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Subject: 7 Wonders: Cities — The team game rss

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Isaac Thimbleby
United Kingdom
Oxford
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I liked 7 Wonders.

It may not be my favourite game, and it definitely falls outside of my top 10.

But it does have substantial advantages over many of the games I like more than it, in that it combines accessibility with a constant playing time and it plays up to 7 players (8 with this expansion).

I owned 7 Wonders: Cities for about a year before even trying the team variant. And if I was given the choice, I now don't think I would ever choose to play the game again without it, and when played with the expansion I rank it as my third favourite game.

A standard game of 7 wonders is, in my experience, often played in near silence as people make choices secretly. The only interaction being to check if your neighbours provide the needed resources, or if there is a card their neighbours really want.

However the team variant completely turns that on it's head and transforms the game table into a collection of vibrant discussions about how to choose cards, about which player would benefit more from a card, wondering if it's worth trying to jointly cut military and so on.

The team draft rules are brilliant, and I would suggest that they are substantially better than MTG's team draft rules (which is the only other drafting game I've played in teams — and from now on I will be advocating the use of 7 Wonder: cities' rules in any casual MTG 2HG draft).

That said, there aren't all that many rules: Teams may talk as much as they like, and can point, but cannot whisper. Instead of fighting each other, they fight their other neighbour twice (peace tokens reduce that to once), and lastly the players have a combined score. Everything else is the same as in a basic 7 Wonders game - they still have to pay to trade resources, they don't share science symbols etc...

That might not sound like much, but what it does is it introduces two things; firstly a whole realm of interaction that was completely lacking in the base game and secondly, a substantial amount of additional strategy choice becomes available, originating from the fact that the team can form plans based on the pack your ally opened, and is about to pass to you and can strategise about who should get which card.

Now, it does unfortunately introduce a potential problem: Alpha players, and while you may be able to mitigate the issue if you know the players by pairing them up intelligently, in groups where players don't know each other so well, it might become very hard to prevent an individual alpha gaming.

That said, if you have an unconfident new player, the team variant provides them with someone to ask for help and advice.

The final downside of the team variant however, is that the conversations it enables also serve to slow the game down substantially.
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