30 Minute Playtime
7 Wonders is a card drafting game for up to seven players, that will see you advance a Wonder like the Pyramids of Giza, through Science, Civic Structures, Military Power and Commerce over a period of three ages. Each age you will construct new buildings, discover resource depots, upgrade your wonder and gather gold, all to have the most prominent and powerful Wonder at the end of age three.
The game begins by selecting one of seven random Wonders of which to build your empire upon. Each player is dealt seven cards from Age I and given a small amount of gold to start. On a players turn he is allowed to play one of those seven cards and will pass the six remaining cards onto the player beside him. There are different types of structures cards available to build which are colour coordinated by type - Green for Science, Blue for Civic Structures, Yellow for Commerce, Red for Military, Brown for Natural Resources, Grey for Manufactured Resources and in Age III - Purple for Guild cards. To be able to play a card you must have the required amount of resources and/or gold in your empire, or the means to acquire resources from one of your neighbouring empires at a cost. Each of the different structure types will benefit you in various ways that all somehow attribute to your end result of an established and hopefully high scoring Wonder.
Every turn all players will simultaneously reveal their chosen structure card to play which can either be built in your empire, used to upgrade your wonder or discarded to collect three gold - and pass the remaining cards on. The Ages continues in this manner until the last card is left in your hand, which will be discarded to signify the end of that Age. After resolving military conflict, the next Age will start again with another set of seven cards from Age II and play continues in this manner until the end of military conflict after Age III. At this point, scores are tallied to reveal the greatest of Wonders and the winner.
7 Wonders will always hold a special place in my board game collection as it was the very game that reignited my passion for board gaming. I have played a numerous amount of times (with and without expansions), and introduced its simple joys to many people with great success. It really is an excellent starting point for new gamer's and has a perfect balance between being a quick and an epic game. Thirty minutes is just the right length and regardless of whether you are playing with three players or seven players, 7 Wonders plays virtually identical in the same amount of time. During those thirty minutes you are rewarded as you plan and watch as your Wonder grows in size, wealth and strength and feel the progress of what you've built.
Once players understand the icons and symbols used in the game, 7 Wonders is very straight forward and easy to play. Its real appeal however, lies in it's depth in it's simplicity. There are multiple strategies and paths to victory, each with the possibility of being as good as the other. Learning how to counteract what your opponents are doing and adapt to the cards your given takes some mastering. While you can easily pick up the concept and rules of the game, to be successful you will need to discover which cards are best used in each strategy and more importantly, how to build efficiently.
7 Wonders is often criticised for its lack of interaction with players that aren't directly beside you (the players you can trade with and who are involved in military conflicts), but I personally have never seen this as an issue as it adds to the strategy of the game. When to build resources and military is directly related to the players beside you, but your still competing with all players and eventually passing potentially important cards to them. Paying attention to all the Wonders in the game and what is being built often will reward you in the endgame.
Made for all, 7 Wonders will appeal to almost anyone willing to try it. Being a light game with a substantial amount of depth is no easy feat, and 7 Wonders nails it. Every card you play can be strategic and calculated to maximise its return, but it never feels like one wrong turn can destroy your empire. With a quick play time that caters to small or large groups - 7 Wonders is a well crafted and enjoyable game.
My Verdict: MUST BUY
Easy to play while containing a good amount of strategy
Perfect for most gaming groups and only about 30 minutes