Game: 7 Wonders
Designer: Antoine Bauza
Published: Repos Production
Playtime: 30 Minutes
Play Type: Card Drafting
You are the great leader of a marvelous city. Home to one of the many wonders of the world. Your job is to build the strongest city possible, through military might, scientific discovery and develop commercial trade routes to cement your glory. Build your city and erect a glorious world wonder to be remembered long after you pass.
7 Wonders plays over a series of three ages. Players will start with a hand of seven cards. Of those cards the players will select one card, and pass the rest of an adjacent player. Once all players have made their selection, all players will simultaneously reveal their cards. After cards are revealed, players have the choice to build the structure depicted on the card, gain 3 coins from the card, or use this card to help build a Wonder.
Before building a structure, the player must be able to pay the building costs. This will be depicted in the upper lefthand corner of the individual card. If you do not have the resources needed, you may look to your left or right and trade with a neighbor to gain the needed resource. In order to complete a trade, you give the player the coins needed, and then you may use their resource for one transaction only.
Here are the different types of structures a player may build:
Red (Military Strength)– Each card has a number of shields on it. These will add to a player’s military might.
Yellow (Commercial Buildings)-Variety of benefits including coins, decreasing the cost of trade and victory points based on specific requirements.
Green (Scientific Discoveries)– Science cards will score a set number of points based on the symbols depicted on them. Certain combinations are worth more points.
Brown (Raw Materials)- Used as a resource for building. Can be traded to other players. Will only be found in the first two ages.
Silver (Manufactured Goods)-Used a resource for building. Can be traded to other players. Will only be found in the first two ages.
Blue (Civic Buildings)– Provide a set number of victory points.
Purple (Guilds)- Grant victory points for a specific resource or structure. Only found in the third age.
If a player is planning on building a Wonder rather than a structure, they will not openly reveal their card. Instead, they will play the card face down under the section of the Wonder they are building. Each Wonder has anywhere between two and four sections. Once completed, each section will grant the player a bonus during play.
Play will continue in this fashion until all players have drafted six cards. The final card is discarded. Once the final card is discarded the age ends. In the transition between ages, each player will go into military combat with their neighbors. Each player will compare shields with the player on their left and their right. The person with more shields wins, the player with the least loses.
Once all combat is resolved, players will go into the next age. Play continues exactly the same throughout the ages. After players have completed the different ages, they will tally their final score. The player with the most points wins.
7 Wonders includes seven unique player boards. There are cards with three different color backs and roman numerals to represent the three different ages. In addition to the cardboard player boards, there are also two types of cardboard tokens. Those are coins and combat trackers. 7 Wonders includes a scoring pad as well. Art on it is well done. Symbols are easy to read and clearly defined.
- Easy to teach
- High player count
- Quick to play
- Unique boards add replayability
- Turns are quick and keep players engaged
- Player interaction limited to players on left and right
- Lots of scoring combinations to remember
- A lot of different symbols to learn
- Does not work well as a two player game
- Some aspects of hate drafting
7 Wonders is one of the few games I can think of that fits the filler criteria with a consistent level of strategies across player counts. Regardless of whether you are playing with 3 people or seven people, the play time will still remain low and it will still have equally short turns. That being said 7 Wonders does not play well at 2 players. Card drafting in this manner generally does not work smoothly at two players.
Despite that drawback, it is still a favorite to pull out while waiting for people to arrive at game days. There are a variety of reasons behind this, but mostly because it is quick, houses a lot of players, and is easy to teach even to new gamers. The mechanics are very easy to understand, and can be taught in under five minutes. The only thing a new player may struggle with is remember all of the various symbols. While there are player guides given, I wish there were more included in the game box due to the high player count.
One thing I have noticed with 7 Wonders is players tendency to get drawn into their own cities and not pay attention to the other players. While there are aspects of player interaction built in with trading and combat, players are only ever encouraged to interaction with players on their left and right. If a player gets too tunnel visioned, they may ignore cards that allow other players to get strong combinations. On the other hand, some player focus too heavily on hate drafting and have no cohesive strategy themselves. While not overly apparent, it is an important task to pay attention at the very least to your neighboring players.
7 Wonders does have some flaws, however overall I enjoy the game. I find that it is one of the few games I can consistently rely on to remain a filler game even at high player counts. Despite the simplicity of teaching, it still has enough strategy to it to be re-playable and enjoyable.