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Subject: Board Games and Baseball Review: 7 Wonders rss

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Josiah Shanks
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Number of players: 2-7, technically, not recommended for 2 players
Time: 30 minutes
Complexity: Medium
Type of game: Card drafting/Hand management/Set collection/Tableau Building
Replayability: Fairly high


This game is my most liked game that doesn't play well with just two players. The game is fairly easy and straightforward as a great card-drafting game. In 7 Wonders, you draft cards into your tableau. There are three rounds in the game. In each of these rounds you start off with 7 cards from that age in your hand. You choose a card to play from that hand and set it down. You pass the remaining cards to the opponent sitting next to you. You receive the cards from your opponent and you play a card from that hand. You continue playing this way until there is one card left in the hand in the age and set it in a discard pile. Your goal at the end of the game is to score the most victory points, total surprise, I know.

At the beginning of the game, you begin with a different wonder of the ancient world. This wonder board gives you a resource that you can use throughout the game. There are three stages of each wonder that can be built throughout the game to provide various bonuses. The "A" side of the wonder is typically easier to follow than the "B" side, for whatever it's worth. The bonuses for these wonders only apply once you build the stage of the wonder.

The first age is primarily resource cards and cards to begin your tableau. Resource cards are brown and grey. The cost of the card is in the upper left-hand corner of the card. If you do not have the resource necessary to play a card, you can buy a resource from your immediate neighbor for two coins. Once the resource cards are played in your wonder, they provide the resource throughout the entire game. They are permanent and cannot be depleted. There are yellow/orange cards which provide you with bonuses or resources depending on the card, sometimes the resources are indicated by a slash meaning that you can choose which resource you want to use on a given turn. The green cards have a symbol at the top of the card. There are four different types of symbols in the game. At the end of the game, you score points based on the different types of symbols in your tableau. For each of the same symbol, the amount of cards with that symbol are scored by squaring the number of cards. For a set of four different types of symbols, you will score 7 points. The next type of card is a blue card. The blue cards give you victory points at the end of the game. The cost of the card is in the upper left hand corner like the other cards. Also like the other cards in the game, in the bottom right hand corner, there are building names listed that can be built for free later in the game if you play that card.

The final type of card that shows up in the first two ages are red/military cards. The military cards have shields on them. The number of shields on the card is your military. At the end of the age, you battle your opponents that sit immediately next to you. By doing so, you count up the number of shields on the cards in your tableau and compare them to your opponents. If you have more than your opponent, congratulations, you win that battle. The battles are worth more victory points as the game progresses. But losing a battle will only lose you one victory point each time.

In Age 3, there are purple, guild cards. These guild cards allow you to score extra points at the end of the game for completing sets or for various other actions.

It's important to note the only way to build these buildings you either have to have the necessary amount of resources for the card to be played or have a card that allows you to build a later building for free.

The other action that you can take is you can build a stage of the wonder. To build a stage of the wonder, instead of playing one of the cards to construct a building, you place the card face down underneath the appropriate stage of the wonder (you have to build in order). Like the other cards, you have to have the necessary amount of resources to build the stage of the wonder.

After three rounds of the game, passing the cards around, the game ends. The person who scores the most points is the winner.

Pros: You can play this game with up to 7 people and it doesn't add much time since each turn is played out at roughly the same time. The game is easy to explain and teach but has enough strategy to make the game more interesting. You can see how you can improve in the game as you play it more. The various paths to victory allow you to counter moves if another player tries to block you from getting the cards that you want. Since it is a drafting game, you can prevent another player from getting the cards that they want/need as well. There is quite a bit of strategy in terms of playing the cards if you want to build up resources/military/blue buildings/green technology cards. You have to decide when is the right time to select a certain card since it may not make it around to you, again.

Cons: The game doesn't play well with just 2 people which is primarily how Amanda and I play our games. Despite its strategy listed above, it's possible that with multiple plays in a row or more games played more than once every month it could get repetitive, after a while.

Top 50 material: Yes, although its peak is limited due to the fact that it does not play with two players.
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Antanas
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Could you say any reasons why you think it doesn't play well with 2? From my personal experience, 2-player variant is perfect if you like strategy games. It gets less random and much (really MUCH) more strategic. Yes, I admit it plays a bit different but I don't agree that it doesn't play well. I would, on the other hand, agree that it's not for everyone.
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Josiah Shanks
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I should expand on that sorry wrote this review a few months ago and didn't edit it. Primarily our reason for in not liking it with two is that we can recall the totality of cards that are in play; the player interaction is even more limited; and are more dependent on luck w/r/t the military. We've also had situations where resource cards were used for building stages of the wonder or discarded for coins so were not available in e game.

The positives with 2 player: If you play with it enough you can get really good at blocking or stifling your opponent and have less obstacles in your way to do so. Definitely an improvement compared to a game with 5 people we played when a new person sat on either side of me and kept passing me every card I needed.

The game can certainly work well with 2 players, we've had bad experiences with it (and who knows you may like the added challenges that are faced with it) and my significant other who is my gaming partner won't play it with just 2 anymore . I should pepper these reviews with "in my opinion". I certainly understand people who think it works with 2, based on my experiences with it, I wouldn't recommend it, though. Hope that helps.

If we have 3 or more people this is the first game I grab and for 2 i'd recommend Tides of Time for drafting or 7 wonders: duel.

Thanks for the comment
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Antanas
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That explains why you guys didn't like it. I'd definitely recommend playing with multiple players first until you feel confident. 2 player game has a lot of direct impact/interaction and very little randomness. It means some simple mistakes can cost you the game and the skill will decide the winner most of the time while in multi player games often you have no impact on more than half of the other players and if you're stuck in between two very experienced players, you'll rarely receive any gifts.

Personally, me an my wife love 2-player variant (quite frankly even more than 7W Duel). But we played ~20 multi-player games before we tried 2 player variant. We also love 2-player variant because we both are at a very similar level, so it's usually getting very intense Meanwhile, multiplayer games are more fun socially and we still love it, although more often than not either me or my wife wins when we play with other people which sometimes can get a bit monotonous.

Anyway, majority of people will agree with you in saying it's much better with more players I only wanted to know your personal reasons. When I read reviews I always look for and value reasoned opinions more than bland statements, regardless of whether they match my opinion or not.
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Josiah Shanks
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No worries - the batch of reviews were most re of test reviews as I try to figure out how I want to describe the game and how to dwelve into more specifics about each game
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