For review with pictures
What It Adds:
7 Wonders Cities feels like the expansion that adds the most to the base game of 7 Wonders. Players are now dealt eight cards each age with the extra cards consisting of a new type - black City Cards.
These City cards (aside from some that are more powerful versions of previously seen cards), bring a couple new symbols and effects by way of Debt, Diplomacy and Masks which allow you to copy a science symbol from a neighbour. The new Debt mechanic found on the City Cards causes all other players to lose the respective number of coins as indicated, or pay the price of debt which results in negative victory points. Playing a card with a Diplomacy icon will grant you a dove for that age and remove you from the end of age conflict. Instead your neighbours face each other in the military battle which is handy if you are focused on other parts of your wonder aside from military.
With eight cards now being dealt each age, Cities also expands the game by allowing up to eight players and also has rules for a team variant.
Aside from the aforementioned black City Cards, 7 Wonders Cities adds a bit of everything with new Guild Cards, Leaders and Wonders that are designed to benefit and work with the new City cards. There are also tokens for debt and diplomacy and a new expanded score card to reflect the extra categories of the Cities expansion.
Debt. Diplomacy. Black City Cards.
7 Wonders Cities is an expansion I no longer play 7 Wonders without. It adds a few new rules by way of some extra symbols, but the changes while minor, have quite an impact on general play. Debt doesn't come into things as much as I'd like especially when there's City cards that can give you nine gold, but it can still cripple your opponents when used effectively. Diplomacy is a great tool when your focused on victory points from areas other than military and can frustrate opponents when they realise they no longer have the upper hand for the upcoming conflict. Both great additions in their own respect, but it's the black City cards that really make the expansion for me.
By design a good amount of the City cards will cost you gold to acquire which balances perfectly with the constant threat of debt, and with cards that allow five military shields you never can be too sure of winning your conflict further adding some tension each time the cards are past. Even just having an 8th card each age allows the opportunity to build your wonder greater than ever before and combining Cities and Leaders creates potential for a very high scoring game. For our group, team play wasn't as good as it sounded and the extra eighth player is neither here nor there, but it's nice to have those options. There is a few new symbols to learn, but in general Cities is very easy to pick up and I even include it when I am introducing the odd new player into our group.
My Verdict: BUY
Blends in well with Leaders but also excellent on it's own.
City cards are often coveted and useful
Have you found this expansion to noticeably lengthen the playtime?
I'd say at most it only adds an extra 5 minutes as your only playing 3 extra cards over the game.
There is a little bit of extra set up as you need to age 1 city card per player into each age (at random similar to how guild cards are added in) but once your playing and everyone understands the new symbols and how the cards work there's virtually no time difference