Gaming

Wonders Board Game Review

Some games are simple yet innovative, becoming instant hits the moment they hit the market. 7 Wonders is one of them. With many awards already won, let’s see what makes this game unique.

7 Wonders Game Review — Meeple Mountain

Game Overview

7 Wonders is essentially a card game in which each player takes control of one great ancient city: Rhodes. Alexandria, Ephesus, Babylon, Olympia, Halicarnassus, and Giza tried to make it the leading city of the Ancient world. To achieve this goal, players must exploit natural resources, develop commerce relationships with neighboring cities, advance in technology, and raise a powerful army. Moreover, players can build wonder in their city to earn more victory points or bonuses. The Wonder is constructed in 3 stages (except one city, which uses two sets). The game takes place over 3 Ages, using the relevant card deck. At each Age, players can develop their cities and build a wonder by playing six cards chosen through a drafting system similar to that used in Magic: The Gathering. At the end of the third Age, players count their victory points, and the player with the most VP is declared the winner.

At the beginning of the game, each player is assigned a city randomly (there is also the option of each player choosing the city they prefer) and the side of the town they will play. Each player board is double-sided (A & B sides), with each side having different requirements and bonuses for each stage of Wonder building. Each city can produce a resource, shown in the upper left corner of the board.

At the beginning of each Age, each player receives a hand of 7 cards, dealt randomly, from the corresponding deck. Each Age is made up of 6 game turns. During each turn, the players put into play a single card simultaneously.

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A game turn takes place as follows:

1. Choose a card

2. Action

3. Give your hand of cards to the player sitting to your left or right and receive another hand from the player sitting next to you.

All cards represent a specific structure and are of the following type:

Brown Cards (Raw Materials). These are resource structures. They supply one or more wood, clay, stone, or ore units.

Gray Cards (Manufactured goods). These structures produce manufactured goods: Loom, papyrus, and glass.

Yellow cards (commercial structures). These cards may earn coins, produce resources, change commerce rules, and sometimes earn victory points.

Red cards (military structures). They represent military structures that grant military power.

Blue cards (Civilian structures). These cards award victory points

Green cards (Scientific establishments). These cards represent technological advancement and score victory points depending on progress in three scientific fields.

Purple cards (Guilds). They earn victory points depending on the number of same-color cards or stages of wonders built by the player and his neighbors.

After choosing a card comes the action phase of the game, in which players can choose between 3 different actions:

Build the structure they chose in the previous step. Each card has a cost in resources or coins, but some resource cards can be played for free. Moreover, building specific structures during an Age allows you to make some other systems in the next Age, e.g., if you make the Scriptorium in Age I, you can make it for free in Age II. If you don’t have enough resources to build a structure, you can always trade with your neighboring cities as long as they produce the resources you are looking for. You must pay two coins to get the help you want (but by building some commerce (yellow) structures, you may reduce this cost to 1 coin).

build a stage of the wonder by paying the relevant cost (shown on the player board) and using the chosen card as a construction marker

discard the chosen card to get three coins

After choosing a card and performing an action, players give the remaining cards to the left (for Ages I and III) or the right (for Age II). The game continues this way until players receive the last two cards, at which point, players must choose one card and discard the other. At this point, which is the end of an Age, military conflict begins, and players battle with their neighbors by comparing the number of shields on their structures (red cards) with each neighbor and gaining a conflict token (positive or negative) for each battle. The game progresses to the next Age until all 3 Ages are completed.

Impressions

I admit that I didn’t find it too impressive when I first played this game a few months ago. I had to play it again a few more times to appreciate its depth. And it does have enough depth to keep you wanting to play more and more as soon as you realize that. There is enough room here for a load of different strategies, depending on the city you play with and what strategy other players implement. And that’s because trying to eliminate other players’ systems is a core element of the game. Most times, you will struggle with important decisions such as “Should I choose this card that suits my strategy, or maybe should I block my opponent by using a card he needs, for example, to build a stage of my wonder?” It’s a game of continuous decision-making, and luck doesn’t play any role. You will often go for a one or two-color strategy, especially if you decide to pick green “science” cards, but other times, you will try to balance between many colors.

The game’s artwork is awesome, especially the player boards depicting each of the seven wonders. Cards are simple but efficient in design, and tokens (coins and conflict tokens) fulfill their role.

Let’s go through our usual rating system to talk about the aspects of a game that matter:

Components:

As I said before, the game’s aesthetics are at a high level. The box illustration draws attention immediately with a beautiful mix of wonders depicted in the front. Player boards are colorful and illustrate the phenomenon of the city in elaborate detail. Cards are adequately designed, simple, and solid. Coin and conflict tokens could be better if they were wood or metal (maybe in a deluxe edition??). Overall 8/10

Gameplay:

The heart of each game! 7 Wonders makes miracles here, as it keeps wanting for more each time you finish a game. Mechanics are polished, and different cities are perfectly balanced. There are a whole lot of strategies to choose from: you can focus on resource gathering, aiming for heavy cost cards in the last Age, the balance between production and commerce, or even change the rules of commerce. You can choose to ignore military progress or not to focus on science. But don’t forget always to watch your opponent’s moves, too. The gameplay is fast and is independent of the number of players, as all actions are done simultaneously. 9/10

Learning Curve:

Although the 12-page manual may initially seem daunting, the game is simple at its core and pretty easy to remember for future games. After dedicating some time to read the rules once, all will become clear, and after a few games, you will have mastered all the details. The manual’s last page is beneficial as it contains all essential information about the game’s cards. 7/10

Theme:

The artwork helps a bit here. Beautiful pictures depict structures on the cards, and the wonders are impressively drawn on players’ boards. However, this is not a game of great immersion. The mind focuses a lot on the best strategy to win rather than the game’s theme. 6/10

Replayability:

7 Wonders is at its best here. As soon as you grasp it, you keep wanting more. Every game is different, and there is much space for different strategies testing. Although game rules are pretty simple in their core, the game is complex enough to keep you interested. 9/10

Fun:

The fun factor in 7 Wonders stems from its strategic depth and replayability. It isn’t a game that will make you laugh, and interaction between players is minimal (only commerce and during the military conflict phase). 6/10

Pros:

  • Each game is different
  • There isn’t a single strategy that will lead to the win. The system will always depend on the opponents’ method as well.
  • Beautiful artwork
  • 2-sided player boards allow for even more variety in the game
  • Cons:
  • Not much player interaction
  • Little immersion
About author

I work for WideInfo and I love writing on my blog every day with huge new information to help my readers. Fashion is my hobby and eating food is my life. Social Media is my blood to connect my family and friends.
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