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Subject: My first "all-inclusive" game, after 2.4k plays rss

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Jorge
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7 Wonders was the game that put me into the hobby and remains to this day within my top #10 games of all time (number #7 as of today) among the ~400 different games that I've ever played. I've accumulated about ~2.4k online plays and about ~55 live. Therefore, it has a special place in my heart.

I had played with every single expansion until yesterday, but not with all of them. However, we gathered five players this time, who all of us knew the base game. Therefore, we cracked open the box and played with all three expansions up-to-date: Leaders, Cities and Babel.

Seating order (clockwise): George (Alexandria), Damien (Halikarnassos), Arnold (Ephesos), Samy (Stonehenge), Fabrice (Gizah).
We all played the B-sides.

Leader Draft: I took an easy first pick, Bilkis, followed by Nero and Darius. I was handed Cleopatra as my last leader.

Babel Tiles: I took tile #13 (tax on chains) as my first pick, to penalize the Science players. Tile #18 (free ore/clay) was next and I was handed tile #8 (pay money instead of resources for blues) as my last one.

Age I: that was a difficult decision between Nero and Bilkis, but I eventually chose to play Nero. I was so lucky to see the Double Walls project, as it combo-ed so greatly with Nero!

I took a Clay Pit (Clay/Ore), a Timber Yard (Stone/Wood) and a Clay Pool as my resources, built my Wonder, got both Barracks and Guard Tower, coming with two project participations, and laid down the Babel tile #13, to tax Age II chains. Tile #11 (cheaper raw materials) was the first Babel tile to be built. Thankfully, Damian passed up on Militia (two shields) to get a Scriptorium from the discard pile, thus I received in total 4 "1 VP" Victory tokens and 8 coins!

Age II: I put Bilkis on play this time; she really helped me throughout the whole game! The Obelisk Great Project was in play; I participated twice, but the Project was never finished, thus I took no reward.

Blues were more expensive from now on, as there was a tax on them. Damien got super lucky and got the School in his opening hand; thankfully, Arnold got one Dispensary and Fabrice buried the other one. I took a red card, but nobody challenged me in the war game.

I had to pass up the Architect Cabinet to Fabrice, who had Gizah, as I had the Sepulcher in my opening hand hand (lose coins equal to victory tokens) and I could really not afford to lose 4 coins in Age II! Samy got really hit by that, receiving a -4 debt! Samy played a really bad move, he constructed the tile #13, giving coins to chains; he got almost no use out of it, immensely helping Damien and Arnold, the science players, but he didn't retire it. (On the same token, Fabrice almost played the #7 tile, letting players use the neighbors' chains, but he changed his mind once seeing the consequences.)

Age III: I put Cleopatra in play. The Grand Bazaar was revealed; not that great, wasn't planning to go yellow-heavy, but I could snatch an Arena.

Again, I took a single red, just to solidify my war supremacy, and went unchallenged. I didn't participate at all in the project, as I received no Arenas! Samy got both of them by mistake and nobody noticed until final scoring.

We saw some spectacular plays, with me and Samy playing at the same time the Counterfeiters Guild and the Brotherhood respectively, forcing each other to discard 3 coins and everyone else to lose 6 coins. That really hit Damien, who had taken the Gamer's Guild. I got some great cards, including the Capitol (8 VP), the Slave Market (6 coins and 8 VP for Victory Tokens) and the Secret Society (4 coins and 4 VP for black cards). I also got a very expensive Pantheon, as the blues were still being taxed! The project was eventually built, but I didn't participate at all!

Final tally, I got an immense 20 VP from 4 red cards and 24 VP from 4 black cards! I also earned 16 VP from a few blues and took a single debt in Age I; I had coins to pay, but decided to take the 1 VP penalty. Samy got second place, very close, having 19 points from reds and 12 points from coins (!), but having taken 4 debt, from my own play in Age II and 25 points from greens. Arnold got three families but stayed third, Damien got two families and came fourth; I was fearing Damien, but eventually he got quite blocked, playing a non-resource strategy with Clandestine Docks and Leaders. Fabrice, the least experienced came last, but not far away from Damien.



Rule error: we forgot to add the points from constructing the Tower of Babel! If I recall correctly, 5 tiles were constructed, so each one of us has probably 2 more points.
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George
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So was all 3 expansions at once a good idea? Loved it/Liked it? Do it again?
 
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Jorge
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soosy wrote:
So was all 3 expansions at once a good idea? Loved it/Liked it? Do it again?
Hey George, thanks for commenting and reading it. Yes, I really loved it. All expansions together make money extremely tight in the game. There are the Leaders that have to be recruited, the Projects to participate in and the City cards that make you discard coin tokens. Money is gold and it evolves into a fine balancing game. Once during Age I I took a -1 debt token, to keep all $3 that I was having at that point, which proved to be right. I would definitely play with all in again. No two games will ever feel the same, which tends to be the case with the base game (like Halikarnassós will go for a Science strategy, Gizah the anti-science, Rhodes for military, Babylon will just curse their bad luck, etc).

My only concern is that, while the Leaders are being drafted, the Great Projects come out randomly. I really feel that I had an advantage from the get-go, as the Age I Great Project happened to combo with my own personal strategy (Nero); receiving 4 points and $8 at the end of Age I was really OP. That's the same problem with Cities; only a handful of cards will ever come out, which might aid, e.g., the Science players. Both Slave Market and Secret Society came out, which were both gold to me.

I would consider reversing the official turn sequence, by first revealing the Great Project and then recruiting the leaders, at it would offer more information to the players. Granted, that's a house rule and I generally despite house rules. But revealing the project before the Leader recruitment phase adds a tactical decision to the latter.

Naturally, all players must be acquainted with the base game and, if possible, with the Leaders expansion as well. Throwing all this information at once is really too much. But we had finished in about one hour, as it went super fast.

Fine points
1) It's very easy to forget the tax on red/blue cards, chains or wonders (tiles #1, #6, #13, #16 respectively). You have to constantly remind everyone this tax.
2) I've played twice with the expansion and the person who had bought it never mentioned that we earn points for constructing the tower. It's just a tiny sentence in the rules and very easy to miss.
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George
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Jorge, thanks for your further thoughts! I've only played a dozen or so times, mostly with Leaders and then Cities. Only tried Babel once but hope to again. Probably won't try all 3 at once until the players know them all well, but I'm intrigued.
 
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Russell Smith

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Jorge, thanks for writing up this session report, it was good fun to read - especially since I rarely have a reasonable size group of players who are all familiar with the game, and thus can't manage to get all 3 expansions to the table at once. The best we ever manage is 2 expansions, and more often it's one. I'm curious: have you ever tried all 3 expansions in a live game (as opposed to online)?

Enjoyed your report - nice win!
 
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Jorge
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RussPSmith wrote:
I'm curious: have you ever tried all 3 expansions in a live game (as opposed to online)?
This WAS a live game with all 3 expansions thrown in! On the contrary, no expansion is available online (at least on BSW). Thanks for reading it, Russell, appreciate the feedback.
 
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Yuki Wong
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Jorge, similar to you, 7 Wonders was the game that got me into the hobby. I have always play with all of the expansion (except great project, cause my gaming group only has four players...) One thing I want to mention is that we made a house rules that the babel tile and leader would NOT rotate in the same direction as they are all rotate clockwise in the game. This would allow more strategy and chance to catch back for the players.
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Hugues
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Greetings! So you still start with only 3 Gold? I'm wondering about that for my own group... (we start with 4).

We play with Cities and Great Projects extensions (not Leaders nor Babel)
 
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