are so many wonders now from the expansions that these should be included for the rankings to be more relevant.

I know.
But we did not use other wonders than seven from base game (neither Rome). Ranking is based on our matches. As I said:

Quote:
This contribution will steer clear of any theoretical discussion (though there's plenty of that in our gaming group ) and sticks to strictly statistical data that we obtained by playing and archiving our results.

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Gordon Robinson
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noce wrote:
A sides are inferior (pretty much consistently, with the exception of Giza and Babylon) to their respective B sides

I'm guessing there will be a chunk of players who pass by the site once to play the one game which they go on to lose. A new player is going to be more likely to pick an "A" side.

This could skew the stats.
 
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noce
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Quote:
I'm guessing there will be a chunk of players who pass by the site once to play the one game which they go on to lose. A new player is going to be more likely to pick an "A" side.

This could skew the stats.

Once again, the ranking above is based on our matches' results!
Actual games, not online matches.

As I wrote before, almost all of matches were played consistently by the same group, using random wonders and sides. No unknown players, no passers by that choose A sides.

Rankade is not a game platform. It's a ranking system.
We recorded our matches, and that's the ranking obtained from 'ree' algorithm.

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Skerasco Veraii
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i think the whole world can agree that Babylon is the worst civ to play as in the game
 
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noce
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Quote:
i think the whole world can agree that Babylon is the worst civ to play as in the game

Probably nobody in our group is oh-so-happy when randomly picking Babylon.
But, as you can see (and remember that I'm talking about results, not polls), Babylon position in our ranking is average, and far from 'worst' wonders in fact.
And it's better than most loved Alexandria A.
An interesting example of difference between group perception and real results, maybe.


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Robert Stewart
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kaneAAA wrote:
i think the whole world can agree that Babylon is the worst civ to play as in the game


If you look at the stats from that group, Ephesos not only has the worst "bad" side, but also the worst "good" side, with both sides of Babylon doing better than either side of Ephesos.

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Bryan Carpenter
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Thank you for this! I recently got 7 Wonders and love it. I was talking to a friend who has played it in another group. I was shocked when he poo-poohed 7 Wonders saying that it was a given in every game that if someone got a certain wonder then they would win. surprise

I've only racked up 13 games, mostly in groups of 4 or 5 players, normally with the same core players. So far it does feel to me that each wonder has a chance of winning and it certainly doesn't feel like the wonders are completely unbalanced.

Thanks for some statistics to provide an objective viewpoint.

Interestingly, my friend has never said which wonder is the gauranteed to win wonder!
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noce
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Quote:
Thanks for some statistics to provide an objective viewpoint.

We 'forced' rankade, creating fake users for wonders, and inserting matches as if its were played by two users (a wonder and a player) factions, and we got this ranking (as I said, actual players are not listed). We did the same for other games with different races/powers, as Twilight Imperium or Neuroshima Hex!, but we do not have so many matches and so stats are not significant yet.

Apart fake users' data, we started using rankade in our boardgames group some time ago, and now its "objective viewpoint" and its rankings are something we can't do without.

Quote:
Interestingly, my friend has never said which wonder is the gauranteed to win wonder!

I do not know your friend, but I know his secret: the guaranteed-to-win-wonder is the one he has not got when he lose.
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Clyde Erwin
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We play 6 to 8 players quite a bit. This data if from 47 wonders (Lost, Empires, Myths, Games, etc.) and before I printed out the additional 40+ French ones.

Given the fact that the random distribution of wonders when playing skews this data, it is only for amusement. There were also at least 20 games that featured choice of two wonders and side that also skews the results. So this is partially a preference gauge.

After 104 games:

Great Wall A: 7 wins
Alexandria B: 5 wins
Halikarnassos B: 5 wins
Stonehenge A: 5 wins
Ephesos A: 4 wins
Giza B: 4 wins
Antiochia B: 3 wins
Atlantis B: 3 wins
Ephesos B: 3 wins
Stonehenge B: 3 wins

skipping the one and two wins

No wins at all: Beijing, Beiping, Byzantium, Capua, Delphes, Hyrule (old), Ninue, Pergamon, Sparta, Uruk

Adding sides together, Stonehenge wins with 8 total wins. Now that I have just over 100 wonders, it will be hard to do this again with any system of control.
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noce
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clydeerwin wrote:
We play 6 to 8 players quite a bit.


Fifty wonders per six players per one hundred matches leads to about ten matches per wonder in average, so you're right, "it's only for amusement".


Thanks for your data indeed.
We use to play with base wonders only, as I told, and I like to see some of them fighting for first places even in your big pool.

If you got so many 6-8 players matches, consider using rankade for your real group, as it should be, despite this thread wonder-oriented improper use.

Many wonders are well balanced, but surely your group has one Emperor!
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Alejandro Magno
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Sadly the sample size are too small, specially considering the number of players is not consistent, something that heavily changes the value of wonders.
though Giza is probably the best, no matter the number of players.
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noce
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Just an internal link.
Again talking about rankade, I tried a more complete analysis in this thread, focusing on standard usage.
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Quite an interesting analysis. I should give this rankade a look.

Even if you steer clear from theoretical discussion mere distribution already favors wonders more than others.

As far as the base game goes ...
First, there are zero age II cards that use exactly one stone.
Every game has a Timber Yard (Wood/Stone) and a Clay Pit (Brick/Ore)
A 4 player game grants Excavation (Brick/Stone)
A 5 player game grants Forest Cave (Wood/Ore)
A 6 player game grants Tree Farm (Wood/Brick) and Mine (Stone/Ore)

In other words ...
Timber Yard -> Helps Giza, Olympia, and Ephesus.
Clay Pit -> Helps Halikarnassos
Excavation -> ??? Kind of helps Giza B
Forest Cave -> ??? Kind of helps Rhodos A
Tree Farm -> Helps Babylon ... A
Mine -> Helps Rhodos B and Alexandria A.

By helps I mean the dual effect allows picks to be flexible by one resource in terms of all the wonders. Since you start with 3 coins, 1 is good for a dual while the other 2 is good for a key trade.

Giza seems to have a natural benefit because it can use its last pick to build a wonder. Its superior stone position gives it the best shot to get the best age I and II blues as well as Walls, giving it an edge on Military picks except against Rhodos.

Age III Giza on average looks like this: Guild, 6 pt blue, wonder, 3 variable picks. Depending on the Browns, even Haven and Arena become decent picks. Basically Giza can secure 5 picks to give itself at least 5 points per card fairly easily, and use 1 to secure military if need be.

When looking at Rhodos B the key thing is that the extra shield across two different wonder stages allows it to get the edge in every age. The distribution of Stone dual cards even made it possible to get the 1st wonder stage built in age I which is pretty insane. The high stone and ore requirements lets it go right into building Craftsmen and Strategist Guild. Heck it can even muster a science set without involving age I.

Halikarnassos B is just useful. Just think of the dig as a bonus, particularly for the first two wonders.
Stage 1 -> 2 points plus ... a shield? 2-3 points? A resource? All these possibilities are quite beneficial! Either you're ahead on the point curve or you get a cool bonus that aids in your military or resource production ... or trading capabilities ... or money. If it's a science, it could be good game.
Stage 2 -> Just note that if you get a blue 4 VP card, you're still on the 5 point curve. If you get 2 shields you're better off than Rhodos A (AND you get 1 VP, for the SAME triple brick wonder cost!) The 1 VP is actually surprisingly huge.
Stage 3 -> Well, you always know your last two cards before you discard, so you have enough info to make an educated guess as what to do.

Too lazy to talk about half of the civs.

Your stats showed that Alexandria A, Halikarnassos A, and Ephesus A are 3 of the worst 4 performing ones.
The obvious weakness is the double advanced resource. It forces the civ to get a Forum, trade, or draft a redundant resource. Unlike the quad raw resource civs, the monopolization power isn't as good.
However, the real reason why these are weaker is actually the first two stages!

Alexandria A -> The Mine exists only in a 6 player game. Without the Mine, Alexandria would need 4 raw resource picks to be able to get the 2nd wonder stage without trading. No matter how you go about it, you pay *at least* two coins to obtain construction for the first two wonder stages regardless if you trade or not. The only way to consume less than 2 coins to do this is by obtaining the Caravansary. But if you did that, you're way behind in pick efficiency. The later you get the stage 2 wonder the worse it is. Since you need to get stone and ore for these, you might not even have the Brick or Trading Post to get a Forum to make the third wonder stage affordable.

Halikarnassos A -> This one's interesting. The 3 and 7 points are on par with most other wonders, so the digging is the only wildcard. Well here's the problem: it's ideal to be built at the end of age II.

The best cases are 2 military shields, a science, or Aqueduct. Getting a double resource or yellow card is cute, but not very useful.
Science is usually contested enough not to leave the exact science you seek. 2 military shields is best when you're behind by one shield, but that scenario is also uncommon. The Aqueduct is the least likely to fall on your lap, and even then it only puts you on par with Giza A. Every other blue card puts you behind. 3 Ore just to build this wonder is already clunky, because in age III there's a whopping 1 card called Fortifications which requires triple Ore.

Ephesus A is just bad. Just looking at the first two stages versus its B counterpart already shows less points AND coins, AND Ephesus B's first stage gives coins for the SAME resource costs. Then the third stage we already know the disadvantage. 9 coins is a 2 VP value less than a 5 pointer. If you seriously used up all that money for useful buildings, great; but that also implies you're lacking on resources if you really had to trade that much.

The assessment is pretty fair. Enough of this analysis could probably also explain how the design balance of Leaders came to be, Rome's resource requirements on the wonders, as well as the resource cost of the 4 guilds in Leaders. The notable guild was Architect's Guild, the second card that requires triple Ore and the first (and only!) that required 6 resources.

Funny thing is that Mannekin Pis promo board came out soon after the base game. At the time, the cheap copying effect was reasonably fair due to somewhat similar costs. Then it got too efficient once new wonders came out.

To summarize:
The top 3 performing wonders seemed to have their wonder stages flow with people's strategies with less waste of resources either over or under producing.

The bottom 3-4 performing wonders created a disadvantage where not only were their 1st two wonder stages already not on par, but their stage 3 wonder needs a redundant resource used for literally nothing else.

The reason why Rhodos A hits that low is because it needs a whopping 3 brick AND quad ore AND two wood. So you basically NEED Caravansary or else you have to get like a Tree Farm, Forest Cave, Brickyard, AND Foundry to get those wonders without trading. VERY unlikely for that to happen. Remember how only Fortifications is the only card that uses triple Ore? That means no other civilization has any incentive to produce triple Ore. That means they either take the Foundry as their only source of Ore, or they never draft Foundry. Both cases hurt Rhodos' need for quad Ore. Even if Rhodos gets the Foundry, it's a forced pick just to make sure the 3rd wonder stage can be built, period.

Guess which wonders don't need any Ore? Giza's and Babylon's. Alexandria B and Ephesus B. Heck even Olympia B might not need Ore if no neighbors build a Guild. Even if it did, it has trading post power.

Giza B seems to lag a little bit probably because of the *limited amount of draft picks*. It either forces two age II picks to go to the 5 VP wonders, or two age III picks to go to the 5 and 7 VP wonders. Regardless, it's the most resource intensive, even more than Rhodos A, needing 4 stone instead of 4 ore. This forces it to draft at least 2 double resource, such as Brickyard and Quarry no matter if it has Timber Yard and/or Caravansary already.

Olympia A's oddity falls on its second stage. It's cute to get it built in age I but usually there isn't a card to use the free ability by then. That leaves it most commonly built in age II. The problem is, the best age II cards to pick are within the early part of the draft, but you want this free build earlier so you can snatch a key card that may cost a lot to trade for. So most often this lets an age III card to be built for free, but by then you're saving maybe 5 coins if you really skimped on resources. That doesn't make up for the 5 VP comparison to Giza at all. On the plus side, all three stages are *really easy* to construct as they are hardly resource intensive. Get a Caravansary and it's even easier, so Olympia's flow of picks is never obstructed. Key thing to note is its starting wood. It makes it very easy to get the first wonder stage and gives the best shot for a Caravansary pickup in age II.

Babylon A is OK with the quad Brick issue because there are THREE cards that need triple Brick: Spies Guild, Philosophers Guild, and Siege Workshop. Giza is least hurt by quad stone because most of the key stone cards require 2-3 stone. The Aqueduct is the highest age II blue VP card while the Walls is one of the two military-> military chain cards. No wonder requires 4 wood, so every player will almost always have a soft cap of 0-3 wood. If other players want those reasonably good stone cards, they gotta cough up those coins.

Not sure why your Babylon A performances are good. The forced wood and brick picks steers it away from getting grays with science (which smoothly fit into Babylon B ... which also has to get wood and brick too) Your A and B performances may be similar since Babylon B's "build final cards" ability gives it two extra cards which could value 7 points possibly. There isn't sufficient draft picks to get Babylon B to conveniently get to the 2nd stage wonder in age I consistently since that needs 4 picks (Loom, Papyrus, Lumber Yard or a Wood dual, and a Wood dual) for a 6 pick round.


All this analysis was just on wonder abilities alone. Balance is close enough, but there's no question some wonders are simply easier to manage your plan.
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aigimig
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how did you get the specific wonder ranking values? when you log a game do you somehow note which wonder was used by which player? or do you log the game twice (once with player names and once with only wonder names)? I logged a few games and can't find a designated place where I can put a wonder each player was using
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noce
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aigimig wrote:
how did you get the specific wonder ranking values? when you log a game do you somehow note which wonder was used by which player? or do you log the game twice (once with player names and once with only wonder names)? I logged a few games and can't find a designated place where I can put a wonder each player was using


You can record it in faction name (to archive info in match details), but it does not have any effects on ranking.

Our wonders ranking is made recording 7w matches even in another group (not the 'official' one in which we record all our matches) as if wonders are players. So there are 2-players factions: one made by me and Alexandria, another made by Tom and Rodhos, and so on. It's an off-standard use for rankade, as I said, someway forced to our task.

This even allows to 'clean' ranking from effects coming from different level for actual players, probably rising ranking significance against a pure wonders recording (in which a wonder should be high ranked due to high frequence of best players using it).
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noce
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Amoirsp wrote:
Quite an interesting analysis. I should give this rankade a look.

Even if you steer clear from theoretical discussion mere distribution already favors wonders more than others.


Your contribution is so interesting (and I'd like to reply in detail on some points in future).
When algorithm data (despite not so many matches) and deep theoretical analysis are in good accordance, I think it means that probably both are good.

Amoirsp wrote:
Balance is close enough, but there's no question some wonders are simply easier to manage your plan.


And it fits nicely with our group level, I think.
We're serious boardgamers, but definitely not pros.
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Well there are other things to note too.

I often mentioned that Rhodos A has distinct head to head disadvantage against Halikarnassos B because of identical triple brick wonder costs for the 2nd stage. Well, that is not entirely true.

Rhodos A can definitely reach the 2nd wonder, which is a huge shield advantage. However, you pretty much need a large quantity of brick and a symbiotic trade situation with a neighbor. This is where Tree Farm has a unique plus.

Another thing to note is that of the 10 original guilds, if any required ore, exactly two ore is needed. Not one, not three. This makes the demand for foundry really unique. There are exactly 4 guilds that require two ore.

Also some wonders look similar to certain blues in resource cost. Alexandria A looks like a town hall in terms of wonder resources. Halikarnassos B looks like a pantheon. These resource patterns give hints as to some aspects their strengths play to.

Also I kept saying boards with third stage wonders that require two manufactured goods is an inherent disadvantage. Well that can be taken the reverse too: they only require one resource more to get 7 points. If a Forum is built, it is indirectly more useful because it has slightly more reach.
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Merudo
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sthrjo wrote:
Your results correlate poorly with other similar links I have collected. The obvious ones are Gizah A +, Olympia B +, Gizah B -, Ephesus A - and Ephesus B -.


Have you posted these results?
 
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Marcio Moura
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I also archive the results of my plays.

I have a ranking based only on wins (I´ll try to improve it later) after 145 plays.

All games were pelayed with 3 to 7 players. Most played without any expansion, but some with Leaders and none with Cities. But I included the expansions' wonders.

Wonder ----- Matches - Wins
Rodhos B --------- 68 - 23
Halikarnassus B - 62 - 17
Giza B ------------ 67 - 15
Ephesos B -------- 61 - 14
Alexandria B ----- 71 - 14
Olympia B -------- 65 - 13
Rodhos A --------- 22 - 9
Babylon B -------- 74 - 9
Ephsos A --------- 24 - 6
Babylon A -------- 20 - 5
Giza A ------------ 23 - 5
Alexandria A ----- 24 - 4
Manneken Pis B -- 5 - 3
Manneken Pis A -- 4 - 2
Rome B ------------ 5 - 2
Olympia A -------- 25 - 2
Petra A ------------ 1 - 1
Stonehenge A ---- 5 - 1
Great Wall B ----- 2 - 0
Great Wall A ----- 5 - 0
Halikarnassus A - 20 - 0

I would that overall, my findings are note very far from the OP, with some exceptions.
Giza A is below average in my group and Giza B is well ranked.
Ephesus A is my second best A side. But it seems consistent that Rodhos B and Halikarnassus B are better than average. And that Halikarnassus A sucks.
I never mixed A and B sides in the same match.
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Marcio I'm not even sure why you allowed China B to be played if you never used Cities. Literally two of its wonder stages are City specific: Mask and Diplomacy token. It's clear Byzantium was banned since Petra shows up too. China B is quite terrible if it only has Black Market (which could have been disallowed) and a 2/8/2 wonder stage.

I'm surprised there was no Roma A either for the rarer leader games.

Giza probably performs well because the points are clear so you just get the resources, and use all your bad picks to add wonder stages. Then you use the same resources to go whatever path you are aiming at, preferably Military and Civilian structures and not so much in science.

Rhodos B also seems solid if you're mostly playing the base game simply because of the 1 shield advantage it presents in two wonders.

All the A side wonders with double advanced resources get hit by an awkward clunkiness. Ephesus A would get hit less hard because of its inherent Papyrus giving it a science route. Literally all the tablet cards use stone or wood which Ephesus' already wants for its wonders. It's more of an ease of play with the wonder that's likely causing a better performance.

Petra A only had one game, but 3/7/7 would seem potent especially when the resources are less stacked than Giza A.

So really I think it's a matter of which wonder makes it more clear what you're good at and how to get there.

Rhodos B -> Look for Stone and Ore. Wonder up at the end of age II and III
Halikarnassus B -> Wonder up at the end of each age. Pick the best card. The wonder resource requirement already leads towards a Pantheon anyways.
Giza B -> Get the resources, red and/or blue mixed, do all the wonders in age 1/2/2/3 or 1/2/3/3 depending on situation.
Ephesus B -> Fish for Lumber Yard, get early coins, do whatever you want.
Alexandria B -> Wonder up really fast to maximize the resource usage. 1st stage wonder already directly helps the 2nd and 3rd stage wonder by effectively cutting one resource cost.
Olympia B -> Highly contingent on trading efficiency and neighboring wonders. This inherently causes these wonders to be unreliable for scoring as it is too easy to whiff or over/under produce.

You can kind of say the same things for the A sides, but some get more clunky than others because of the resource distribution. Nearly all of the original wonders are 2/3/2 or 2/3/4 of the same resource. Olympia A gets hit by a nasty oddity that the 2nd wonder stage is preferred as soon as possible, but by the time you pack the resources to do that, you don't need its ability anymore. At least not saving 5 VP worth of savings.

Ease of play, really. Over time even looking at these small sample sizes, you still get an idea what seems to perform better.
 
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