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Subject: 20X Reviews #40 - 7 Wonders Duel After 20 Plays rss

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Peter Barringer
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Check out a Geeklist containing all my other reviews here: 20X Reviews - A Geeklist

Time to 20 Plays: 1 Year

How to Play: 7 Wonders Duel is a two-player game in which players take turns drafting cards from a structure. One round is a pyramid, the next an inverted pyramid, etc. However, drafting cards also means revealing hidden cards that might greatly benefit your opponent. This is a very simplified explanation, but players essentially try to build their respective civilizations while simultaneously building up to four wonders of the world that grant special abilities. If no one wins the game outright through military superiority or scientific superiority, the winner is the person who accumulates the most victory points by the end of the game.

I've played it so much because:
1. It has excellent replay ability. Every game feels different. Sometimes you make a great run on resources at the beginning of the game or get a special power-up that changes the entire complexion of the game. Other times your opponent makes a run at military superiority or scientific supremacy that knocks you back on your heels, leaving you defenseless. Especially if you add in the expansion, every game is unique.
2. There’s a surprising amount of depth. I’ve never played a 30-minute game that packed more of a punch. It’s simple enough to learn, but deep enough that I trounce new players every time, even with a thorough explanation and help during the game.
3. Good strategy pays off. It’s easy to get distracted by an alluring card revealed by your opponent. It’s also easy to play too much defense and end up hurting yourself. However, in every game, you have to be willing to adjust your strategy on the fly.
4. The artwork and design are incredible. I love the look and feel of this game. The wonder cards, especially, are beautiful.

I'd play it more if:
1. the cards were larger. I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth here: the cards need to be small in order to keep everything on the table. However, I absolutely loathe tiny cards like these and the ones in the original Ticket to Ride.
2. it were a tiny bit more balanced. Sometimes I feel like scientific supremacy is too easy when the scientific progress token is in play. But it feels like military supremacy is much harder in my experience. In twenty plays, I’ve only seen one military victory but four or five scientific ones. This is a minor complaint.

Rating:

Overall: 7 Wonders Duel collected dust in my closet for almost a year until I finally gave it a real shot in December 2016. I’ve played numerous times with three different opponents since then, and it has vaulted into the #4 spot on my top ten. I believe the recent expansion (7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon), which significantly alters the gameplay, fixes some of the minor issues in the base game. It does add several minutes of setup time and lots of new symbols to learn, but I still play with it nearly every time now. I highly recommend both the base game and the expansion if you’re into two-player games with a bit of heft and a short play time.
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Tyler Gingrich
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Re: 20X Reviews - 7 Wonders Duel
z10n x wrote:
I'd play it more if:
1. the cards were larger. I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth here: the cards need to be small in order to keep everything on the table. However, I absolutely loathe tiny cards like these and the ones in the original Ticket to Ride.
2. it were a tiny bit more balanced. Sometimes I feel like scientific supremacy is too easy when the scientific progress token is in play. But it feels like military supremacy is much harder in my experience. In twenty plays, I’ve only seen one military victory but four or five scientific ones. This is a minor complaint.


I, too, would love to have larger cards. I wish they would come out with a deluxe version with larger cards I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

I don't run into balance issues as much as you do. You complain about science being "easy" when the progress token (I'm assuming you mean the "Law Token") is in play. Military is similarly "easy" when the strategy token is in play.

I find the game very well balanced. Sometimes you can't prevent a military or science victory by your opponent because the cards just fall in their favor. However, I don't find the science victory conditions to be unbalanced -- at least not so far.

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Kristopher Hickman
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Re: 20X Reviews - 7 Wonders Duel
z10n x wrote:

1. the cards were larger. I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth here: the cards need to be small in order to keep everything on the table. However, I absolutely loathe tiny cards like these and the ones in the original Ticket to Ride.

Absolutely my biggest issue. I sleeved mine to give them a bit more weight, because these little cards are far too easy to knock around, hard to pick up and the game would feel SO much better with bigger cards. I have similar complains about the cards in Blood Rage.


z10n x wrote:
2. it were a tiny bit more balanced. Sometimes I feel like scientific supremacy is too easy when the scientific progress token is in play. But it feels like military supremacy is much harder in my experience. In twenty plays, I’ve only seen one military victory but four or five scientific ones. This is a minor complaint.


Funny how different our plays have been. I've yet to play to a scientific victory, but in 7 plays or so I have seen 4 military victories.
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James C
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Re: 20X Reviews - 7 Wonders Duel
+2873 for bigger cards.
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john newman
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Re: 20X Reviews - 7 Wonders Duel
Another solid review. Thank you Peter. Haven't acquired this yet. One thing that might put a damper on me purchasing this is the thought that I would also have to purchase the expansion for it to be complete.
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Greg Darcy
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Re: 20X Reviews - 7 Wonders Duel
johnpnewman wrote:
Another solid review. Thank you Peter. Haven't acquired this yet. One thing that might put a damper on me purchasing this is the thought that I would also have to purchase the expansion for it to be complete.


We love this game and bought the expansion. But we still haven't felt the need to take Pantheon out of shrink. We will wait until the game gets stale, then add it in. I bought it early so it would be "available" when that time comes.

So I don't think you "need" the expansion to enjoy the game.
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Peter Barringer
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Re: 20X Reviews - 7 Wonders Duel
tylergingrich wrote:
z10n x wrote:
I'd play it more if:
1. the cards were larger. I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth here: the cards need to be small in order to keep everything on the table. However, I absolutely loathe tiny cards like these and the ones in the original Ticket to Ride.
2. it were a tiny bit more balanced. Sometimes I feel like scientific supremacy is too easy when the scientific progress token is in play. But it feels like military supremacy is much harder in my experience. In twenty plays, I’ve only seen one military victory but four or five scientific ones. This is a minor complaint.


I, too, would love to have larger cards. I wish they would come out with a deluxe version with larger cards I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

I don't run into balance issues as much as you do. You complain about science being "easy" when the progress token (I'm assuming you mean the "Law Token") is in play. Military is similarly "easy" when the strategy token is in play.

I find the game very well balanced. Sometimes you can't prevent a military or science victory by your opponent because the cards just fall in their favor. However, I don't find the science victory conditions to be unbalanced -- at least not so far.



Interesting. Maybe it's something about my style of play. I know I've personally won with scientific supremacy 3 or 4 times in 20 plays. I've been beaten by it several times, too. Either way, I'm glad to hear you haven't had the same issue.

Obviously, it's a minor issue if I've rated the game 9/10--I have very few real complaints. It's a stellar two-player game.
 
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Peter Barringer
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Re: 20X Reviews - 7 Wonders Duel
KristopherHickman wrote:
z10n x wrote:

1. the cards were larger. I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth here: the cards need to be small in order to keep everything on the table. However, I absolutely loathe tiny cards like these and the ones in the original Ticket to Ride.

Absolutely my biggest issue. I sleeved mine to give them a bit more weight, because these little cards are far too easy to knock around, hard to pick up and the game would feel SO much better with bigger cards. I have similar complains about the cards in Blood Rage.


z10n x wrote:
2. it were a tiny bit more balanced. Sometimes I feel like scientific supremacy is too easy when the scientific progress token is in play. But it feels like military supremacy is much harder in my experience. In twenty plays, I’ve only seen one military victory but four or five scientific ones. This is a minor complaint.


Funny how different our plays have been. I've yet to play to a scientific victory, but in 7 plays or so I have seen 4 military victories.


That's so interesting. Tyler (above) mentioned the same thing. I guess the only possible explanation is that our styles must be pretty different.

Can't wait to try Blood Rage! It hasn't made it to the table for me yet.
 
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Peter Barringer
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Re: 20X Reviews - 7 Wonders Duel
GregDarcy wrote:
johnpnewman wrote:
Another solid review. Thank you Peter. Haven't acquired this yet. One thing that might put a damper on me purchasing this is the thought that I would also have to purchase the expansion for it to be complete.


We love this game and bought the expansion. But we still haven't felt the need to take Pantheon out of shrink. We will wait until the game gets stale, then add it in. I bought it early so it would be "available" when that time comes.

So I don't think you "need" the expansion to enjoy the game.


Agreed completely. I didn't try the expansion until my ~15th play.
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