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Subject: Wonder Specific Strategies rss

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Rick
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Some wonder specific strategies for 3 player games of 7 wonders. Questions, comments, and disagreements welcome.

1. Alexandria B – Although many won’t rank this monument highly, I consider this the strongest monument when played correctly. Science will be tempting, but with Alexandria B, the goal is quickly establish 6 production and AVOID science. The 6 production will give you flexibility later in the game. Four of your first six turns should be spent building a brick production, building a wood production building (at max, 1 of these can cost money), playing your first wonder stage (spending 2), and playing your second wonder stage (this will be free). Build 1 military building (free). Build a second military building or a blue (free). Age 2, early, choose a resource that you are lacking, and assuming you have money, build it. I prefer to build the quarry (double stone production) here, as there are many strong buildings that require 3 stone, but this is not a requirement. The caravansary is strong as well and by building it, you prevent opponents from building it. You now have 11 turns remaining to score points, and generally you don’t need to worry about resources/money management. Now there are many strong cards that you can play, and if possible, maintain the best military. If someone is going green, try to build stage 3 of your wonder with a green card – perhaps the school as it allows two more greens to be build for free in round 3. Round 3 – I like the arena as it gives 6 points and prevents others from getting $. You can also build the palace (8VPs) for a cost of 2. Also look for guilds that help both you and your opponents and build them before they get a chance. With Alexandria B, you should reach 60 VPs. This will be enough to beat a science strategy that builds 8 green cards, 9 green cards will be close game, and 10 you will lose.

2. Babylon A – Personally, I prefer this side to side B, simply because side B is more expensive. Succinctly, the strategy with Babylon A is to build as much science as possible. First, look around and see if neighbors are producing manufactured goods. You generally want to spend the first 3 turns building manufactured good buildings and the next 3 building green cards. If someone is producing a manufactured good, then you might not need to buy the building, instead you can purchase this good when you build the science icon. In this first age, you also need to be careful with card order. Will you have built the manufactured goods in time for the green card? Are two green cards in the same hand? If so, try then the first time you get these cards, you will want to build one. Ideally, you will be able to build 3 greens in round 1, but don’t be surprised if someone discards a green, builds one for themselves, or you end up with an impossible situation to build all resources and cards. Extra turns in round 1 (if any) should be spend building brick and wood manufacturing so you can complete stages I and II of your wonder (stage 3 is also nice, but not required to win). If this isn’t possible, consider building a trading post pointing towards a neighbor producing wood or brick. If this doesn’t make sense, then I prefer discarding to get 3 gold rather than building a blue building. 3 gold provides you with flexibility which is worth more than 2 or 3VPs. In age 2, the goal is to continue building green buildings, and to work on your monument. Working on your monument can include building a brick or wood production building, getting money by either discarding or playing the Vineyard (+1 gold for each brown card in play) or building your monument. Don’t be surprised if players discard greens, but because this will happen, building greens should be your first priority. Round 3 – continue building greens, complete stage 1 and 2 of your monument if necessary. Build stage 3 if able. Build the senate or arena for free if no greens in hand or look for guilds that will give you 6+VPs. I tend to avoid military completely with this all out science strategy. I find that with Babylon, I can win with 5-2-2 or 3-3-3 or better. Building fewer than 8 greens, usually means losing.

3. Babylon B- Babylon B is similar to A. To build the monument, you need more manufactured goods and fewer raw materials. Otherwise, playing this is fairly similar to the A side. Because building the second stage, gives you an extra turn, you want to build this in as early an age as possible. I’ve never been able to build it in age 1 though, you pretty much need neighbors who give you money every turn and want you to win. Realistically though, it is possible to build this second stage by the end of stage 2 – you should aim for this. Also keep an eye on resources. Make sure you have access to 3 brick, 2 wood, and one of each manufactured good so you can actually reach and build stage 3 of the wonder. Otherwise, follow Babylon A and you will have similar results.

4. Giza A- Giza A goes with a strong resource, military, and blue game. Aim to build some stone and wood buildings the first round. As well as military. It also makes sense to build one manufactured good you don’t have access to. On your 5th or 6th turn, consider building stage 1 of your monument. Blue buildings are strong too. Whether to build blue or a stage depends on what your opponents are doing. If you have exactly 1 opponent going green, save the monument building until you can use it to discard a green. In round 2, try to build the sawmill (double wood), quarry (double stone) and/or caravansary, these will help with building your monument later. Stone is especially important because there is a 5VP blue building, a round 2 military, a round 3 military building, and a builders guild (+1 for each wonder stage) which all require (3/3/3/2) stone. In age 2, continue to build military and maybe some blues. If you are passed a green card, you want to use these to build your monuments and block a science player. Round 3, continue with military and blues. Complete your monument with science cards or guilds.

5. Artemis B – With Artemis B, you have two strong options: 1. Play a strategy similar to Giza A where you build several production buildings or 2: Play a science strategy, where you start out with one of the manufactured goods. Which one you choose depends on what your opponents starting cards are. If an opponent has Babylon or Halicarnasus, then you might want to avoid science to avoid competition. (In three player games, if two players go science, usually the non-science player wins). If you decide to go this production, you will want to build wood and stone production buildings. Also build a manufactured good or two. After producing 5 or 6 resources, follow the advice in Alexandria B or Giza A.

6. Giza B – Similar to Giza A. I don’t like it quite as much because the 3 brick for the 3rd stage can be difficult to obtain. Other than possible spending an extra turn producing brick and the extra turn building the fourth stage, it plays pretty similarly to Giza A.

7. Artemis A – The only reason I don’t like Artemis A is that the third stage of the wonder can be annoying to build – getting that second papyrus manufactured good can be annoying if a neighbor doesn’t build it. Otherwise, it plays like Artemis B, but not as powerful because you have to wait longer to get money.

8. Halicarnassus A – If no Babylon, consider going science. See if you can build the clay pit (brick + ore) to help you with your wonder stages. Follow the advice from Babylon A if you do go science. When you play stage 2 of your wonder, you might find a green or a blue card that gets you 5 or more points.

9. Halicarnassus B – As with A, consider going science. When you build a wonder stage and look thru the discards, remember what’s there for the next time you do it.

10. Rhodes B – This card should be played like Artemis B, with an extra emphasis on winning military. You might be required to build the double stone or double ore building in age 2 to have sufficient resources to build this wonder.

11. Rhodes A – Try to get two trees and build the caravansary in round 2. Otherwise, play like Giza A, knowing that you are starting with a moderate disadvantage.

12. Zeus A – This is a difficult wonder to play as it requires a tactical game. Building 6 production generally is unnecessary because then you void out the power of the second stage of the wonder (since you can purchase everything anyway, the special power becomes useless). Get somewhere between 2 - 5 production going and try to complete the wonder by age 2. In age 3, you can either use the power to build the palace (8VP) for free, or hold onto the power until late in the stage and guarantee that you won’t have to discard on your final turn. Try to use the power to build a card that helps you and would have helped a strong opponent.

13. Zeus B – Very different from the A power, yet similar in that it requires tactical game. Build a tree and get your double-sided trading post up early. Still build to 3 or 4 production but use your trading post often. With the third stage, be careful and don’t build it unless you are sure that a neighbor will build a guild card that will also help you. Otherwise, it makes more sense to just play the cards normally.

14. Alexandria A – This wonder is not great in a 3 player game. You want to reach the age 2 power – 1 raw material – as early as possible. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get stone, ore and then build to stage 2 all that quickly. By the time you get it – middle of age 2 – it’s almost too late to catch up. Furthermore, the final stage requires two glassworks, so you need to hope a neighbor builds a second glassworks or if not build it yourself so you can finish the wonder. Out of desperation, with this wonder, I will usually opt towards a science strategy that avoids stages 2 and 3 of the wonder. If pursuing this strategy, follow the advice for Babylon A.
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Jason Weed
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In a 3 player, it is so dependent on what the other 2 are doing and what their wonders are. If 2 people go science, the other player will probably win. If only 1 goes science, he will probably win, unless the other 2 actively try to bury science. It's hard to stereotype a given wonder strategy unless you see what the other players wonders are. I've won games though where I did only 1 or none of my wonder and just went with blues/military or science alone. You must adapt more to your opponents in a 3, with more players, it becomes more imperative to do what is best for you.
 
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Greg Jones
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ticklerickle wrote:
Some wonder specific strategies for 3 player games of 7 wonders. Questions, comments, and disagreements welcome.

1. Alexandria B – Although many won’t rank this monument highly, I consider this the strongest monument when played correctly. Science will be tempting, but with Alexandria B, the goal is quickly establish 6 production and AVOID science.


Totally agree this is one of the best wonders, though I don't know if I agree with you on how to play it. It's always nice when early stages of a wonder help you build later stages.

I don't think you have to ignore science. You start with a manufactured good so one of the Age I science buildings is free. Also you will be able to pay for other science buildings with your free resources and manufactured goods. I think Alexandria B is one of the most flexible wonders. You can go in almost any direction and usually I just "wing it".

ticklerickle wrote:
2. Babylon A – Personally, I prefer this side to side B, simply because side B is more expensive.


I have the exact opposite opinion. I think coming up with four of the same resource for the last stage of Babylon A is trickier than coming up with each of the manufactured goods. You might not have all of the manufactured goods yourself but it's easy to buy them one time. On the other hand, nobody is likely to build the 4th brick for you, and you need nearly all the brick cards to be built in the game to be able to afford the last stage. It's pretty easy for someone to trash one or two of them and your last stage is impossible.

On the other hand, the last stage of Babylon A is not essential.

ticklerickle wrote:
Succinctly, the strategy with Babylon A is to build as much science as possible.


Sure, great idea no matter what wonder you have. But it seems my opponents have clued into this strategy finally. Science usually has competition, and a science strategy with competition is weak.

I have decided the strength of Babylon (A or B) is to build heavily in one science symbol. The extra science symbol bonus can be more valuable for increasing the triangular scoring of the same symbol than for getting the flat 7 points for getting another set. If you get 4 of the same symbol naturally, the Babylon bonus is worth 9 points. If you get the Scientists' Guild too, it's worth 11 points. Actually you get 8 / 10 / 12 points for completing the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd complete set, because you add to the same-symbol points too, but completing the 2nd and 3rd sets requires more symbols than getting 5 or 6 of the same, and is difficult if there is competition.

ticklerickle wrote:
3. Babylon B- Babylon B is similar to A. To build the monument, you need more manufactured goods and fewer raw materials. Otherwise, playing this is fairly similar to the A side. Because building the second stage, gives you an extra turn, you want to build this in as early an age as possible.


Agree, but I find the power is not as great as it seems. Usually the last two cards left you are some of the weakest. I often just spend the extra action to get coins. I almost consider the stage two power to just be 3 coins per age. It can also, of course, be used to build your third stage, and often I do that in the last action of the game, and I don't have to pass up a nice-scoring card sometime earlier in age III to build it.

ticklerickle wrote:
12. Zeus A – This is a difficult wonder to play as it requires a tactical game. Building 6 production generally is unnecessary because then you void out the power of the second stage of the wonder (since you can purchase everything anyway, the special power becomes useless). Get somewhere between 2 - 5 production going and try to complete the wonder by age 2. In age 3, you can either use the power to build the palace (8VP) for free, or hold onto the power until late in the stage and guarantee that you won’t have to discard on your final turn. Try to use the power to build a card that helps you and would have helped a strong opponent.


Pretty much agree with all that and I have some more comments.

Like Babylon B, build the second stage as soon as possible. Likewise, it's difficult and not that helpful to build in age I. The buildings are free or cheap in age I anyway; getting one free is not that important. But if you can do it, you can sometimes get a science building that you couldn't otherwise have gotten or that would have cost 2 coins.

Besides the Palace, Zeus' power in age III can be useful for a guild.

Also, in any age, a good use is for a military card you couldn't otherwise afford.

ticklerickle wrote:
13. Zeus B – Very different from the A power, yet similar in that it requires tactical game. Build a tree and get your double-sided trading post up early.


I think the double-sided trading post is not that strong and not worth rushing for. By trying to make sure you can build the second stage quickly, you might pass up cards that are worth more than the trading post power.

I think it's generally a weak wonder. The stage 2 power is not so great, and the stage 3 bonus could be worth little or nothing if your neighbors don't cooperate.

ticklerickle wrote:
14. Alexandria A – This wonder is not great in a 3 player game. You want to reach the age 2 power – 1 raw material – as early as possible. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get stone, ore and then build to stage 2 all that quickly.


Agree. B side is so much better by getting you the free resource earlier. And on the B side, the 1st stage helps you build the second stage. The 2nd stage of Alexandria A doesn't help you build the 3rd stage.

ticklerickle wrote:
Out of desperation, with this wonder, I will usually opt towards a science strategy that avoids stages 2 and 3 of the wonder. If pursuing this strategy, follow the advice for Babylon A.


Generally I agree. When I have this wonder, I almost ignore the wonder card. I play the stages if they kind of fall into my hands. I wouldn't say I go for a science strategy generally. Sometimes military. It's a groupthink thing. Science is a great strategy if you're the only one doing it.
 
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